While watching President Trump’s lively news conference this afternoon, I unleashed a string of Facebook comments, something I usually do not do, but I couldn’t believe what I was watching.
My first blast, just during this press conference:
Donald Trump: ‘I got 306 electoral votes, the most since Ronald Reagan.’ (He must have forgotten Barack Obama in 2012, Barack Obama in 2008, Bill Clinton in 1996 and George H. W. Bush in 1988.)
Donald Trump: ‘The leaks are real, but the stories are fake.’ I am so irritated, I have decided if the president ever stops by my apartment and expects to be invited to dinner, he can forget it. Even if he brings a casserole.
I couldn’t believe people took what I wrote so seriously. I would never turn down a good casserole. I would give the president a generous tip for delivering the meal and send him on his way.
Still frustrated as I watched our president behave in a manner in which I have never seen a president behave in my six decades on this earth, I delivered what I thought was another Facebook zinger: “I never thought I would say this, but I miss Richard Nixon.”
People dropped me as a Facebook friend, because I had dared to speak negatively about President Trump. I would never have even considered dropping any of them...
What I discovered, as so many others have before me, is that in today’s charged climate, the evidence of a global warming in our national political discussion is undeniable. I immediately had some people who dropped me as a Facebook friend, because I had dared to speak negatively about President Trump.
I would never have even considered dropping any of them when they made negative, sometimes vitriolic statements about President Obama (In fact, many of them had agreed with me when I criticized President Obama’s mishandling of the Education Department during his eight years, though in retrospect, the Obama years look much better now that Betsy DeVos is heading the department.)
Part of the problem is that so many people limit their news consumption to whichever outlets provide the news that reinforces their own beliefs. If your dial is locked into Fox News at the beginning of the evening, it is likely to still be there at bedtime.
So many people limit their news consumption to whichever outlets provide the news that reinforces their own beliefs.
The same holds true for connoisseurs of CNN or MSNBC.
I try to watch them all for at least a short while each evening. I turn the dial to CNN sometimes then switch to MSNBC, CSpan, and Fox News (though I draw the line at Sean Hannity.)
Many of my friends who watch Fox News in the evening, restrict their talk radio listening to shows done by Fox news anchors or by Rush Limbaugh. Too many times they have heard Limbaugh’s description of the “drive-by media,” or Fox News’ misleading “We report, you decide,” slogan, when it is plainly clear that what they report is often designed to make you decide things in a certain way and it is totally designed to portray the media as a monolithic evil creature that wants to take away your freedoms and give them to people who do not believe in “traditional” American values.
My friends who would never dream of watching Fox News often have no understanding of issues that mean a great deal to millions of people across the United States.
Tunnel vision has led to a dumbing down of our public discourse.
This type of tunnel vision has not only led to complete hatred between those on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but it has led to a dumbing down of our public discourse, which has contributed to the polarization that has afflicted our society.
Had this situation existed in the 1960s, there would have been no Everett Dirksen to step forward and make critical civil rights legislation a reality. In the 1970s, Democrats and Republicans would never have worked together to shepherd this country through the constitutional crisis that Richard Nixon laid on our doorstep.
What I saw today on my Facebook page was a microcosm of what this country has become: people who will not tolerate anyone whose political views differ from their own and even worse, people who will refuse to budge from their stances and compromise on the issues that divide our country so that we can move forward.
I still have faith that we will get past this troubling phase.
And the man who will lead us to a better future is President Donald Trump.
Of course, he may not like the way it turns out.
That last line is going to lose me some more Facebook friends.