|Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr (1804), from a painting|
by J. Mund ca. 1904. Wikimedia Commons.
I am one of those people who didn't have high hopes for the outcome of the recent U.S. presidential election (no matter who won), and I am also thoroughly sickened by the way Americans have turned on one another with the arrogance, entitlement (as if one candidate or the other -- and their ardent supporters -- "owned" the votes of all decent people), snobbery, and elitism that has been (to some extent) hiding under the surface of public life for decades. It is not the fault of one candidate or the other that these things have come to the surface -- it is the fault of the American people (in general) who are so wrapped up in our own likes and dislikes, needs and wishes, that we can't see that other human beings feel and think differently, and are no less decent or respectable for having different values. Over many years, the American people -- of all political parties -- have thrown decency, neighborliness, and good citizenship out the window, and brought the political life of this country to this place. It reminds me a lot of the state of political life at the founding of the United States, where political enemies ended their disagreements in pistol duels!
Since I believe that individual Americans have influenced each other in putting political ideals and goals above the needs of others (especially those who hold different opinions), I believe that the way out of this mess needs to start with the individual American. This is not about ignoring reality and going back into our own personal "bubble", but it is about resisting the very real urge to "go with the flow" and bully others, under the name of "political discourse" or whatever the media are calling it. A lot of good things have been happening, which have successfully brought together people of different political opinions and social values!