When I went to grammar school, there were kids in my classes who, when election time rolled around, would be for different candidates than I was, or rather their parents were, as we were all way too young to grasp the implications or ramifications of whichever candidates were on the ballot.
In my family, my parents and grandparents – having lived through the Great Depression – it was whichever candidates who ran on the Democrat side of the ballot who were favored, namely because Roosevelt was hailed as the president who ended the “hard times,” as they were commonly known, and Herbert Hoover’s name was practically synonymous with a curse word. The Republican Party wore the blame for decades.
My friends and playmates whose families favored the Republican candidates simply reflected the thoughts and choices they had heard at home, and conversely, the kids from the Democrat homes did the same.
But there was never any animosity, anger or grudges held against opposing sides, a situation akin to whether you were a New York Yankees fan or a Brooklyn Dodgers fan as most of the boys of my acquaintance were in those days of smaller baseball leagues and limited choices.
Politics, for the most part in those days before the coming of television, was more a distraction whose conventions and coverage took up valuable radio time usually devoted to “The Lone Ranger” and the myriad of afternoon broadcast time slots allotted to programming for the pee-wee set.
Even in high school, we paid more attention to – but took no umbrage at – each other’s political choices and they affected our relationships not one whit.
I don’t know exactly when we began to be so divided by politics that we feel it is incumbent upon us to totally disrespect the opinions of others as to let it divide friends and family. In some circles, verbal disagreement is not enough, and some feel we are obliged to harm or even destroy those who disagree with us.
This is not a brand new thing, but it has only grown in intensity over the last few years, certainly exacerbated by the advent of the 24-hour cable news networks, especially the ones that show political bias, which is practically all of them, mainstream media and radio talk shows notwithstanding.
Our two most recent presidents are probably the most polarizing figures to hold the office in over a century, and both have a sizable contingency of dedicated followers, firmly convinced that there is no middle ground, that it is a winner take all scenario, a never give an inch, “hooray with our side and to hell with yours” attitude. And this is fanned by the hyperbolic and asinine remarks of ambitious politicians who pander to any and all.
This situation, although intolerable now, will surely reach a fever pitch in the coming months of no holds barred campaigning, and by the time the actual election rolls around, the bloody campaign trail will be littered with the bodies of the “also-rans,” victims of the better-spoken, better-financed, those who cared not at all for the voracity of their acidic remarks nor the reputations or permanent damage done to any opponent who dared stand between them and the power they seek.
The truly dangerous part of this national conundrum is the hate it generates, the belief that it is our obligation to despise the “other side,” that their opinions are not even worthy to be heard and should be suppressed and shouted down instead of being fairly aired in the arena of ideas, both sides weighed and evaluated by all voters in the constitutionally mandated process of one person, one vote, to be decided in the privacy of the ballot box and counted in a fair and impartial way.
Where does it end? I honestly don’t know.
But this I do know: It would serve the nation well for both sides to stick to the issues, dial back the name-calling and personal insults, the groundless accusations, the vendettas and the making of promises that are impossible to fulfill.
Is it possible?
Being the optimist that I am, I believe it is.
Once in a while, something happens that pulls us together, that brings home the fact of how precious our country is to us and that no candidate or political party deserves our allegiance as much as our nation does, that we need to find some common ground and stand on it, politics be damned.
I don’t know when. I don’t know how. I don’t know what, but we will, at some time in the future, experience such an event and realize just how far we have drifted from God and the principles that made this nation what it is.
We can find the way back, but it leads through repentance and common sense.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14
What do you think?
Pray for our troops our police and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.