I wonder what a poll would reveal about the percentage of Americans praying to be time transported to November 9, the day after the elections. Would that we could get there that quickly and easily! Instead, more misery is ahead, irrespective of our political persuasion, as we hit new lows in political campaigning. Most of us already are shocked at the depths being plumbed in this campaign and likely will be further amazed by the three-week endurance run before us. It promises to make ultra-marathon races seem like a walk to our kitchen. A SpongeBob video of “How Low Can You Go” is here.
As we continue the bumpy ride, I remain struck by the parallel universes in which Clinton and Trump supporters reside. I’m in the Clinton universe and cannot imagine how anyone could vote for Trump, and most of those in the Trump universe feel the same way about people like me. I was reminded of this following a recent sermon I gave.
The gist was that our political divisions are dividing our country and threaten to engulf us. So, I urged humility about our own opinions while also respecting those of our political opposites. I said that we should try to assume the best, and not the worst, about those across the divide because they likely loved their country and wanted the best for its people just as much as we do. All in all, I thought it was a pretty good effort for me and true to the gospel.
That opinion was not unanimous.
After the service, one of our members said, “That sounded good, but I can’t do it. How can I when the other side are liars?”
I responded, “What is the other side?”
I said, “What do you think they’re lying about?”
“Pretty much everything. They lie to get more handouts and more regulations . . .”
“I guess that was what the sermon was about, that we should believe they’re acting in good faith for the best of the country as they see it.”
“I disagree. They’re liars and it all started with Roosevelt and Wilson.”
His reference to Wilson was a giveaway that the Roosevelt he was talking about was Theodore and not Franklin. I had never met anyone who went that far back into history with their political grievances. That stopped me in my tracks. I quickly tried to think what he could be talking about that happened during the Roosevelt and Wilson administrations. A list of possibilities ran through my mind: national parks; first food and drug regulations; antitrust enforcement; increased regulation of railroads and banks; child labor laws; and, workers’ rights.
I wondered which of those he didn’t like or if it was something else, and then told him, “I guess we just have a fundamental disagreement.”
I didn’t tell him that I was one of those liberals and living in an alternate universe.