Guest opinion: Can Republicans and Democrats ever trust each other again?
Forget the slogans” Make America Great Again “or “Make America Better Again” because without trust they are meaningless words. When we are born and up through approximately four years of age, we have a blind trust that our parents are looking out for our welfare. When our brains start to develop cognitive thinking powers, if our parents continue to tell us truths, that blind trust becomes an earned trust.
On the other hand, if our parents tell us lies distorting the truth, confusion becomes paramount and we become cynical adults unable to trust anyone. That is the present state of our politics today. According to the Washington Post newspaper fact-checking department, President Trump has lied to the American people over 20,000 times. Unfortunately, those lies have become truths to his supporters and anyone who disagrees with them cannot be trusted!
This has been his modus operandi from the beginning of his presidency. We should have been suspicious after his inauguration, when he held a “thank you” rally for his supporters, which later became routine re-election campaign rallies across America. What other presidents have scheduled rallies after they became president? Instead of trying to bring a politically polarized nation together, President Trump’s mission was to continue the polarization.
By demonizing the free press as well as Democratic governors, senators, representatives and supporters as enemies of the state, his us-and-them mentality provided him with an excuse for any of his administration’s failings. It also became cannon fodder for his supporters, thus widening the gap of mistrust for anyone who dared to oppose his ideas and policies.
At a recent Trump rally, a reporter asked a supporter why he was not wearing a mask? He replied that the coronavirus was all a hoax perpetuated by the Democrats. When asked about the Bob Woodward interview tapes with President Trump regarding his having knowledge of the severity of the virus back in late February, the man replied, “It’s only Woodward’s opinion.” This supporter’s opinion is proof of the widening gap of trust between Republicans and Democrats.
For the past four years, Trump’s lies have been manifested into truths by his supporters. Trump’s attack on the integrity of the government’s institutions, along with his systematic destruction of an independent Department of Justice separate from the jurisdiction of the Executive Branch, has promoted his obsessed desire to become a despot governing in an American democracy!
Trump’s rhetoric and behavior over the past years have become the gospel to his supporters and at the same time a battle cry for his opponents to save democracy and unseat him in the November election. To paraphrase a Smith-Barney investment ad, “To gain trust the old fashion way is to earn it.” The question remains, after the Trump presidency is over, can Republicans and Democrats ever trust each other? It will take a long time to heal the mistrust fostered by Trump, which has deeply permeated our society. The number one task for the next president is to gain back the trust of all Americans by simply always telling the truth!
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