Reconciliation is the word, consideration for the viewpoints of others is the way forward for America

America needs to reconcile its ideological differences. The balance sheet is completely out of wack, a view that has been systematically made worse by Donald Trump.

Why anyone would do that we’ll come to, but the fact is, it isn’t just him. A lot of Americans prefer to see themselves as having a strong, righteous, ideological position compared to which, all others are simply wrong. Narrow-mindedness is being confused with what it means to be American.

This has to stop.

The only way it will stop if both sides start to sound like the other side. They need to start listening to each other. A pro-police social justice advocate? A conservative who supports Antifa? Are these so hard to imagine?

Everybody wants safe streets. Fear is the common enemy. Nobody wants to be afraid of getting mugged when they go out. Nobody wants to be afraid of a routine police check during which, if you’re black, you could end up dead.

Watchers of the right wing are not surprised by the mayhem in the U.S. capitol this week. It has been a long time coming, they say. Authorities did or should have seen it coming. It was all over social media, which fans flames of hate like pure oxygen. CBC’s Matt Galloway talked to Jen Schradie, a digital sociologist at Sciences Po in Paris, and Seyward Darby, opinion writer at the New York Times and the editor in chief of The Atavist Magazine. At some point in the conversation, Schradie described the root of far-right mob action as being in a rift in understanding between “equality” and “freedom.”. – www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-jan-8-2020-1.5865942

Turns out this is well-known debate. The Web is chock-a-block with information about it.

A short but excellent summary of the evolving definitions of “equality” and “freedom” in the US can be found here:
www.rentonreporter.com/opinion/equality-versus-freedom/

George Will in the run up to the 2004 US election spoke out with concern about this divide:
www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/2004/02/01/freedom-vs-equality/63bddf0b-6089-4bab-8663-f61571578e57/

How interesting. It is possible to soberly appreciate the point of view of both sides, no matter where you, yourself falls in the equality/freedom spectrum.
But today, the debate is not just polarized, it has gone beyond logic, fairness or reasonableness. Differences are cartoon-like, each side painting the other as ‘evil’ and itself as ‘righteous.’ Wars have been fought for less.

The problem today is reactionary liberalism vs. reactionary conservatism, so starkly different, it seems impossible to reconcile differences, when really, liberalism and conservatism are two sides of the same coin, neither could exist without the other.

No champion of freedom wants to live without governing authority that has the power to keep things organized, support businesses and individuals and   have some checks against bullying and rampant exploitation. Restraint of government overreach is one thing, no government at all another: anarchy.

At the same time, no champion of equality wants a State that is so big and so dominant that there is no room for personal differences, opportunity to find and exercise your talents, and have your achievements rewarded.

Neither side wants an oppressive “socialist” State that threatens its people with banishment to the Gulag if they do not conform.

How long will it take before the sides really start to talk to each other? This is a question that brings us to the matter of Mr. Trump, the dejected and now rejected cheeseburger.

Pundits have been saying he  is just a warm up act for the radical or alt-right: a Mussolini or Hitler is waiting in the wings to take centre stage and take over. This is the worst kind of “fake news” Mr. T has rightly taken to task. It is scare mongering and contributes nothing to our understanding of the issues.

Isn’t it just as likely that a God-like advocate for democratic processes and social justice will arise out of ranks of the Democrats, capture the public imagination and be swept into power?

Which maybe is what this is all about: myth making. America’s been telling itself hair raising tales of demented heroes for quite a few decades now. The shocking thing is how surprised everyone is when these characters leap off the page into reality.

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