Opinion: The 45th President Continues to Divide the United States

Walter Rhein

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As I sit here writing this, I wonder about the people who picked their loyalty to the 45th president over their loyalty to friends and family. How are they feeling in light of the lukewarm response to the announcement that another campaign has begun?

People often say they liked him because “He says what he thinks.” I always found that statement odd. Often, when I say what I think about the 45th president, people tell me they don’t like it.

What happened to the support for a guy who says what he thinks?

I guess the real quote is, “I like it when he says what he thinks and it’s something that I also believe.”

Most people can recognize that the United States of America is divided. However, people can’t agree on who is to blame. Maybe part of the problem is that everybody is running around “Saying what they think” regardless of whether or not it’s polite or true.

It used to be the case that people would admit you can’t argue with facts. These days facts seem to be a distant consideration.

People make their choices based on beliefs. People make their choices based on tradition. People make their choices based on emotions. People make their choices based on assumptions.

Maybe the problem in modern society is that we’re disregarding the facts. Let’s talk about some facts.

It’s a fact that the 45th president never won the popular vote.

It’s a fact that the 45th president inflated the national debt.

It’s a fact that there was no evidence of systematic voter fraud in the 2020 election.

From these facts, you can conclude that history suggests the candidate is not very popular or effective. That’s not an opinion. That’s an assessment that is based on factual evidence. There’s no need to argue about it.

Before the 45th president, there was not a widespread belief that the nation was “divided.” However, the idea of division is nothing new in the United States. This is a country that endured a Civil War.

In the United States, you’re allowed to have your own opinion on things. In my opinion, the “build the wall” chant incited violence against immigrants. I’ve seen evidence of that with my own eyes.

Before the 2020 election cycle, I “said what I thought” to my friends and family who indicated they supported the 45th president. I told them that if they voted for him, I would never talk to them again.

I explained to them that the reason I felt so strongly about this issue was because of the candidate’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. I pleaded with them not to vote for a candidate that I felt incited hate that was directed at my wife and children.

They didn’t see it that way and they voted for him. Then they made the mistake of “discussing politics” and they told me what they did. I haven’t talked to them since.

“You were serious about that?” they cried.

Yes, I was very serious about protecting my family. I remain very serious about that.

There is growing evidence in the United States that the majority of the population has rejected disrespectful and hostile behavior. Maybe it’s the end of the era of people, “Saying what they think.”

There have been far too many examples of violence directed at politicians. That behavior is unacceptable. Some of the people involved with the January 6th insurrection were charged with seditious conspiracy.

Things have gone too far.

Maybe the division in the United States has come as a result of holding politicians in higher esteem than family. When a member of your family says, “This candidate is saying things that will hurt my children,” perhaps you should listen.

There are a lot of people who no longer have contact with friends and family as a result of the past few election cycles. That represents a division. Those people who are sitting at home by themselves have the choice to repair that division.

Maybe the United States would be less divided if we spent more time thinking about how our votes might impact the lives of the people we claim to care about. Some people brag, “I don’t care about your feelings.” It’s comical that those people think anyone should care about theirs.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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