For over a decade (long before many of us even knew who Donald Trump was), America began to rapidly head down a path for which there is no return after a certain point. This path is “The path of polarization.”
Once upon a time, Americans were able to show their dissatisfaction with something without violence. We could discuss and debate with each other without resorting to infantile name-calling and defaming one another.
Slowly but surely, beginning during the Bush years and rapidly accelerating during the Obama and Trump years, the America I knew began to change from this model. We, as Americans, gradually lost our ability to harmoniously disagree with one another. We lost interest in working with each other to move America forwards. Republicans AND democrats adopted a policy of “You are with us, or you are the problem.” There is only one way that this path goes, and that is downhill. We have gone down this path of labeling ourselves and one another as Republicans and Democrats for so long that we have forgotten that we are all something else: Americans.
As appalling as it was, what happened yesterday on Capitol Hill should come as a shock to nobody. It is not the first indication of America progressing down this path, and tragically, it will not be the last. This is the outcome of years of Democrats and Republicans slinging mud at one another, resorting to physical violence, and refusing to work with one another to advance our country. This is the end result of both Trump inciting his support base AND democrats inciting those who oppose him that “resistance” is the only way to deal with him. Both sides contributed to this, and both sides will suffer the consequences to come as a result of us heading down this path.
Last night, America arrived at the fork in the road. One path will lead us off a cliff and to America’s demise. The other path will lead us to better days once again. How both sides react to this will quite literally determine America’s fate.
If we choose to continue heading down our current path, continue to vilify those we disagree with and refuse to work with them, this is it; There will be no turning back, America will continue further down this path and eventually, result in a split and end to the United States as we know it.
If we choose to turn around from this precipice and realize that a bird needs both its right and left wings to fly, American society will mend. It will not be overnight, but it will recover. America is a resilient nation. We have been through bleak times before. We emerged from them because we stood together. This time is no different. If we come together today and renounce our divisive ways, we will emerge stronger than ever.
America’s fate is in our hands. What we do in the coming days will determine it. If we decide not to change, we resign ourselves to a dark future and America’s decline. If we choose to turn around, we will emerge from this dark era of our history.