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We can never go back to the “good old days.” That was a thought that occurred to me today, and I realized how that fact—and I believe it is a fact—defines not only how we see the world, but how we see our political reality. It colors how we see those who agree with us, and those who vehemently disagree with us. I also realized that all the Trump/Never Trump arguments are not really about Trump at all. The people who get stuck on either side of that conflict are struggling with something else entirely. And realizing that truth, with honesty and sincerity, might actually bridge the seemingly insurmountable polarization that has plagued this country, particularly the Conservatives, for years.
Think about it. There is no denying that life today is vastly different from the life we experienced, say, 20 years ago. And many people have a predisposition to living lives that are relatively predictable, familiar, and consistent. When they have occurrences that disrupt that predictability, they can feel beleaguered—life has turned upside down and has let them down in a way, so that they become confused, stressed, and even angry at the new and unanticipated outcomes. They feel betrayed and disappointed, and once they wrestle down these reactions, they are ready to go to war. They can decide to fight for what they once anticipated for their lives, demand that life return to some kind of normalcy, and rebel against those who think they should be prepared to go in a new direction. Even if that direction has some merit, they will reject it because it is not the life that they expected or desired.
I propose to you that this mindset evolves from that sense of life’s betrayal, and Donald Trump has become the scapegoat for those who reject Trump and life’s demands.