Our Holy Shit Moment: Invite people to dinner don’t ask them to leave the table

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I didn’t vote for Donald Trump.  Nor did I vote for Hillary Clinton.

In both candidates America had deeply flawed choices for our President.

Today, I would still not vote for Donald Trump.

While it is true that as President he has done some important work he has undercut much of it with his penchant for simple cruelty and a lack of grace.

A significant tax cut, reducing some unnecessary government regulation, important outreach to North Korea and a handful of other policy initiatives are areas in which he does deserve recognition for what he has done as President.

All of those things, however, do not mask a hideous and ghastly style of leadership that alienates our allies, pits Americans against one another and dismisses the humanity of those he does not like and disagrees with as beneath his contempt.

I find Donald Trump repulsive in many ways and can barely stand to listen to him or look at him as our President.

However, he is our President.  And, there were millions of Americans who cast their vote for him as President of the United States.

Many of those Americans are my friends, my colleagues, my peers, Board Members, neighbors and family members.

So, too, were there millions of Americans who cast their vote for Hillary Clinton – and others who cast their votes for neither Trump or Clinton.

Many of those Americans are my friends, my colleagues, my peers, Board Members, neighbors and family members.

Last week the President’s spokesperson, Sarah Sanders, tweeted that she had been asked to leave a diner by its owner.  Presumably, although I wasn’t there, it was because the owner (and, according to the owner, the diner’s employees) did not want to serve Sanders because of her employment by President Trump.

The uproar on the left and the right and wherever everyone else is on the ideological and political scale has been ferocious.

So much so that even Congresswoman Maxine Waters got into the act by declaring:

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up…If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Steve Schmidt, a “long-time GOP strategist” who is now an erstwhile Republican according to his self-professed declaration also decided to weigh in with a tweet that stated:

“She wasn’t refused service because of a difference over fiscal policy. She was refused because she is a serial liar and a handmaiden to despicably cruel and immoral policies. The public spaces are going to keep shrinking for Trumps henchmen and women. They’ve earned it.”

I’ve long considered Twitter a danger to democracy.  I think it is a depository of our worst selves.  We debase ourselves in our debasement of others.

And, there has been so much debasement of one another today in America that if I were the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the North Koreans or the handful of other nations that seek our demise, destruction or diminishment, I would be gleefully egging us on.

These kinds of exchanges further convince me that our civil society is thrashing about the rocks of destruction.

Where does all of this actually end?

Am I to cut off my relationship with those who voted for Trump or Clinton?  Should I abandon every person who continues to support them, or their policies, and consider them beneath my contempt?

Who shall I not invite to the next family dinner?  Is it possible that there will be nobody left to invite?

I love and adore and respect people who I vehemently disagree with politically and ideologically.

I don’t ask them to leave my home.  Get out of my car.  Or stop talking to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish Donald Trump wasn’t our President.  I don’t care at all for Sarah Sanders.  I would love to punch Corey Lewandowski and Stephen Miller and John Bolton right in the nose.

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders annoy me more than fingernails on a chalkboard.

But, if they came to my home for dinner I would welcome them in and feed them.

I would argue like Hell with them and I am sure I would get mad as Hell, too.

But, tell them to leave my home?

Never.

All of this is simply madness.

It didn’t start with Donald Trump.  And, I am tired of the universe giving him this much credit for all of us being mean to one another.

What has happened is that our meanness has become amplified.  It has become one large monolithic megaphone in which we violate the humanity of one another by posting comments that the vast majority of us would never utter in the presence of those we attack online.

I call this our Holy Shit moment – and Holy Shit it’s about as awful as I believe it to be.

We are not this shallow as human beings.  I refuse to believe it.

Somehow, one way or another, we need to get a grip on this terrible epidemic of rhetorical squalor that we have found ourselves mired in as Americans.

We aren’t going to do it by asking people to leave our dinner table.

The best way we to put our country back together again is to gather round a table for a meal and talk to one another.

I’m happy to be the host for the first one.

Just let me know if you’re interested in attending.

 

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