One of the worst aspects about “civil wars” is that the political divides often get down to tearing people’s most personal relationships apart too. Lifelong friendships and even families can be sundered when people feel compelled to choose sides in civil wars. Few people can maintain neutrality or as my one son says, in most family disputes, “I’m Switzerland on this!”
During the 2016 campaign, many articles reported about the election causing friction and angry disputes within many American families, as the extremely contentious choice between Trump or Hillary began to be hyped as an existential election for America’s future.
Throughout history there have been many of these stories and the American Civil War is rife with stories of the painful “brother against brother” personal tragedy. During the American Revolution, one of the most famous American founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, and his son, William, who remained loyal to the British crown, severed their relationship over their political divides during the American Revolution:
“On his way back to Philadelphia, Franklin stopped in Rhode Island to meet his sister, Jane Mecom, and take her home with him. The carriage ride through Connecticut and New Jersey was a delight for both Jane and Franklin. The good feelings were so strong that they were able to overcome any political tensions when they made a brief stop at the governor’s mansion in Perth Amboy to call on William. It would turn out to be the last time Franklin would see his son other than a final, tense encounter in England ten years later.”
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/benjamin-franklin-joins-the-revolution-87199988/#fUU7xOxf8f3vUMLQ.99
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The 2016 election divided the country between left and right, but Donald Trump divided the Republican Party and conservatives with his scorched earth “GOP Insurgency”, in ways that the ashes are still smoldering.
Trump’s divisive “GOP insurgency” tactic melded with his strong-arm rhetoric and vicious online mobs (some alleged to be Russian trolls) leading gang-up attacks on conservative sites’ comment forums left the Republican Party fractured and bleeding. Among the conservative punditry circle, many of these divides have led to the destruction of longtime friendships and have been played out in public. Bill Kristol and Tucker Carlson are engaged in one now.
I’ve written about experiencing the troll gang-up tactics when commenting on some conservative sites, being called a slut and much worse, and I wrote about a night where I was reading the Disqus comments at National Review Online, for a Jonah Goldberg article, when the Disqus comment forum was taken over by people spewing neo-nazi and reprehensible anti-Semitic comments. That night, the mob of neo-nazis, who were also Trump supporters, had figured out a way to hijack forum moderators’ names, so they were posting their hateful garbage using moderators’ names. You could check the user profile and see these were new profiles with hardly any comments. This attack went on for hours, as National Review moderators worked to delete those comments and ban that mob.
David French, a conservative pundit at National Review, and many Jewish reporters and writers experienced receiving threats, but so did some of their families. I never considered supporting Donald Trump, because his personal behavior is antisocial, where his “he’s a fighter” ethos amounts to juvenile, vicious name-calling and insults, but even worse he rallies, figuratively and literally, to encourage mob violence. That is a fact.
Megyn Kelly asked him a question at a debate in August 2015. What followed was a concerted campaign led by Donald Trump, to destroy her career and encourage his friends in the media to trash her personally. He personally asked Roger Ailes to remove her as a debate moderator and he waged an 8 month campaign, publicly urging his followers not to watch her show. Megyn Kelly’s family was threatened. Donald Trump waged his 8 month campaign to destroy her, because she dared to ask him a question he thought was “unfair”.
David French, a conservative writer at National Review, wrote about what happened to his family from gung-ho Trump supporters:
“I distinctly remember the first time I saw a picture of my then-seven-year-old daughter’s face in a gas chamber. It was the evening of September 17, 2015. I had just posted a short item to the Corner calling out notorious Trump ally Ann Coulter for aping the white-nationalist language and rhetoric of the so-called alt-right. Within minutes, the tweets came flooding in. My youngest daughter is African American, adopted from Ethiopia, and in alt-right circles that’s an unforgivable sin. It’s called “race-cucking” or “raising the enemy.”
Donald Trump and his mouthpieces always lie and say he never encouraged violence, but he did – many times. During several rallies he urged his followers to punch protesters. There is plenty of video footage of him doing it.
Why I think it’s important not to lose sight of the real issue about Donald Trump’s moral character is because his performance Tuesday and the smokescreen, about preserving history and “aren’t monuments beautiful”, isn’t the issue.
The issue is the President of the United States gave cover to vile neo-nazis and deliberately mixed a few facts to bolster that lie.
In light of Trump’s some “fine people on both sides” comment on Tuesday and his insistence that the neo-nazis were in Charlottesville to peacefully protest about monuments, it’s important to not lose sight of those “fine people” Donald Trump was talking about. Here is John Podhoretz’s tweet with their “Unite the Right” poster for the march of “fine people”:
The speakers are a Who’s Who of white supremacists. Here’s how Robert Tracinski, at The Federalist, explains:
“Aside from the blatant Nazi style of the imagery, it includes a roster of headliners chosen from various white nationalist groups. So this was a Nazi march from the beginning, planned by Nazis, for Nazis. As to whether any hapless moderates strolled in there thinking this was just about the statue—well, I live in this area and used to be active in the local Tea Party group. I know people who are not white nationalists who oppose the removal of the statues based on high-minded ideas about preserving history. None of them were there, and if they had been, they would have bolted the moment they saw a bunch of guys with torches chanting “Blood and soil.”
What’s truly shocking is that Trump refers twice to “the night before,” that is, to the rally Friday night, before the deadly clash on Saturday, as evidence that some of the protesters weren’t white nationalists. But Friday night was the notorious Citronellanacht, the march with all those tiki-torch-wielding marchers yelling “Blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.””
Yes, there were violent anti-fascists at Charlottesville and yes, I am concerned about preserving our history, although for me, I believe in federalism, so with most of these monuments, the decisions should be left up to the cities and states. With those on federal property, a peaceful, thoughtful debate should take place and a decision rendered. For anyone to believe these tiki-torch wielding neo-nazis parading through Charlottesville represent preserving American history and values, we hold dear, is reprehensible. President Trump gave them legitimacy and cover.
America would be better off if everyone cared more about our moral foundation and principles as a nation than about jumping on the bandwagon of hot button causes. The idiocy and moral vacuum are stunning. In Berkeley, Yvette Felarca, a middle school teacher no less, is facing three charges:
“The charges stem from a June 2016 fight at the state capitol.
Felarca’s group, By Any Means Necessary, was protesting against a white nationalist group.
A video shows Felarca repeatedly punching a man.
The man had both hands up, walking to a line of police officers for help.
Felarca and others dragged the man down and kicked him.”
Here’s Felarca’s defense from the same article:
“Felarca said, “Standing up against fascism and the rise of Nazism and fascism in this country is not a crime. We have the right to defend ourselves.””
There have been protests against white supremacists, breaking out around the country, with people wearing, “Punch a Nazi” shirts. That you don’t have a right to punch other people, because you disagree with what they believe is a simple, fundamental moral construct for civil society. The scarier thought is this woman is a teacher and she’s got supporters protesting on her behalf.
President Trump fails the moral leadership test, but so many on the Left do too. President Obama always couched the BLM and attacks on police officers with comments about, “we need to understand their pain”, giving the same kind of cover and legitimacy to people who engage in violent, criminal conduct.
Civil society depends on leaders, who will stand up and speak clearly to who we are as an American people.
President Obama was an expert at framing everything as “this is not who we are”, fueling racial animus by giving cover to violence committed in the name of civil rights. President Trump is fighting out of petty spite and vanity. He believes:
“When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can. Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye.”
Be paranoid. I know this observation doesn’t make any of us sound very good, but let’s face the fact that it’s possible that even your best friend wants to steal your spouse and your money.”
p. 138, Trump: How To Get Rich, by Donald J. Trump
I prefer the affirmative form of leadership, leading by clear moral example and setting the standard. Treat everyone with respect and work to develop some core values. I was raised with Christian values. If you don’t want religious values, here are some excellent secular ones to set you on the path to being a good citizen:
In short, the Seven Core Army Values listed below are what being a Soldier is all about.
- Loyalty. Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. …
- Duty. Fulfill your obligations. …
- Respect. …
- Selfless Service. …
- Honor. …
- Integrity. …
- Personal Courage.