In today’s tumultuous political landscape largely shaped by the new president of United States of America, Donald Trump… I observe there are largely 7 political groups.
First there is the group that aren’t really involved. They are apathetic, indifferent, aloof, refrain from engaging, or live under a rock. They are simply not a part of the conversation and don’t care to be.
Then you have the extremists on both ends of the spectrum.
On one side, Trump can do no wrong. He’s the perfect angel sent from above to shield us, protect us, and, will follow through on his slogan and “Make America Great Again” #MAGA. It doesn’t matter what he says or does, and it certainly doesn’t matter what he’s said or done in the past. This particular group is like the ever loving mother who sees absolutely no evil in her heavenly child Donald.
And when you go to the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find the evil stepmother who’s out to destroy everything about her red-headed stepchild and everything he stands for. They see him as a charlatan, pathological liar, bigot, misogynist, and a loony filled with a bunch of expletives before, in between, and after.
This group sees Trump as the devil himself. If Satan rises from Hell and come angrily knocking to announce to the that “Trump is NOT the devil, I am!” The group would simply dismiss it and carrying on believing that Trump is the REAL devil (and that Satan is only playing second fiddle). The group maintains that Trump must be destroyed and that anything and everything he says and does is with the utmost evil intentions set to bring about apocalypse.
The third and fourth groups are what I like to call the intellectual masturbation bunch. These folks perceive themselves as possessing above average intelligence (Ha, don’t we all?) and have the ability to reason through everything to pander to their beliefs.
Let’s examine the side that approves of Trump. They see everything he does as some sort of genius mastermind ability to control and manipulate the media, the opposition, and the masses.
He said, “Grab her by the p*ssy?” Oh that was intentional. Genius Trump did that on purpose AND leaked it out deliberately to distract his opposition.
He lamented about his inauguration attendance? That was just an act; Trump is no thin-skinned reactionary crybaby – you should know better silly you! He put on that act to throw off the press and give them something to write about.
Trump deliberately hides his tax returns, talks down media that disagrees with him, refuses to separate himself completely from his business interests, authorizes controversial executive orders, and fills his cabinet with some ill-qualified, unfit billionaires with questionable character and intent at best? Oh he’s brilliant, he did all of that to undermine his opposition just so he can better serve the people – surely you can all see through that? He’s just a master hypnotist, marketer, salesman, strategist, politician, showman, actor, and businessman all rolled into one.
He’s just the best, absolutely fantastic. It’s true. He’s the best.
Of course… then you have the flip-side to this. The group that is all doom and gloom on any and every single decision Trump makes and action he takes. Every word uttered by Trump is like a rusty needle stabbing them in their souls. They twist and turn his words, they psycho-analyze his actions, and they believe everything Trump does is selfish, conceited, ignorant, oppressive, backwards, and in general… WRONG. This group strongly believes that Trump is unfit to be president and will stop at nothing to prove it and to undermine him.
And then we get more towards the middle… I believe this is where the majority lies. The two opposing groups in the middle are being largely fed by their respective echo chambers comprising of social media and news outlets that pander to their existing beliefs. These two groups’ opinions are largely swayed by filtered and biased data that only reaffirms their pre-existing beliefs (that Trump is a blessing or that he is a curse).
These two groups are comfortable in their bubble and don’t bother themselves with alternative thinking. Why should they? All of their peers and “trusted” information sources are confirming their collective beliefs every day – it’s best not to venture too far out from their packs.
I am not describing these 7 groups out of a desire to label, pigeon-hole, and cast judgement on anybody. I hope to bring about awareness – and not even awareness of the persons you are disagreeing and debating with but rather, awareness of ourselves.
It’s an invitation to evaluate ourselves along this spectrum and check for our blind-spots as each group is plagued by them. Perhaps we are so ingrained in a certain doctrine, encouraged by our peers while inflamed by our counter-opposites, that we only take acknowledge information that reaffirms our stances while rejecting any and all information that do the opposite.
We might consider setting aside our egos and the desire to be “right” and be truly open to what the “other side” has to say because counter to what some may have you believe… not everyone on the “other side” are completely devoid of compassion, reason, logic, and sense; not everyone on the “other side” is unwavering zealous and stubborn and refuses to be reasoned with.
I do not know whether we can find middle ground among the various groups. But I do belief that if we continue to make the others “wrong,” continue to mock and condemn them for their beliefs, and stand rooted in our side and only our side, we will continue to be divided and all together suffer.
P.S. Humbly, I am far from exempt from being prescribed into one of the 7 groups and it’s a battle I wage within myself. I am conflicted between wanting to be “right” and being open to a different opinion at the risk of bruising my own ego. But through this journey, I find myself more able to resonate and empathize with those who hold differing views.