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Fear, anger, hatred driving our divisions

We believe that a vast majority of Americans would agree with the assessment that our country is deeply divided politically, to say the least. Hatred and vitriol seem to have become the norm in the national political debate, in common conversations around the country and, of course, expressed cowardly from behind the shield of the internet. But such a general assessment is not enough. Why?

Hatred is a symptom. Where does it come from? Anger. What drives anger? Fear.

The age in which we live is ripe with anxiety and fear. The question to ask next is whether that fear is justified. Could it be?

On the one hand, you have liberals or Democrats who (fear and) hate Donald Trump. They see him as a blowhard narcissist who, safe in his own wealth, cares little about the average American’s problems or about persistent racial divisions, which they see him fueling. Some would describe him as mentally unhinged and a threat to international good will and stability. They see his Republican allies as uncaring, humans without empathy, obsessed with guns to the point of stupidity, tyrants on abortion rights and lost in the fog of religion.

On the other hand, you have conservatives or Republicans who (fear and) hate characters such as Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats. Why? They see them as silly little children who emote constantly about the “problems” in life that they believe only government can “fix.” Despite decades of evidence that demonstrate their failure. They see Democrats as unabashed thieves, ready to steal your wealth anytime they claim they “need” it. They see them as cheerleaders for infanticide, opposed to standards, moral or otherwise. They see Democrats as obsessed with “group identities,” as if it matters more than individual rights.

Now, take a step back, if you can. If all this hatred stems from fear — from the fear of one’s political opponents getting their way — what might that mean?

What if it meant that everyone is right? That people on both sides are perceptive enough to identify the irrationality of the other? It would mean that both sides are a persistent threat to all of us. And, deep down, everyone knows it. Why wouldn’t fear reign in these circumstances?

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