Donald Trump got the fourth most votes of any candidate for President in U.S. history – more than any other Republican and more than any Democrat other than Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Does this mean that the United States has suddenly embraced white nationalism? Does this mean that 63 million people hate and want to torment immigrants? Think about what you are saying not only about your fellow Americans, but your entire country, when you say that the fourth highest vote-getter in American history is a uniquely horrible person who only moral degenerates would support.
This brings me to a tweet and a newsletter that made the rounds on social media a couple weeks ago. Upon seeing a friend from high school wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, the author cut her out of his life. She chose the hat over her friend, he wrote. Well, no, she did not choose the hat over her friend. A radical Leftist chose his hatred for his political enemies over a years-long friendship.
No one is required to maintain a friendship, of course, but ending a years-long friendship over a hat is childish and intolerant. Can we not even be friends with people if we disagree politically? Are you seriously writing off any chance of friendship with 63 million people? There are options if you do not like someone’s social media posts. Do not follow her. Mute her posts so that you do not see when someone else shares them. This is not a difficult problem to solve.
Abraham Lincoln said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Can this nation continue to stand, if we cannot even maintain a relationship with people with different political views? How long until we cannot even stand to live on the same block or in the same neighborhood or in the same city as someone who disagrees with us politically?
I want to believe that the vast majority of people are not as intolerant as this individual. If nothing else, we have people in our family we disagree with politically. We work with people we disagree with politically. I want to believe we can function as part of a family or workplace without refusing to engage with someone who voted for a candidate we do not like.
Folks, this is not just about one friendship. This is about whether we can continue to be united as a nation or if we will be torn apart. This is about the future of this country. The stakes are much higher than whether one person can stand to be connected with a high school friend on social media. We need too learn to be tolerant of disagreements, and see each other as people. Is that really so hard?