In case you have slept through the last year or two, you know that the people of America are fundamentally philosophically divided. You may not see it on the U12 soccer fields on Saturdays, and you might not see it at civic or religious services or neighborhood block parties, but spend two minutes on social media, and it’s apparent. Things in this country could use some time to heal.
In his inaugural address, President Donald Trump has vowed to be an agent to help in that healing, despite being a catalyst for much of the current discord. His fellow political leaders are all echoing a similar tune, “Let us help make all of you successful, and everyone will be happier and feel better.”
That’s been the tone of Trump’s campaign, one part “counterpunch” and two parts “we’re working together to make it great again” … Meanwhile, outside the beltway and outside Trump’s rallies, especially in major cities, the culture appears to be unraveling at the seams.
Nowhere was this more apparent on Inauguration Day than in DC, where protests were being held just about anywhere there wasn’t an Inaugural event happening. Protesters blocked roads on the freeways and others marched through downtown. Someone had a camera out when a handful of angry “protesters” smashed windows in a Bank of America building. And that was just the beginning.
Other protestors clashed with police, who were forced to deploy pepper spray and stun grenades in order to disperse the mob. Across America, regular folks witnessed this through cell phone video on social media … and everyone began to weigh in.
While most publicly denounced the mob violence and destruction of property, the “Not My President” movement gained substantial steam, even as a major minority of the country celebrated their “win” as the dawning of the first day in a march to Make America Great.
Many blame the sharpening divide in this country on the media, especially the partisan radio, TV, and web outlets that only show the world through one side’s unique prism. As the audience for this partisan media has grown leaps and bounds in recent years, the divide between what people understand or believe to be true has grown as well.
For some time, the so-called Mainstream Media, though somewhat biased, sought to be a counterbalance to more right-leaning media. Now it’s been announced that some on the far left are recruiting to create a “Blue Breitbart,” a reference to the hyper-partisan and hugely popular online news and commentary site.
The message? The American public, perspective on the world, is not coming together. It is fracturing. Politicians, news outlets and other opinion makers who wish to create a different narrative have a very short time in which to work toward that goal … and they need to find both a delivery mechanism and a standard bearer up to the task.
Elie Hirschfeld is a real estate developer in NYC.