Back in August, Oprah Winfrey traveled to Grand Rapids to be a surprise moderator for a panel discussion. Various West Michiganders had signed up to be part of a focus group about the current state of American politics. Fourteen were chosen, seven who had voted for Donald Trump in November and seven who had voted for Hilary Clinton.
The resulting piece, entitled "Divided," aired on 60 Minutes last Sunday. If you haven't had the opportunity to see it, I highly encourage you to do so and draw your own conclusions. For me, it was reassuring. There were plenty of heated moments to be sure, but they were worked through. Differences of opinion were given thoughtful consideration, which then gave way to what appeared to be actual communication!
Particularly compelling was one gentleman's concern that our American experiment with respectful discussion seems to be ending (especially with all the others nodding in agreement).
This stood in stark contrast with nearly everything the President has done or said this past week. And maybe this is a good opportunity to clarify my position: I'm not a bandwagoner for disliking Mr. Trump. I've never liked Donald Trump. I didn't like him as a Democrat. I don't like him as a Republican. He is a bully, and he has demonstrated this quite consistently over a very public lifetime. I have ample evidence and every reason not to trust him. I don't trust Donald Trump for the same reason I wouldn't trust putting my drawing hand into a running meat grinder: I know the consequence.
There. I expressed my opinion as clearly and with as little emotion as possible. I appreciate you reading it. I did it not with any desire to convert, but simply to be heard. Thank you. I will continue to do my best to hear others. We don't have to agree or even find common ground. But we must not dismiss. Or worse, stop talking.