WIll We Duke It Out in the Streets?

 (reprinted from The Post Standard)
When I listen to Ted Cruz lately, sounding like an arbiter of
fairness and good grace it is too much for my civility. I watched Ted Cruz in
the Senate and all along he has been the ringleader of the disrupters in
Congress, stalking back and forth from the Senate to the House, sticking his
big nose into Boehner’s business, enforcing “purity” to a Tea Party and
Evangelical agenda. He has pandered to angry white middle class Americans for
the entirety of Obama’s two terms in office. He has poured hate, criticism, and
vituperation on Obama without ceasing. He accuses Obama of doing the things
that he, Ted Cruz, is doing and no one seems to call him out on that. He does
not represent many Americans but he swears he will represent us all. Clearly he
will only represent the Americans he agrees with, those who feel the same way
about issues as he does.
You may say that if Ted Cruz is elected that this will be the
will of the majority of the American people but you will be wrong. The
Republican Party has prepared the way for just such an extreme right winger to
win with their gerrymandering, their voter suppression, their Citizen’s United,
their packed Supreme Court. Ted Cruz bemoans a Supreme Court packed with
liberals; while I bemoan a Supreme Court packed with the current iteration of
conservative. We are losing sight of how dangerous Ted Cruz is to America
because we are presented with the even more pressing danger of a Donald Trump
presidency. Ted Cruz does not, in any way, represent me. I will experience a
Ted Cruz presidency as four to eight years of an America that is moving
backwards. I will expect to find myself “dangling over the pit of hell” because
of some of my liberal opinions along with many other Americans.

                                                (also reprinted from The Post Standard)

As for the divide we saw at the Trump rally at the University
of Illinois in Chicago, which was surprisingly nonviolent, Trump did not create
this divide. We have watched conservatives widen a split in America that was
already there and which was exacerbated by a tough economy and by the losses of
the middle class. America is divided. We are split into a white America that
fears it is losing its ascendency and a minority America which might be
starting to feel ready to rise. I’m not sure why everyone feels that it must be
us against them. Aren’t we all Americans? Don’t we all want America to thrive? 
Conservative talk has pried away at the split in America, making it wider,
driving a wedge of hate and fear into the breach. It is a reflection of the
fear and racism felt at the heart of the Republican Party which has been
growing increasingly less diverse and whiter. It is a party that is still
reflecting the values of the old South, nursing the wounds of the Civil War,
the pride of the beaten Confederacy, and the authority of a supposed superiority
of the old slave owners. Backward, backward, backward into a swamp of hate and
remorse. Mix in righteous religious anger at the audacity of women legalizing
forbidden behaviors and undermining male dominance and you have the toxic brew
the Republican Party has been encouraging since Obama took office.
When we see all the white people who the Republican Party have
turned into “pod” people, mindlessly repeating Republican talking points, the
bible according to FOX News, enjoying themselves at a Trump rally where they
can exercise their hate and dismay without the pesky interference of other
points of view, it either frightens us or delights us depending on where we
stand, which side of the divide. But what we really see is that the divide is
real, however it was created, no matter how much it was hyped up by
Conservatives. Up until Chicago the opposition, the liberals, the young people,
the Black Lives Matter movement was carefully kept out of Donald Trump’s
rallies. But in Chicago they organized because they had advanced notice. It is
an urban area bursting with diversity and not a small Evangelical college. And
there it was, staring us in the face, actually rather politely, the chasm yawning
all around us between what is apparently two Americas. 
If Donald Trump becomes our President and if he encourages
conflict, eggs on his supporters as he has in his rallies will America see our
differences boil to the surface? Perhaps papering over our animosities,
constantly trying to shove them back into the crevasse is just making them
stronger. Maybe we are determined to duke out our differences in the streets. I
do not really think this will make us feel any better, or bring us any closer,
or heal the divide. After people beat each other up there is guilt and regret
and depression and wound licking not building alliances that cure and build up
our nation. 
We are screwed if we pick Donald Trump as our president and we are
screwed if we pick Ted Cruz. Both are too mean, too narrow-minded, too
authoritarian, too self-absorbed to stitch the two Americas back together into
one people dedicated to making Democracy work. Neither of these men will ever
be able to encourage an America that truly presents a united front to the world,
an America that lives out, as well as flawed humans can, our ideals, as opposed
to our fears.  
By Nancy Brisson