Nation likely to remain divided
The nation is deeply divided and despite rhetoric to come together, don’t expect that to happen.
Many Republicans still dislike — even hate — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and feel the same about Joe Biden.
Plenty of Democrats despise George W. Bush, and I can’t print what several think of Donald Trump.
We have been a nation of partisan division for a very long time, and while numerous Democrats and Republicans called for unity with Biden’s inauguration, there are hard feelings on both sides that won’t ever go away.
There is a large number of Republicans who still believe Trump’s many falsehoods that the election was stolen through widespread fraud in a conspiracy so vast that millions of people were involved. A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows 67 percent of Republicans believe Biden’s victory wasn’t legitimate, even though the race wasn’t close.
A lot of Democrats are angry at what Trump said and did while president, including help incite the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. They want to see him punished by the Senate and thrown in prison.
Both sides need to move past this, but that’s not going to happen this year, next year, after the next presidential election or likely in any of our lifetimes.
In his inaugural address, Biden said: “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes just for a moment. Because here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you. There are some days when we need a hand. There are other days when we’re called on to lend one. This is how we must be with one another.”
It’s a very nice sentiment — and Biden probably believes it — but it’s not realistic.
Just as some Democrats said Trump wasn’t their president, certain Republicans feel the same way about Biden.
Others struck a tone similar to Biden’s.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, said: “The United States can achieve anything when we put aside our differences and work together for the common good. It is time for our nation to come together, both Democrats and Republicans, to tackle the immense and unprecedented challenges our nation faces.”
U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge, said: “I will always be willing to reach across the aisle with the respect and civility necessary for us to work together so that we can effectively tackle the challenges facing our country.”
He added he was hopeful “we can leave the toxic red team versus blue team mentality at the door and remember how (to) work together as Americans.”
Joyce criticized lawmakers who called for unity only after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by saying: “Many of you have laughed at my similar calls for years, all while fanning the flames with hateful and untruthful rhetoric. We now know that rhetoric is not just rude and irresponsible. It is dangerous and destructive.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, couldn’t help but take a shot at groups he considers elitist for causing the problem when offering his comments on the Biden inauguration. But, at least, he doesn’t sugarcoat the nation’s divide.
He said: “It is my hope that the new administration will make a sincere effort to both reach out to and listen to rural Americans who feel increasingly economically and culturally isolated. America will only begin healing when political, academic, corporate and media elites understand that until groups understand that until groups that feel left behind are given the opportunity to fully participate in America’s 21st century economy, our nation will remain deeply and bitterly divided.”
The nation has a new Democratic president, a House of Representatives that has a slim Democratic majority and a 50-50 Senate that will likely keep Vice President Kamala Harris busy breaking tie votes.
We have started a new chapter in our nation’s history, but many people are finding it impossible to turn the page.