Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my forthcoming book (January 2020), Divided: Five Colliding Worldviews and How to Navigate Them. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.
Join me in this 7 part blog series in discovering how I came to studying, researching, teaching, and writing about the divide. See the divide play out in your life as well!
Family and the Divide
I knew the upcoming presidential election in 2016 would be a rough one. I knew this, not because of watching CNN or Fox News or reading the New York Times, but because in a phone conversation in August 2016 with my cousin Joyce she told me that her sister Sally was voting for Donald Trump for president. I was stunned! Sally had consistently voted Democratic for many years, she was an Obama and Bill Clinton fan.
I was still reeling from the Sally shocker when Joyce told me that her other sister, Cindy, also a reliable Democrat, was voting for Trump as well. Joyce and Sally lived in my hometown of Rockford, Illinois, once an industrial powerhouse, but now part of the crumbling rust belt. What was going on here? Why the sudden switch from the Democrats to Trump? This seemed to be a bigger story than a few of my cousins going rouge.
I have been a consistent Democratic voter ever since I cast my first ballot in the 1972 presidential election. Although I tend to support more moderate Democratic candidates, I always liked the fact that they seemed to be more in favor of the ordinary person than the business elites. I have been an educator in various capacities since my first teaching job in 1972, and Democrats usually supported public education and teachers more than Republicans. In the 2016 presidential election, I was firmly in the Hillary Clinton camp.
I watched the presidential debates with keen interest. Surely, voters would be offended by Trump’s prowling around behind Clinton during one of the debates. But his favorability ratings held firm. Certainly voters, especially women, would be aghast at his abusive language directed towards women and allegations of sexual misconduct in the Hollywood Access tapes. However, the outrage seemed to blow over and he escaped largely unscathed among his supporters.
Just presenting a laundry-list of inappropriate behaviors that Trump committed only seemed to spark a collective yawn among supporters. There was a deeper connection that Trump was able to make with his base that transcended inappropriate behavior and unethical business practices. What was it? I still couldn’t figure it out.
I wasn’t too worried though about the nomination of Trump to the Republican ticket, I thought it was a political aberration and would soon go away once common sense was restored to the American public. After all, Clinton was ahead in the polls, and they seemed confident to have the pulse of the American public statically calculated down to the last electoral vote.
About the Author:
Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.
For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95