Discovering the Cultural Divide: My Journey to Understanding, Part 2

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

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!

Election Day, 2016

2.1Election Day, November 8, 2016, dawned bright and sunny. The promise of electing the first female U.S. President emitted an optimistic feeling floating through the air. I even got wind of it in middle of the Adriatic Sea, where I was just finishing a cruise ship lecture series. I arranged my evening to watch all the election returns in my cozy cabin, room service at my fingertips, as the cruise ship steamed its way to its final docking port in Venice, Italy.

As I settled into my viewing, I was disturbed to find that some of the early election returns were not going the Democrats’ way, as I confidently assumed would happen. North Carolina and then Florida fell early on to Donald Trump. But I confidently felt the “Big Blue Wall,” the Midwestern states that had been strongholds for Democrats for several decades, would come through.

Big Blue Wall for Democrats

Democratic “Big Blue Wall”

As several of those Midwestern strongholds fell into the red column—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and even Wisconsin—the electoral map looked like it was hemorrhaging! Although my home state of New Mexico faithfully fell into the Democratic column, its five electoral votes didn’t make a dent in Trump’s electoral juggernaut.

2.3 2016 Electoral College VoteI could not believe what was happening. The MSNBC commentators were equally stunned, with a pained look of disbelief etched into their tired faces. The Fox News channel journalists (I could only get two news channels on the ship) were equally stunned, but understandably jubilant at the prospect of President Trump.

The surreal concession speech by Hillary Clinton was painful to watch, as her sobbing supporters huddled together. Clinton’s purple pantsuit evoked a sad reminder that 2.4 Concession Speech.jpguniting the nation would not happen under her watch. Trump’s acceptance speech was equally surreal, as the stunned family perhaps wondered a bit what they got themselves into.  My beliefs and hopes were collapsing around me. I was eager for a woman around my age to be President of the United States. This was not going to happen.

Hillary Clinton was smart, competent, experienced, and thoughtful. Although not a charismatic leader, and saddled with baggage from her and her husband’s past actions, I thought her strengths outweighed her weaknesses. Her lack of an overall, unifying vision for the country was troublesome, but I thought she would be a good transition president to a future that was uncertain and in the process of being defined. Now we had a president with no political or military experience, and appeared to be more determined to wreak havoc rather than build enduring systems.

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.

wviewscoverPlease email or visit for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95



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