Even before all of the protests and before Donald Trump was elected to be the next president, it was normal to hear about how divided the country was. With the election completed and the anger over the outcome in full force, the divide feels deep. Trump supporters are held in contempt; Clinton supporters are looked down upon.
But outside of that, is there really a divide? If you removed politics from the equation or at least made people blind to the preferences people had for who the next president would be, would we be talking about this great divide among us?
While there is no denying that a number of people care a lot about other people’s voting choices, it seems like any anger or frustration from the majority of people is largely in reaction to the ignorant actions of a few jerks. Take those obnoxious people away and there is a lot less of a reason to get upset.
Better yet, take politics away and this divide we see would largely cease to exist. Am I to believe that about half the people in the country do not get along with the other half? Well, based on my observations of being around people, that is simply not true. People get along just fine with one another. Unless you sit in your home and avoid others all day, you’re going to end up interacting with a lot of different people. You will have no idea what the politics of these people are. You’ll probably be with people with whom you agree and also be with people with whom you disagree. Either way, the interactions you have with all of these people are likely to be positive or at worst not bad. And if a random encounter with a stranger did end up resulting in you having a bad opinion of him, what is the likelihood that it was due to his thoughts on, say, immigration?
The answer is slim at best.
The reality is that if you put two random people in a room together, they will end up getting along just fine the vast majority of the time.
So is this divide real or can we call it artificial? How many people out there need to find out the political opinions of someone they just met in order to determine if they want to continue the encounter? And if we came across someone like that, would we look kindly on them even regardless of whether or not we agree with their views?
Perhaps there is more to life than politics. Perhaps we should look at the individual and the relationships we form with other individuals as the way to bring about the worlds we want to see instead of relying on the state.