ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Six months ago America elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Uniquely, when reflecting on the tax march of this past Saturday, April 15th, where people marched demanding President Trump release his tax returns, you kind of get the impression acceptance of that reality isn’t really sinking in. In fact, will it ever?
As I recalled the past year, the protest, the riots, the various movements…it might appear there’s a lot of hate in this world. Or is there? I talked with both Democrats and Republicans to see if people believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The who or what is responsible varied, yet there were some common themes.
IS IT A LONGING FOR FRONT PORCH DAYS OF THE PAST?
“I think it’s more fear verses hate. People remember better days where everyone was employed and families were more unified. Families don’t eat dinner together or pray together. People miss days gone by,” said Chadwick Hardee, father of three and businessman. “The organized marches against Trump are about staying relevant. I believe this isn’t going away. We’ll see this all the way through to the 2020 Presidential election.”
Hardee brings up an unique point you’d probably have to be over 40 to appreciate. As a kid, we’d sit on the front porch or under my grandparent’s carport and have political discussions. I have fond memories of those times. I never recall such direct anger. Even when my grandfather (paw paw) was shocked my mom (a Republican) voted for peanut farmer Jimmy Carter, it was a calm discussion. Back then, once a story aired or was published, it pretty much died. Not so fortunate are we today. Interestingly, President Carter(D) is now more revered for his post presidency foreign policy positions than many political leaders of our time.
IS IT THE INTOLERANCE OF OTHERS?
Actor Elaine Lancaster of South Beach (Miami) said, “The Progressive left, which says they are against intolerance and hate, seems to be the ones who are bashing people upside the head, literally, while screaming I’m opposed to this or that. It’s like the abusive husband who is beating his wife telling her, ‘You made me do this!’” Lancaster, who has personally encountered a plethora of angry reactions from the LGBTQ community because of her support of President Trump, continued, “I have witnessed, firsthand, the hate within the gay community. There is a segment of society who has always fought and demanded for equality and tolerance, yet they have turned on every principle and value because of opposing political beliefs. Seemingly now it’s okay for us to eat our own especially if the end justifies the means.”
Vincent Polite, PhD, LCMFT (a therapist) had this to say: “Hate is by design. Usually it serves some social goal by a group or person. It is the most powerful tool for control other than fear.”
Who is responsible for the hate in America? “Not a singular “who,” but a group of politicians. The two party system only functions when there is open, productive discourse between the two sides. Partisan politics has become less about compromise and more about standing fast against compromise,” said Jerry Pitts, an auditor, father and political observer.
IS IT THE MEDIA’S FAULT?
For some the challenges we’re witnessing are simple and to the point, and revolve around the media. Ramish Gupta, now in D.C. working with the Diversity Coalition, suggested, “I can blame too many, but nothing worse than the mainstream media and fake news.”
Gupta brings up a recurring theme uncovered through most of my conversations in preparation of this article. There’s an interesting perspective afoot regarding the media and how it all but promotes or enhances the challenges we’re facing. Even here in Orlando, I’ve seen seemingly groundless protest with just a few people make the evening local news; this drive to bring attention to what many of us would suggest isn’t news at all. And in a 24/7 news cycle we now live in, enhanced through the constant recaps through social media, mountains are made out of mere molehills. Michael Pitt, a small business owner, said, “The problem is the media. Additionally, the hate in the world, to me…stems from the huge differences between the very rich and the very poor.”
Throughout the country we’ve seen marches and protests like none in recent times. Blame has gone in multiple directions with some blaming President Trump while others blame George Soros for hiring and funding much of the resistance movement. Melissa McGee, activist, former attorney and current Vice President of the Orange County (FL) Trump Republican Club, expressed, “I’m always curious about the individuals and organizations who fund protests that turn violent, or whose members spew hate. Where does their money come from? But it seems I won’t get answers from major media outlets.” She added, “There’s either a massive lack of journalistic interest or the answer doesn’t fit the narrative. Regardless, if Trumpers behaved only half as bad as these folks, pretty sure the media would be all over it.”
IS THE PERCEPTION OF HATE REALITY?
Kathryn “Kat” Gates- Skipper, candidate for Polk County Commission, had a more human history belief in her sentiments. “In my opinion, it’s a little bit of everyone responsible for the hate…a basic flaw in the human character. Hatred comes in all shapes, forms and sizes. It’s not just about race or religion; it’s about what people believe.” Skipper, the first female Marine in combat operations further stated, “Hatred has been in existence since the beginning of mankind. PS: And I hold Obama accountable and his lack of leadership.”
Carolyn Cook, a lifelong Republican, agreed with the latter part of that statement. “Personally, I believe it was our prior President. His hate for this country was evident in his actions.”
Tamela Saska, a wife and mother in Philadelphia added, “I don’t think there is any more hate in America now than in the past. In fact, I feel there is less hate. People, in general, are more accepting of others than in the past.” Saska, who moved from Orlando to Pennsylvania, suggesting the economy as a driving force in her decision, continued, “If it seems that there is more hate, hostility, and disagreements, I would say that’s because of social media, everyone having cameras and opinions. That behind the anonymity of their keyboard … people feel free to be someone they wouldn’t be in the real world.” Certainly we’ve all met or known a keyboard warrior that in person is far different than the person they choose to project through social media.
MAYBE IT’S TIME TO HEAD BACK TO THE FRONT PORCH?
In the end, no matter where you sit politically or whether this appears like an old or new challenge, there is a faction of our America that truly is witnessing unprecedented exposure of what often appears to be hate: our youth. Children are growing up in a heightened exposure to everything as a result of technology. There’s no time to explain the good versus evil that’s at their fingertips as quickly as it is ours.
It’s kind of sad, as I reminisce on my childhood days on the front porch, that most young people will never experience that innocence. Waving at neighbors and passersby whether we knew them or not. Discussing what we had read in the newspaper, heard on the radio or seen on the local news, trusting that resource as fair and true. Today, our world appears cruel and unusual to the childhood I recall. Oh, it wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but how we got our information came from adults and methods of communication we trusted. Today, we simply don’t know what to believe or what to trust and that truly is the root of the perceived hate in our country. Who or what is responsible for the hate? I guess it’s a little bit of everything everyone said above. And don’t count on it getting any easier. The only guarantee is the speed at which we witness it!
Randy Ross is a political contributor for Florida National News. firstname.lastname@example.org