Trump verdict solidifies what we have in common: Hate for other side


Many believe Donald Trump’s felony conviction last week will further divide the country. I’m not so sure. It seems that with each passing day, we are actually being united.

In fear, revulsion and hate.

When has the nation been more aligned on such qualities? Rarely in history have we all so felt the same way — on opposite sides. It’s hard to find anyone neutral. Hard to find anyone who doesn’t cluck a tongue at the opposition, or utter the sentence, “If _____ gets elected again, I’ll puke.”

We’re all experiencing fear. We’re all shuddering in revulsion. And hate spews from our mouths like spittle.

The problem is, if we are united in such emotions, but for opposing camps, we have gridlock. The old immovable object versus irresistible force. And historically, when two camps dig in so deeply, the outcome is war.

You might argue we are already in a war, a civil war, if by “civil” you mean we don’t use guns or bombs on each other. Otherwise, Democrats and Republicans already accuse each other of “weaponizing” politics, the judicial system and the media. They say we are in “a battle” for “the soul of the nation.” They accuse each other of being “existential” threats.

Isn’t that the language of war? Who needs bullets?

‘You talkin’ to me?’

Last week’s verdict only threw gasoline on the fires of America’s political armies. For those who hate Donald Trump, it was proof of his evil nature. Proof that he is, as the New York Times stated, “unfit” for office.

For this camp, destroying Trump by any means necessary is a virtuous position. They are fearful that he will regain the White House. They are revulsed at his character, greed and lies. And they hate pretty much everything about him, including his tens of millions of supporters, whom Hillary Clinton once labeled a “basket of deplorables.” The definition of deplorable is “deserving of contempt.” In other words, those stupid enough to follow this guy deserve our vitriol, too.

Such rationale led to the surreal scene last week of Oscar winner Robert De Niro being trotted out by President Joe Biden’s camp to lambaste Trump outside the Manhattan courtroom.

De Niro, an 80-year-old actor who once starred in “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” stood behind a microphone and insisted Trump could “destroy the world.” He spewed such venom that he was led away by security while yelling “F— you!” at screaming onlookers.

What purpose did that moment serve, other than to demonstrate how deeply Democrats revile Trump? Two days later, when his verdict came in — guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records — they cheered, buoyed by a belief that they were right all along, and giddy with the idea of labeling the former president a “convicted felon.”

But if they believed that such a conviction would be a magnet to pull Trump supporters from the dark side, they were hugely mistaken.

An eye for an eye …

The pro-Trump camp is not budging. These folks see Trump not only as the antidote to the poison of liberalism, wokeism, and an increasingly feeble Joe Biden, but now, with this conviction, as a victim. They believe him when he calls his trial “rigged” and shadow-managed by Biden himself.

They, too, are united by fear, revulsion and hate. Fear that the Democrats will come after them if they dare disagree (as they did Trump). Revulsion at things like the porous border, defunding police or identity politics. And hate for what they see as a steering away from this nation’s core principles.

Trump supporters in Congress called the verdict a “shameful day in American history” and “a defeat for Americans who believe … that justice is blind.” They point to the case being initially refused by the feds and even Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, until Trump announced he was running again and his enemies demanded Bragg find a way to resurrect it. They claim the venue, the jury and the judge were all stacked against Trump. They shout about misdemeanors being ginned up into felonies and statutes of limitations being worked around.

And with this guilty verdict, they see a red line permanently crossed. A number of Republican senators have now vowed to vote against all spending bills, nominees and legislation proposed by Democrats. Other GOP members — and Trump himself — have talked about revenge should he regain the White House.

Revenge? Tit for tat? You come after our guy, we’ll go after your guy?

If that doesn’t sound like a war, what does?

… and we’re all left blind

So the nation is split, but split into mirror images of one another. Each side can’t believe the other supports “THAT guy.” Each side predicts chaos and destruction should the other guy get reelected. Trump insults Biden with schoolyard taunts. Biden insults Trump with sneers and snarky remarks. Both are criticized as too mentally unstable for the office.

And on we go, spiraling downward. Last week’s news may be historic, but history is for future Americans to look back upon. The present is an election year and a nation fractured, half of it apoplectic at Trump’s conviction, the other half unmoved.

This is where we are, less than six months from the election. We don’t want to hear the other side. We don’t want to see what the other side is about. We don’t want to admit that our candidate may be lying, too, or that not everything the other guy did in office was terrible.

We are divided. But we are united, too. United by our intolerance of each other. In that case, it’s not our differences that pose the greatest danger. It’s what we have in common.

Contact Mitch Albom: Check out the latest updates with his charities, books and events at Follow him @mitchalbom.

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