The United States is the greatest country in the history of our planet. In nearly every field imaginable it has created, innovated and dominated. There are very few things in our modern world that don’t have American fingerprints all over them. From space exploration to human rights, no country has the record of achievement the US has.
But America is in the early stages of a political crisis that, if left unchecked, will lead to severe civil unrest, the dissolution of the union, or worse. The Trump presidency has exposed a deep political and cultural divide that threatens to rip apart this great nation. The US is on the verge of an irreparable schism that will shake the very foundations of world order.
Politically, the country seems shattered. Democrats and Republicans refuse to do the business of the nation and won’t even talk to one another. Almost daily politicians use oppressive and divisive language, destroying the possibility of crossing partisan lines to work together. Purveyors of nearly all political stripes scorn those they disagree with politically; one’s political beliefs have become the ultimate litmus test of intellectual worth. The apparatus of government is being used to pursue political enemies, while constitutionally guaranteed political processes, such as the selection of Supreme Court justices, have been subverted for political gain. All of this while right and left-wing media outlets pour gasoline on a thirsty fire that is only increasing in size every day.
The moral fabric of America is changing in ways that are repulsive to some and progressive to others. These revolutionary transformations have awakened a dangerous intolerance on all sides.
A moral code that for centuries went unchallenged has been almost completely obliterated in less than a generation: abortion on-demand is a right enshrined by the Supreme Court, gay marriage is the law of the land, while transgender rights are altering the very definition of what it means to be male and female.
The social structure of the country is seeing unparalleled change. 40 percent of babies born in the US don’t have married parents, while at least 1 in 3 children live without a father in the home. Plus, for many, the growing change in the racial makeup of the nation due to immigration is heralding either a new era of freedom and opportunity or a harbinger of potential doom and destruction.
There is no national consensus on anything anymore. The nation is now drifting in an extremely dangerous direction.
For me, there have been three moments since President Trump’s victory that have filled me with dread. What is happening in the United States?!
The President’s inauguration was the first time, when I personally witnessed outright hate directed toward peaceful Trump supporters as I walked throughout Washington, DC on the cold January afternoon of Trump’s swearing in ceremony.
Then there were the violent protests at Berkley that ultimately led to a right-wing speaker being unable to give a speech. Shredding the First Amendment because you don’t agree with someone’s political viewpoint isn’t just wrong—it’s totalitarian.
And lastly, as someone who personally leans to the right and supports reasonable gun rights, I was more than dismayed when this video began making the rounds a few weeks ago:
This ad, by a mainstream political lobby with 5 million members, nakedly calling for a “clenched fist” to deal with “them”(the political opposition), literally sent chills down my spine. It wasn’t totally wrong, but its strident message was downright scary.
Overshadowing all of this is what’s happening in the White House right now. Any reasonable person cannot be thrilled with the performance of President Trump. Some of his ideas around taxes and infrastructure are desperately needed. But, his clear lack of self-control is destroying his presidency and making efforts on these issues pointless. The term “stupid” has been used too often when describing the current White House.
And then there’s Russia. This is the fire that simply won’t be put out. Like many, I initially believed the accusations to be tantamount to a rejection of the democratic system: your candidate lost so now you’ll stop at nothing to destroy Trump. But given the news this week, there’s clearly more to this story that we don’t yet know.
The longer Trump and his advisors let this play out, the longer the questions linger, then the more vitriolic his detractors and supporters become. And the more dangerous this becomes for the nation.
I recently had a very senior advisor and confidante to several US presidents tell me that Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed by the US Department of Justice to investigate any links or coordination between Russia and Trump’s campaign, has marching orders to “gently ease Trump out.” As Trump is a notorious fighter, the decision has been made to attack Trump’s family. That’s his weak spot. If Trump believes family members could go to prison, he will cooperate and leave—thus, what you’ve seen this past week with Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner.
Of course, all of this playing out against a backdrop of unprecedented national political discord and social change doesn’t bode well.
Now is the time for serious, deep reflection by all political parties. The United States is in very serious trouble—whether political elites realize it or not.