The Silent Civil War

It’s been a little over a month since Donald Trump became president and for non-Trump voters it has been a scary, nauseating, upsetting, disturbing, anger-inducing ride.   I can’t list all of the things Trump has said or done to upset me over the past few weeks because I’ve lost count.  But as someone who cares about the environment and wildlife, I’m sickened to think Republicans would like to either cripple or get rid of the Endangered Species Act, silence government employees from speaking about climate science, and approved the appointment of a man to lead the EPA who doesn’t even believe in its’ purpose.

Trump’s Russian ties are deeply disturbing.  More disturbing is that most Republicans don’t care about it for partisan reasons, even though they practically wanted Hillary Clinton burned at the stake for having a private email server. Compared to possibly consorting with Russians to disrupt our democratic process, Hillary’s “crimes” seem on the same level as cutting off the “do not remove tag” from a new pillow.  Most disturbing is that a white supremacist is a top advisor to the president.  That should be an impeachable offense.

Quite simply, Donald Trump represents everything that I’m not.  He and his actions are contrary to the core of my being.  He and his agenda has definitely put a strain between Trump supporters, of which some are people I know and care about, and myself.

Some friendships have been lost.  Relationships with some of my family members has been deeply strained.  This was not your typical partisan presidential election.  It went way beyond anything so trivial.  This is a defining time in American history, on par with the social and cultural changes of the 1960s and even the 1860s.  This is about our culture and our values.  These are very trying times and keeping the peace and any sense of sanity, requires a lot of self-control and biting of the tongue.

The tension is thick.  When I’m in the company of a family member or friend that voted for Trump we still laugh and carry on like nothing has changed between us but then there are those honest moments when our eyes meet.  Then suddenly, I know that they know that I know how they know how I feel about you know who.  It’s awkward but worse than that our friendship has been crippled by it.  It’s become a bit of a silent civil war.

I find it unbelievable that others can’t see the threat Trump is.  How are they okay with him appointing a neo-nazi as an advisor?  How are they okay with his unstable, hyper-arrogant, and obnoxious behavior?  How are they okay with him possibly having ties with Russia?  How are they okay with him insulting and demeaning those that are critical of him?  But then it’s easy to see how they don’t see what I see.

Right-leaning and left-leaning news sources tell very different stories.  We’ve been isolated from each other for so long politically that we have evolved into different kinds of Americans.  As someone who studies ecology this is quite familiar.  When members of the same species are separated from each other long enough, eventually through natural selection different traits are favored to match their respective environments, and then we have two new species from one.  The one no longer exists.  Well, in the United States, we have essentially become two different critters, ideologically speaking.

About 35 miles from where I’m sitting, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech and it still holds true today.  We can’t go on in one country as two different populations with two different value sets and ideologies.  We have to agree on the most fundamental and foundational aspects of our democracy.  I don’t think we do anymore and that can’t go on forever.  I know that and you know that.


Photo Credit:  By swatjester – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The Grand Army of the Republic Monument stands in Washington D.C. The organization was founded in Decatur.


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