Steve McEllistrem

The Devereaux Dilemma


Now that the election is over, people say we need to come together and heal, unite behind our new president and move forward, but that just isn’t possible – and here’s why:

Roughly half of our voting population wants a strong military. Another roughly half thinks our military is already far too large.

Roughly half of us want to be part of the global community. The other half wants to isolate ourselves from the world.

Roughly half of us want to help our fellow citizens with generous social programs while the other half think too many of us are idling about and using up our precious resources without contributing to our economy.

Roughly half of us wanted a criminal (who violated national security laws) to be our president while the other half wanted a different criminal (who is also an admitted sexual predator).

A large minority of us think abortion is murder while a majority of us want safe and rare abortions.

Roughly half of us think tax cuts will bring us prosperity while the other half think we need to increase taxes on the wealthy to pay for the infrastructure improvements we mostly agree we need.

Roughly half of us wanted a president who would at least pay lip service to climate change while the other half wanted a president who thinks global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

Half of us are conservative; half of us are liberal.

Let’s concede for the moment that we all want America to be great. Fine. Now what?

Half of us are on the north side of the Grand Canyon treading a path we believe is the only one to greatness. The other half of us are on the south side, convinced that our path is the only way to achieving the success we all want.

How do we bridge that?

By compromise, of course.

And who is willing to do that?

Almost none of us. We all say, “Come over to our side on this issue. And on the next one. And maybe the one after that.”

“We won,” say the losers who won due to the Electoral College system. “Not really,” say the winners who lost for the same reason.

And where is the compromise anyway when the two views are that far apart? The point is that we can’t unite as a nation until we agree on what kind of country we want to be. And we can’t agree on that while we’re so diametrically opposed on so many issues.

No, I’m afraid we’re doomed to struggle against ourselves for quite some time yet. We will only be able to come together once a large enough crisis forces us to take some collective action – I don’t think we’re there yet.


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