A troubling pattern appears to be developing in America that good people of all political persuasions need to be aware of — and hopefully then do something to change it.
According to news reports and numerous callers to my nationally syndicated radio show, many people — it is, of course, impossible to know exactly how many — have ceased communicating with friends and even family members who voted for Donald Trump.
It is so common that The New York Times published a front-page article headlined “Political Divide Splits Relationships — and Thanksgiving, Too” on the subject.
The article begins with three stories:
“Matthew Horn, a software engineer from Boulder, Colo., canceled Christmas plans with his family in Texas. Nancy Sundin, a social worker in Spokane, Wash., has called off Thanksgiving with her mother and brother. Ruth Dorancy, a software designer in Chicago, decided to move her wedding so that her fiancé’s grandmother and aunt, strong Trump supporters from Florida, could not attend.”
The Times acknowledges that this phenomenon is one-sided:
“Democrats have dug in their heels, and in some cases are refusing to sit across the table from relatives who voted for President-elect Donald J. Trump. … ”
A number of people who voted for Trump called my show to tell me that their daughters had informed them that they would no longer allow their parents to see their grandchildren. One man sent me an email to report that his brother-in-law’s mother told him that she “no longer had a son.”
Back in December, The Washington Post had already reported on this:
“Sites from Mic to Quartz to Buzzfeed have published how-tos on blocking Donald Trump news and supporters from your Facebook News Feed. …
“In the past week alone, thousands of Facebook users have publicly promised to unfriend each and every Trump supporter in their network, regardless of — in the words of one Trump critic — ‘how long I’ve known you or how close we are.’ ”
All of this raises an obvious question: Why is this phenomenon of cutting off contact with friends and relatives so one-sided? Why do we not hear about conservatives cutting off all contact with friends and relatives who supported Hillary Clinton? After all, almost every conservative considered Hillary Clinton to be at least as ethically and morally challenged as Donald Trump. And most believed that another four years of left-wing rule would complete what Barack Obama promised he would do in 2008 if he were elected president — “fundamentally transform the United States of America.”
In other words, conservatives were not one whit less fearful of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats than Democrats were of Donald Trump and Republicans.
Yet virtually none cut off contact with friends, let alone with parents, who supported Clinton.
Here are my unsettling answers:
1. While there are kind and mean individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, there are more mean people on the left than on the right. What other word than “mean” would anyone use to describe a daughter who banished her parents from their grandchildren’s lives because of their vote? (Actually, I can think of one more: “despicable.”)
2. There are far more conservatives who read articles, listen to and watch broadcasts on the left, and studied under left-wing teachers, than there are progressives who read, listen to or watch anything on the right, or took classes with conservative instructors. Therefore, most people on the left — like our universities — shut out conservative ideas. And increasingly, conservative friends and relatives as well.
3. Most left-wing positions are deeply emotion-based. Therefore, it makes sense that people who hold those positions would react so emotionally when their candidate lost as to sever relations with people they previously cared for or even loved.
4. Most people on the right think that most people on the left are wrong. Most people on the left think that most people on the right are evil. Decades of labeling conservative positions as “hate” and conservative individuals as “sexist,” “intolerant,” “xenophobic,” “homophobic,” “racist” and “bigoted” have had their desired effect.
5. The left associates human decency not so much with personal integrity as with having correct — i.e. progressive — political positions. Therefore, if you don’t hold such positions, you lack decency.
6. Most individuals on the left are irreligious, so the commandment “Honor your father and mother” means nothing to those who have cut off relations with parents because they voted for Trump.
I wish this were not the case. But there is a way to prove me wrong.
Re-friend your friends and relatives who voted for Trump and tell everyone who has ended relations with family members — especially parents — to reach out to them and allow them back into their lives.
Dennis Prager’s nationally syndicated radio talk show is heard in Los Angeles on KRLA (AM 870) 9 a.m. to noon. His latest project is the internet-based Prager University (prageru.com).