We got in a big fight with Mrs. Manward last night.
Not the kind that will put your name in the paper or have your lawyer paying out hush money… but the kind where she tells us to get our own dessert out of the fridge.
The topic, you ask?
She’s concerned about something she heard on the news and its effect on our run for the White House.
We think she’s wrong. We do have a chance to win.
Americans are desperate for common sense, we told her.
They want somebody who will uphold the rule of law.
They want somebody who won’t hand out free money to anybody who asks.
And they want somebody who will tell the truth.
But she didn’t agree with what came next.
The Tribe Has Spoken
“If people want all of this and we’re the only one who offers all of it,” we said with a stubborn grin, “then America must vote for us.”
How could they not?!
She said we have no hope… and it’s all because of some interesting numbers in the newspaper this week.
According to a poll by The Wall Street Journal, 91% of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing. Meanwhile, just 6% of Democrats approve.
Those numbers and the fact they didn’t move during the run-up to impeachment were used as proof the “tribalization” of America is nearly complete.
After all, the 85-point gap between the left and the right is a full 20 points wider than during the most divided parts of Obama’s presidency. And, get this, Jimmy Carter had just a 16-point gap running up to his reelection campaign.
It’s a dangerous trend we’ve talked about before.
Politics aren’t only dividing the people of this nation… They’re defining them.
It’s why Mrs. Manward is right. We are unelectable. It’s not because of our politics or our ideals. It’s because we’re not, as the journalists would call it, in the “tribe.”
It may be a bit too late to tell you this essay isn’t about politics. Really, this isn’t about who wins or loses next year.
It’s about a topic that’s far more important… and far more useful.
It’s about the notion of identity… and what it means to our Connections.
This is vitally important.
Faith in Uncle Saint Sam
The things that traditionally defined Americans are being pushed aside.
Church attendance is plunging.
Involvement in social clubs seems like a thing of the past.
And good luck trying to gather enough able-bodied men to form a volunteer fire department.
These days, most folks would rather the government help the needy… fight their fires… and save them from their sins.
But more important, a majority of Americans now use their party affiliation as the thing that identifies them.
We’re no longer a Rotarian, a Presbyterian or, shhh, a Mason.
We’re either a Republican or a Democrat.
That’s dangerous… and dumb.
The numbers prove more and more folks define their beliefs, their motivations and even their self-worth based on – let’s be honest here – a bunch of con men who surprise us only when they make good on their promises.
There are all sorts of reasons that notion is far from ideal.
But here’s the biggest one. We bet you haven’t thought of it.
The Trump Funk
Every four years, one of these parties loses. Somebody else’s man makes it to the White House. And as we saw in 2016, upsets can do all sorts of harm.
Therapists reported rising levels of depression.
Polls showed stress surged.
And more than one psychologist started diagnosing patients with “Trump Anxiety Disorder.”
“My heart is breaking,” said one voter after getting word her candidate lost. “It feels like it can’t be real. We’re all in shock. It’s difficult to watch.”
All of this is not unexpected.
As we’ve said, humans need Connections. We need to be part of something larger… some sense of community.
In our primal days, we had our fellow cave dwellers.
Then we had our tribes. We’ve had religion… our towns… our clubs.
But so much of that has gone away.
All that’s left is our politics. The tribalization of Washington, as they say, is nearly complete.
That’s why we beg readers not to fall for it. It’s why we say turn off the TV. Tune out the noise. Join a club. Go to church. And stop voting for a chief who doesn’t even know your name.
Find your tribe elsewhere.
Connections are our most important and cherished assets.
It’s why we kissed Mrs. Manward goodnight last night, acknowledged she only wants what’s best… and ate our dessert in silence.
It was good.