When folks ask about my historical novels, I explain the stories' premises and my motivation for writing them. Given half a chance, I'll also mention my take-away lesson about the Nazi era: when a country is divided into Us vs Them, that country and its citizens are in trouble.
At a community event where I sold books last weekend, I said this during a number of conversations with potential customers. Several people nodded and said, 'I see that division in our country, in our whole world, right now.'
Two particular individuals leaned across my table and expounded on their thoughts. They raised their voices in anger, not at me but at the amount of division within our country. One placed the full blame for this division on Republicans. The other placed the blame squarely on the Democrats.
What happened to our ability to disagree respectfully? Why must we assign blame for every problem, every challenge our nation faces? Of course, we never turn those accusing fingers toward ourselves, toward our own behaviors and attitudes. We always blame the other guy. The other party. The ones who think/speak/act/believe differently than we do. Our problems, both local and national, are their fault.
We are increasingly a society divided into Us vs. Them.
Please, politicians, candidates, and citizens alike, stop the divisive rhetoric. Stop emphasizing our differences and blaming the other party for the problems we all face.
Instead, use your energy, your words, your incredible resources to unite people. Bring folks with differing points of view together to work on solutions. Raise the bar of our national behavior by respecting opinions that differ from your own or those of your party.
History clearly shows where Us vs Them talk leads. Let's not go there.