• Sona Chaturvedi

America's Domestic Cold War


Photo Credit: John Coyne. A Black Lives Matter supporter confronts Kyle Rittenhouse supporters in Illinois.

The most important election of our lifetime is finally over, and we will soon have a new president. Our side has emerged victorious.


All the pending lawsuits, laughable attempts to stop counting votes and empty threats to take this to the Supreme Court will eventually come to a whimpering endJoe Biden and Kamala Harris have won and will take over in 72 days. It will be such a relief to have adults running the government who we know will work on our behalf and not plant the seeds of hatred and division.


Unfortunately, the final result will be a far cry from the sweeping repudiation of Trump that the polls had predicted. More than 47 percent of the electorate voted for a racist, xenophobic, sociopathic, sexist demagogue.


There is real division in this country, but this nation's 21st-century political split is different than it was 160 years ago. It is ideological now. There is no more Mason-Dixon line between an industrial north and a slave-holding south, like in the 19th century. Instead, we are embroiled in a domestic cold war between right and left


There are still two Americas. The people, the ones who voted for Trump, are your neighbors, your co-workers and your auto mechanic, to name a few. We are supposed to “learn” on some level to accept societal norms and live with people with whom we disagree.


The truth is we have ceased to be a country in disagreement. We are now a country of mutual disgust, and these widespread feelings essentially shut down politics.


Given these obstacles, how is it even possible to move forward?


As Tom Nichols pointed out in The Atlantic, America is now a different country. Nearly half the voters have seen Trump in all his splendor – his infantile tirades, his disastrous and lethal policies, his contempt for democracy – and they decided they wanted more of it. His voters can no longer hide behind their excuses about hating Hillary Clinton. They cannot feign ignorance about how Trump would rule. They know, and they embraced him.


Is Nichols correct to say we are different, or have we been given license to express our darkest nature?


We have always been a racist country and have never addressed America’s original sins – slavery and the cruelty shown toward Native Americans. The last four years have not been that unique if you go all the way back to the beginning.


We see it reflected in the Senate races.


Democrats may have won the presidential election and picked up a couple Senate seats in Colorado and Arizona, but Trump's enablers paid no price for undermining our institutions. Mitch McConnell was re-elected, as were Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and others, much to our dismay.


Most recently, Graham doubled down on Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. With Trump desperately trying to subvert the democratic will of the people, the silence from many in the GOP has been deafening. After Joe Biden was declared the winner Saturday, only Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski have offered congratulations.


The problems that caused Trump and Trumpism are still here. They have not disappeared with Trump's defeat.


We cannot afford to work with Republicans any longer on their terms. Reaching across the aisle only works if someone reaches back. The GOP NEVER does. There are hopes Biden can break the stalemate and create compromise, because of his longstanding relationships with GOP senators. But I believe nothing will change.


Unless Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff can both win their runoff Senate races in Georgia on Jan. 5 and create a 50-50 split, a tie that would be broken by Vice President-elect Harris, we will have the same roadblocks until we get to 2022. And then 2024 will hang over our heads.


If another Trump-like figure emerges from the GOP, it will probably be someone more cunning. Next time, it won’t be a bumbling, failed businessman.


NEXT time, America won’t survive it.

It has happened before in history. Leaders placing power over country, and money over country, have toppled regimes older than ours.

We aren’t different. We aren’t special. We won’t survive this without a fight. Every citizen must stay actively engaged and keep resisting. Being complacent again, falling back into what is “comfortable,” won’t work. It never does.

Now that we know how fragile our democracy is, it can’t be unknown.

Trump will be gone, but the domestic cold war is here. We must rigorously defend ourselves against the tyranny of the GOP, and if that means questioning each and every lawmaker, regardless of party, then so be it. Our democracy is worth it. It isn’t only just time for the GOP to choose country over party, it’s also time for us to do the same. We know electing Joe and Kamala is a step toward reform, but they can’t do it alone. We must stay in the fight as active participants.

Otherwise, the consequences won’t just be dire. They will be our swan song.

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