Sean Spicer … remember him? The first to claim that Trump’s less-than-stellar inauguration had drawn bigger crowds than Obama’s in 2009, he soon tired of being forced to tell so many lies on behalf of Trump that he resigned his position as White House Press Secretary and returned to private life. So, what’s he doing now, you ask? Why, he’s Dancing with the Stars, of course!That’s right, folks, Sean is going to be paid between $125,000 and $295,000, depending on how long he remains on the show … as compared to the $180,000 per annum he earned as Trump’s mouthpiece. Now, the show’s host, Tom Bergeron, is not at all pleased with Sean’s gig, and put out the following statement:New York television critic James Poniewozik also sees it as a bad … really bad idea …
“To treat Spicer, and his reason for notoriety, as a harmless joke is to whitewash the harm of what he did, which was to say things so absurdly false that he invited his political side to join him in denying their own eyeballs, to encourage people to believe that facts don’t matter if they hurt your team.”
But Sean sees it differently. He claims his appearance(s) on DWTS will “bring the country together” …
“My overall hope is that at the end of this season that Tom looks at this and says, bringing people together of very diverse backgrounds, whether it’s in politics or other areas, and allowing them to show America how we can engage in a really respectful and civil way, is actually a way to help bring the country together as opposed to bring it apart.”
Which brings me to my topic of the day: the divisiveness in this nation.
In any nation at any time, there will be conflicts, issues that divide the pro-business right and the pro-humanitarian left. It has always been so, and that isn’t going to change, probably ever. Most often, this is a healthy thing, leads to the best possible solution, a meeting of the minds. But, today that divisiveness, which I have often enough referred to as ‘the great divide’, is at the highest level since the end of the Civil War in 1865. Having a highly controversial political figure on an entertainment show is not going to change that. And make no mistake, Sean Spicer is still lying for Donald Trump, as a senior advisor and spokesman for a pro-Trump super Political Action Committee (PAC) called America First.Today, there is no middle ground … the right has gone to the extreme right, and the left has moved further left than ever before. There is no room for moderates, no tolerance for bipartisan lawmaking, and very little civil discourse taking place. You’re either with us, or you’re ‘agin us’. Social media is a large part of the culprit here … sites like Facebook and Twitter could be venues for respectful, meaningful dialog, searching for answers to better understand ‘the other side’, but instead people have turned these sites into a venue for spewing hate and ugly reactions.
While I fully support the 1st Amendment right to free speech, there are times that unfettered freedom of speech does far more harm than good. Conservatives and liberals, right and left, will never completely see eye-to-eye, will always be ideologically divided, but the state of affairs we see today cannot endure.
On June 16, 1858, President Abraham Lincoln gave an address after accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination as that state’s US senator. An excerpt from that speech is apt today …
“A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”
The situation was different then, the ideology different, but in some ways not so different after all. Then, as now, there were some who believed that people with darker skin had less value. That, certainly, is one of our issues today, but others are more complex. Today, we fight over whether there is more value in large corporations having nearly-unlimited profit margins, or in protecting our environment and rescuing all life on earth. Today, we fight over whether it is the role of government to assist those who cannot, whether temporarily or permanently, meet their own financial needs, or whether those people should simply be left to die.
Today, we fight over whether health care is a right for everyone, or a privilege for only the few. Today, we fight over whether or not every Tom, Dick and Harry should have access to guns that were meant for one purpose only: to kill. Today, we fight over whether LGBTQ people are to be afforded the same civil rights as the rest of society, or whether they should be looked down on and treated as ‘sub-human’. And today, despite the mandate for a separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution, we fight over whether one specific religion has the right to impose their beliefs, their will, on all in this secular nation.
The above are only a few of the issues dividing this nation, but they are highly-charged, emotional issues, and they are leading us down a path that can only end in disaster. Shortly after Lincoln’s speech, we ended up in a Civil War. In that war, there was a line of demarcation – there can be none this time, for on any given street in this country, you will find people on both ends of the spectrum. In the Civil War, the north wore blue and the south wore grey … in this war, everybody looks essentially the same. The civil war divided families, brother fought brother. This ‘war’ has already divided families, destroyed decades-long friendships, and led to bloodshed.
Sadly, the people who we have elected to govern this nation, are only widening the divide. It is in their power to bring the two sides together, to ‘reach across the aisle’ and set an example for the people of this nation. It is their responsibility and duty to do just that, but they have chosen to shirk those duties, to help widen the gap, to breed even more hatred and division across the nation. Unless things at the top change drastically, this is not going to end well, my friends. Sean Spicer is not an ambassador for good will, but rather is as much a part of the dividing wedge as any. Watching him tap dance and likely end up on his arse is not the cure for what ails this nation.
I offer no solutions, for if I were that smart, I would be sitting in the Oval Office, or have an office on Capitol Hill. I only know that we must do something soon, else the United States will be torn asunder, and likely end up in tatters. All I ask is that you … think about it.