Here’s a little insight into my taste in politics, Animals: One of the political fads that has really bugged me in recent years is the sign people put in their yards that says, “Hate has no home here.” I can honestly say I hate those signs. They’re so self-righteous. They suggest hate lives next door, or across the street, where bad people with contrary opinions live.
A week and a half after the election, we remain a divided nation. We voted as two opposing groups: people all-in for Trump or all-in for Biden. It was pretty much a 50/50 split.
But in most parts of America, that’s over; we’ve gotten back to our real lives. Tonight at my Zoom book club, not one person mentioned Biden or Trump or made a political comment. We talked about training our dogs and found the recipe for Nuts and Berries, our favorite winter drink: one part Frangelico hazelnut liquor, one part Chambord raspberry liquor, and two parts heavy cream or half and half. That’s information worth paying attention to.
But turn on the TV or look at your news feed and you’ll think our divisions are growing and the electorate is at war. The Fake News Media should be happy – they beat Trump! – but they’re not happy at all. They’re bitter that Trump didn’t lose by more. So they keep the divisiveness going, determined to pound sense into every red state voter – my neighbors, by the way, who didn’t listen to them much in the past year and certainly aren’t listening now.
Here is my gift to the elites on both ends of the political spectrum, the recipe for an even more potent book club favorite, the vodka gimlet: 2 ounces vodka, ½ ounce fresh lime juice, ½ ounce simple syrup, garnished with a lime wheel. A couple of those should give comfort to even the most rabid partisan so they can move on with the rest of us and see some humor in their noise.
I actually laughed out loud when I read New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s first op-ed after the election, which proved that just because he has won three Pulitzers for his brilliant thinking about the Middle East doesn’t mean he understands our own Midwest or South at all.
Friedman vented his frustration that “no landslide, no overwhelming majority” had shamed Trump, then concluded that he wasn’t even sure our country could survive, given that so many voted for Trump. Michelle Obama described the “tens of millions of people” who voted for Trump as “supporting lies, hate, chaos and division.” And in a tone the mother of an axe murderer might use to exonerate herself from any responsibility for her son’s crime, an L.A. Times editorial lamented that “the eyes we’d hoped to open” had remained ignorant Trump supporters instead.
Politicians are also roiling, not that anyone in my book club or neighborhood cares. Progressive Alexia Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times that traditional Democrats were “incompetent” and blamed them for the unexpected Democrat losses in the House. Then the moderate Joe Manchin, Democratic Senator from West Virginia, went on TV to blame progressives like Ocasio-Cortez for the poor results in the Senate, warning that he would not be a vote “for all the crazy stuff” her wing of the party had proposed.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Trump and his supporters are filing lawsuits and recounting ballots, trying to engage the faithful in a fight against election fraud. But while no Republican favors the Democrat tradition of recruiting dead voters to the polls, most also believe this election is over and Joe Biden has won. They are patiently waiting for Trump to realize the same.
And as a sideshow, war has broken out between Republican true-believers and their main news source, Fox. The tweets and texts are flying, saying Chris Wallace favored Biden in the first debate; Fox’s inaccurate polls hurt GOP candidates; Fox shouldn’t have called Arizona for Biden when it did; and then, the last straw: a Fox anchor cut off coverage of Trump’s press secretary when she was briefing the media on voter fraud – “He censored her!” Now there’s a serious campaign to get viewers to leave Fox and switch to OAN or Newsmax instead.
But most people aren’t listening. Those on the winning side are happy, which is normal, and those on the losing side are disappointed, which is normal, too. And all those normal people are going on with their lives. They have forgiven each other for their differences; they’re not keeping those differences alive. And they’re taking soup to their sick neighbors, regardless of their political views.
In other words, hate has no home in the neighborhoods I know. Maybe resentment is the hot topic in Tom Friedman, Michelle Obama and Donald Trump’s book clubs. I’m glad I belong to mine.