A nation divided

Expect more partisan politics the next four years

The author, a Chico resident since 1980, cast his first presidential vote for Lyndon Johnson.

It is over. The ballots are mostly counted and the winners have been anointed. As Gerald Ford proclaimed 42 years ago, “our long national nightmare is over.”

Truthfully, it is far from over. Ahead of us are equally rough waters. As a nation, we must try to reconcile the mighty division that has separated us for the past eight years. To do so, we must end speaking in code.

As a people, we seem unable to speak the words that truly reflect our divided emotions. It is time to decode. For more than half a year, we have been assaulted with the phrase “Make America great again.” Here is the translation: “Let us return to the 1950s, when Ike was the president and America’s middle class was white and proud. Those were the days when autoworkers could buy ranch houses in the suburbs and afford the new cars they built. It was a period when white men could feel proud of their power over their women, their children, and all people of color.”

In reality, it is racism, bigotry, hatred and misogyny. And it is alive and thriving across the land today.

The loud and vehement political campaigning that we have endured during the past year may end, but the attitudes that were represented are not going away in my generation or the next. We are a nation divided. It will not change until we have an economy where all have an equal place at the table no matter their gender, race or culture. And that may never happen. Yet it is an ideal that we, as a united nation, cannot abandon.

I am 74 years old. I am not sure if I have ever watched an election cycle that was not without rancor. I do know that eight years ago I felt hope when we elected an energetic black president. I still believe that his agenda was to be the president for all the people. By comparison, the next four years are destined to be ruled by partisan politics.