It is time to come together and hold hands

Colin Roberts, Contributing Writer

Last week I wrote an article evaluating President Donald Trump’s one-year anniversary as the leader of the free world. I anticipated it to be an easy piece. Writing an anti-Trump piece on a college campus is like speaking about the virtues of tiny red hats during a Shriners meeting.

To my surprise there were those who voiced their displeasure at my obvious liberal leanings. To my even greater surprise, some voiced support for our sitting President. My fragile liberal mind was blown, for me this was akin to finding Chavez supporters in Venezuela, or Weinstein supporters in Hollywood. How could such people exist?

Just kidding.

Of course there are people with differing opinions. Even if they seem reprehensible to one side’s beliefs, both sides have to accept that the other exists, and will continue to exist in the near future.

Which brings up today’s topic, unity. Because I can do a pro-Trump piece as well as Hannity can do a pro-Obama piece. I would like to look at four historical examples of countries in cultural turmoil, and how they came through those experiences better for them. Hopefully, we can apply these examples to the current cultural conversation.

England during the Stuart period is a good place to start. I get the impression English people enjoy talking about this as much as they enjoy talking about Prince Harry’s Halloween costumes. The Stuart period featured messy struggles between Catholics and Protestants, lots of persecutions and a war or two.

As dangerous as it is to view history through contemporary lenses, there are parallels between the Catholics and Protestants of England, and the Democrats and Republicans of America. Neither group can have civil dialogue anymore, and think the other side should be drawn and quartered, in either the Tower of London or Paul Ryan’s front yard.

So how did England get through this struggle and come together? Well, there was a military junta for a while, I think a king was executed, maybe there was another military junta. The Catholics got booted to Ireland at some point?

That was not a good example; let us go across the channel for a better one.

The French Revolution was a famous ten-year party featuring no food and lots of debt, and class warfare dialed to 11. We have the debt, but thanks to Arby’s new holiday menu we also still have the food, so you are probably not going to see any American revolutions until the ration cards get distributed.

I would like to point out that France finally came together after a tremendous amount of bloodshed, an HBO-style dictatorship and a stick-measuring contest with Prussia.

Ugh, another dud. Perhaps the historical recipe for the Russian Revolution will help.

Recipe for a Russian Revolution: Pour one-ounce humiliation and two ounces famine. Add one-ounce Lenin juice and stir. Top it off with coconut shavings. You have just murdered eleven million people. Let us move on to Interwar France.

There was a war and it messed everyone up. French people were taking a moment to figure themselves out in the 1920’s, you know?

Except some people thought the answers lay in jazz, others in fascism. There are actually quite a few parallels between interwar France and contemporary America, including uncertainty about the future and changing cultural values.

So how did the French come through this fractured time? They did not, every year they grew increasingly divided until the Germans curb-stomped them and their cultural turmoil became irrelevant.

Whew. What a ride. Whatever political movement you belong to, whether you want to gut Obamacare or restore the English monarchy, dialog is needed. Democrats are not going to sway Republicans, and Republicans will not sway Democrats, so any progress, whether at the PTA meeting or the Senate floor, comes from compromise.

I reduced history to absurd levels while trying to show the consequences of division, but it was all to make this point: Let us learn to come together for frank discussion before someone removes Arby’s sandwiches from the ration card menu.