In the run-up to each presidential election, the politicians and pundits warn us that our country is teetering on a precipice, with the fate of the world resting on which of two candidates we choose. …
In the run-up to each presidential election, the politicians and pundits warn us that our country is teetering on a precipice, with the fate of the world resting on which of two candidates we choose. 2020 is no exception.
Republican President Donald Trump has described this as “the most important election in the history of our country,” declaring that everything we have achieved as a nation “is now in danger.” Meanwhile, the Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, has asserted that, while all elections are important, “we know in our bones this one is more consequential.”
It’s easy to get sucked into the hyperbolic rhetoric and think our entire lives hinge on an election — that we are not so much a nation of people as a patchwork of red and blue states.
Consider a Facebook post the Park County Republican Party shared last week, suggesting that Republicans looking to sell their home or land should only sell to fellow Republicans.
In the shared post, Ben Barto of Dubois writes that he would only sell his property to a fellow Republican — and he encouraged others to do the same.
“With all the people (both parties) escaping burning and rioting states you have the right to choose who you sell yours to. I am a native of Wyoming a RED state and want to see it stay RED,” Barto wrote, crassly adding, “I don’t need money bad enough to have a libtard for a neighbor. KEEP WYOMING GREAT!!”
His post drew nearly 100 likes on his own page while being shared dozens of times, including by local and state Republican Party leaders, a state lawmaker from Evanston, a couple recent legislative candidates from the Big Horn Basin and a current Cody school board candidate.
It’s not a new idea. For instance, in early 2016, a landlord in Grand Junction, Colorado, drew widespread attention after posting a classified ad for a downtown apartment that remarked, “If voting for Donald Trump, do not call!”
But surely we can be better than that in Park County. Beyond the fact that an epithet like “libtard” has no place in a civil discussion, working to make the apolitical — a real estate sale — political is a bad direction to head. Because once you go down that road, why not condition other transactions on a person’s political affiliation?
To be sure, the stakes are high in the 2020 election. Trump and Biden present two different visions for America, and the choice voters make in November will bring real and serious impacts to our lives, for better and for worse.
President Trump handily carried Park County and Wyoming in 2016, and every indication is that he will do so again this year. Trump picked up 73.6% of the vote in Park County last time around, which, in the political world, is a colossal, overwhelming landslide. On a personal level, however, it still means that one out of every four voters in Park County picked someone else. That’s a lot of friends, neighbors and family members with different opinions.
And yet, there remains far more that unites us than divides us. While issues are often framed as being left or right, black or white, few people live on those edges of a debate.
Most people want law enforcement officers punished when they do wrong, but also support the many officers, deputies, troopers and agents who faithfully serve the public with integrity; most people want justice and equality for those who are marginalized and mistreated, while at the same time are enraged by the lawlessness and violence being seen on the streets of major cities.
While they may often disagree on how to get there, Republicans and Democrats alike want to build a better America for future generations.
The solution to our differences isn’t to try blocking people with different political views from moving in, but to remember that we are more than our politics. Because regardless of what happens on Nov. 3, we will all need to enter 2021 together.