Political rhetoric in America is getting scary. By now, most people have recognized the damage it does to relationships and seen how it can eventually culminate in riots. What is the cause of this? Is it the corrupt politicians? Is it the misleading news media? Is it faulty education? Is it miscommunication and misunderstanding? Is it the internet?
After conversing with a great number of people both online and offline over many years and thinking things through from every possible angle, I have come to the conclusion that most people actually like to argue. The problem is one of the heart. The real reason the civility movement in America failed is that Americans are not civil people.
This book has been a long time coming, but for a while I was in denial of the premise. In 2010, I had started making a conscious effort to converse with people of differing political opinions, hoping to teach them, learn from them, and reach compromise. In 2011, I published The Nutcase Across The Street, encouraging others to do the same. Then, sometime between 2012 and 2016, I began to see clearly that no amount of words in any form were going to reach people and that nothing they ever said was going to make sense. Between 2017 and 2019, I tried to shut out the news and avoid toxic people, but could not avoid it or them completely. 2020 made it impossible. Writing down and organizing my thoughts was the only thing keeping me sane that year. That’s where this book came from. While I don’t have a solution to our growing factional conflicts, I know that the first step is an honest appraisal of the root causes. That’s what the book is.
The cover photo is of an American flag being cut by hedge clippers. It symbolizes the way that partisans are cutting the country into pieces.