First the good news. Even the Democrats might be able to win the House in 2018, and Oprah’s a lock for 2020. The sit-com Trump Presidency looks to have a short run. Think My Mother The Car.

Then the bad news. The conditions that brought us Trump were a culmination of 50 years of growing division, irrationality, diminished civility, greed and political intolerance. Climate scientists tell us that global warming will bring us more and more devastating hurricanes unless we do something now. I feel the same thing about our politics. Unless we change things, there will be more Trump-like catastrophes in our future.

That change will not likely come from the media or our politicians. Both have a vested interest in dividing us. The likes of MSNBC and Fox News want our nightly polarized worshipping at the altar of political orthodoxy. It feels so good to have our biases reinforced. Our elected leaders just want to be re-elected. Get out the base. Both stoke our emotions with single issues like transgender, Dreamers, guns, coal and abortion. Money is raised. Anger is fueled. Compromise is apostatic. Ideology is ascendant.

There is a way forward. It’s on each of us. The Greeks and the Founding Fathers both knew that democracy only works if the citizenry can think, analyze, seek truth, and elect wise leaders to govern them. Trump, Pelosi, Schumer, Ryan and McConnell can’t save us. They are the symptom, not the cure.

We need to stop masturbating to political porn and actually try to understand opposing points of view. The Philosophic Principle of Charity requires us to put opposing arguments in the best possible light and not mock the views of opponents. I’m just tired of watching Noah, Colbert, Maher et al in an endless loop of confirmation. We need to engage those who have differing political views. We don’t have to agree, but we do have to understand. Resistance is a balm, not a cure.

We need to turn off our screens and pop our bubbles. First stop is the library. Then our local colleges and universities. I’m pretty sure those are the places where we will find the truth. Granted, finding the truth these days will not be easy. It may take a lifetime. But as they say, the journey is more important than the destination.

I’m going to vote for the most conservative liberal and/or the most liberal conservative. I’m for any candidate who opposes his party’s leadership. I want all the states to be purple. We need more pragmatists and fewer true believers. Then maybe our elected representatives might pass some laws, which I vaguely recall is what they used to do in the good old days. Perfect is the enemy of good. Something is better than nothing.

If our grand experiment in democratic governance fails, there will be plenty of blame to go around, but most of it will be on us. 

Each and every one of us. We the people.

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John Hubbuch

John is an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976. He served on the District 97 school board, coached youth sports and, more recently, retired from the law. That left him time to become a Wednesday...