I Am An Avowed Liberal Who Listens to Conservative Radio In My Car. This Is My Takeaway.

The divisiveness is no joke, and is being manufactured to get worse.

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There was an old saying in my neighborhood when I was a kid: “You say white, I say black. We’ll never agree on anything.”

If only it was that simple. Today’s rule: The Republican lawmakers must keep their President in the White House at all costs. If not, the Senate assuredly would lose their majority, and the domino effect of lost re-election campaigns would be catastrophic.

As the GOP concocts brazen new methods to manufacture outrage, most recently by staging a de facto sit-in during impeachment-related witness questioning as a protest against an alleged lack of transparency — when 13 of the 41 protesting sit on committees with the power to both attend the hearings and question witnesses— far too many conservative voters continue to take their bait either without realizing or ignoring the ongoing manipulation.

Thing is, these voters can say the same about the left’s efforts. And they do.

Rarely in our history has the United States bore witness to such distinct philosophical world views. What has brought us to this point is not nearly as important as what we do from here. It does not matter that many anti-Trumpers tend to view his most ardent supporters as sycophants or cultists — I do — often without teeth or education. The rally crowd, in other words, exactly the “base” so often referred to as the “savior” of his second term.

From the perspective of many of us on the left, those who continue to support Donald Trump regardless of his myriad high crimes and misdemeanors do so because a) he says what others only think, b) he’s perceived as cool that way, c) the swamp is being drained, as he “promised,” and d) they are convinced the economy is booming, which means far more to them than grabbing women by the pussy or any quid pro quo.

The ends mattering more than the means, in other words.

When I write, be it articles for Medium or elsewhere, novels or screenplays, MSNBC and CNN alternate on my television in the background.

When I drive, I now listen to the “other side,” and this is what I hear most frequently: a) Donald Trump has never lied during his presidency, b) he brings world leaders together under his agenda, regardless of their dictator bonafides, thus ensuring a more secure U.S.A., c) Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff are national menaces and should face trial and possible execution for treason, d) the impeachment proceedings are illegal, e) only illegal immigrants commit violent crimes, and f) Democrats will not rest until they are successful in their “witch-hunt.”

FOX News presently maintains the highest ratings of any national television news program, and its radio counterpart remains hugely popular. The call-ins tend to be particularly scary: “We should string Schiff up by balls and lynch him that way” was a particular head-scratcher.

From my personal perspective, I can write volumes on the abject sickness of this current administration. Decency has given way to accepted criminality. And I have written voluminously on this very topic on social media. But that does not matter a whit. Many of those who voted for Trump may well do so again. There is no guarantee that he will not see a second term.

(As an aside, what particularly disgusts me are the Tweets of some prominent liberal celebrities who insist Trump has “no chance” in the 2020 election. There is no positive, here. The words may well cause nothing but apathy on the part of their fans, who are inadvertently led to believe that Democrats “have it in the bag” and their vote may not matter as a result. But I digress.)

As I listen to conservative radio I also hear quite articulate Trump supporters who indeed verify that they may not care for “his ways” but support his economic record. Of course, no one questions the largest national debt in history. That’s moot, apparently.

In a similar vein, many who call in identify themselves as veterans, who stand by his every word. The flag is sacred; our National Anthem equally so. Kneeling during the National Anthem is a crime that should be punishable by substantial prison time.

Maybe most disturbing for me are the oft-repeated tropes: “fake news,” “fake news media,” the aforementioned “witch-hunt,” “Identify the whistleblower,” “Read the transcript,” and so on (all of which appear on T-shirts at Trump rallies, for which his campaign rakes in millions), often said by those callers who appear most calm.

Some weeks ago I trolled a pro-Trump page on Facebook, deliberately provoking with my own honest thoughts by visiting “enemy territory.” I was told repeatedly to “wake the fuck up” and “open my eyes.” When I disappeared for awhile, only to come back hours later to check the comments, the responders were lamenting among themselves that “liberals are truly insane” and “to save the country, we really need to think about arming ourselves for the new Civil War.”

Oh, and, “It’s illegal for Republicans to be shut out of impeachment hearings! We need to protect our Constitution!” To which Sean Hannity, on the radio, further pushes those buttons and provokes exactly that agenda from his listeners. FOX’s own equivalent of the ultimate hype man appears, if anything, to be more blatant about manufacturing such rage on radio than he is on television. Why? I have no clue.

I have no clue about much of this nightmare, but I do have a theory and two questions.

The theory: Current GOP leadership will provoke a revolution if that’s what it takes to keep Trump afloat. As support for my contention, note that the dog whistles of a year ago have given way to overt and public defiance.

The two questions, and I think they are important ones:

How did we ever get to this point, and why did we ever allow it to get so far?

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Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

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