The Corner

The Divide

There is a gap between people who think that Donald Trump ought to be president, or is fit to be president, and those who don’t. And that gap, I’m afraid, is unbridgeable.

I’m reminded of another issue — women in combat, or women at war. Some people think that putting mothers or daughters, or sisters or aunts, in harm’s way is unconscionable. Others, obviously, do not. I belong to the former group. I find it pretty much impossible to talk about the issue with the second group.

There are issues that simply divide people. They cause cleavages. They’re splitters.

During the Iraq War, Clarissa Pryce-Jones (Mrs. David Pryce-Jones) said, “It reminds me of Suez.” Her father, Harold Caccia, was a top diplomat in the British service. In fact, he was ambassador to the United States at the time of Suez. The issue divided British society, divided the London elites. You stopped going out to dinner with people you knew. Friendships were broken. Bitterness and incomprehension and disgust were in the air.

Recently, I’ve read and written about John Dos Passos. (I’m going to do some more, here on the website.) The Sacco and Vanzetti case was a great issue of the 1920s. Dos Passos was on one side of it: He believed in the men’s innocence, and agitated for them. One day, he received a letter from an old friend — simply announcing the end of the friendship. The friend, or former friend, could not abide Dos Passos’s activism in behalf of the accused (and convicted and condemned).

I don’t say that friendships ought to be broken over Donald J. Trump. Friendships ought to be stronger than politics. But America — certainly Republican America, where I do most of my living — already feels different. I don’t think Trump is remotely fit for the presidency, in mind or character (especially the latter). Millions do. There you go.

To be continued . . .

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