A headache. The taste of bile in the back of the throat. A trembling of the hands.
A symptom is easy to diagnose and easy to treat. Take a pill. Get more sleep. Minimize stress. Watch your symptom go away. Easy as anything.
And now you might think you're healed.
Except a symptom is not a cause. A symptom is a manifestation of a cause. You had a headache. You took a pill. Your headache vanished. You've deadened the pain. You don't have to think about it now. Everything is fine. Except for the tumor growing inside your skull.
We asked, last time, if many of the reasons being offered as explanations for the outcome of America's presidential election are, in fact, mistakenly identifying symptoms as causes.
We believe they are.
We believe these explanations are symptomatic of the refusal, by millions of Americans, to listen to their countrymen. We believe they are symptomatic of the rage that this refusal has engendered. We believe they are the manifestation of the construction of a closed circle of communications and public policy that has left too many people feeling cast out and ignored at best -- and openly belittled at worst.
You watch your community erode around you. You watch storefront after storefront close, You watch opiates deaden the eyes of your children.
And you are told your concerns and your fears for the future are the products of bigotry and ignorance. You are called a teabagger. You are told that you and your loved ones cling to God and guns. You are dropped into a basket of deplorables. You live, everyday, with the sense that you are viewed with a sort of sneering derision -- of which these individual putdowns are themselves symptoms.
You watch all this. You hear all this. You perceive all this. What, eventually, inevitably, will be the result?
The result will be an election outcome that no one saw coming, and everyone should have.
And now we live behind walls. On one side are those who blame an election loss on fake news posts or an investigation into emails, and who refuse -- who refuse even now -- to acknowledge the concerns of the outcasts beyond the walls. On the other side are those outcasts, newly-empowered, with anger unabated.
A house divided against itself can indeed stand, and it will, but it will be a long four years for all of us who live in it.
We would like to suggest a different path. We would like to suggest a paradigm shift in how we communicate with each other and how we listen to each other.
We would like to suggest that there is no such thing as "them." There is only "us."
More to come.