Politics & Media
Feb 17, 2023, 06:26AM

Americans Can Be Civil About Trump and Biden

Most liberals in rural Ohio and conservatives in Boston know the political etiquette.

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Let’s think about The Maher Rule. Coined by Real Time host Bill Maher, it states: “You can hate Donald Trump, but you can’t hate all of his supporters. It’s half the country.” It’s a value that bears repeating today. Can the Maher Rule survive Campaign 2024? If partisans have to bend over and kiss their own asses to remain civil during the off years, it’s a good question. How many people are practicing what Maher preaches? The HBO host’s dictum about playing nice in the aftermath was only floated after Biden won. During Trump’s 2020 campaign and term in office, Maher was the commentariat’s Eviscerator-in-Chief.

Reconciling with Trump’s voters, if not the man himself, cuts both ways. One can revile everything the Biden administration stands for and has tried to achieve, but they shouldn’t hate all the people who voted for him. To shirk the Maher Rule is to bring into consciousness too much animosity for any one person. This is especially true for people who live in places where their political leanings are at odds with the greater communities around them. If you live in rural Oregon and support Trump you’re largely among friends. If you support Trump and live in Portland, you’re a man or woman without a (Multnomah) county.

Trump supporters (or any conservative) who, for whatever reason, live in Portland, must constantly interface with people who reject Trump’s America First agenda. Democrat liberals who live in Trump-backing Eastern Oregon learn to keep their politics to themselves, unless they’re sure they’re enjoying like-minded companionship.

Just don’t do it. It’s age-old wisdom, usually coupled with religion, that people should never discuss politics outside of forums expressly created to debate politics. When the Trump-loving brother-in-law arrives for Easter brunch in a MAGA hat, just nod, as if to say, quoting Biden’s most cogent oratory to date, “Come on, man!” Similarly, if the far-left niece starts up at the table about how meat is murder, including turkey, and brings up the latest doomed investigation of Trump, don’t bother engaging.

Meantime, especially if you’re living amongst the “enemy,” airing of political ideologies must be subsumed in the interest of general civility. Every day in Portland, heavily outnumbered conservatives and Republicans will interact with people who are responsible for the vapid, do-nothing Kamala Harris, the failure of clueless Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and an unmoored Biden presidency that slants hard left. During Trump’s term, which I unequivocally supported, left-wingers living in rural Ohio tolerated his existence.

  • Etiquette and civility are the operative words coming from this article. Another operative word should be listening as in listen to people and ideas that you may disagree with and gather an understanding of where that person is coming from and then formulate an argument as to where you and this person may disagree and why. Reaching clarity on where one differs can be just as instructive as convincing the other person that you are right. All too often in political discussions today people talk at each other or passed each other but not with each other...

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