Getting to Know Seattle: Town Hall

Town Hall is Seattle’s arts and lecture series; many communities have them. On Sunday evening I went to hear speakers from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

My greatest fear, especially if Republicans hold both houses of Congress in November, is that the exhausted middle will simply lose hope and turn away from the carnage of the Trump administration. A recent look at the tribalism in American politics tells the story: about 25% of voters are in strong opposition to Trump and his followers. Twelve percent of voters are Trump’s base, the ones who show up at his rallies and sneer and bray and laugh as he mocks women who’ve been sexually assaulted, mimics journalists with handicapping conditions, demonizes he desperate people from Central American trying to reach our border to claim refugee status, and targets journalists for abuse. Another 14% are more traditional conservatives who dislike Trump’s persona but like tax cuts and race-bashing and his agenda of making America white again.

Another almost 25% of voters are detached from the political process and probably don’t vote.

The remaining cohort is up for grabs.

We aren’t the 50-50 divided country that is sometimes portrayed in political dialogue.

Our biggest enemy is the large cluster of people who are apathetic and don’t weigh in.

The zeal of the Trump voters has to be matched in some way by people who are repelled by the ugliness of where he is taking the country.

The passion of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas kids is impressive. They are trying not only for gun control legislation, but to rebuild the culture of voting among the young people of our country. They threw in a plug for civic education in public schools as well. Will they stay the course, even as our democracy continues to turn bitter and sour and fraught? We don’t know, do we?

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