Remember that kid in “The Sixth Sense”? He saw dead people? America, based on the election, has become that kid. Only we see enemies. Wherever we look.
And they frighten us.
Straight people see gays and fear they will turn their boys into sissies and their girls into Ellen DeGeneres.
Gay people see straights and fear they want to “change them back” or legislate them out of existence.
The religious fear those less faithful will smash the Ten Commandments.
The nonreligious fear those more faithful want to shove the Ten Commandments down their throats.
Conservatives see liberals and fear they want the whole country barefoot, communist and living on welfare.
Liberals see conservatives and fear they want the whole country to look like “Leave It to Beaver.”
Poor people see rich people and figure they must have scammed the system to get all they have.
Rich people see poor people and think they must be scamming the system to get their tax dollars.
The pro-war crowd fears peaceniks will invite terrorists to our shores.
The anti-war crowd fears hawks create new terrorists every day.
The pro-Bush crowd thinks the other side wants to destroy a faithful, honest public servant.
The anti-Bush crowd thinks voters are being duped by a former frat boy who uses religious hot buttons to license his cold heart.
And around we go . . .
Straight people fear that “activist judges” will turn our country into a Key West toga party.
Gays fear that if they can’t go to judges, they’ll never undo the discrimination locked into our system.
Religious types fear stem cell researchers are on a slippery slope to baby killing.
Stem cell researchers fear religious types are on a slippery slope to the Crusades.
Conservatives see the “liberal” media as a place where minorities get jobs because they are minorities.
Liberals see the “conservative media” as the home office for white males over 50.
Poor people get mad when rich people find ways not to pay their taxes.
Rich people get mad when poor people don’t have to pay taxes.
The pro-Bush crowd thinks his critics can’t stand a man who is firm in his convictions.
The anti-Bush crowd thinks his supporters are morons who admire stubbornness because it’s easier on their brains.
The only bottom line
The white majority fears that minorities are multiplying so fast, they will take over the country.
The minorities fear the white majority will deny their existence to keep control of the country.
The people who never travel think the rest of the world can take a hike — who needs ’em?
The people who always travel think the rest of the world is ready to take a hike — and that’s what scares them.
Gun lovers see their critics as nerdy, liberal girlie men who only want to take away their rights.
Gun critics see the gun-loving crowd as yahoos who would rather fire than switch.
Evangelical Christians feel the country was started by people like them, and it ought to stay that way.
Evangelical critics feel the country was started by people escaping religious persecution — why do it again?
Conservatives hate that there are so many best-selling liberal books.
Liberals hate that there are so many best-selling conservative books.
Pro-Bush types think America has been saved.
Anti-Bush types think America has been sunk.
And there we are. We see enemies. Everywhere.
But here is the problem: We are looking at each other.
And until we start seeing “fellow Americans,” it won’t matter who’s in office. We’ll destroy ourselves.
Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or firstname.lastname@example.org”