‘There is no longer any pretense that the America social fabric is a single cloth’

A letter to The New York Times by Edward Warren, a former Air Force nuclear weapon launch officer:

To the Editor:

Too many people are looking at this election through the wrong lens. They believe that electing Donald Trump was a decision point. They are wrong. Electing Mr. Trump was the manifestation of a split that already existed in our country.

I have spent the last year building a cabin in northern New Hampshire and have gotten to know my neighbors. Talking to them has made one thing clear to me: The identity of being an American, the “social fabric,” has been slowly tearing for years, if not decades. What makes these friends feel American and what makes my liberal friends feel American are two completely different cloths.

While my Harvard Kennedy School classmates tend to talk about microaggressions and systemic bias, my rural neighbors deal with opioid addiction, unfulfilling jobs and PTSD from a war they fought for a country that seems to be moving on without them.

This country needed a world-class tailor to stitch these red and blue fabrics into a proud American flag, but that wasn’t a skill set that either of our candidates possessed. And without a tailor on the ballot, America chose a candidate who didn’t mind ripping the last threads apart.

There is no longer any pretense that the America social fabric is a single cloth. And while that is a painful discovery, it is the first critical step in the long process of patching together a new American identity. Let’s get started.


One thought on “‘There is no longer any pretense that the America social fabric is a single cloth’

  1. I have the great privilege to have friends across the entire spectrum of American life. Muslims, Jews, Evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, Atheists, Klansmen (not kidding), Marxists, Urban, Rural, LBGT, PETA, Hunters, Liberals, Libertarians, Conservatives, Asians, Indians, Africans, Russians, Latinos, Persians, etc.

    From that, let me observe the following:

    America was largely founded on the principle of religious freedom which ultimately is translated into Freedom of Thought. For me, the freedom to think differently is the definition of America. It means that we are not one people. We are not always united in thought or deed. We are and always have been deeply divided on the best prescription for living.

    We are the Land of Liberty – but we have to abide by the Golden Rule to make it work. Liberty is not forcing everyone to live like you – that would be ANTI-Liberty. Controlling others is the path to tyranny. You want to prove your lifestyle is better? Live your way without resentment. If you feel cheated, such is life. Many people cheat or game the system, we should do our best to prevent cheating by focusing on the ones doing the greatest harm. No matter what though – there will be cheaters – don’t hurt everyone else to punish a few fools.

    We are a messy mosaic of cultures with no hope of unity. But as long as we keep talking to each other respectfully – I believe we can succeed.


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