Will the new president be able to unite a divided country?

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November 8, 2016 by Austin McNair

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign event in Eau Claire

Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: See below…

Now that today is Election Day, a common refrain echoing across news outlets is asking, “How will the new president bring healing and unity to a divided nation?”

I have the answer to this question… They won’t.

But the media and the political machine wants you to believe that they could because it suits their financial and political interests. The media is asking this question because they need to keep us distracted from realizing that WE are – in fact – the bearers of change and healing that we are looking for.

Let me explain…

Selling to Either/Or People

If we have learned anything from this election (or human history for that matter), our track records shows that we are naturally more prone towards division, stereotyping, and scapegoating then we are towards unity, grace, and reconciliation.

This is something we are all guilty of – we are divisive people who like picking one team over the other. I’m not sure how you would argue against that…

And when it comes to the political game, it will always be divisive – especially in a country where we are always given an either/or scenario. We might hate to admit it, but I think we all know that the broken system that we all despise is fueled and sustained by a little part inside all of us that loves this either/or chess match. It is easy to sell to us when we are concerned with an either/or choice.

So when viewing this question, “How will the next president bring us together?” from this framework of divisiveness, it becomes easy to see why the media is asking this question.


They ask the question because they know that in three months they will be able to profit again from our divisiveness. A new political issue will pop its head up and we will be back to our either/or ways of thinking. If everyone’s eyes are turned towards the president – or any political candidate – when these issues begin to dominate the public conversation, the media understands that they will be able to make some money off of us again.

The media profits from a divided people.

Politicians benefit from a divided people.

They know that reconciliation is bad for business.

Is Unity and Reconciliation Possible?

So if politicians are not going to bring us together than who is? Well that entirely depends on you and the way you live your life.

Let me ask you some questions:

  • If you cared about it on the debate stage… how are you caring about it in your city?
  • If you cared about it on Facebook… how are you caring about it in your neighborhood?
  • If you care about it on your ballot… how are you caring about it with your community of friends?

Seeing unity, change, and reconciliation happen all comes down to how you live your life. Stop looking towards politicians to make it happen for you. Look in the mirror. Ask yourself, “What am I doing about it?”

If you’ll allow me to be religious for a second, the savior I believe in is Jesus – and he didn’t ascend to the highest seat of power to save people. Instead he descended to the level of a homeless man and spent his ministry serving others. And it was through that upside-down power structure that he saw real change and healing come into people’s lives. He calls his followers to imitate that lifestyle.

Maybe we should take that lesson seriously? The sources of healing and unity aren’t found from the seats of power. They are found when we set aside our preferences for the sake of those we disagree with and we simply serve…

Unity doesn’t come from campaign slogans and fuzzy feelings. Even though I appreciate Hillary’s rhetoric of “Stronger Together” over Trump’s “MAGA,” I still think you would be hard pressed to find a Hillary supporter who doesn’t think less of their next door neighbor with a Trump sign in their yard. Politics inherently divide us.

On the other hand, you have the ability to tangibly bring a divided country together.

Open up your house. Invite people over for dinner. Listen to their story. Discuss different issues. Get out there and serve with them. Unity comes from your ability to sit and listen to another person’s perspective, disagree with them, and still go out and serve others with them. Is this happening in your life? Or are you tied to the television and social media?

It is absurd to believe that a politician will bring us together.

However, when it comes to bringing healing to this country, you have all the power.

P.S. – I’m not advocating a pure abstinence from staying aware and participating in the political system. I voted today and have political opinions. What I am saying is that if we do not take responsibility for our own views in our actual lives, then we can never hope to see the change we desire.


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