דני דיין  כנס משטרה ניו יורק עלייה ב פשעים על רקע אנטישמיות
Dani Dayan
Joe Biden and Donald Trump

In today's America, your opponent is your enemy

Opinion: Thanks to a rampant political divide, inter-party cooperation is almost nonexistent and public discourse dominated by extremists on both sides; this will surely affect Israel, which needs a strong and self-confident United States

Dani Dayan |
Published: 11.04.20 , 19:47
After spending four years in the U.S. as an envoy on behalf of Israel, I returned somewhat worried.
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  • The United States has reached its unique position in the international arena and gained its unimaginable economic power thanks to moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans who knew how to cooperate with each other and push America forward.
    (L) Former Vice President Joe Biden and Incumbent President Donald Trump(L) Former Vice President Joe Biden and Incumbent President Donald Trump
    Joe Biden and Donald Trump
    (Photo: AP)
    Such inter-party cooperation is almost nonexistent today; the rampant political divide saw to that.
    The late Republican John McCain and former Democratic lawmaker Joe Liberman were openly friends - so much so that McCain almost chose Liberman as his running mate when he ran for president in 2008.
    While both were lauded in their heyday as honest politicians, today they would have been treated as traitors and ostracized by their respective parties.
    Supporters President Donald Trump come face-to-face with Biden-Harris campaigners during a Democratic ticket stop at Vera Minter Park in Abilene, Texas Supporters President Donald Trump come face-to-face with Biden-Harris campaigners during a Democratic ticket stop at Vera Minter Park in Abilene, Texas
    Supporters of President Donald Trump come face-to-face with Biden-Harris campaigners in Abilene, Texas
    (Photo: AP)
    Nor is this divide limited to politics. It is even possible that their bilateral party system is a reflection of the prevalent social divide and not the actual cause of the phenomenon.
    Public discourse on issues of interest to its citizenry is now dominated by extremists on both sides.
    On the right you have those protecting their outdated constitutional right to bear arms no matter how deadly, and the sweeping resistance to abortion no matter the case, the form or the result.
    A demonstrator holds up a sign while waiting for election results at Black Lives Matter Plaza, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Washington. A demonstrator holds up a sign while waiting for election results at Black Lives Matter Plaza, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Washington.
    A demonstrator holds up a sign while waiting for results at Black Lives Matter Plaza, in Washington, D.C. on election night
    (Photo: AP)
    On the left are the political correctness culture extremists who took public justice to such absurd levels, they immediately disqualify and shame anyone who deviates even slightly from their politically correct agenda.
    Beneath it all lies an even deeper and divisive controversy. Both sides simply ceased to believe in the same constitutive narrative of their country, and hold different perspectives on the righteousness of America's path.
    White Supremacy group Proud Boys during a Trump rally in Oregon last month White Supremacy group Proud Boys during a Trump rally in Oregon last month
    White Supremacy group Proud Boys during a Trump rally in Oregon last month
    (Photo: AP)
    The calls for the removal of statues in city squares and for the renaming of historic buildings are not limited to slave-owning Confederate generals.
    The public outrage and controversy are no longer exclusive to such divisive figures as the commander of the Confederate States Army, Robert E. Lee, but also to prominent figures in American history, such as Christopher Columbus and the first president George Washington.
    To many these two figures are the epitome of freedom and equality, one as the discoverer of America, the other as its first leader who managed to break the yoke of English rule.
    A photograph of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own apartment by Louisville police officers, is projected onto a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee A photograph of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own apartment by Louisville police officers, is projected onto a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee
    A photograph of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own apartment by Louisville police officers, is projected onto a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee
    (Photo: EPA)
    To the other side though, they represent the brutality of colonization and the enslavement of African Americans.
    And in the center stands the “mainstream” - dazed and confused, feeling both guilt and fear while failing to carve an ideological, political path for itself.
    The 2020 elections decided who becomes the next president of the largest superpower in the world and which side controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. But they failed to mend the growing socio-economic rift.
    Donald Trump is not interested in mending it and Joe Biden can’t.
    A man yells at a police officer during a protest on Election Day,A man yells at a police officer during a protest on Election Day,
    A man yells at a police officer during a protest on Election Day in Los Angeles
    (Photo: AP)
    Remember that Biden won the Democratic primary elections over Bernie Sanders - despite an initially faltering election campaign - thanks to the party’s cooperation with middle-aged black voters from both Carolinas.
    The dread of the response to the election results pushed business owners in Washington, Los Angeles and New York to reinforce their storefronts against riots and looting.
    They were doing it not because they were paranoid, but because they know they live in a political and social environment in which the other side is not the opponent but the enemy.
    Workers from BluSky, an emergency services and restoration company, secure plywood to protect windows along Hollywood Boulevard on election day.Workers from BluSky, an emergency services and restoration company, secure plywood to protect windows along Hollywood Boulevard on election day.
    Workers securing plywood to protect windows along Hollywood Boulevard on election day
    (Photo: TNS)
    All of this will surely affect Israel, which needs a strong and self-confident America made up of a healthy, united society that believes in itself and its country, and knows how to resolve its disputes peacefully.
    The prevalent polarization in America today makes it increasingly challenging to maintain bipartisan support on any issue or decision.
    And Israel relies on such bipartisan support for its very existence.

    Dani Dayan is the former Israeli Consul General in New York
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