Election Year Deficit: Why I Miss Unity, Comity, and, Most of All, Kindness

Larissa displays her new wares.

This article is adapted from my column on Newsmax.com, here: https://nws.mx/30oee3A

Last Sunday night, gleefully, I started watching the TLC reality show “90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?” and the culminating season finale known as the “Tell All.”

The real-life romantic partners and exes on the show gathered (online in this cooped-up, locked-down era) to discuss their past clashes and triumphs. And to dish on one another and cast judgment on other couples’ behavior.

It is fun, juicy stuff—but on Sunday night, it was less enjoyable than usual. Too mean-spirited and divisive, too much shade and negativity being slung around by people who barely know each other and who have little reason to be so acid-tongued in bashing their peers.

Kind of like much of America today. And it turned out to foreshadow the divisive and scrappy first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden a few nights later.

From the opening moments of “90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After,” the verbal fists were flying. Larissa, the Brazilian émigré with a newly tiny nose and newly enormous breasts, razzed her ex-husband in another frame (“Colty” of Las Vegas) for getting even fatter in recent months. Colt’s meddlesome mom, Debbie, who plots to break up her son’s romances, launched an assault on his second Brazilian sweetie, Jess. She returned fire without hesitation.

Meanwhile, Andrei, the muscular Moldovan beefcake who has failed to get a job since moving to the U.S. to marry his titanium blonde American wife, Elizabeth (Libby), intervened to say unkind things about Larissa’s cosmetic surgery and her plans for what comes next: a Brazilian butt lift.

Usually I find this type of free-for-all to be a fun, guilty pleasure. Let ’em rip. On Sunday night, though, it made me want to channel Rodney King and a long-ago era: Can’t we all just get along?

It made me realize what I have been missing in America, lately. I miss unity and comity and kindness. These qualities have been in especially short supply in this election year. Trump haters will blame the president for this and cite his caustic, cutting style.

Trump supporters will say their president only was fighting fire with fire, responding to invective with invective. Although, isn’t fighting fire with water the better approach?

As for me, I blame all of us—and the Dems, in particular. Their uncivil disobedience and their complicit embrace of radicals who want to destroy law & order and topple the Trump presidency are scandalous and infuriating. As is the mainstream media’s abiding cooperation in this pursuit.

Previously, I have written about “90 Day Fiancé,” the juggernaut TLC franchise with half a dozen different versions, and how it offers insight into America and how great it is. See here.

Foreigners falling in love with Americans and applying for what’s known as a K-1 visa to win entry into the U.S., while the Americans and their families are wary of the overseas suitors’ real intentions. Does she love me, or does she just want a free ticket to live in the greatest country on earth?

Last night, though, “90 Day Fiancé” displayed the unbridled bitterness wrecking America and wreaking havoc on its people. Social media is another cause of this oversupply of negativity. People with no stake and no expertise in anything pertinent or important can hold forth on Twitter and bash away at even the most powerful figures in the country, without hesitation or remorse.

It is much harder to stick a thumb in someone’s eye when you actually have met them and felt their presence in person.

The campaign to re-elect President Trump, one of the most controversial presidents in our history, has made this situation worse. My support for the president has led to the loss of liberal friends—albeit, maybe this means they never really were my friends, at all.

A favorite protégé of mine, when I ran 16 reporters at The Wall Street Journal in the 1990s, has refused to return my many calls, emails, and texts for more than two years. Some months ago, I was thrown out of the home of a lib couple I like very much, so angry were they at my defense of President Trump.

The other night, a liberal pal of mine, who also is a “90 Day Fiancé” fan, grew furious when I cited stats showing the origins of the Black Lives Matter movement were based on a lie. Of almost 675,000 cops nationwide, and 375 million interactions with people each year, the police are involved in a thousand or so shootings annually. Only a dozen or so incidents involve unarmed Black suspects, the “epidemic” that prompted the formation of BLM. These facts were more than she could bear.

Maybe the verbal warfare will subside if President Trump pulls off an impossible victory once again—let us say he wins in an Electoral College landslide and garners a decisive majority of the popular vote. Then again, maybe not.

In the meantime, just as charity starts in the home, so does kindness. I must work harder on being kinder to the other side.  -v-

Dennis Kneale is a writer and media strategist in New York, after six years as anchor CNBC and Fox Business Network and 25 years at The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He helped write “The Trump Century: How Our President Changed the Course of History,” by Lou Dobbs, published in September 2020 by HarperCollins.

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