Two days until Election Day. The election, particularly of the next POTUS, is 2020 in a nutshell: two tribes of people who seem to agree on nothing. Wear a masks vs. masks are a infringement on freedom. Climate change is real and has will have long-term effects on human life on Earth vs. if global warming is real why did it snow last night? COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus is a major health concern around the world vs. “the China virus” can be handled through herd immunity or maybe it’s a hoax.
I think most Americans, regardless of which side of the divide they fall on, care about their families and friends. I’d like to think that we all want a better future for our children, good health for those we care about, and economic fairness for people. Unfortunately, the people we care about seems to be quite different between the two tribes. One has a more expansive concept of “community” while the other seems to limit that idea to people who look and speak like them and share their beliefs.
In 1984, Frankie Goes to Hollywood had a hit with their anti-war song, “Two Tribes.” The music video (directed by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, formerly of the band 10cc) is still one of my favorite socially conscious videos of all time, and I think both the song and the images stand up today, even if the “two tribes” that are fighting are within the U.S. instead of us against our Cold War rival, the U.S.S.R. The look on the actors playing Ronald Reagan and Konstantin Chernenko when they realize that the audience is now fighting among themselves is significant. The game they’ve been playing in their struggle for power has gotten out of control and they’re going to be swept up in the aftermath. The final images of the battle rapidly spreading beyond the fighting pit and ending with the destruction of the planet still give me chills the same way they did the first time I saw it on MTV.
We’ll know in a few days whether we can pull back from the brink of destroying America, both as an ideal and as a functioning nation. While I’m confident in what the voting results will be, I’m still less sanguine about what will happen between the Tuesday night and January 20th. We haven’t reached the end of 2020 yet.