Dirty politics have been around a lot longer than any of us.

So, it’s nothing new when someone steals or defaces political signs, as some thieves and vandals have been doing across the Valley.

Considering the year we are in, and how divided the country is, removing or damaging political signs is pretty tame.

We have been divided as a nation for some time now, probably since not long after 2001 came to a close. That was after the short-lived period when we came together in a gush of national pride that followed the 9/11 attacks. We had a common cause.

Those days are gone. Today, we are more divided than anyone can remember. At the center of that is Donald Trump.

People either love him or hate him. There is little in between.

Those who love him seemingly have unwavering loyalty to him, for a variety of reasons. They say he has made the economy better, and this pandemic thing has interrupted that. They believe he eventually will have appointed enough Supreme Court justices to outlaw abortion. They see him as an outsider who will “drain the swamp.” Or he will keep immigrants from getting in here and taking jobs. They think the Democrats will turn the country into a Socialist state.

The other side, the Democrats, progressives and those opposed to Trump, loathe him. They see him as the cause of racial divide and hatred in the U.S. Few have escaped being the target of his insults, rants, fabrications. He has largely ignored the coronavirus response recently, continually calling for a reduction in testing. It will all go away, he says.

Many people always have been passionate about politics. Now many are just angry and will believe anything that matches their beliefs. People of opposite sides argue, insult, denigrate each other. Friendships, relationships, families have broken up over disagreement over this guy. Maybe they are finding out too much about those friends and relatives they thought they knew.

The closer it gets to Nov. 3, the uglier it will keep getting.

Evangelicals believe Trump is a gift from God. We don’t think that is the case.

It is fair to say, though, that Trump is a test, maybe from God, if that’s your thinking, or maybe it’s karma from all of our past lives, or even just one of those dumb luck challenges mankind faces.

Whether a divine test or unfortunate challenge, we have failed.

Not because we took one side or another. The test is whether we can disagree, and disagree passionately, without destroying each other, without hurtful words, without violence.

Trump, the idea of Trump, has revealed us at our worst. We argue and debate nonsense, and neither side listens to the other. It’s like we are speaking different languages. We only understand what we want to, and many times that is the propaganda that spews from the social media on our phones and laptops.

Our hope is that we can overcome the negativity and the hateful verbiage. That’s not likely, given that each side thinks the other is the instigator.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard and Danville News Editor Joe Sylvester.

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