I am a political dichotomy.

Red side, I'm the third generation living on a ranch deep in the coast range with timber and cattle. I chose this life and have been reading Capital Press for 40 years.

Blue side, I'm an electrical engineer who believes in science first and foremost, and my dedication to science is "a good life." Capital Press has intriguing demographics, so I write this to their readers regarding our country's existential situation.

President Trump successfully weaponized the enormous growing-for-decades gap between our liberal, diverse urban citizens and our conservative, white rural citizens. Social science research attributes this gap to differing “moral foundations” with liberals being motivated simply by “fairness ... justice” and a do no harm philosophy. Whereas conservatism is more complicated. It's “embraced to reduce fear, anxiety, uncertainty, change … and to justify order and inequality.” Conservatism also requires “in-group loyalty, respect for authority and purity which leads to self-righteousness and contempt.” Additionally, conservatives are “repulsed by liberal ideology” (example: change for “social justice”).

When Trump chose not to bridge this gap but, instead, to exploit it for his personal gain, he failed both as a president and as a decent, ethical human being. Therefore, we now have a vast and unfortunate divisive situation of cause and effect.

The cause: Trump supporters used Facebook, Twitter, Foxnews etc. then switched to Parler, Mewe, Gab, Bitchute, Telegram, Clouthub (and others) plus Newsmax-TV and OANN-TV to spread many lies to many millions already filled with many understandable fears and anger stemming from the rapid (one generation) massive social and economic changes which they believed were threatening their futures.

These millions were essentially white: the evangelicals (some said Trump was "sent by God to save their way of life"), white supremacists and neo-nazis, white militias, white Q-wackos, white stop-the-stealers, plus all the other angry white "Trumpers."

The Jan. 6 insurrection riot clearly exemplified this. And, we continue to see the spreading of more egregious, absurd and very dangerous lies, especially "the big lie" (with zero proof) … election fraud, plus more conspiracies, more science-denying, more voter suppression, and more CPAC+Q, etc.

The effect: The "new" Republican party (the GOPQ) is displaying alarming enabling and/or dysfunctional behavior which is severely restricting their contribution(s) to competent reality-based governance. For instance, some Qwackos believe Oprah Winfrey was wearing an ankle monitor during her royal interview, "proving" she had been arrested for child sex trafficking.

Originally it was believed we would eventually “reunite” our country. But, with the many fear-based or simply delusional beliefs found in Trumpers, is it possible (or even desirable) to "reunite" with millions of citizens who do not believe facts are important?

Also, when addressing problems requiring national and/or global solutions (climate change, pollution, COVID, racism, etc.) Trumpers seem to hear only "blah blah blah socialism” then, right-wing trolls and fear-mongers whip them into a panicked frenzy (I have witnessed this!)

Trumpers respond: "Just because we don't agree with you doesn't make us lunatics." "It's challenging to have respectful conversations with people who don't respect us back." "Different perspectives are a good thing." During normal times, of course these statements would be understandable. However, during today's abnormal times the Republican Party must understand that having meaningful productive conversations with a perspective that believes facts are not important is fundamentally impossible! How is it possible to connect intelligently with people who grossly ignore facts?

It took America centuries to achieve global leadership; it took Trump 4 years to severely damage it. The new Republican party (GOPQ) has welcomed fact/reality deniers with open arms. Therefore, it is complicit in this damage.

Please! Fix! This!... then please return to reality-based governing. Thank you.

Prebuttal: Not supporting dangerous lies or misinformation is neither censorship nor cancel culture; it's simply supporting reality.

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Erwin Roberts is an electrical engineer and lives on a ranch near Corvallis, Ore.

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