January 5, 2018 – A recent Gallup Poll shows Obama as the most admired man in the world, with Trump faring well in second place. While many, including myself, continue to hold Obama in high esteem, millions find Trump’s brash approach to governing — and life – refreshing.

The fact that two very different presidents can engender fairly equal levels of loyalty and support frightens me, as it reminds me of the mid 1800s and a time of calamitous political and social division. Sadly, we know what happened; shared values and history were discarded and the nation unraveled.

Unless we can ascertain how to refocus on commonalities, our division will only increase and potentially fuel an unquenchable fire. States might as well start again abandoning the union if we end up nothing but regional “liberal” or “conservative” pockets awaiting opportunities to attack our fellow Americans in undignified and futile ways.

I don’t have a solution to the current political and societal rift, although I believe Trump is part of the problem with his constant insults and “take no prisoners” mindset. He’s not the only culprit, however. Everyone needs to stop bickering, for if we don’t, there won’t be much left of value to bicker about.

Jacqueline Finley lives in Grass Valley.