Nearly half of Herald readers blame president for divisiveness. They don't agree why

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Airport High School in West Columbia, S.C., Monday, June 25, 2018, for Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Airport High School in West Columbia, S.C., Monday, June 25, 2018, for Republican Gov. Henry McMaster. AP Photo

Herald readers who answered a recent online survey about civility in politics said it’s worse than it has been, and nearly half of them said they blame the president.

The majority of people -- 89 percent -- of readers who responded to The Herald’s survey, attached to a story on Rep. Ralph Norman’s decision to introduce a resolution to officially condemn Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for protest, blame either the president or the press for divisiveness in politics -- 46 percent blamed the president, while 39 percent blamed the press.

Another 10 percent said social media is to blame, and only 5 percent blamed Congress.

Almost 49 percent of readers who answered the survey said politics has had some negative impact on their personal relationships, while 35 percent said there has been no effect on their relationships.

Conda Jones of Charlotte, who voted for President Donald Trump in November, said she thinks divisiveness in politics went downhill after the 2016 presidential election.

“I’m pretty much disgusted with (politics) honestly,” she said. “You know, it really bothers me for the simple thing that we have so much bullying going on in school. Young kids, what do they see? What do they hear? They hear adults bully each other every single day.”

She said she voted for Trump mainly to vote against candidate Hillary Clinton.

“I hate to say this, I really do because I don’t want to blame one area, but it started with the election of the president. All the way through Obama, nobody ever opened their mouth, nobody said a word, you really couldn’t. I mean, you were a racist if you opened your mouth to disagree.”

But she said after Trump was elected president, things changed.

“Oh my gosh, the whole country went flipping berserk,” Jones said. “They just went off the deep end. Now they’re hating. They don’t like this, they don’t like that.”

Steve Powell of Fort Mill said focusing on civility in politics is ignoring the real issue, such as Trump's immigration policies separating families at the border.

Waters originally called for protests of Trump administration officials in response to the Trump "zero tolerance" border policy that resulted in separating immigrant children from their parents at the border.

Norman responded by calling for a censure, or official condemnation, of Waters comments, but Waters said in a House committee meeting that lawmakers should be more concerned by the president inciting violence and incivility.

Powell said the conversation should be focused on immigration violations, not civility.

"While violating our own laws concerning immigration, specifically the right to a hearing when applying for asylum and unlawfully separating children from their parents, the Trump administration apologists and enablers like Congressman Norman, are rushing to the House floor to censure Maxine Waters for voicing concern for the voiceless, and for demonstrating resistance to the abuse of power demonstrated by these policies," Powell said in an email.

"I’d have a lot more respect for Congressman Norman if, instead of acquiescing to the whims of a dishonest, misguided president, he stood up for the rule of law and the sanctity of the family," he said.

Nearly 100 people gathered June 30 as part of a national movement in front of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's office in downtown Rock Hill to protest those immigration policies, carrying signs like: "No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here" and "Families belong together."

Trump signed an executive order ending his policy of separating families at the border, but the administration has not yet been able to reunite children with their families.

Powell said reuniting families is more important than worrying about civility.

"We really need to explore the central questions in conflict and skip the fluff," he said in an email. "You don't make public officials accountable by bowing to civility and courtesy."

A total of 463 readers responded to The Herald's online poll.

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068, @hgsmoot
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