Photo/IllutrationA huge public TV screen shows a news program covering the U.S. midterm elections in Tokyo on Nov. 7. (AP Photo)

A few years ago, I heard this lament from a married couple in suburban San Francisco: “In today’s America, it’s become so difficult for a conservative and a liberal to live under the same roof, it makes you want to cry.”

The husband, a police officer, is a diehard conservative. The wife, an author, is a confirmed anti-war liberal.

When they eat out, she orders organic vegetables, and he, a steak.

On their day off, she proposes a visit to the museum, and he suggests going fishing together.

To discipline their pet dog, the wife crouches down and caresses it. The husband’s method is to scold the animal into submission.

I recall being amazed by the stark differences in personal preferences and habits in this marriage between a liberal and a conservative.

U.S. voters are now trapped in an escalating “blue-red confrontation,” the blue standing for supporters of the Democratic Party and the “red” for followers of the Republican Party.

Their mutual animus has become all too overt in recent years, destroying whatever civility and mutual tolerance that used to exist in the past.

And my frank impression of the Nov. 6 midterm elections was that their animus has grown into full-blown hatred.

There is no question that President Donald Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric is to blame. Unleashing his hostility at the Democrats, Trump fanned the fears of voters by stating, “The Democrat (sic) agenda is a socialist nightmare for our country.”

The suspect arrested last month for sending pipe bombs to senior Democratic Party officials and others is reportedly a Trump faithful.

The Nov. 6 polls gave the Democrats control of the House for the first time in eight years. But this is hardly likely to make Trump soften his stance. On the contrary, I fear he will further escalate his incendiary and xenophobic ways.

Quoting from the Bible, President Abraham Lincoln said famously 160 years ago, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This was his plea for national unity over the divisive issue of slavery.

Unfortunately, Trump’s America could not be further in spirit from Lincoln’s America.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 8

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.