While the cancer on our society – party over country — is metastasizing, it is important to remember that the very large majority of citizens who voted for Donald Trump are not in favor of lying, homophobia, and separating children from their parents. 

Other forces are at play, linked to the kind of information we are exposed to and the ways are brains process it. We are facing a reckoning for an over reliance on rational thinking while underestimating the impact of emotions in decision making.

At this critical juncture in the great American experiment, the main question all of us have to ask ourselves is this: Do we choose to try to be part of the solution, or do we choose to pour more gasoline on the fire.

The same question is most relevant locally.

In our efforts to steer the Riverside-Brookfield High School ship through the rough waters of COVID-19, one thing stands out. The feedback from stakeholders – students, parents, teachers, taxpayers – is easily discernable as either genuinely helpful data gathering or primarily an expression of frustration linked to blaming the other side.

There is no other side. There is only us. And there is a better way forward.

Please take 30 minutes and watch two talks, “The Walk from No to Yes” by William Ury and “The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives” by Jonathan Haidt, both on TED.com.

If you like them, consider sharing them with extended family members who you disagree with politically, whether on the national stage or right here at home. And if you do that this coming week, you may even have a more enjoyable holiday. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thomas Jacobs


Thomas Jacobs serves on the Board of Education of Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208.