I write a sports column for my local newspaper. They pay me $25 a week to churn out 600 words — mostly about my time spent playing and coaching football — and up until recently, I was a big hit in my little corner of Arkansas.

Then I wrote about the president.

I simply imagined Donald Trump as a high school football coach, arguing his antics wouldn’t go over well in the local arena. It ran on a Sunday with the title “Coach Trump.”

By that Monday morning, an enraged man had already stormed the newspaper office, withdrawing his subscription. Then came the phone calls, townsfolk lamenting about how “disappointed” they were, how upsetting it was to see such commentary in the “Sports” section.

I also received emails, good and bad, each one drawing its own line. It felt like picking teams, preparing for battle. I walked through the coming days glancing over my shoulder, all the time wondering if I had ventured into enemy territory.

Problem was, I was in my own neighborhood. These were my fellow countrymen, fellow Arkansans — these were my people.

Who’s to blame for such polarization?

It’s not the president. Donald Trump came onto the scene long after the line was drawn. He’s certainly added fuel to the fire, but our current schism is not Trump’s fault.

The fault is all ours. A deep-seated culture of selfishness has been allowed to fester in our country. We vote for the candidate that best suits our needs, pushes our own agenda. And the politicians? They serve selfishly. They give speeches — make promises — all bent toward what’s popular, what will get them the most votes, instead of what is best for all.

Even the Declaration of Independence tells us to go forth in search of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Your life.

Your liberty.

Your happiness.

A me-versus-you, win-at-all-cost mentality has spread across our country under such maxims, a place where even members of the same community — the same small town in the Arkansas River Valley — must snarl and posture to make sure their way, their beliefs — their politics — win the day.

But this is not the way.

The way is as old as time itself. It’s written on our souls, in our hearts. We know it when we see it. It tingles up our spines. Makes our hair stand on end. It’s goodness, wholeness, selflessness in its rawest form.

The answer to our growing divide will not come from our current president, or any president to come. The answer will come from the inside out. And it will start small, like all good things. It could be as simple as smiling at a stranger, a million tiny acts of kindness slowly righting our sinking ship.

America will not be destroyed — or made great again — by any one man. It will take all of us coming together for the greater good. And maybe, if we do, we’ll find life, liberty, and happiness for all Americans, instead of just ourselves.

Editor’s note: This column came to The Daily News after retired editor Heber Taylor met the author in Arkansas. It’s published here for the first time.

Eli Cranor is the recipient of The Greensboro Review’s Robert Watson Literary Prize. He can be reached at elicranor.com.

(34) comments

Carlos Ponce

Read Coach Cranor's column at:
http://couriernews.com/Content/Default/Sports/Article/Coach-Trump/-3/84/45797
My reply to Coach Cranor, thank you for you opinion. Donald Trump is not "your son’s football coach", "your daughter’s basketball coach", "in the locker room or on the bus with your kids". He's the duly elected President of the United States and doing a good job. I've known coaches like Donald Trump, some successful, some not, some who had a short career, some who had a long career spanning decades. America needed a shaking up to become "great again". Donald has been described as a "bull in a china shop". After eight years of a POTUS who engaged in a daily "apology tour", ignored the Constitution and laws on the books, whose regulations resulted in a lackluster economy, etc., a "bull in a china shop" is what we need. "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you might find you get what you NEED." And that's no bull.
Looks like Coach Cranor has his ear tuned to the Left, which is his right (no pun intended) but I suggest he listen to the people of Arkansas, the majority whom like the job the president is doing. Likewise, the majority of Americans like the job this president is doing. Don't accept those polls that rate him low with demographics skewed to the far Left. And if you do accept them remember that Trump's numbers are higher than Obama's at the same point of his presidency.

Diane Turski

Eli, sadly your observations accurately reflect the division in this country that many of us have experienced and would like to see end! Hopefully enough of us will actively begin living by the Golden Rule again as the solution to ending this cancer that has been growing inside our country and has resulted in this Trump presidency. The November mid-term elections present the first real opportunity to begin removing this cancer so that we Americans can begin to recover from this illness and reclaim our healthy, selfless American values! Please vote in November for a speedy and healthy recovery process!

Carlos Ponce

"Please vote in November for a speedy and healthy recovery process!"
I would say:
Please vote in November to continue the speedy and healthy recovery process!
Economy - healthier,
Black unemployment is down - healthier,
Hispanic unemployment is down - healthier,
Unemployment down to 3.9% - healthier,
Doing away with over regulation of small businesses - healthier,
Take home pay is up - healthier,
Income taxes are up despite lowering taxes due to the increase in employment and take home pay - healthier,
North Korea talking about de-nuclearization - not there yet but looking healthier.
Putting America first - healthier.
You are correct in stating that there is "division in this country". The division is caused by those who refuse to accept the 2016 election results and the good that has come from it.
There will not be a "blue wave" come November. The Lord has sent his messengers in the form of a group of young men who went to the White House and laid their hands on Donald Trump praying with him. The men go by the name of the "Crimson Tide". There will not be a "blue wave" but a "Crimson Tide". Now examine the word "Crimson". "Crimson is a strong, red color, inclining to purple". So there will be some Democrats elected but Congressional makeup will be a "strong, red color" but those Democrats elected will work with the President.
Let you heart not be troubled, Diane. Donald Trump will not be impeached. He will be re-elected in 2020. Look forward to times of economic prosperity!

Daniel Hochman

You are such a hypocrite, it is astounding. You talk about christians and laying on of hands and prayer... this man you support is the anti-christian. He has been a liar and a cheat, a misogynist, an adulterer his entire life. Somehow, now he is magically absolved of all his crimes and sins. It is laughable, and so are your supposed "facts," which actually hold no place in reality. Trump is in no way supported by the majority. His ratings are the lowest in presidential history. Even staunchly republican strategists are calling him a disaster. He is a buffoon...a joke. His policies will lead us directly into a depression just as the trade war before the Great Depression did so many years ago. He is running the most corrupt administration in history. Even more corrupt than Nixon. You and your Daily News minions who have nothing better to do with your time know nothing other than what you can pull up with google from the far right. Even your beloved Fox news called him out. You can proceed to call me names now and post useless non-facts, but the truth is not on your side and I will not be baited into a debate with those who have no idea how to think for themselves.

https://scontent.fhou1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/31956241_2021696457844805_4370956735028920320_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&oh=e79e19dbc59a97a04eeb226d84b994b5&oe=5B8A82C0

Carlos Ponce

Daniel Hochman, recall the ruler of a country who spied on a young woman while she was bathing, got her pregnant, tried to convince her husband that it was his child. He sent the woman's husband on what was a suicide mission, then married her. You would possibly classify him as "a liar and a cheat, a misogynist, an adulterer". Yet the man we know as King David was made after God's own heart.
As for Christians, we are not perfect - just forgiven.[innocent]

Carol Dean

It is a shame that there are so many "hypocritical" Christians who never "see" or speak the truth. The facts that you have posted are completely incorrect! Just today it was noted that Trumps approval ratings are higher then B.O.'s were at the same time in his Presidency. Be happy! Life is Good! God is good!

Carlos Ponce

"Somehow, now he is magically absolved of all his crimes and sins." Not magic but Christ's FORGIVENESS. Not magic but God's DIVINE MERCY. Not magic but God's GRACE. The slate is wiped clean.
Daniel, before you write about Christians how about learning about them.[beam]

Daniel Hochman

It doesn't work that way, Carlos. You don't get to be a monster and then say oh god forgives me... LMAO!!! That doesn't make it better for the people who were victims of the offender. Trump is no christian. Never has been, Never will be. If you believe that, you are living in a delusional world and are a victim of this con-man just like everyone else. P.S. I am perfectly aware of christian belief, so suppose about which I do or do not have knowledge since you do not know me. I see you did not read the quote by your idiot leader I placed on here...or you chose to ignore it and the fact that he has the intellectual capacity of a third grader.

Carol...I'm sorry dear, but you are completely wrong. Obama averaged almost 50%, about the same as Ronald Regan, approval in his first term. Even Jimmy Carter had higher ratings than Trump at 45%. Trump just ticked up from 39% to 40% based on his non-involvement with N. Korea, which was stated by the Koreans themselves (that he had nothing to do with their decision making).

http://news.gallup.com/poll/159965/obama-averages-approval-first-term.aspx

Carlos Ponce

"It doesn't work that way, Carlos. You don't get to be a monster and then say oh god forgives me..."
Remember Paul of Tarsus who had early Christians killed. He was a monster. But Christ turned his heart and he became the apostle Paul. Likewise there are many Christian saints who started as scoundrels. We are all sinners. Only through God's grace is there a chance for anyone to get to Heaven. "There is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Romans 3:23-24
I suggest you study your Bible. It does work that way if you are truly repentant and proclaim Jesus Christ as your LORD AND SAVIOR.

Carol Dean

Diane, do you even know what the Golden Rule says?

Diane Turski

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, treat people as you would like to be treated. I don't see any of that coming from Trump or his followers.

Carlos Ponce

"I don't see any of that coming from Trump or his followers."
"There is non so blind as [s]he who will not see."

Carol Dean

My point was I have NEVER seen anything like that coming from you!

George Croix

Division?
Where was the author during the openly race baiting and hostile to any other viewpoints last Administration days?
Division?
How about the 'resistance' of today, or the 'free speach' efforts of the left to only allow their speach, and knee jerk reactions that blame everything except the actual problem?
Antics?
Yes, our President is a character, and deeply flawed, but we can survive and even prosper just fine with these 'antics', whereas not so much without a job, or on food stamps...conditions the last guy called 'the new normal'.
Yes, Donald Trump is personally unpleasant, at best.
When his opposition grows up, if ever, they may find that productivity beats pleasantness for the good of the country and the sake of suppression of our enemies.
If they're capable of it.
Oddly, Leonard wrote an op/ed just yesterday pretty much including this same thing...should be required reading for all....

Daniel Hochman

How much do you wanna bet that you and Carlos were screaming for Clinton's head on a platter for his extra-marital issues. Antics...lmao!!! Hypocrites.

George Croix

Well, Daniel, you are wrong.
And I use 'antics' because the article did. It's sarcasm, you see...or should see....
Now, if Pres. Trump had been our elected President at the time of the claimed assignation with the porno star, and not the private, un-elected citizen that he was 10 years ago and up to the moment he was elected, and had Pres. Trump carried out his 'antics' in the Oval Office, on top of the Resolute Desk, right down the hall from his sleeping wife, and had Pres. Trump then perjured himself in duly sworn testimony after shaking his finger in our collective face on national TV, I'd call for the same thing I did with then Pres. Clinton about 20 years ago...resign. You wouldn't know that, of course, because you do not know me personally, but there it is. If you don't believe it, I don't care....
Resign....NOT impeachment, because impeachment doesn't necessarily result in loss of office, and is basically a big dog and pony show for Congress, both houses of it, to appear (a) indignant, or (b) wounded, and pretty much divides even further, if that's even possible....
Positive action beats a bunch of speech making.....
Next time you feel the need to decide what I think, why not just ask me first?


Carol Dean

Daniel, impeachment did not get rid of Clinton, we were still stuck with his arrogant, poor management. Read the book, Hillary, The Other Woman, by Dolly Kyle and you will learn the truth about Billy and Hillary's relationship. Yes, Dolly was one of Bill's dependable "go tos" for years. She is a personal friend and she seems to remember the facts about Billy's life a whole lot differently then the biased media does.

Carlos Ponce

"screaming for Clinton's head on a platter for his extra-marital issues"
No, you've got that wrong. But in retrospect there is a difference. While Trump's alleged sexcapades occurred years before he was elected, Bill Clinton continued well into his presidency. If you believe Stephanie A. Gregory Clifford, you've got to believe Kathleen Willey. But there is a difference there too. Stephanie alleges her encounter with Trump was consensual. Kathleen Willey alleges Clinton''s groping on the day her husband died was anything but consensual. And it occurred in the White House. Monica's encounter with Bill was likewise consensual but done in the Oval Office while he was supposed to be working for us. Unless you believe getting vaginal flavored cigars in the nation's best interest......[unsure]
Let's see: The choice of repentant president whose alleged sexual antics ended over a decade before being elected compared to president whose sexual antics continued well into his presidency. The choice is clear.
I'm glad you didn't ask me about JFK's sexual antics in the White House. I was in first grade when he was elected.[beam]

Raymond Lewis

Good article Eli and you are spot on. Don't let any one convince you otherwise.

George Croix

Leonard, how about re-posting that last op/ed......[beam][beam]

Diane Turski

Thanks for proving my point, Carlos!

Carlos Ponce

My point proven, Diane!

Diane Turski

Tick! Tock! Carlos....

Carlos Ponce

Whatever that means. Poor Diane! I hope she gives this up after Trump finishes his second term - but I doubt it.

Ray Taft

The progressive world is on fire. The ongoing news and social medias’ censorship of anything that does not fit their progressive agenda has not worked. Upping their game by getting sports writers to bemoan the election of President Trump has not worked.

Claiming Trump is mean spirited and cannot get the job done and is not getting the job done flies in the face of what President Trump is actually getting done. It cannot be ignored. Trump went to Washington and showed that one person can get the job done. This has set the progressive world on fire. It is causing progressives to ignore reality and say it just ain’t so. They want the old progressive-stagnation status-quo back.

Trump is the long sought after leader conservative America has been longing for. President Trump proves everyday that one person, a strong conservative leader, can Make America Great Again. That does not sit well with progressives wherever they may be.

Diane Turski

Carol, you are well known for "seeing" only what you want to see. Therefore, your opinion of what you "see" does not carry much weight. I'm sure your vision would improve if you removed your partisan blinders.

Jim Forsythe

At this time no one knows who will be elected in 2020. One of the major factors for the person that gets elected in 2020 , will be the Independent voters.
Monday, May 07, 2018
"The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove.
The latest figures include 33% who Strongly Approve of the way Trump is performing and 40% who Strongly Disapprove. This gives him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -7. "
this is from only " 1,500 Likely Voters ." Did this poll go by percent each party has of voters, or only poll Republican's?
Of the 1500 likely voters they polled, how many were Republicans , Democrats, Independents. Only people with landlines?
In the USA, Independents are at 45% of the total voters. As a group they impact the Presidential races more than the other to parties grouped together.
The most pronounced swing seen, is in the polling among Independents.
45 percent of Americans identify as being Independents
24 percent identify as being Republicans
29 percent identify as being Democrats.
From 2016
"People overlook the voters that are consistently ignored at every institutional level of our political system, from taxpayer-funded primary elections they have limited or no choice in (Pennsylvania, for instance, has closed presidential primaries) to two-sided media coverage."
“This election was determined by all those voters who the parties excluded from the primary process and therefore didn’t have a vested interest in either candidate until the general election,” said Dan Howle, co-chair of the Independent Voter Project (a co-publisher of IVN.us)."

Paul Hyatt

If memory serves me correctly Jim the polls have not been right for a few years as they always seemed to be "biased" towards the left leaning progressive agenda and its candidates.... After all they "knew" that the Hildabeast was the next president up till Pres. Trump was elected then they were at a loss for what happened.... It was far more than independents that swung the election, there were many of the sheeple that crossed over and voted for someone that was for our Nation and not against it!

Jim Forsythe

Paul, Rasmussen Reports is the one Carlos goes by.
Many came within the margin of error. Very few predict the winner of the Electro Collage because most do not predict .EC results

Many were right, when they predicted that Clinton would win the popular vote. Even the Rasmussen Report said Clinton would win.
Monday, November 07, 2016
"Rasmussen Reports’ final White House Watch survey shows Democrat Hillary Clinton with a two-point lead over Republican Donald Trump with less than 24 hours to go until Election Day. Among early voters, Clinton has a double-digit lead.
The latest national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows Clinton with 45% support to Trump’s 43%. Libertarian Gary Johnson picks up four percent (4%) of the vote, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein gets two percent (2%). Three percent (3%) still like some other candidate, and four percent (4%) remain undecided."

Carlos Ponce

"Paul, Rasmussen Reports is the one Carlos goes by."
I don't go by any of them. they're all statistically flawed. But Rasmusse does poll "likely voters".
"Very few predict the winner of the Electro Collage because most do not predict .EC results" Not true. Many predicted Trump had no electoral path to the presidency in a state by state analysis. They were wrong.
"Does Donald Trump Have a Path to 270?"
https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/08/donald-trump-electoral-map-paths-270-impossibly-narrow/
"And with the GOP nominee trailing badly in nearly every national and battleground-state poll, conventional wisdom has jelled earlier than in any cycle since 1996: The election is already over."
That was August 2016.
What about November 8, 2016?
"Hillary Clinton has an 85% chance to win."
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/upshot/presidential-polls-forecast.html
"The Upshot’s elections model suggests that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, based on the latest state and national polls. A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible: Mrs. Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an N.F.L. kicker misses a 37-yard field goal."
I guess the NFL kicker missed that one.[beam]

Carlos Ponce

And there is a big difference when you poll "likely voters" - they tend to shift the polls to the Right. So polling "likely voters" is better at predicting election results.
Jim posts: "In the USA, Independents are at 45% of the total voters. But analyze those who consider themselves "Independent", which really should be "Other". Those who call themselves "Libertarian" tend to vote Conservative. Those who consider themselves Communists or Socialists tend to vote Liberal. Those who call themselves "Green" also vote Liberal.

Jim Forsythe


There are 511,277 voters (0.46% of total) registered as Libertarian
Green Party 2016, 695,604 voted for Jill Stein President.
Communists Members est. 5000

Carol Dean

Daniel, not sure why you seem to think your source is the "end all and be all" Don't you know that for every study there is an equal and opposite study? And your claim to Christianity is the very reason a lot of people are labeled Hypocrites. The truth of the matter is that in the end, it is not what others think about you and your actions. In the end, it is about what God thinks about your actions. I have a feeling He just might be a little concerned about your values, beliefs and judgments.

George Croix

The biggest benefit of polling is generally to provide income for pollsters.....
As an example of an exception to that, I'll conduct a relatively short Yes/No poll...no charge.
1) Do you think that popularity should be more important than productivity on the job?
2) Do you prefer higher taxes on people actually earning their own money or creating jobs?
3) Do you want higher unemployment?
4) Do you want higher food stamp use?
5) Do you want more dependency on government?
6) Do you want fewer good paying jobs?
7) Do you think all time low black and Hispanic unemployment is unimportant?
8) Is it better for the Korea's to remain unwilling to even talk?
9) Would it be better to have ISIS back in control of a large area?
10) Is it a bad thing for businesses to re-invest in America?
11) Should we return to net energy dependency by re-limiting domestic oil production?
12) Is it better to accede to our foreign 'friends and allies' than to put our own country's interests first?
13) Should we be nice to or even pay off our enemies and hope they leave us alone?
14) Do you believe that speech you disagree with should be shouted down and debate not allowed?
15) Should we have open borders with no restrictions on entry?
16) Should we allow people or states to decide which federal laws they'll follow and which not?
17) Do you believe that Fox news is the evil spawn of the devil, and all others the bearers of truth and goodness?
18) Is it false that resisting an election outcome is a "direct threat to our democracy", as a former candidate stated?
19) Do you consider these poll questions to be 'microagressions'?
20) Are you taking this survey from inside a 'safe space'?
If you answer 'Yes' to any of these, then your choice coming up is simple...vote for the folks promising to go back to the way we were. If you answered yes to more than 20 questions, then vote twice..... [whistling]

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