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The presidential debate and a viral video: Two surprising explanations for our divisiveness and three biblical responses

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, left, take the stage for the start of the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Let’s begin with some surprising good news: politicians can agree to get along. I’m not referring to last night’s presidential debate, which we’ll get to in a moment, but to a video tweeted from the governor’s race in Utah which has gone viral.

Democrat Chris Peterson and Republican Spencer Cox appear side by side, though socially distanced. They introduce themselves and tell us we should vote for them. Then they take turns making statements that are countercultural and refreshing:

  • “There are some things we both agree on.”
  • “We can debate issues without degrading each other’s character.”
  • “We can disagree without hating each other.”
  • “Win or lose, in Utah we work together.”

Their video has 3.3 million views as of this morning. 

Meanwhile, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met last night at Belmont University in Nashville for the final presidential debate before the November 3 election. The discussion was less belligerent than the first debate. Once again, who won depends on your partisan perspective: conservative John Podhoretz says the president “had the debate of his life,” while CNN‘s Chris Cillizza writes that Joe Biden “managed to land the best lines of the night.” 

How has our culture become so divisive? Let’s consider two surprising factors. 

“Seemingly on the brink of nuclear war” 

On this day in 1962, the quarantine of Cuba began in response to the discovery that the Soviet Union was building medium-range missile sites there. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website notes that during what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, “the world waited—seemingly on the brink of…

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