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The following essay was penned by Mike Geniella, local media consultant and former report for the Press Democrat:
Here is the crisp $100 bill that arrived in the mail the other day from a former Ukiah Valley friend to settle an election bet. He was and he remains an ardent Trump supporter. Sadly, the bet bitterly underscores the deep political divide in this country, and in our own communities. I say ‘former’ friend because as the November election neared the rhetoric between us escalated, and then exploded. As a result, a 35-year friendship appears to be damaged beyond repair. I made the mistake of telling the person, an individual who is a prosperous community leader and the next generation in a decades-old family business, that I could not respect him because of his unrelenting defense of Trump, and his nasty attacks on anyone who dared to criticize. I almost immediately tried to reel back my sweeping condemnation, offering apologies for the heat of the moment. The efforts were to no avail. We ended up telling each other to “eff off.” This all came down before the storming of the nation’s Capitol by Trump supporters. God know what we might have said to each other had we still been talking then. I am not happy about my role in the apparent demise of this long friendship. I could have been more circumspect, I suppose. Yet I am sick of Trump and his cult like followers being given such wide berth, and somehow their actions being accorded the status of ‘just politics.’ It is not. It is dangerous. The man tried to seriously undermine our nation’s democracy, and his reckless antics still at play. Since the Ben Franklin arrived in the mail, I have pondered what to do. (“I pay my bets,” declared the one line note from the former friend.) Then over the weekend I read about a new Political Action Committee formed by Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of 10 GOP lawmakers under fire from the Trump crowd for his support of impeachment. It is Kinzinger’s plea for responsible Republicans to take back their party. I have decided to donate the money to Kinzinger’s cause in the name of my former friend. Join me if you like: https://www.country1st.com/.