Liberal. Conservative. Progressive. Radical Leftist. Far Righter.
In today’s political climate, it is practically impossible to stumble across an issue that is not divided into the hard-cut categories between the left and the right.
“Leftist” issues, seemingly regardless of what they are, are immediately disparaged by those who line themselves up with the right. Similarly, “the right’s” issues are mocked, scorned at, and disregarded by both politicians and ordinary citizens on the left. This tug of war between two extremely large powers is what the American congressional system is today.
This is a problem.
Politics in America are extremely polarizing in a way that hinders the innovation, productivity, and cooperation of its citizens. The very foundational ideas of the two ruling parties are far too broad to justify such passionate aggression between the two institutions. In fact, most issues that the government faces should be grouped under bipartisan issues – there is no hard line between the ideals of the left and right, but rather, they extend across both parties on a spectrum. This spectrum is far too broad to encompass “conservatives” into a box that only matches the “conservative” title, or for liberals to be stuck in a chamber that only matches the “liberal” title.
This type of polarization leads to an escalation of identities when a conversation between the two sides is attempted. Contemporary liberals are quick to be named communists by the opposing side, in the same way, that contemporary conservatives are branded as fascists and dictators for even beginning a conversation. This is a vicious cycle because anytime a discussion is had between the right and the left, the emotional gap between them widens. Those whose values are not supported openly feel as though their identities are being humiliated, and the anger and violent passion between the two sides get stronger to the point of no return. Nothing is more effective in this act than the media.
The media, at its core, connects groups of people regardless of their spatial location. However, this can be significantly problematic when the media, regardless of which side, turns this massive reach of communication into a vessel for radicalization and polarization. On both sides of the spectrum, viewers watch the news and get extremely different reports, all skewed towards the advancement of their side’s goals. True news is scant today, and it’s likely because of the polarizing political climate.
If two friends discover that they are on opposing political sides, that friendship can very well be destroyed because of the belief that the other side is misguided at best and evil at worst.
So how do we stop this problem? Acceptance. Our society needs to learn to accept people regardless of their political differences and work towards having meaningful discussions with them. This means denying claims of radicalism, and retaining our consciousness when watching the news or consuming any form of media. We need to rise above the cloud of propaganda and deception that is perpetuated by both sides and begin to think for ourselves and evaluate issues with a more clear lens. By accepting people for who they are and refusing to let this difference permeate political structures and issues, we can focus on improving society collectively, without halting at an unnecessary partisan issue. The senate and the house need not be a war ground between the two parties, rather it should be a place where people of different backgrounds congregate to discuss issues that are likely to be of interest to both sides in some way.
Accepting those different backgrounds and points of view, and understanding the issue brought to the stand will lead to innovative, productive, and helpful discussions that can change the future of America and the world for the better.