Politics in America has never been a unifying topic among its population. Many consider even bringing up the topic without consideration in public a taboo, as differing beliefs can easily provoke division among people. But why is this discussion so divisive and vitriolic, especially in recent years? It most likely has to do with the narrow perspective many approach political
discourse with, as well as the inability of some to consider new viewpoints and ideas.
Political discussions aren’t always predisposed to be unproductive and petty, with many being able to produce greater understanding of each other when performed in a respectful and open manner. However, the overall atmosphere of politics has shifted, and it has become considerably harder to have a productive conversation and cooperate together on issues in society. This has to do with how people approach both the candidates representing them and how they represent their beliefs publicly. When a member of any party supports their party unconditionally, and cannot concede for even the slightest of differing viewpoints, it creates an atmosphere prohibiting discussion and peaceful resolution of issues that affect all parties equally, like the economy or public benefits like health care. Now, there is nothing wrong with someone supporting a candidate that they believe represents a positive change for America, but unwavering support without question makes any productive discussion pointless because people resigning themselves to only one train of thought and one perspective leaves both sides gridlocked and unable to cooperate on important decisions affecting the whole population. When political parties are seen as sports teams to blindly cheer on and root for and not public servants that are subject to criticism if they are not effectively supporting US citizens, it creates a toxic atmosphere of division and disagreement. If society cannot collaborate to choose effective public servants without devolving into petty squabbles on either side, then uniting to fight real crises like the recent pandemics becomes all the more difficult to organize.
There are many ways to solve this polarization, but it involves both sides making contributions towards solving relationships and actually making an effort to have thoughtful discussion without holding onto their past contentions. It’s easy to get mad and argue when faced with disagreement and differing ideas and viewpoints, but having a basic level of respect and conduct when approaching these discussions definitely yields a more civil and informational result for everyone involved. Empathy and understanding are two of the most important tools towards making positive change for all citizens, and if supporters of these candidates also approach the important voting process with decency and respect, then the overall quality of society is increased through peaceful discourse and mutual belief in the betterment of society. Reaching a mutual peaceful atmosphere in the political space will not be easy, as many people are resigned to their beliefs and respond to any conflicting ones with disregard and instant denial of their validity. However, if the American populace is going to have a more respectful political approach, then the acknowledgement of common goals and needs will be the thing that helps develop collaborative solutions. Overall, the current state of American politics is one of disarray and taking sides, but through peaceful discussion and understanding America can hope to have a more tolerant and respectful future for the current generation.
Photo provided by MIT
Story by AJ Curtiss