Dipole Moment in the US Politics
If you think polarization has limits, you've probably never expressed your opinion on politics in the US.
Perhaps the most notorious character of American politics is its ever-growing degree of polarization. A gullible person would think: well, what is so wrong about supporting different parties and having a variety of opinions? This question, unfortunately, cannot be answered in a yes-or-no manner simply because the American political realm does not just revolve around ‘’the variety of opinions’’ or ‘’expressing support towards different parties’’.
The fact of the matter is that citizens of the US are quite literally founding their existence and its meaning on their political inclinations. Sons and daughters stop communicating with their parents for the latter dared expressing an alternative outlook on, say, abortion. Families are getting divorced due to not agreeing on gun regulations and campus students demand ‘’safe spaces’’ only because someone’s political views seem ‘’threatening’’ and ‘’offensive’’. There was even an instance when tens of thousands of dollars were spent on a 5’9 Jewish man who simply wanted to engage in debates with the fellow students at a university campus. Yes, you guessed it right. I am referring to Ben Shapiro who, despite having exceptional debate skills, should not come across a physical threat requiring that many security men to any sane person at all.
Not to seem like a defensive mechanism towards predominantly conservative portion of the population, I have to highlight that both parties are guilty of intolerance with regards to different opinions. The exchange of the latter accompanied by constructive criticism and reasonable discussion has almost completely gone extinct. ‘’I do not want to talk to you’’ was the phrase said by almost every member of the protest rally protesting Trump’s immigration policy. Some people even threw water bottles at a, frankly cringe-level provocative conservative journalist, and a few participants tried to grab her microphone (which is certainly a more decent thing to grab than whatever their beloved President had suggested).
The question is when did people become so incapable of hearing opposing views? Are they the only ones to be blamed or do politicians help enhance already ingrained polarization?
It would not be too unreasonable to assume that there at least are three primary factors from the side of politicians that fuel the polarization degree in the US. Firstly, political leaders constantly exploit the real grievances of their voters. They do so by intentionally choosing the divisive issues in order to pursue their own political agenda. While the latter is often accomplished successfully, the general public is left split in half and this only damages the healthy consolidation of democratic processes in the country.
Another contributing factor towards the growing polarization is the meticulously calculated usage of the persuasive tactics. Remember the good old days when politicians used to argue with facts and logic rather than playground insults and finger-pointing? Yeah, me neither. But the situation as of now seems to be going off the rails. Unprecedented attacks and the purposeful undermining of the ‘’them versus us’’ narrative feeds the minds of the easily converted to the point where unemployed Timothy with a degree in gender fluidity wholeheartedly believes that the entire population disagreeing with his sentimental penchants is to be blamed.
Portraying an opposing party as a ‘’threat to the country’’ or ‘’enemy of the people’’ is working quite effectively in a sense that people get the false high ground of righteousness under their feet. Instead of realizing that subjectivity does exist in certain areas of reasoning, everybody thinks their political stance is superior, and other is to be discarded in a garbage bin. The healthy attitude of ‘’I view a particular, say policy prescription differently from you. Let’s see how we can discuss it and perhaps reach some resolution’’ has vanished and not been seen in quite a long time.
The third initial aspect of political polarization is the inherent bias that exists in media outlets and news magazines. Can anyone on the face of earth send me a postcard with the date they last saw objectively reported news or read a news article without untalented ad hominems and second-grade jabbing? As a general rule, if you keep stuffing yourself with processed sugar and junk food on a daily basis, the natural outcome will be weight gain. Similarly, if all we are fed from the media outlets are biased news pieces and panicked reports on how the world is ending because some sort of financial bill has been proposed, the consequences will not be exactly delightful. Politicians divide people, and the media serves as a middleman, although it only makes matters worse.
Together on a Solution
Employing less emotionally loaded language in their statements and speeches would be greatly appreciated but will politicians ever seriously consider doing so? Or should we make a rather pessimistic deduction that rationality bores people? Perhaps it does not at all, and the reason why the general public is driven towards the ridiculous promises communicated to them through yelling is that that is all they have seen and heard from fellow politicians.
It frankly cannot be predicted whether someone appears in the realm of US politics capable of boiling down the polarization degree, but the need for it seems to become more and more urgent. After all, political polarization is not a mere ‘’I don’t like pizza so we can’t be friends’’ type of sentiment. When accumulated, it may result into the exhibitions of physical violence and bring additional chaos to the country’s stability.
It would be of good use if more people spoke out publicly about their attitude towards the polarization residing in their country. Perhaps, small discussion groups could be organized among local communities and minor changes would start to emerge this way. The problem of such a scale will of course not be solved by a group of neighbors with good intentions but it did arise from families and siblings engaging in conflicts over the political matters. Maybe the search for the solution should begin where the issues were originally planted.