By: Ally Q.
Why is America cleaved in this way? The singular straight divide of left and right, democrats and republicans. Looking across other nations gives us some indication. The polarizing pressures of partisan media, social media, and even deeply rooted cultural, historical and regional divides are hardly unique to America. By comparison, America’s relatively rigid, two-party electoral system stands apart by collapsing a wide range of legitimate social and political debates into a singular battle line that can make our differences appear even larger than they may actually be. And when the balance of support for these political parties is close enough for either to gain near-term electoral advantage – as it has in the U.S. for more than a quarter century – the competition becomes cutthroat and politics begins to feel zero-sum, where one side’s gain is inherently the other’s loss. Finding common cause – even to fight a common enemy in the public health and economic threat posed by the coronavirus – has eluded us.
From the get-go of America, our Founding Fathers had never wanted for political parties to exist and to divide the American people knowing that one day it could destroy us. Their nightmare is now a reality. Even if our political parties were meant to organize the ideals of our country it has only become a namesake and label to pinpoint onto people and to attack the opposing side. We don’t look to understand ideologies or to talk things out, we look for that label and proceed to attack. The media has only fueled this ever-growing fire by not influencing the deep divide but to also deepen the stereotypes of each party: all republicans are deep-rooted Christians and unintelligent or all democrats are gay. It’s time we look past our stereotypes and talk like civilized people to work out our current problems.