North Texas Daily

Political polarization can only be overcome through togetherness

Political polarization can only be overcome through togetherness

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Political polarization can only be overcome through togetherness
November 01
01:14 2018

With midterm elections on the horizon, it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape the resurrection of political divisiveness. Regardless of the outcome, one thing all sides of the spectrum need to understand — like it or not— is that the only way to progress is to do so together.

If after reading that sentence, your first thought was, “Well if the other side would behave civilly it would be possible,” you might be part of the problem.

According to a recent study published in Science Direct, the U.S. is nearing maximal levels of political polarization, or extreme dissidence between parties. The same study states in legislative contexts, conditions conducive to positive intergroup interactions and political balance are unlikely to exist.

At this point, it seems like the only truly bipartisan goal is the continuation toward further polarization.

As a country, our focus should be on moving forward, picking up the pieces and coming together to realize that nothing can be accomplished with a “my way or the highway” attitude. Concentrating our efforts on maintaining party control will diminish our true values and potential.

With more than 300 million people in the U.S., it is doubtful that individual fits snugly within the boundaries of the labels of “Democrat” or “Republican.” A two-party system was bound to eventually develop into the widespread disharmony we see today. By its very nature, a system based on just two political platforms is extremely polarizing and conditions us to view every issue as having only two opposing sides.

This is severely restrictive to compromise: It causes parties to view each others’ stances not as differing legislative ideas but sheer opponents to the advancement of their own agendas.

No individual on this planet can truthfully admit to thinking simply in black in white — in absolutes. Why would we want our country ran in such a way that, by design, will only lead to pure disjunction?

Straight-ticket voting is an example of our inflated obsession with party affiliation. Information should be presented clearly on ballots and the voter should be able to make respective decisions on each candidate and voting issue without the option to automatically select all the candidates for a particular party. The choice to vote straight-ticket implies that voters should be most concerned with their party’s victory, but the whole point of voting is to thoughtfully consider candidates and issues and have those decisions be heard.

Democrats and Republicans alike are guilty of fanning the flames of division. President Trump seemingly targets a different enemy every day which results in widespread contention, meanwhile Democratic proponents with large followings notoriously indulge in the hateful discourse as well. On National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, Democrat-supporting comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted a homophobic dig at Senate Republicans and Sen. Lindsey Graham.

When we direct our attention toward pointlessly attacking “the other side,” we lose sight of what could be accomplished. Doesn’t it make sense to shun petty, personal jabs unrelated to politics and instead keep our collective eye on the ball?

This isn’t to advocate for putting up with harmful policies aimed at stripping human rights away or infringing on civil rights. Certain things cannot be compromised, and those on the wrong side of history should be left behind if their politics directly threaten the rights and life quality of vulnerable groups.

What do we stand to gain from continuing to watch the divisions across our nation grow bigger and bigger, the animosity grow more and more volatile? And if we do nothing, what will be the breaking point?

At the end of the day we all live in the same country — we should be trying to patch it together, not rip it further apart. If the nation persists down increasingly isolated paths, there are many losers and no winners. By overcoming and working together, we can piece together a nation where we all can win — and yes, that really is possible.

Featured Image: File

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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