Partisan Politics: Why We Have Become So Divided and How We Can Change It

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The tumultuous 2016 election has lead to a post-election session filled with questioning, reflections, and arguing. The one thing that everyone can agree on is that partisan politics is here, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Many people are shaking their heads wondering why the country is more divided than ever. As with everything right now, there are different opinions on both sides. Here are some fundamental issues people might be overlooking:

Destructive Criticism: the Shovel that Digs the Trench

The debate among Democrats and Republicans can be boiled down into one sentence: what is the role of government in the lives of people? Republican’s vision is a government with a minimal role, and Democrats believe the government can play a more positive and active role in the lives of citizens. There have been conservative presidents, and there have been liberal presidents. Through it all there was a sense of partisan politics, but not on a scale that we see today.

Today there is a destructive criticism in every tidbit and every opinion page that circulates the news and the internet. Destructive criticism is the shovel that digs the trench. It is the stick that draws the line in the sand, and it is the gun that kills honest debate.

People are no longer calling this an honest debate between two important ideas about the role of government. It is now about who can scream the loudest, or who can gain the most applause or attention from their rude and insulting statements.

Honest debates about policy have been filled with partisan politics and political gossip parading as news and information. It has been magnified by the partisan media pundits on both the left and the right.

From the Left

Pundits on the left consider conservatives evil people who fight against racial justice and equality. They are individuals who want to enrich themselves and big business more than the middle class. They seek international wars in places like the Middle East to secure oil contracts, and gleefully commit war-crimes without batting an eye.

Conservatives, for pundits on the left, are all racist, sexist, and against the poor. They want to take away Medicare with a smile on their face, and they don’t care how many of those in poverty go without their health insurance.

From the Right

Pundits on the right have become extremists. They believe in conspiracy theories about a pizza parlor being the center of a child sex trafficking ring run by Clinton campaign operatives. They don’t listen to the scientific evidence supporting the statement that climate change is real, and a vast majority believe that President Obama was not born in the United States.

Liberals, for pundits on the right, are seeking to turn the United States into a communist authoritarian state where liberty and individual rights are squashed under the mantra of greater social equality. They see government assistance as a takeover of the sector that is involved.

Why They Are Both Wrong

This country has seen liberal presidents and congresses, and it has seen conservative presidents and congresses. The results these people say will come about if the other side is in office, has not happened.

What has happened is the right has been overtaken by extremists, most notably people like Alex Jones at Infowars, and Sean Hannity from FoxNews.

The left is at the beginning stages of being passed by extremist pundits. People like Cenk Ugyar and Ana Kasparian from the Young Turks have pushed hypocritical opinionated rants and labeled themselves intelligent commentarians. They must be discredited before they can gain more ground and disrupt honest political discourse.

Final Thoughts

Our partisan politics have become so heated because extremists on the left and the right inflame the electorate into believing false narratives about those on the other side of the spectrum. In order for the United States to heal, especially in the troubling times of a Donald Trump Presidency, we must remember that the average American is not an extremist, and we can have honest disagreements that try to presuade the other person, not insult and belittle them.

 

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