The United States of Polarization
For starters, I don’t care if you’re a Republican. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat. I don’t care about your political affiliation at all.
Of course, I will always support your right to choose what political standards you believe, with my final breath. But at the end of the day, you’re an American. When the United States Constitution was signed in 1787, there were no political parties. It was settled with the ideals of a country united. A country run for the people, by the people, strongly opposing any form of totalitarianism and monarchy.
This nation, in all its honor, was the first ever in time to create the voter-based political parties. Beginning with the Federalists and Anti-Federalists (Democratic-Republican Party), which were divided based upon beliefs in political issues. As the nation grew stronger, more developed and powerful, the party system did as well. Over time, the parties morphed into what we know them as today: The Republican Party, Democratic Party, as well as several third parties.
The tranquility and efficiency which was envisioned for the nation through the appointing of political parties, working hand in hand, has shown its presence several notable times in our nations renowned history. Yet, it seems to be quite easier to recall the times our party system, as well as the politicians who represent their parties, have found themselves hatefully combating one another.
How does focusing your efforts on overpowering your nation’s parties, solely because their ideals differ from your own, benefit the United States?
The concept of parties despising one another is not one that is new to our culture, in fact we have seen it consume our nation. We have seen it brutally slaughter unimaginable numbers of our citizens, killed at the hand of their neighbors. We have seen it burn and ruin our land and civilizations, which gruelingly took years to stand where it once was. In case it isn’t clear enough, the culprit of this devastation was our nation’s Civil War. A war between fellow citizens on their very own shared soil. The bloodiest battle the nation has ever seen was a direct causation of political party division on political issues. In no way will I deny that the Union army fought for a noble cause and against a necessary evil, yet I can’t help to be amazed by just how destructive political disagreement without compromise can be.
As years advance, the nation developed back to what it once was. Politics again flourished right along with it. Just as these two factors see great growth over the history of the nation, the ideals they defend and dispute grow as well. Issues ranging from war overseas, taxes, racial discrimination, abortion, gay marriage, and many more constantly impact the development of the nation’s political parties, unfortunately not for the better. Republicans and Democrats despise of one another increases with every disagreement they encounter. Members of both associations begin to negatively regard individuals of contrasting parties by their affiliation to one’s political party, not as fellow human beings, and not as fellow Americans.
Unfortunately, the divide is still intact and ever s with each passing year. Every national issue and debate seems to become more and more hostile and one sided, while compromise seemingly has left the vocabulary of American politics.
Recent months have increased my fear of what is to become of politics in the U.S., especially the presidential debate that has since ended. The entire election and campaigning period resembled more of a reality T.V. show than a process to decide who will run the most powerful country in the free world. Candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton participated in campaigns focused on bashing their opponent, as well as their party and all they stand for. Never ending attacks headed by the candidates were directed at the personal lives of one another. The debates did not resemble a presentation of plans and concepts to aid the growth and development of the nation for the better, rather a downfall of suspicion on contending parties.
If the leaders of parties act in such a manner, tearing apart the contending party in such a hateful spite, rather than propose methods to improve the lives of those they represent, isn’t it clear that the people who follow them will adopt the same mindset and agenda?
The despise that was created through this past presidential election was so intense and segregated that the citizens of our nation have become far more radical and polarized than ever before. This mindset did not die out once the process was over and Trump was put into office. It very much lives on, resulting in a large percentage of the population extremely opposed to the opposite party that they refuse to support the new leader of the nation. Therefore, making working together with one another, united, a thing of the past.
You cannot blame them for this, for it is what has been building up and engrained in the minds of Americans for centuries. The enemy is no longer terrorism, war, crime, nor injustice. Rather, the enemy has become one another. We have become entrenched in animosity, pushing the nation further and further away from the goal of togetherness and unitedness by which the country was founded.
There needs to be a change. A shift in mindset. Change takes years of hard and preservation, but it is beyond necessary. We must no longer choose based upon party title, nor argue endlessly about matters of personal life. We must decide our leaders on account of what they propose we do to change our nation, not because of hate of their opponent’s party.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Lincoln). These simple words were spoken by Abraham Lincoln, a man who saw the ruin that division can have on a nation, through his very eyes.
In these times, more than ever, we must follow the words of Lincoln. Americans must heed the call to come together as one nation, a unit far stronger together than apart.
America has seen what crippling polarization has done to us in the past, so let’s not allow history to repeat itself.
Grow up, and link together.
Abraham Lincoln, the “House Divided Speech” (Springfield, Illinois: June 16th, 1858)