Mind the Gap

Polarization of American Politics.


Maxie Eller, Newspaper Editor-In-Chief

2If this year has taught me anything, it’s that the media is fueling the fire of political polarization in America. Watching the news, all I hear is “we” or “them” in accusatory tones laced with malice. This year has been a trying time for American democracy, and even as the country pushes for unification and justice, our politics grow further and further apart. It’s awful and needs to stop.

More people, especially those in power, need to take responsibility for their actions. All politicians do is deflect. The blame for their actions either falls completely on someone else or on an opposing party. It’s completely the Democrats’ fault. Or maybe it’s all the Republicans’ fault. Not all Republicans are the same. The same can be said about Democrats. Political parties were created to give people with similar (NOT the exact same) ideals a place to collaborate and express their thoughts. They weren’t created to be separate armies on a political battlefield. 

George Washington, our original president, feared what would happen once Americans began dividing themselves. In his farewell address, Washington cautioned against the formation of political parties and similar groups. President Lincoln echoed similar sentiments in his statement that “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. If this should be the case, then our country is preparing to fall apart. We’re not standing together anymore. It seems that we’re hobbling, barely staying upright. 

I could care less whether or not you are a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, or any other political affiliation. Your political party isn’t the only thing that defines you. Political parties aren’t personalities. I care far more about who you are as a person, rather than who you vote for. That’s your business. And yet, people and the media portray others just based on their political affiliations. 

Americans, no matter what they believe in politically or socially, all have the same basic ideals. Our country was built upon people from multiple backgrounds, cultures, and ideals coming together to create something better. 

 We all unite under the ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We all want food, a safe place to live, educational opportunities, and a way to provide for ourselves. People tend to forget that despite everything, we’re all still human. We all are striving to make the world a better place, or at least keep it running. No one is perfect and no one philosophy or approach is perfect. It’s through our differences that we can grow stronger together. 

People are entitled to their opinions and choices. No one should try to take away the freedoms and liberties of others. It would be nice if we as a people, as a country, as a world, could try to hear each other out and listen to new perspectives before claiming that ours is the only right opinion. I mean, there really isn’t a “right” opinion.

So overall, as the country becomes more polarized, we need to band together. For you and I, that means unity. Obviously, not everyone will believe the same things or have the same opinions, but that doesn’t mean that we have to bash each other at school or online. We’re all just teenagers trying to make it through life, one day at a time. I would hate to see one of the brightest and most promising generations be wasted because we judge others and refuse to open our minds.