More and more today we see the immense impact of political polarization within our country. Political Polarization is the amount of extremism each party partakes in as their attitudes stream further and further away from each other. In a country that prides itself on being united, how does this polarization affect our democracy? Well to start, extremist views do not support a foundation of compromise, but foster hate amongst parties. No longer just an opponent, but certainly an enemy. Especially on big-ticket topics such as abortion, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, the death penalty, and black lives matter. Everyone in politics wants to have a say in where the direction of policies reflecting these controversial issues leads; most often dragging away from a common solution, and simply trying to make sure it is the exact opposite of what the other side wants. Because of this, free speech has given the green light to hate speech; peaceful protests turn into attacks on our nation’s capital; people are only allowed to express themselves through a Christian religion or else be damned in a country where promotion and restriction are clearly demanded to not occur. Now, these are just examples of our 1st amendment. And if the first amendment is becoming blurred by interpretations of set law, crumbling at our nation’s feet, how long will it take for the rest of the Constitution to wither away? When political parties cannot agree on basic things such as human rights, how can we trust them to tackle much more large-scale issues such as climate change, pandemics, voter
fraud, wars, and gun laws? It is clear that if our country’s two major political parties are divided to the farthest end of the political spectrum, then that will reflect the actions of the people as well. And one thing I think all people can agree on is a divided nation cannot stand and stay.
With this being the case; how do we fix this? How do we tackle more than just political polarization, but the generations of consequences it is leaving for the current generation and many more to come?
First, let us define the difference between Government and Democracy. Government and Democracy are two separate ideas. Government is the power to control a country; Democracy is the power of the people. However, even though they go hand in hand, it is more important to realize that a strong government depends on a strong democracy. So our answer to how we tackle the creation and consequences of political polarization; the answer is creating a strong democracy. A strong, united people, to check a divided government. I believe that the solution to creating a strong and united people, is to fix one of the greatest problems this country has that inherently contributes to such political polarization; we need to stop the abusement of religious beliefs. In our world today, our government is divided between extreme liberals and extreme conservatives. It is more than just republican versus democrat. It is progression versus tradition. Well, I believe that proper use of our nation’s most abundant tool–religion–is exactly what is needed to cure our separated society. However before we establish this as a solution, we need to outline where it is currently going wrong.