Where do we go from here as a country? This heavy question sits on the minds of many Americans as they embrace the uncertainty of waiting for election results to be finalized. In Aug. 2020, the National Center for Biotechnology Information reported “an all-time high” in U.S. polarization with 90% of Americans worried the country is divided over politics, and 60% are pessimistic the country will overcome these issues to solve bigger problems. Unfortunately, most people would agree with this sentiment and believe the country’s state to continue worsening.
This research is something I can agree from my personal experience of observing, conversing and analyzing the current state of the country. I find myself continually heartbroken as I watch my country devolve into a state of arguing on social media platforms, public appearances, political debates, news segments or other public events. Why must we continue to shout? What is the point? What do we the people gain from hearing peers try to shout the loudest? How can we as a country move forward if we continue to squabble over these issues and never attempt to solve them?
I am disheartened by the current state of my country, watching politicians and citizens argue why their opinions are right and witnessing them state a desire to find common ground, yet their biases are painfully obvious. They advocate open discussion but refute their opponents on why they are wrong. They claim the hypocrisy or radicalization of each side, yet they fail to self-evaluate their own parties. The public, like children, mimics its parents’—people of power—actions when they observe this nonsense. Frustration grows as we see the degradation of civil discussion among the public when talking about politics.
Claiming a certain individual or a select group to blame for the escalation of partisanship and polarization in the country is easy. We are fatigued from shouting and the radicalization of people in our state. This election year is evidence of how incredibly divisive our country has become in the past 10 years. Therefore, the question arises, where do we go from here?
I am not a political expert who knows how to solve every issue we are facing as a country, but I am knowledgeable enough to provide sufficient solutions that might aid our desire toward a better future. These solutions are what every American is responsible to do.
First, Americans should be self-autonomous and avoid the rabbit hole of close-minded thinking. This point is such a commonsense answer, but we continue to fail in recognizing its importance and repeat false information we read on the internet. We preach about our rights and freedoms so much that we neglect commonsense and logic in politics.
Second, we should attempt to discover the middle ground in conversations and denounce radicalization. It is too frequent, now, to hear people discuss about the dissolvement of middle ground—or gray areas—in political discussions. Everyone is trying to prove their point, gather supporters or affirm their beliefs when they debate. Respectful discourse may begin the conversation but degrade over time because we are not willing to bend to certain issues. Everyone thinks they are morally superior in what they believe.
Finally, we must forge bonds with the opposite side to learn and grow with one another. Remaining in a bubble of similar thoughts impedes development of our beliefs and worldviews. Echo chambers are abundant on social media and often provide easy pills to swallow with little resistance. Pull others out of this hole and educate them with reason to save their hearts and minds. However, some people are too far gone to be saved, so it is your duty to guide others away from this negligent abyss.
Where do we go from here as a country? To move past this mess, we need to adhere to the basic human decency of each other’s presence. We need to respect each other’s opinion.
Seek the good of your neighbors in conversation; seek the respect you would wish to receive; seek the truth in discussion; seek accurate information when researching the truth and seek commonsense in your daily life. Don’t let your freedom, rights and privilege blind your commonsense, respect and desire of truth in conversations and opinions. Our nation needs to heal; therefore, let us do it all together.
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