House Divided: We the People Must Stand Together Against Divisive Rhetoric

More so than ever before in my entire life, I truly feel as though American society is crumbling. Am I a little over-dramatic with that statement? Perhaps. However, you’d have to be a very naive person not to notice the political divide that pulls both major political ideologies in this country further apart.

Mainstream media, both on the right and left, continue to profit off of their echo-chamber programming and propaganda. Our elected representatives, perhaps our president most of all, use their power to turn the citizenry against each other. It certainly seems to be working.

The continued demonizing of those with differing ideas has turned political discourse into a mudslinging competition. It is far harder to have civil political discussion without offending or angering people.

For the record, I don’t think this devolution of politics started with Donald Trump as the liberal media suggests. Trump is a symptom of a much deadlier disease. The disease has no political affiliation. It is not Democrat nor Republican. No, this has been a slow, bipartisan process. But, that’s what makes this so scary. Few people are talking about it, nobody truly knows the cause, and the powerful in this country only care about their own successes.

Whether it’s Hillary Clinton calling half of Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorables”, Representative Mo Brooks essentially blaming Bernie Sanders for the June 14 shooting on Republican party members, the Huffington Post telling cis white men upset at the news of Trump’s trans-ban in the military that they aren’t doing enough, or virtually all of the president’s tweets, it is easy to see the divisive rhetoric that permeates contemporary American politics.

I’ve already made my case for why the news needs to be as unbiased as possible. However, fixing the way we consume news and politics, a daunting task in itself, is not going to be enough to mend the wounds.

We need to be open to new ideas, listen to others and try to understand where they are coming from. Personally, I love having conversations with people that have different opinions. I learn from them, and hopefully (if I’ve done a good job), they learn from me too.

I consider myself a progressive, though I do gravitate toward the center on many issues. As a result of the venomous political atmosphere, I have felt the pull to become more and more liberal. Between random internet commenters throwing out insults and many conservatives declaring war on “liberal intellectuals,” it’s easy for me to want to pick a side.

Luckily, I don’t live in an echo-chamber. My primary news sources tend to be centrist. Politically, my mother leans right. My step-father is a life-long Republican, and he is an avid supporter of Donald Trump. My father leans left, but he generally gets most of his political opinions from me. My brother leans right, and considers himself a moderate Republican. I’m surrounded by people with different opinions, and, much to their dismay, I talk politics a lot. Though I admit I do get heated from time to time, I never stop trying to understand their varying perspectives.

I’m not telling anyone to debate extremists like Richard Spencer or Tariq Nasheed. I just think that we can all benefit from playing devil’s advocate every once in a while.

Honestly, at a time when Americans on the left and right declare each other enemies, it’s probably best to stay in the middle anyway.


Sources: CNN, Huffington Post, The Daily Caller, The Atlantic, Philip DeFranco


Author: Jacob Berkowitz

UF 18

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