Why are Democrats and Republicans So Scared to Talk To Each Other?
As I listened to a political pundit frantically talking about political polarization, the strangest sense of déjà vu just took over me.
Then I remembered that two and four years ago, I was hearing the same exact thing.
“This is the most divided America has ever been.”
The best is when people take claims like secession seriously. So, let’s delve into this political divide see where it started, and find out if the bridge is as insurmountable as people would have you believe.
This is a graph depicting the average difference between Democrats and Republicans when asked on questions like Government responsiveness, and immigration.
It shows how radically things have changed. You’ll notice how most have a strong leap before 2012 on the larger map. You can see these changes seem to be occurring around the year 2008.
Before the great recession, most Americans viewed their lives as prosperous. However, 2007 shattered that notion, and made people ask what the government is doing, and should they be doing things differently.
And now the stakes are understood. Politics wasn’t something you could just discuss over a holiday meal. It could affect the lives of millions.
When Obama was first elected, it was seen as a rebellion of sorts. The Democrats voted against the establishment and elected someone who said he was going to do all those things Democrats loved, like the Affordable Care Act.
This broke the status quo and was the start of both parties radicalizing.
We all remember the rise of the tea party, which in my mind is the beginning of the right’s radical shift. The loudest voices became the ones least willing to compromise, and in the 2010 election they got elected to congress.
However, as seen by the Republican’s choice of presidential candidate of Mitt Romney in 2012, the establishment was still ignoring the growing radical base.
Slowly and quietly during this time, the Democrats are asking, why aren’t we as radical too? What we want is right, and if this is how the Republicans will act, so will we.
2014 was the first year of an extremely large divide between Democrat and Republican. The Democrats wanted Obama to act like the liberal he had professed to be, and the Republicans wanted to stop Obama and the Democrats at every chance they could.
Finally, we come to the 2016 election. At this point, all bets were off.
The Supreme Court allowed gay marriage in 2015, which emboldened both sides. The Democrats said, “See, we’re the right ones the law agrees with us. We’ll be right everywhere!”
The Republicans said, “This is the moral quagmire we have fallen into, and we must rise above it!” Both are equally ridiculous, but both were present.
The Republicans nominated an extremist in terms of their views in Donald Trump, and the Democrats did everything in their power to act like Bernie Sanders didn't even exist.
There is no denying political polarization is higher than it’s ever been. However, rational minds can still prevail, on both sides.
Stop with the name calling, even if you truly believe the label fits. It does nothing to progress the dialogue. That means no “special snowflake” from the right and no “Literal Nazi” from the left.
We’re stuck in this country together. You can’t even secede since it’s not a state divide, it’s an urban-rural divide.
The truth is a large number of people are still willing to talk to one another and be civil. True, the political divide is large, but that’s because people are afraid, mainly because the media keeps telling us to be afraid, to talk to one another.
I promise, talking to other people is worth it. Who knows, their opinions may even surprise you.