The great divide: a look into polarization in politics

Henry Mitchell

The American public has increasingly migrated toward either end of the political spectrum.

And this is exactly what we all wanted.

In the U.S. we tend to idolize the endless struggle of good vs. evil to show off how “good” we are.

Previously, the “evil” role was filled by the USSR, but that disappeared and we had to find a new target.

So we turned to our next best thing: the struggle between liberalism and conservatism.

We took any event worth covering and started pushing our ideologies onto it in an effort to appear the most patriotic.

After the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas, gun control became the main concern for both Democrats and Republicans, as it decided which party was to blame and who would have to give up one of their key positions.

NFL players kneeling during the anthem became a debate between the typical “Liberals don’t respect our military” and “Conservatives are hypocrites and racists” arguments.

During Hurricane Harvey, Democrats enthusiastically pointed out how conservative Sen. Ted Cruz had negatively regarded the Hurricane Sandy relief bill, yet begged Congress to pass one for his home state of Texas.

Meanwhile, Republicans had to maintain their position that the three devastating hurricanes within the span of two months had nothing to do with climate change.

Even President Donald Trump momentarily ditched the Republican party on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals situation, which was seen as a win for Democrats with a potential return to bipartisanship a distant ideal.

We’re all on debate teams, keeping score of who got the most points and determining the most patriotic winner.

And now we can denounce our fellow Americans for not living up to our true values and culture from the comfort of our own homes.

Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and other social outlets have all become platforms to gain followings with those who share our identity and then attack our enemies without having to actually talk with anyone.

Once we’ve verbally assaulted our helpless opposition via clever tweet or snarky Facebook comment, we turn to our politically-aligned celebrities to brag about our victory and have a nice celebratory chuckle.

Liberals favor revered leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders and late-night talk show hosts such as Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel. Conservatives bow down to the like of Trump, Breitbart founder Steve Bannon and Infowars host Alex Jones.

These leaders then make their jokes and the endless cycle of pats on the back is perpetuated.

But with any luck, both parties will grow tired of ceaseless fighting and go back to mutual tolerance of one another and shared hatred of other parties.