The past few months have been exhausting for America’s political system. The rhetoric and harangue of the last election cycle further divided this country and almost put it in utter chaos. The constant back and forth of the Republican and Democratic parties – both trying to prove that their side is the more knowledgeable one in terms of where America is now headed, each trying to prevent something destructive, but also trying to please the American people. The protests, the anger, the frustration that one side is not able to understand the other – it seems like all of this was brought forth during this election for some mysterious reason.
So, why are people clinging to their beliefs so much and absolutely refusing to see the other side of things? The Washington Post reports that “Research on ‘cultural cognition’ indicates that people are tribal when it comes to certain issues, such as climate change, gun control, abortion and evolution. People tend to trust the news sources that confirm their beliefs. Those beliefs become statements of identity and community loyalty.” Personal experiences and beliefs that were passed down from generation to generation can also have an effect on the minds of society today. People just naturally believe that their opinions are the correct ones, and seeing a news network or cable channel that symbolizes that view or belief makes them have reassurance that their opinion is the right one.
Tye Hardin, the Young Republicans president, says that one of the key points in this election season was immigration. “It’s a really tough situation,” Hardin said. “There are so many good people coming in to help their families and they are looking for a better life,” but, “It is a privilege to be in America,” he said. When asked about unity, Hardin does believe “we need to come together” instead of the constant negativity towards one another.
On the other hand, Mia Haraguchi, the Young Democrats president, says that she feels America “should be focusing on inclusion” and “instead of being isolationists and focus on becoming a part of the world economy.” Haraguchi does say that “people were dissatisfied with the last administration, and now they’re dissatisfied with the current administration” and that is the reason for the opposition. I hope America can find unity, because after all, we are all striving for one thing: a better nation.
A poll on Gallup recorded that an astonishing “77% of Americans believe this nation is divided”, with only “21% believing we are united.” Truthfully, it’s not hard to believe. In all my life, I have never seen as much hatred and mud slinging coming from both parties. Every day there is a new story about the election or our current president. People are upset that Barack Obama left, but also our president’s past problems and rhetoric. People truly aren’t sure if he, once a businessman and entertainer, has the ability to lead us. And they’re scared. They’re scared that their rights will be stripped away from them and America won’t end up being a symbol of unity anymore. The opposing side is just frustrated that many are acting this way and want society to just accept the facts – we have a new president in office, and we should give him a chance.
We need to come together instead of standing separately. We need to work together and hear each other’s opinions with an open mind. The thing is, we are all putting this opposition on ourselves. We stir it up. We sometimes make certain things a bigger problem than it actually needs to be.
For the many out there who are angered or disappointed, I understand. I feel what you are feeling. It’s taken me some time to realize that we can’t continue to be living like this. I don’t want to live in this. I understand that we do not possess the capability to make everyone happy, but why has the strive for working towards things together suddenly vanished?
It’s very challenging to be present in the political system and hear about the constant negativity in our world. However, there are many things that continue to give me hope for a healthier political community. Hardin described the idea of “working with the Young Democrats for a community service project,” one of the many things high school political clubs all across the United States should be doing in this time of unification crisis. As Will Durant says, “The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority.”
Written by Grayson Ruiz