The deep divide

The political divide in America


Ava Weatherford

An infographic that displays statistics from the Pew Research center.

Ava Weatherford , Reporter

For as long as the two-party system has existed in America, there has been a divide between them. However, in recent years the polarization between parties has increased even more. Whether it’s COVID, the BLM movement, the war in Afghanistan, the January 6th insurrection, or any of the other many, many events to happen in the last few years, we are more divided than ever.

A study done by Pew Research Center shows that 27% of Democrats see the Republican Party as a threat to the country’s well-being, and 39% of Republicans see the Democratic Party the same way. Why is this? How can so many see a different political party as a threat? 

Part of it may be that in our current age, many people live in what is defined as an echo chamber. Essentially, knowingly or not, we surround ourselves with people, media, and resources that echo back to us or pre-existing beliefs. Essentially, our views are never challenged or debated because we are not open to that discussion. 

It is important to note that social justice issues are a part of politics, but there is a line between what is healthy and what is not. One should never have to debate one’s own human rights. Surrounding ourselves only with people who also agree that we should have human rights is not the problem. It is when we never hear opposing views on anything.

For instance, if an individual was raised with a belief about how the government should spend taxpayers’ money, and they only talk to people who have the same belief they were raised with, their opinion is never going to change. 

Recent events, like COVID, have polarized us and our opinions even further. For example, the Pew Research center, a nonpartisan center that contacts data-driven social science research, found that “76% of Republicans (including independents who lean to the party) felt the U.S. had done a good job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, compared with just 29% of those who do not identify with the Republican Party.” This contrast in opinion is significantly more compared to other nations. No other virus has nearly as much controversy surrounding it as Coronavirus, and it’s showing in our politics.

Yet another recent divisional event was the January 6th capitol insurrection. Trump’s supporters forced entry into the capitol, causing massive waves in our entire country, and our politics. Naturally, those supporters did not represent all Trump supporters, and all Trump supporters do not represent the entire Republican party. However, the insurrection still made us think about how politics play a much larger role in our lives. For the insurrectionists, their faith in Donald Trump and their far-right ideologies were a lifestyle. The event made us more aware of the extremities of far-left and far-right politics, and our divide.

America has an extremely divided political system that has only worsened with our access to media, and the rollercoaster of the last two years. The only real way to lessen this divide would be for each of us to expand our knowledge and expand who we are willing to listen to.