Who is to blame for America's political divide?

By ALEX LAMATTINA
On November 8, 2021

Photo Courtesy of Clay Banks, Unsplash

Today it seems like the tension between the Democratic and Republican parties has reached an all-time high, with no signs of slowing down. What is the reason for the hostility between those that only differentiate within matters of core political values?

I gathered my thoughts, but more importantly, I spoke to people affiliated with each party about what they think about why they just can’t seem to get along with those on the other side of the spectrum.

The first reason has to do with education and its everlasting impact on the young minds revolving through the doors of our nation’s schools. It is clear that regardless of level of education, whether it be high school or college-level, most educators are left-leaning and may instill left-leaning ideas within their teaching techniques.

From my own personal experience, almost all of my teachers and professors to this point have been left-leaning, meaning I’ve been exposed to Democratic ideals much more than Republican. This means that a student having views opposing such ideologies, having been exposed to them for most of their educational careers, might feel some sort of tension between them and their fellow students.

It is certainly evident here, as most of our student body and the people I have had contact with lean towards the left side of the spectrum, and when a student reveals their Republican views, there is an immediate discomfort between the two sides.

Would the political tension start to decompress if there was a more balanced scale of political views from our educators? It’s possible, but there’s also a separate entity that, in my opinion, is the most significant reason for the reds and blues to battle it out.

As we now have the world at our fingertips with smartphones, social media has given us the power to post and alter content that specifically favors our political ideals. There have been instances on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other apps where arguments, suspensions and even terminations occur due to political-based posts. In this app-driven world, users can alter their timelines and feeds so they only view content pertaining to only one of the party’s views.

People of both ideologies source their news from social media, and many feel that it blurs the lines between fact and opinion, leaving those who consume it prey to misinformation.

Not only is there a lingering problem of bias following — such as a Republican following someone like Charlie Kirk and a Democrat following Chris Cuomo — there is a problem with the content itself, a battle of finger-pointing, as if we’re still in preschool. The world of political memes, gifs and TikToks have helped further widen the aisle that separates the two sides.

So, who is to blame for our schism? Do we blame app creators for allowing users to pick and choose as they please? Or should we blame ourselves for letting such a complex subcategory of our lives diminish who we really are as human beings? There may be more than one answer — or possibly none — but let’s hope for the betterment of our future and our democratic republic that there is a solution out there.

 

alamatt1@ramapo.edu

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