On the political spectrum, more and more people are choosing to identify as conservative or liberal, and the amount of moderates to fill in that gap has been tremendously reduced year after year after year. 40 years earlier if you had asked someone if they believed their opposite party would cause the destruction of America, less than half of that percentage probably would have said no, but now…more than half say yes the opposite party will lead to the destruction of America.
But what has led to this polarization of politics?
As the left try so inherently hard to move forward and be more and more progressive, they are taking everything conservatives find dear to their heart and causing them to move forward, which they do not want to do. They want to remain traditionalists and hold their traditional values, whereas liberals want to be as progressive as humanly possible (if we’re talking about far left vs far right).
Concerning social issues, conservatives feel like liberals are ripping apart everything that they believe is good for America such as advocating for murder of babies (abortion), redefining marriage (gay marriage), or taking away their constitutional rights (gun control). Liberals feel like they are advocating for women’s rights (abortions), preventing sexual discrimination (gay marriage), and protecting the country (gun control).
As liberal push more left, they are not acknowledging the conservatives viewpoints, or are acknowledging, but not caring. Where is that middle line? Well, that middle line were people who were considered moderates, but as liberal move farther left, and conservatives move farther right, less moderates appear. Conservatives feel the need to move right in retaliation of liberals. Liberals feel the need to move left in retaliation of conservatives. Politics used to be a conversation people could talk about to promote intelligent and civil discourse, but now it has come to the point where one can not have political discussion without attacking the other person. Why? Because now by disagreeing with someone’s ideologies, it is regularly offensive to the other person, and they feel attacked.
For example, on the subject of abortion, there are many Christians who are pro-life and are disgusted by the thought of it. Their mentality is that life begins at conception, whereas there are people (Christians and non-Christians) who are pro-choice who fight for abortions because they feel like the government should one, separate church and state, and two, not tell a woman what to do with her body. This conversation used to be a debate on whether the US government had the authority over a woman’s reproductive rights and whether or not it was constitutional, but now it has come to the point where it is either an attack on Christianity, or an attack on feminism.
In my own personal opinion, one can be pro-choice and not agree with abortion. I think a lot of people are confused with what pro-choice means. Pro-choice doesn’t mean: “I am for abortions and I want to get an abortion, and I think babies should be aborted.” Pro-choice, in my mind, means you do not want the government to decide what a woman should do with her reproductive rights, you want every woman to have that opportunity if deemed necessary so they don’t result to dangerous procedures like coat hanger abortions. You can very much well never want someone to get an abortion, but still be pro-choice.
One simple answer to this question of party polarization is America is evolving. People are becoming more vocal, especially thanks to the power of social media. More issues are beginning to arise that are not just concerned with the economy, but social issues, that result in single issue voters. People are adopting the idea of party loyalty and remaining faithful to a party no matter the circumstance, which results to straight-ticket voting.
The real question is when will this polarization stop and when will we be able to compromise? Will the future be full of government shutdowns, disagreements on the budget, slanderous campaigns, and congress obstructing the president because they are different parties? Or will moderates see how detrimental this partisan political polarization is and and vocalize their opinion. Will people ever be able to talk about politics in a calm, civil fashion again? Or will Facebook political debates be a cultural necessity from this day on while politics becomes a taboo subject to speak about at the dinner table?