A Nation Divided. They say opposites attract – while this may be true for magnetic poles, I think that may be the only use case where this actually applies. As a society, we have somewhat successfully turned the worlds issues into black and white, right and left, or Republican and Democrat. Sure, there are A LOT of people in the middle of these two belief systems, maybe even one-third of our society falls in the middle. However, take any one issue, and that one-third will be split in two, mostly siding with either the Republican or Democratic belief. Thus, we have a nation divided.
Unfortunately for our system, the world is not black and white. There is no “right” or “wrong”, just the perception of what is right and wrong. Perception is key here, as it not only varies from country-to-country or culture-to-culture, it differs on the individual layer. Every single person in the world has a feeling, thought, or opinion of what is right and wrong and it leads us into this shade of gray that we as a society cannot escape from. On any given issue, people will typically turn off an open mind, turn personal perception all the way to 11, and spout an opinion that may or not make sense. This occurrence is far too abundant with our citizens, especially those elected to represent us in office (I will not even get into how’s elected officials perception of issues can be influenced by campaign finance contributors)
We live in a world of gray, plain and simple, and by “plain and simple” I mean most of our debated topics are not “plain and simple”, but quite complicated. However due to the polarization of debate and media in America, we’ve turned all issues into this black and white format, and it’s killing us. It’s clear why politicians do this: money. It’s much easier for congressman to earn campaign dollars when they take a hard stance on an issue, just as it is for a media outlet to be strongly biased. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at Fox News, and see how many more ratings and how much more money it brings in versus rivals like CNN.
If this divide was just among the media or a small percentage of our population, it really wouldn’t be that big a deal. However this divide is just as prevalent among congress as it is anywhere, which puts us square middle on the road to disaster. Our republic was built to be a balanced system full of real debate and no outside influence, but over time it has turned into a circus (entertaining with no substance). If we ever want to see real progress in this nation, we need to put an end to this mentality.
The really interesting part to all this, is that not only do most of you already know this, most of the people in congress know this too. It’s a fact that most congressman spend anywhere between 40-70% of their time raising money for their campaigns. Most politicians did not go into politics to raise money for the majority of their time, but that’s just the unfortunate nature of the job. And since it’s easier to raise money from the extremist rich in this country, that’s the platform that candidates need to run on to stay/become elected. To keep those contributors happy, congressman need to commit to the issues the contributors are most interested in. Thus, we have a nation divided by extremist rich people.