It’s nearly impossible to go throughout your day without hearing something political. Some sort of media outlet or just a person you happen to overhear slandering the other half of the political spectrum.
This half generally being the one that holds a different opinion to the political leaning this person or media outlet holds. This slander has been existent throughout the history of American politics.
The use of words such as “Trumpling” or “Sheeple” is the most current way to delegitimize the opposite party to the one you hold credence to. In boycotting the views of any political belief that may threaten your own, in regards to individuals or parties, we create a social construct that justifies one’s own beliefs.
Being able to disregard the other sides views as ignorant or idiotic. This act is committed by both Liberals and Conservatives and I would argue that in delegitimizing the opposing party by labeling them as Ignorant or Idiots we are making our own political parties subject to increasing levels of ignorance.
By not allowing the ideologies of the opposite party to combat the beliefs of our own party in a way that would allow our own political views to adapt to this respectful scrutiny.
Without having this respect for the beliefs of people with different ideas, our own ideas can never be truly challenged. Without that challenge they stagnate and so too does our democracy.
With this stagnation comes the polarization of the political parties because as stated before, without respect for the other half we no longer have anyone to hold our own political ideologies in check and it allows us to slip farther and farther away from the middle of the road. A place where we can truly understand the other political spectrums point of view and in turn, they understand our beliefs then leading to compromise. A thing our democracy unfortunately lacks, and could be fixed easily, though, it is a process.
Instead of seeing the other side as a force working to destroy the nation, look at them as a group who are doing what they think is the best for the nation, even if you disagree with their methods.
Also, begin to watch opposition media and have friendly discussions with people without putting down their views, which drives them to not listen to yours. In doing this, maybe we can begin reconciling the other half and work towards an understanding we haven’t had in our democracy for a long time.
Eli Copenhaver is an ETSU student majoring in international affairs.