The presidential election has made it very apparent that unless action is taken, the divide between the two major parties in the United States is going to continue to grow. The United States will see detrimental consequences from this. While conversations and debates between Democrats and Republicans are seen as a terrifying feat and avoided in most social situations, it is what can mend the polarization of the nation and cultivate a more understanding society.
Understanding the mindset of the people who are opposing your views can better help build tolerance for the people who are not on your side and diminish some of the hatred people have for anyone who challenges their views. Hatred for the other side has grown over the years and presented itself as a major factor for the polarization of politics in the past election. The hate that has been brewing as a result of the past election needs to be addressed for change to occur.
Given that face-to-face interaction is limited at the moment, many people are gaining their news through social media, which can severely alter their sense of reality. An individual operates in what is known as the “filter bubble” and has the ability to censor out the opposing side, thus only seeing information that reinforces their beliefs. When a person is not being challenged, they are not allowing themselves to grow and become educated on the many issues plaguing both Democrats and Republicans. Dialogue between both sides is what keeps democracy alive and allows people to gain a better understanding of what is going on in the country and develop opinions that they strongly believe in. Listening to opposing views is what fosters acceptance and abolishes partisanship.
Too many people live in political bubbles where they are unable to gain an idea of the perspective of people who are on the other side. Growing up in an area where views are not challenged and debates are not had can have a major effect on the way that you view the opposing side. Political bubbles are the breeding grounds for hatred and misunderstanding the opposing side. Not interacting with those who disagree allows for dehumanization of those with different opinions leading to a stronger hatred.
The goal of political debates and conversations is to make sure that you are fully aware of the side you are voting for. By knowing how people on the other side feel and debating, voters become more confident in their voting choices because they are more educated on the side that they are casting their ballot for. Blindly following an ideology without giving the other side a chance to speak hurts the progression of the country and creates a further divide.
Political dialogue is the cornerstone of democracy and now more than ever the United States needs to hear each other out. By encouraging debates and conversations, we can advance as a society. Especially on campus where students come from all different types of backgrounds, a dialogue needs to occur so that understanding and compassion can be instilled in everyone. Students are the future of the United States and this time surrounded by people with different views can have a substantial impact on society and our future.
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Payton Toomey is a sophomore majoring in journalism and information sciences and eSociety. She loves to cook and golf in her free time.