Partisanship creating the great divide
by Bailey Richards
It is not much of a stretch to say that bipartisan politics has made for ugly elections and even uglier behavior among Americans. We are being forced apart by semantics and biased interpretations, and held apart by pride.
It isn’t hard to see the evidence of this. You can log onto to Facebook, take a look at your normally mild-mannered friend’s pages and be amazed at the political rants and arguments that have arisen. They stem from intellectual sharing of charts and graphs, to name calling and frustration.
While it seems a natural progression for a nation to split virtually in half based on their beliefs, I argue that not one person truly approves of, and likes, all of the items on their respective candidate’s platform. However, despite this overwhelming reason not to vote along party lines, it seems to only be getting worse.
The worst possible example of this forced partisanship is the new election slider on Bing.com. Users of the search engine can decide whether they want to see right wing news, left wing news, or any slight to extreme slant within these wings. This just further pushes the wedge in between the two major political parties.
By only seeing what you want to see and what you already agree with, it is making it more and more apparent that you are right and anyone disagreeing with you is wrong. This wedge and these inevitable discussions do nothing to further the country. Cooperation and understanding is the only way to make all Americans get on the same page and work towards a common goal, regardless of who is leading the charge.
Being in the media, I hate to call out my fellow journalists, but in this case I think that they can be largely to blame. It is because of news networks calling themselves unbiased, yet showing very clear and obvious biases, that so many people no longer make up their own mind on the issues. If you tend to be more liberal and are only shown news that perpetuates that being liberal is saving America, than it is much harder to accept the leadership of someone who does not share in your political leanings.
Fox News and MSNBC are prime examples of networks pandering to an audience, showing them what they want to see and ignoring cold hard facts that no one wing can be all-encompassing. These do not tend to be conservative or liberal to show the news or even to push an agenda, which is obvious by the owner and leadership of these networks falling on both sides of the political fence. They do this to reach a built-in audience. Being one-sided inherently makes you the appealing choice for those falling within that side without the risk of losing viewers when the facts disagree with their views.
It is almost maddening to listen to an on-the-street political debate nowadays. Two people can be saying virtually the same thing, using the same statistics even, but due to the spin given to the story never be able to agree on the facts.
The presidential debates were an example of exactly this kind of spin. The candidates often said “I agree” in the three debates preceding this election. This shows they want the same things and have the same overall goals, but chose to push their slightly slanted agenda by any means necessary just to get a shot at the office.
At the end of the long and painful campaign, one of the two candidates will be the president. Despite this, half of the United States will still be angry, bitter, and fighting against the overall vision of the greater good simply because the person they voted for did not win.
This has been incredibly apparent in two recent elections. In the 2000 presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore, a tight race led to several rounds of recounts before a winner was declared in Florida. Even after Bush had been sworn into office, people across the country still continued to count votes in attempts to overturn the results. This continued and made absolutely no difference in his second term in office.
During the 2008 presidential election, rumors began circulating that Barack Obama was not a citizen of the United States. People like Donald Trump began lengthy and costly investigations to try to prove to that Obama was not eligible to be president. These investigations continue to this day.
People like Donald Trump with power, influence, and money could be a substantial force to helping to bring about a change in America helping it to grow from recession. Instead, due to not being able to move past the campaign, he has done little for the overall good of the nation.
Now that we wake up on Wednesday and have a president named for the next four years, we have to find a way to work together and not squander this critical time with unimportant debates and infighting. We have a chance to do good over the next four years regardless of who sits in the oval office, as long as we are willing to move on and work together.
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