Extremism polarizes society

In today’s society, you are either a liberal or a conservative. Either you believe 100 percent of the political ideologies of one party, or you believe 100 percent of the political ideologies of the other party, and that is pretty much it. Anywhere in between is not acceptable, according to the modern polarized political spectrum. If we are to break the deadlock in Congress and promote informed opinions on topics, this stark political dichotomy and polarization needs to end.

For instance, if you are a liberal who thinks that the government should not be taxing the wealthy and giving that money to the impoverished, you are looked at as inconsiderate. If you are a conservative who believes climate change is caused by humans, you are looked at as a defector. People should be able to make up their own minds on issues without the pressure to conform to their party’s ideologies. Doing just that would be the smartest thing one could do when it comes to voting on important ballot issues and political candidates.

Within the past year, conservative television pundit Tomi Lahren said that she was pro-choice. This came as a big surprise to her colleagues, her viewers, and the general public. Since her opinions on issues usually align with the conservative point of view, people were really taken aback with her out-of-the-blue pro-choice statement. As a result of this, her show was permanently cancelled from The Blaze and she was replaced.

Having just one liberal viewpoint resulted in her whole career going down the drain. While many liberals on campus and across the country probably cheered and celebrated the downfall of one of their enemies, they do not seem to entirely grasp what just transpired right before their eyes. Having just one liberal viewpoint amongst her many conservative views resulted in the complete termination of her very popular conservative talk show. This move consequently reinforces the ever-present dichotomy that is our political system. A dichotomy that is not the least bit helpful to running our country. People come in all shapes and sizes. Why are people’s perspectives not allowed to fluctuate with as much variability as Jonah Hill’s body weight, depending on which movie he’s starring in?

Earlier I mentioned that liberals cheered and celebrated the downfall of one of their enemies. The word “enemy” is also a word that is self-defeating and polarizing. At conservative conferences in both Dallas, Texas and Chicago, Illinois I have heard multiple prominent conservative speakers refer to liberals as “the enemy.” This was a common thing to do, given the atmosphere and audience in the room, and garnered much applause whenever stated. Referring to your opponent in a two-party system as your enemy will get our country nowhere in this current congressional gridlock and polarized society. If legislation is going to get passed, it is not going to be when one party has the majority and the other party does not. It is going to be when the parties decide to work together that good legislation will be passed and our country will  start to move in the right direction again.

One example of a political figure believing in the opposition’s side of the argument is the story of Bob Inglis, former U.S. Congressman for South Carolina’s 4th district. Inglis was unseated during the 2010 midterm elections for his views on climate change and offshore oil drilling. Having been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life Committee, people used to view him as a true Republican. But, after he started to speak against climate change denial and offshore oil drilling, his opponents in the primary race used that against him to unseat him from Congress. Congressman Inglis’s uncharacteristically liberal views on climate change and offshore oil drilling got him unseated, even though he was a Republican in most every other way. His representatives latched onto this idea and decided to vote against him. While it was a fair and free election, Inglis’s views on this one issue should not have alienated him so much from his political party that warranted unseating him.

I can personally attest to having both liberal beliefs and conservative beliefs. My main conservative beliefs include having a limited federal government, lower taxes, and a strong military. But, I strongly believe in the legalization of medicinal marijuana. I also believe that stronger gun regulation in an attempt to keep firearms out of the hands of mentally unstable individuals and people with the intent to do harm to others is not such a bad idea. Being able to outwardly articulate and advocate for these two issues, as a conservative, is what will help people on either side of the aisle start talking to each other. If more Democrats and Republicans could think for themselves, rather than just blindly adopting the opinions on issues their party holds, we would have a lot more bipartisan bills passing in the House and Senate, and we would have a much better society filled with intelligent and informed individuals keen on making meaningful change.


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