Political Polorization

Used under splc guidelines. Polarization of political parties. Democratic Vs. Republican.


Used under splc guidelines. Polarization of political parties. Democratic Vs. Republican.

Stella Gunn, Staff Writer

In this day in age, we are more informed than youths have ever been. We are exposed to information from so many different sources, whether we actively try to absorb this information or not. Teens have such a presence on social media it is inevitable that we see many different peoples’ political views. We start to align with one side; we constantly see things demonizing the other. We are born into families with specific views, and then we start to develop more of our own. In this world, there are so many influences altering the way we think.

As the years go on, we become more separated. We can’t fundamentally agree. We are pushed to further sides of the spectrum. It comes to the point where we can not have a good relationship with someone when their political views are different than ours. Is this justifiable? At what point do someone’s views become something you can not look past?

How do the students at C.H.S. answer these questions? To find that out, we must look at the statistics already known. In a survey, 75% of students at C.H.S. said they were Democrats, 15% Republican, and the rest aligned with other smaller groups. Views differ within those groups but likely are similar in lots of areas. 

When asked if people choose their friends based on political parties, the responses were varied. One student said, “I do not choose friends based on political views per se, however, I do tend to connect better with people who have similar views to my own.” This idea is a common middle ground. They can look past it in certain cases, but just end up with friends who have similar beliefs as them.

Some students intentionally align with peers who have similar political ideals. “Yep, anyone who I see socially needs to have similar political views. Politics is everywhere, so it’s exhausting otherwise,” another student said. This is true; even though it’s a subject that can be uncomfortable to talk about, it is everywhere. Not only is it everywhere, but the topics aren’t just different economic preferences. Political values are personal. For many, picking who they are behind is a matter of who will protect them. This is reflected in our student body. One student said, “Anything stubbornly racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, religiously intolerant, etc. While some people really are just ignorant and not intentionally hateful, many people are well aware of the harm their views cause and simply refuse to change. These things are not political issues. They are issues of compassion, values, and morality, and I don’t think I could be friends with someone whose fundamental sense of right and wrong is so opposed to mine.”

 Politics have never been this urgent. The planet is dying and we are in a race against time to save it. Many minorities feel unsafe and under-represented. Women’s reproductive rights are at stake. People who have lived here all their lives are being forced out. With these issues affecting people so directly, a presidential candidate is not an inconsequential decision.  Because of these circumstances, politics are bound to separate us. How does one look past another’s “view” that disrespects another’s existence?

With this inevitable separation, how can we progress? How can society foster peace when there is so much polarization? In 1858 Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Nearly 200 years later, we are faced with the same division. There is no clear answer. This subject is deeply complex, and will probably never be completely solved. We are the result of our environments, and since we were all raised in different environments, we are going to have contrasting opinions. Hate is a driving force, cutting us apart like a hot knife. The only combat to hate is compassion. If we face every difference with tolerance more problems would be solved. Stay strong to what you believe, but never conclude that there is not more to learn.