Political discourse needs to be changed in the new year

Staff Editorial: The opinion of the El Vaquero staff members


Images via Unsplash

Political analyst Bill Schneider claims that the United States in 2020 was the most divided it has been since the civil war. 

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have had different beliefs on wearing masks, contact tracing, government policies, and more. Americans were even more ideologically divided when it comes to how much trust they have in scientists. In other news, nationwide protests against racial injustice and the presidential election further reflected the divisiveness of Americans. As we exhale after a tremendous year, now it is the time to have a fresh start for political discourse in 2021. 

Since the 2020 election, the polarization between the two political parties has grown wider. According to Pew Research Center, roughly nine in ten of them worried that a victory of the other side would lead to “lasting harm” to the United States. The competition between political parties ultimately becomes cutthroat and politics begins to result in zero-sum, where one side gains are considered the other’s loss. This polarization has worsened to the point that we cannot even battle with our common enemy in public health for the past several months. We should stop now and rethink what we have gained from fighting over one another politically. 

The political division extends beyond elections, as it has turned into social tension and political segregation in daily lives. In a 2020 National Public Radio report, 67% of Democrats say a lot of their close friends are also Democrats; 57% of Republicans say the same thing.  Here, political identity seems to come first before religion, policy, and common ground when we determine whether we will get along with others. We no longer focus on the commonalities that bring us together, but rather the differences that separate us apart. To be united again, we must start to listen and respect each others’ points of view.  

Of course, we can have disagreements and differences in our political views, but these divisions have collapsed onto a singular axis where we lost the collective national identity. We are no longer one united group. As a nation, we need to stop labeling ideas based on political parties and separate ourselves due to different beliefs. Citizens need to rededicate themselves and put aside their political differences. With the start of a new year, it is now the time to move forward together by presenting calm and mutual respect to one another and holding the principle of justice and fellowship.