"Political Divide" (By Lilah Shorey)

EDITORIAL: Red or blue, we’re all American

On Jan. 20, America welcomed its 46th president. Years of unrest have finally come to an end.

Due to the lies of the last presidency, tensions between the two parties have been pushed to the peak, and the country became more and more divided. Because of the most recent falsities of a fraudulent election, an insurrection occurred in the Capitol building on Jan. 6, leaving four insurrectionists and an officer dead. Had the mob succeeded in overpowering law enforcement, members of Congress would’ve been killed. 

With a new president and a more stable country, it’s time for both parties to reconcile with one another. In President Biden’s words, we have “much to repair; much to restore; much to heal; much to build and much to gain.”

Our first priority is to repair the relationship between liberals and conservatives. This should begin with the way we conduct civil discourse.

The purpose of the two-party system is for democracy, so we as a country can see multiple perspectives of an issue and find the best option for both sides.

Sadly, most recent discussions have escalated to fights, even to personal attacks. 

For example, when Justice Amy Coney Barrett was chosen to become the new Supreme Court justice, Twitter was bombarded with insults targeted against her and even her family. 

This same situation happened with Biden when his sons became the target of personal attacks on social media and during the first presidential debate during the presidential race.

There is nothing wrong with having opposing views, but there is no reason for personal attacks. The whole point of having civil discourse is so both sides can be understood and either a consensus or compromise can be established. Personal attacks are neither civil nor are considered discourse. 

Moreover, these attacks aren’t only directed toward the political figure but also their family, who have nothing to do with the political dilemma in question.

Looking back on all the clashes between the left and right leading up to the election, a question arises: What’s the point of fighting to the bitter end?

When both wings staunchly support their sides, the last thing they are considering is the validity of the opposing side. In reality, there are serious deficiencies for both extremes. No matter which side wins out in the end, if it fails to consider the opposing side, the society it creates would be flawed one way or another.

It’s obvious that no society is going to be perfect, but the best way to approach perfection is by accepting the opposition. This doesn’t mean you must abandon your own beliefs; just give the opposing idea a minute of thought before agreeing or disagreeing. 

We must unite quickly, for the pandemic waits for no one. One of Biden’s priorities is to distribute vaccines as quickly as possible, and this cannot be done without the coordination of the entire country. Mutated, more infectious forms of the coronavirus are emerging, and if vaccinations don’t outspeed the virus, our nation would continue to be held in a chokehold by the pandemic. 

With such a polarized country, being able to emphasize with the opposition is more valuable now than it ever was. Radicalism can cause the country to descend into chaos, while reconciliation can bring the country together.

Originally published in the Feb. 2 edition of the Octagon.

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