America is becoming increasingly polarized politically.
For a long time, I've been trying to decide if the American political environment has always been as aggressive or if this is a new wave of American politics. Of course, I've had AP US History in school but when you're growing up it's hard to put things into perspective. As I have gone through college and entered the adult world, the far reaching effects of political polarization have become apparent to me; and seem to be getting worse.
Let's go ahead and get my political bias out there. I am a very liberal bordering socialist graduate student that grew up in a well-known hippie area. I am from liberal biologist parents who were the only democrats (with the exception of one uncle) in the extended family. I never thought this was a big deal but as I got older there were more political arguments and more talk about politics in general when we were together. My parents and I visited our families maybe once or twice a year (we lived in a different state than everyone else) and I was disappointed to find bickering replacing pleasantries. Facebook has also been a culprit in taking these arguments further. It seems American politics are becoming to extreme to ignore.
I hate that even as I write this article I have to label myself and others as either conservatives, liberals, democrats, and republicans, each being a bad word to the respective counterpart. This innately breeds polarization. Many people are often a mix of political views but labeling them sets a reason for them to defend and attack. On Facebook, I have found many disturbing groups because of this polarization. All kinds of crass words, racism, misogyny, intolerance to other cultures and religions are being thrown around. A nation that once respected the President, whether he was in your party or not, has disintegrated. People deface his name and even threaten him as a person. If you are interested, one of the main groups I see this in is a Facebook group called "Conservative News". I apologize for not having a extremist liberal site too, I'm sure they are out there as well.
Another topic that is bringing America down is the debate on facts, which as a scientist I find hard to wrap my head around. Somehow people have decided that their own opinions are greater and have more clout that the scientists in the field that have been studying for years on the subject. Sure, there are times when research can be debated and should be, but well documented published research should be a means to find facts. I hate ending up in arguments where the initial topic has been lost because we are now debating who has actual facts from a non-biased source.
America is being weakened by having this extreme polarization in its citizens. America, long known for being "the best place in the world", is now debatable. For instance, the healthcare system, which I am now afraid to even bring up, is ranked very low in the rest of first world countries (and some non first world countries!). I have traveled to 15 countries and have to admit I've seen things much better and much worse than America. America has lost some respect in the Western world from things like the War on Terrorism and the recent NSA scandal. The country has become so divided that I'm worried what the future will bring.
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