By Madison Day | Assistant News Editor
Over the past few years, the political divide in our country has grown exponentially wider, and we have allowed people’s party affiliations to define their entire persona. When people hear someone is liberal or conservative, they tend to make snap judgements and attach the stereotypical image of that party to the individual.
The political climate in our country has become so heated and so polarized that party labels have taken on a whole new meaning — it’s not just about your base political opinions anymore, it now determines what kind of person you are.
Political parties nowadays are like rival sports teams — and rivals don’t like each other. If you join the blue team, there’s no cheering for the red team if a new player comes along that you like. We rally for politicians like we cheer for our favorite sports team, and this has led to a lot of conflict and hatred between political parties.
If you’re liberal, then you’re deemed as a wacko who is offended by everything and protests on the daily. If you’re conservative, then you’re categorized as a sexist or a racist who only cares about the livelihood of Americans.
Is there some truth to these stereotypes? Sure, there are people out there like that. But not everyone is, nor is that what being a Republican or Democrat truly means. We need to strip away all the excess baggage that comes with being a member of a certain party and get back to the roots of politics.
We need to start putting these labels aside. We need to meet in the middle and accept that although someone has a different political opinion than you, that doesn’t mean they’re a terrible person.
Not everyone is on the extreme end of the spectrum — you don’t have to have only republican or only democrat viewpoints. People are allowed to have both, and if someone identifies as fully one party, that’s okay too.
Right now in Washington, it seems people are doing whatever it takes to benefit their party’s agenda — they don’t listen to or care about what the other party says or a bill they want to pass. If it’s not their party’s, they don’t want it passed — period.
This political divide strengthened the stereotypes we have of both parties and has led to “partisan antipathy” — Republicans dislike Democrats and Democrats dislike Republicans. For both parties, 45 percent of each has a negative opinion of the opposite party. This is opposed to in 1994, when only 20 percent of both parties viewed the other negatively.
It can be hard to get along with people who have very different political views than you, and it’s okay not to be best friends with someone if you have huge ideological differences. But we need to stop pointing fingers and disregarding other’s opinions. In order for our country to accomplish things and move forward, everyone’s opinion should be heard and valued.