American politics are in a place that history has never seen before. While the political arena has always been an area of contentious debate, American politics have become so divided that discourse is virtually impossible.
When Donald Trump took over the presidency in 2016, America braced for a very different leader than the country had ever seen before. But nobody could have predicted the severance that has resulted from his presidency.
Both sides are to blame for this issue. Those who align with the political left assume Republicans are ignorant Trump supporters. Those who align with the political right pigeonhole Democrats as truculent Trump-haters. No one can win.
The swell of anger and frustration in American politics has reached its pinnacle this year. 2020 was undoubtedly a difficult year filled with unforeseen challenges. Instead of being a force of unification, it seems as if our country’s struggles made us more divided now than ever.
The people who are supposed to protect American lives instead took American lives. Protests in the name of love ended in violence and destruction. We forgot what it means to be “one nation, under God, indivisible.”
This election marks an important turning point. I believe that this can be the moment we change things for the better. We can seize this opportunity — or we can turn to hate.
The tension and build-up prior to the election do not suggest that the country is headed in the right direction. The time leading up to an election should be filled with excitement and anticipation. Instead, people are riddled with anxiety and a deep seeded hatred for people of opposing perspectives.
In major cities like New York and D.C., people have boarded up the windows of their stores and homes in fear that post-election protests will turn violent. People are hoarding food and supplies in preparation for weeks locked- down in their homes. This is not the America we want to live in.
My friend, Ian Hunsburger, is currently attending American University in D.C. He said that the place he calls home instead feels like an impending war zone. Regardless of the outcome of the election, he fears that the city he feels so connected to will become unrecognizable.
He said that the city pre-election feels apocalyptic.
He believes that cities treating the election like the beginning of a civil war reflects just how far we’ve strayed from effective democracy.
“I feel like I’m just a pawn in a corrupt system,” he said.
He is not the only who fears for America post-election. Undoubtedly, one side will be upset with the outcome.
Without hope for compromise, the losing side will inevitably feel as if they will spend four years without any sort of representation in government. This wasn’t always the case.
Compromise has been a primary tenet of American democracy since its founding. However, lately, compromise is all-too-rare.
Representatives are worried that if they stray too far from the rigid, polarized ideology of their constituents, they will not be re-elected. The middle ground that once existed in American politics is no longer present.
It is imperative that America rediscovers this middle ground. We all must recall that there is value in agreeing to disagree with the hope that eventually, compromise can be achieved.