People of opposite political views, specifically conservative and liberal, have been ideologically polarized ever since the heated campaign and election months ago. Since then there has been protest, violence, and, above all else, misunderstanding.
This article is not about political issues or opinions; it is more fundamental than that. This is not about one party or one ideology. Instead, it is a problem that persists all across the political spectrum. The battle for which side has the best answers socially, economically, and politically has been a struggle throughout every culture and era in human history, so to delve into such that ancient and endless clash of right and wrong is almost useless.
However, the perspectives people have about “the other side” has shown a great degree of ignorance within the media and the people of the country.
Often times we see this oversimplification of political ideologies especially in the recent “Battle of Berkley.”
For those unfamiliar with the event the event, a violent leftist extremist group, Antifa, went to Berkley, California to prevent “tyranny.” In response, a whole bunch of proud “country-loving” Americans showed up to fight them back in hopes for a conflict.
In the media, this clash was portrayed as liberal vs. conservative. When in reality, it was stupid vs. stupid. This “liberal” group in Antifa is one that nearly all-leveled headed left leaning people would denounce. Still, people look to use this event as evidence that the left is truly out to create chaos.
On the other side, to call a Trump supporter a white-supremacist would be far off base. Still, it happens. If all 62 million Trump’s voters (about half of all voters in 2017) were racist barbarians then Obama sure would not have found his way into the Oval Office.
With that all said, people still want to lump the entire “other side” of the political spectrum into one group instead of understanding that the political playing field is more complex than just a whole bunch of X’s against O’s.
On the left there are dangerous extremists: Antifa
On the right there are crazy fanatics: the KKK.
These two groups, and similar ones, are very insignificant minorities that mainstream rightism and leftism would immediately denounce.
Really, each side has its crazies who are so small in number that they are politically irrelevant. Then there a those that get swept up in the raw emotion of ethical differences and toss generic accusations at the other side leaving practical liberals and conservatives to appear as a minority of their own.
On both sides, people like to believe that they are all these good wholesome conservatives vs. the evil left while the other side seems themselves as the the good wholesome liberals vs. the evil right. All of which is a direct result of the venom spat across the political line in the media and specifically social media.
To think that it can all be simplified down into all the virtuous (insert one political group here) vs. the evil (insert the other classification here) is one of the single greatest problems when it comes to interaction between to ideologically contrasting groups. People end up just arguing their emotions and altered perceptions.
It is easier for one to create their own reality and drown in their desire to feel that they are right while “they” are wrong. All of which results in a willful loss of touch with the true complexity of social, economic, and political differences.
Consequently, “conservative” and “liberal” become dirty words on the opposite side with both parties feeling the other is just a whole bunch of idiots. Sixty million people voted for the opposite candidate this past election. Damn is it easy to just feel that the other 60 million are just dumb instead of seeing that there are opinions and policies that millions of people must have voted on for legitimate reasons.
I am not saying that it is a crime to be firm in one’s convictions (really it can be a virtue). However, when one’s convictions are ill-informed and fanciful, that person is partaking in injustice towards society and themselves.
Ironically and hypocritically enough, it seems that two ideologically different groups are quite similar to when it comes to combating their rivals.
The die-hard conservative will accuse the liberals of wanting a “safe space” from the harsh truths of the world while that same conservative reads nothing else but Breitbart in an attempt to shield themselves from the discomfort of differing opinions.
The proud liberal accuses the conservative of being close minded while that same liberal has not even made the slightest attempt to understand just why and how that conservative came to believe just what they believe.
The issue is that there is an oversimplification. People want an abridged version to form unabridged opinions; they just like the tweet, the headline, or the short video clip. This oversimplification leads to altered perceptions, which leads to grave misunderstanding on both sides, which ends up in avoidable tension across the country.
The complexity of the political landscape is more than 140 characters deep, and it is time more people start to realize it.