Politics Dividing America


Political parties are what divide our nation.


In the past they used to be what brought our nation together. They fostered healthy debates about politics, the economy, and education.


Now, parties are the wedge that is forcing the carefully crafted foundation of America apart so forcefully, that there is little hope of the nation coming together again.


This divide has always been a part of American politics, but the extent of hatred has evolved into a sense of instinctual tribalism that politicians are bringing out of us.


Intentionally or not, modern political parties have formed around not their own ideas, but the hatred for the opposing view.


Think about it. Chances are you don’t agree with everything the party you identify with believes in, but god forbid you support an idea the opposing party agrees with. Why is that?


The parties of America are not based around politics any longer, they focus on opposing the opposite party.


They are not advocating for achievable laws, they are creating a culture of us versus them.


This culture of us versus them is the core definition of tribalism. The definition of political tribalism from Definition.net is, “a strong cultural or ethnic identity that separates one member of a group from the members of another group.”


Democrats vs Republicans, Fox vs CNN, Trump vs Hillary, Blacks vs Whites. These are institutions. These are not policies or ideas, but groups. These are tribes.


People do not want to agree with the opposite party because politicians have made Americans believe those people are disgusting, that they are evil.


Does it ever cross your mind how the Holocaust happened? How could they be so loyal, so hateful, so blind? In recent elections, however, I believe we see our own version of the forces that drove the Nazis to do such horrendous things.


Before you run at me with pitchforks, understand that I am not comparing anyone’s actions to the horrendous actions of the Nazi regime, but I am comparing their political climate and tribalism to our own.


We grow up teaching our children that the people we do not completely agree with are the enemy. One study by Florida State’s Douglas J. Ahler states, “The idea of a family member marrying someone from the wrong party leaves about a third of Americans feeling ‘aghast.’


The people not the “same” as us, are the people many cannot associate themselves with. This should sound hauntingly similar to how many wars started such as in 20th century Germany.


Unlike Germany, however, our country is not plagued by an economic depression, but nobody can say that couldn’t change. What is stopping this feeling of tribalism from pinning the blame on “the enemy?”


In light of the recent midterm election with the Republicans continuing to maintain their majority over the Democrat’s in the Senate, the political ads seemed to run every other commercial these past few weeks.


Many of these ads claim crazy things about the person they are running against. Many approach complete slander about another candidate.


The problems in our country are easily observable, however, the road to mending the broken foundation of America may not be so easy. There is little that the common man can do about the hatred between organizations and the political/racial violence.


However, there is something that every American can do right now.


Stop taking the individual out of the institution.


We are all separate people with lives, families, ideas, and ethnicities. We cling so tightly to the stereotypes of the other side because we are so unable to listen. It is not betrayal to have ideas that align with the other party. Because that is all they are, ideas.


It is easier to ignore where other people are coming from; it is much harder to listen. It is hard to understand that not every Democrat is part of a radical liberalist group and not every Republican is a Neo-Nazi. Understanding that not every white person is racist and not every black person is a criminal.


These seem obvious to most, and they should be, but in politics, people are stripped of their individuality and clumped into broad groups.


This tribalism we see today, I believe, is what has caused hate crimes in the nation’s 10 largest cities to increase by 12 percent last year.


Tribalism starts with you, and with every person stuck in the mindset that America is being threatened from the inside. It is that mindset that is causing the real problem.


As Andre Sullivan stated, “Tribalism was an urge our Founding Fathers, especially George Washington, assumed we could overcome. And so, it has become our greatest vulnerability.”