Excessive Partisanship Is Pushing America Towards a Cliff


In the event you’re residing in America immediately, it is laborious to not discover the extent to which partisan polarization has made our politics dysfunctional. The most recent and arguably most egregious iteration of this polarization is the best way the Republican institution and the appropriate extra broadly has lined as much as defend Donald Trump from accountability for his assault on American democracy, for completely no purpose aside from that the previous president ran on the GOP ticket. However for those who take an sincere take a look at the genesis of utmost partisanship—or maybe partisan extremism—you may discover that it has been years within the making, and that it’s neither a uniquely Trumpian phenomenon, nor has it been one-sided.

Trying again at what has handed for a “scandal” lately, there is no such thing as a scarcity of trivial nonsense that was cynically politicized by way of transparently partisan and purely performative shows of patriotism. There was the Republican meltdown over President Obama’s espresso salute, in addition to the Dems’ outrage over Kellyanne Conway’s toes on the Oval Workplace sofa, and the infinite adversarial Fox Information commentary on President Biden getting ice cream whereas president.

This is not simply concerning the cynical opportunism of our political class; it is also a manifestation of the senseless competitors over scores, which turned our information media into sensationalized leisure as an alternative of giving the general public the information we have to be an knowledgeable citizenry, a degeneration that is then amplified by exploitative social media environments that rewards poisonous and divisive rhetoric.

This fixed state of manufactured partisan outrage is not innocent. It seeps into the minds of People and impacts how we cope with points that truly matter—like a as soon as in a lifetime pandemic. Such an occasion ought to deliver a nation collectively. You’ll count on folks to have the option in such excessive, life-threatening circumstances to put aside political variations and stand collectively as People.

Sadly, this didn’t occur. Even an infectious illness that introduced the whole nation to a halt could not shake us out of our hyper-partisan situation. One thing as apolitical as science turned politicized, inflicting Republicans to constantly underestimate COVID’s dangers, whereas Democrats overestimated them.

Throughout the top of the Delta variant, a good friend who works on Capitol Hill famous that you may simply inform Republican and Democratic congressional staffers aside by whether or not they wore a masks or not.

extreme polarization is tearing us apart

Might anybody have imagined that we might develop into so dedicated to our ideological or celebration affiliation that we might successfully decide our private illness precautions primarily based on them?

We’ve got reached a degree the place we now not have real political disagreements that often spill into partisan preventing; we now have partisan preventing because the lens by way of which we drive each social, financial and political problem below the solar to make use of as a cudgel in opposition to the opposite crew.

And it will get worse whenever you speak about belief in American democracy itself. The careless method Russia’s actual meddling within the U.S. election again in 2016 was talked about in lots of media retailers led a majority of Democrats to wrongly imagine that Russia tampered with the voting machines to fraudulently set up Trump as president. In the meantime, the overwhelming majority of Republicans imagine the lie that the presidency was stolen by Joe Biden from Donald Trump by way of election fraud, regardless of there not being a shred of proof for this declare.

Worse but, the lie was instigated and promoted by the previous president himself, with lethal penalties, as his passionate and misinformed supporters violently attacked their very own authorities on January 6, 2021.

The alarm bells concerning the perilous state of our democracy could not ring any louder, and but now we have a political and media institution that has no qualms about continuing down the identical divisive path.

So right here we’re, making an attempt to carry on to what little operate stays in our democratic system by looking for accountability for that historic assault on the Capitol, and for a former president who clearly feels exactly zero sense of accountability for the nation he nonetheless needs to guide. However as an alternative of responding to information of a legal investigation into the previous President’s conduct with the seriousness and gravity it deserves, Fox Information personalities instantly flip to glib partisan deflections, with one host going so far as to counsel that the FBI was in all probability planting proof to border Donald Trump, fueling requires violence.

Is it a shock then that, later the identical week, a person related to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol would assault an FBI constructing with an AR-15 and get himself killed within the course of?

It’s value noting that lots of the identical folks demonizing the FBI over its Trump investigation place themselves as “pro-law enforcement” within the context of liberal calls for for police accountability over racial discrimination, which reveals fairly a bit concerning the partisan motivations of a lot of our political commentary.

Worse but, the partisan divide itself as a recognizable impediment to progress in America is being exploited to guard the worst offenders dividing America immediately. Some commentators go so far as to counsel that holding Trump accountable for his assault on American democracy displays a partisan weaponization of regulation enforcement, as if the bipartisan and unifying course ahead is to permit the Divider-in-Chief, who introduced the nation to the brink, to be above the regulation. However the flaw in that logic is self-evident: If making an attempt to overturn a democratic election by way of fraud and incitement is to be freed from any penalties, then who’s to cease the subsequent try?

We’re a rustic that now not has a shared view of actuality itself, together with science and election outcomes, and the place half the inhabitants sees a civil battle on the horizon.

If our media and political leaders fail to finish their complicity in polarization that is pushing us to the cliff, then now we have to do that work ourselves from the underside up.

In the event you handle to set the hyper-partisan goggles shoved in our faces apart for a minute, you may discover that we are literally united by much more than what divides us. And it isn’t simply these overly broad options of our frequent humanity, like our need for a greater and extra affluent life for ourselves and our youngsters that deliver us collectively; it is concrete political points that aren’t owned by both political faction or celebration. People throughout the political spectrum imagine within the significance of free speech and within the necessity of getting large cash out of politics in order that our political representatives serve the general public good as an alternative of serving particular pursuits.

People throughout the board imagine in equity and due course of, which is exactly why it is vital to take care of the independence of our judicial system and of regulation enforcement, and permit them to place regulation and accountability above politics.

It is also why we should construct the credibility of our establishments and shield the integrity of our elections, to make sure that People can belief their outcomes.

That is the work we should demand from our representatives and the investments now we have to make if we’re severe about defending our democracy, and creating a greater future for our youngsters and a extra united America for generations to come back.

Omar Baddar is a political analyst and the previous director of the Arab American Institute.

The views on this article are the author’s personal.


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