Debra Joy Wallace
October 23, 2012
If there was one thing that the political rhetoric following Monday night’s presidential debate indicated, it’s that our nation is deeply divided. Of course, that isn’t anything new, as a study released in June by the Pew Research Center illustrates.
“Americans’ values and basic beliefs are more polarized along partisan lines than at any point in the past 25 years,” the study reads, and anyone paying attention to the debate on the national scene can attest to that.
In other words, if Democrats are for it, you can rest assured that Republicans are against it, and the reverse is also true.
A quick flip of the channels following Monday’s presidential debate, from the conservative mouthpiece that is Fox News to the ultra-liberal views being spouted over at MSNBC, gives us a good indication of the state of our national politics. You’re either for us or you’re against us. And if you’re a moderate, there’s no room for you in the conversation at all. You can be either a Harry Reid or a Mitch McConnell, but dare not be an Arlen Specter.
According to the aforementioned Pew study, Americans are now more deeply divided along partisan lines than any other measure, including race, gender, and class. These divisions are the largest with issues such as the environment and the social safety net, and at present there seems to be no end for that divide in sight.
As a result, our political system remains in a perpetual gridlock as lawmakers approve measures based on party lines, and kick the can down the road on major issues like the budget to avoid having to make a decision.
No matter who wins the presidency a couple weeks from now, these types of divisions have to be healed in order to move the country forward. We simply can’t continue to turn our backs on our fellow Americans just because there may be a disagreement. Government has an important role to play in ensuring opportunities for the citizenry and the security of the nation, but that work will never get done as long as our party affiliation gets in the way of what’s right. You don’t have to always agree, but you should very well be willing to listen and discuss without acting like someone just stole your lunch money.
It’s time for our elected leaders to grow up and act like adults should. It’s only the future of our nation at stake.
— The Hazard Herald