Liberal – Babatunde Ojo
The current state of politics is not that different when compared to any other era. Despite the advances made in technology, people still end up misinformed or trapped watching, listening or reading news that does not provide context to the situation.
For example, one political event is usually followed by another. If President Trump mentions something about “Topic A”, then two weeks later says something about “Topic B”, it would be up to each political side to frame the political situation accordingly.
Trump supporters may ignore “Topic A” and push for “Topic B” as the end all be; ignoring the context set previously. The same could be said for a Trump adversary. “Topic B” could paint Trump in a negative light and while “Topic A” provided a bit of backstory to “Topic B”.
The point of the example is that politics may seem more akin to “entertainment” television, but the state of politics has been consistent since JFK. Unfortunately, what has also stayed consistent is the media’s portrayal of the situation and inability of searching for context by the consumer of national news.
Independent – Beshoy Shokralla
The current political landscape is very polarized and often people try lay the blame on the other political party. Unfortunately, both parties are at fault for the current state of politics, and the sooner people realize this, the sooner we’ll be able to work together as a country to fix it. Observing the last presidential race as someone who considers themselves as independent and as someone who voted third party in an obviously blue state, I noticed a lot of problems from both sides of the aisle.
On the liberal side and conservative side, I noticed a lot of people who focused not on issues but on name and party of the candidate. They didn’t care about Trump’s actual political plans or his platform, they simply didn’t want to elect Hillary Clinton, and vice versa. This kind of thinking blinds us to the realities of a candidate, and makes us evaluate them not as a political representative, but as a social symbol. I know a lot of friends who voted Hillary; not because they loved her and thought she represented them the most, but because they simply didn’t want Trump getting elected. Vice versa, when I spoke with friends from church who were planning to vote Trump, the main reason they gave me was because they thought Hillary was a horrible candidate.
This thinking plagues us even at the state level, as anyone can observe from signs saying “Stop Trump and Christie, Vote Murphey!” We are so polarized now that politicians can just claim to hate our political opponents and list that as the main reason we should vote for them. That’s not where we need to be as a country, and if we want to accomplish anything, we can’t be electing officials based on who we hate. We need to pick ones that will do what the people want!
Conservative – Adrian Wong
Today we can see a time where the United States is more divided than at any other point in my twenty years of life. This was bound to happen given our most recent election, where so many people cast their vote not because they supported a particular candidate, but rather because they hated one or two of them. Recently, there has been violence from certain minority groups on both sides.
In the past year, we have seen the left, time after time, shut down conservative speakers at universities. A Brookings Institution poll shows nearly 1 in 5 college students supports violence against those who say “offensive and hurtful things.” We have seen video footage which appears to show a college professor beating a peaceful conservative over the head with a metal bike lock. A man went to a practice for the congressional baseball game and purposefully shot the Republicans.
On the other side, we recently saw an extreme conservative allegedly drive a car into a crowd at Charlottesville, Virginia. Additionally, at the Charlottesville rally a conservative was seen on camera firing his handgun at a counter protester. There was also a case of a man who allegedly shouted racial slurs at a two Muslim women on a train before stabbing them.
It seems almost as if violence has been normalized in today’s world. Unacceptable violence on both sides has been a major issue recently and has shown the divide that exists in our country.