Well done Mr. Bule. Over the last 8 years I’ve studied the precise social problem you so brilliantly highlight in the article. I believe you’re absolutly right in your observation that demagoguery and hyperbole have polluted our civil discourse. Through my studies I’ve also come to the conclusion that one of the primary culprits to our current political state of affairs is the existence and perpetuation of the binary political system. This of course isn’t the only cause of political strife between friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and perfect strangers, respecting Bule’s assertion, but it is a huge contributing factor. In a binary political system (two party system) people are pushed or conscripted into taking a left or right position even if they aren’t official soldiers of a political party/movement.
How does this happen?
Research shows that most people care deeply about 4 to 5 main issues. Political parties have smartly adopted hundreds of positions on issues and as such, have created a system that makes it easy for, let’s call him “John”, to support the party that supports the few issues important to him. In a binary political system, It’s easy for John to assume that anyone who does not support the same party as he, must also not support his 4 or 5 important issues. This is what leads to the friction between people who might otherwise have much more in common than not, including perhaps John’s 4 or 5 important issues. However, if all people know about each other is what party they generally associate with, then our many similarities are often never explored or celebrated and instead we fight based simply off of our perceived differences.
I believe the solution to this will be enabling people and elected officials to break away from the binary black/white, red/blue, left/right system and adopt a personalized and customized poltical platform that’s unique to each person, voter and candidate. With a system like that, we’ll be able to bring back civility, as you mentioned so briliantly in your article, by celebrating our similarities and working through our differences openly and honestly.