Political Anarchy or Democracy?

Political divide is too noticeable within our society today. Voting for the first time in the election of 2016, I was shocked there was so much hostility. My theory, Democratic Stagnation Dilemma, tries to understand political polarization and the outcome of stagnation in social progression.

I decided to consider how the election was effecting other college students around me. I go to Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. This area is known to be very liberal, so classical I thought “How does this very liberal university environment effect students who are from and identify with being politically conservative?”

Researching the topic of political environment and humans, I found that US citizens are currently taking political affiliation into consideration when moving to a new location . This is important because not only is there signs of mental polarization, but there is also proof of physical polarization.

I concluded after an interview with a fellow WWU student, that the fight or flight reaction within humans is the main reason that individuals are polarizing themselves politically. From a Crash Course video by Hank Green, Green discusses Normative Social Influence which is the psychological cause of wanting to be within a group where you fit in. Instead of fighting through our political differences in the US, we’re fleeing to place where we know we fit in.

Has this hurt America?

Land of free thought and free voice. But instead of using that free voice to be constructive of each other, we chose to side with others who we know will understand our views.

Looking at exit polls from past elections, I wanted to see if our political polarization had a clear beginning. Not a huge surprise, but it seems that our polarization started happening heavily during the 1960’s. After an era of huge social change, polarization would have occurred, yet 50 years later it is still here to stay.

Looking around, we still have many civil rights inequalities happening and being challenged. Polarization causes you to be around a certain group of people, people that you identify with. If you stay within that group, how can you understand what others are going through?

Having 50 years to fix injustices and still have them around today is mind boggling. But polarization causes you to have an extreme flight reaction when it comes to opposite opinions. Not necessarily just agreeing or disagreeing if those rights are justified for those citizens, but also who, federal or state government, should enforce those protections.

Progression is needed in a society. I look at other western countries and feel as if the US is being left behind. The only way to fix our polarization is to reach across the aisle and talk with one another. This isn’t just a concern of minorities. Social progression, whether it is health care, civil rights, or climate change to name a few, touches everyone’s lives once. To say you don’t care about an issue or that you do not agree because you don’t hold knowledge on the subject are not expectable excuses.

Step into the shoes of someone else, do not run with your pack. Polarization within the US is not a walk in the park. It makes people radicalized and become angry with our government. Actively go against your flight instinct, and fight for a better, more understanding world.

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