I’ve been seeing similar polarization over here across the pond. We’ve been fighting the straw men we put up for so long that none of them look like the people they really are. There are various axes on which our people are polarized, and if we only listen to those who think like us, we get more and more shrill while becoming less and less lucid.
I have seen long-term friendships fall apart because of people’s various ideals. Wanting to be heard and to be right has become more important to us than communication, discourse and “the common good.” Instead, we have decided that my good is the common good, and since potentially everyone can hear me, then logically, everyone should listen to me.
I agree that making one’s point is a good thing. I agree that there are some issues in this world more important than a casual acquaintance or a superficial friendship. However, the clamor has become so loud and so angry that it spills from the heart into the words, and from the words into actions. Then, quite literally, people are hurt. Physically, emotionally, socially, and in any other way.
I agree with Adam Bird that it will take a conscious choice to mingle with those who do not (and never will, frankly), think like us. It will open our minds, stretch our worldviews and make us better people in the long run.