What’s going on? Fighting, arguing, blaming, accusing and not taking responsibility? This is what America has come to?
Gone are the days of constructive debate, respect and dialogue. If Ronald Reagan was still alive, he would be very disappointed by our polarized political environment.
If you are democrat, republican, independent or from another party, one cannot deny the contentious political environment that has been fueled by social media as well as the general media.
We are a country divided by ideology–some extreme, some not so extreme.
Political Supporters Go to Extreme Lengths
Throughout this presidential race, we see the lengths that some are going to in expressing their political sentiment. In one of the more prolific incidents in this presidential campaign, a San Jose protest goes wrong as protesters take a violent turn. The New York Times describes the incident below:
When Mathew Gonzales, a Latino musician from San Jose, heard that Donald J. Trump was coming to town, he knew he had to do something.
“I saw he was coming and thought, ‘We got to go out and speak against him,’” said Mr. Gonzales, 31, who avoided the violence that ensued. “He’s obviously not representing what we’re all about here in San Jose. San Jose is very based on immigrants and stuff like that.”
Two days later, Mr. Gonzales, and more than 100 other protesters who visited his page, arrived at the arena in San Jose where Mr. Trump would be speaking and jeered his supporters through a megaphone. The taunting at Thursday night’s rally turned violent, with some of Mr. Trump’s backers beaten and “Make America Great Again” hats set on fire.
There are even instances at campaign rallies where supporters have assaulted nay-sayers, resulting in assault charges being brought against the individual.
Social Media Gets Political
However, the most common hostile behavior from all camps lives primarily on social media. Brian Donahue, chief executive of Craft Media/Digital, analyzes the increasingly hostile behavior and its concerning origin. He states in this Los Angeles Times article:
“It is meant to appear to be coming organically from people and their social media networks in a groundswell of activism, when in fact it is highly paid and highly tactical.”
So how do we address the polarizing attacks against political candidates? Shouldn’t we engage in constructive dialogue that leads towards establishing common ground?
If people can channel their energy towards positive and productive dialogue in lieu of social media attacks and violent protests, we can address our differences and move towards common ground and harmony.
No matter what political party, affiliation, or beliefs you hold, common ground and common decency is absolutely needed.
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