American politics is a topic currently at the forefront of our minds this season, due to the presidential election lurking just around the corner. Our system of democracy is an interesting one, in that our two-party system was set up to harbor division. Unfortunately, our political system has, in my opinion, ruined anyone who knows anything about politics.
Our system was created to pit people against each other, it's the nature of something that is divided, something separated into two. It began hundreds of years ago with Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican party, which was essentially created because Jefferson disagreed with everyone and wanted to create an ideology that further separated him from everyone else. (That's the condensed version of what happened, at least.) When our country split into two major parties, the Republican and Democratic parties, is when the problem really began. Unfortunately, humans have an inherent judgemental streak that is apparent when we hear something we disagree with. Have you ever heard the argument that everyone's a racist? It's true, and we're also really judgemental. And in a way, that's OK. So in the context of politics, you probably hate the view that's different from yours, even if you don't outright admit or understand that. This is what creates the divide between Democrats and Republicans, because what we have done is given a name to people who have similar ideologies, and it's become as prominent and dividing as black versus white, or men versus women.
I am not so ignorant as to believe that a divide was never going to happen, because human nature has always been us versus them; we will, unfortunately, always turn against each other. The fault is not in the fact that we all have different beliefs or ideologies, the fault lies in the respect we have for each other, or lack thereof. The interesting thing about politics is that everyone talks about it for a reason that is unique to them. Collectively however, everyone talks about politics because they believe in something, and they fight for what they believe in. Whether you agree with their belief or not is a moot point. As soon as everyone agrees to have respect for the opinion with which you do not agree, we can begin moving forward as a country. This problem is apparent in both the American people and politicians, because the fact that anyone running for president allows an ad to be put out bashing another candidate is one of the worst things I have ever heard of. And unfortunately, it's happened in almost every election since we began putting political ads on television. It doesn't matter who you support, how funny you think it is, the reality is that it's immature, wrong, and disrespectful. When the people we look up to set a bad example, it affects the whole country.
Here is my point: I don't ask for everyone to get along, it's impossible, it won't happen. What I ask for is respect. Respect my opinion, and I will gladly respect yours even if it's different. Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to coexist peacefully. We can't go out and seek the Republican or Democratic answer, because there's no telling if it will be entirely right. The right answer could be the liberal or conservative answer, or it could be both. But unless we agree upon respect, we will never get to that answer. This problem can be fixed, if we set the example of respect for each other's opinions. As soon as everyone agrees to respect the opinion that's different from theirs, we can begin.