#12 TRENDING IN Opinion 🔥

Why the Political Divide is Counterproductive to Our Society


November 23, 2023

Introduction and Current Events

The America that we know today is not a society of productive discussion. With ideas being judged on the political scale instead of the merit they hold, many don’t find it worthwhile to engage in meaningful conversation and compromise. Instead, we end up continuing to champion our ideas without regard for an alternative idea.

While advocating and supporting your ideas is a Constitutional right, it has been forced on people in a way that limits the way people think and make decisions for themselves. This is not good for the healthy growth of society and making people that can think for themselves.

Of course, it’s a great thing that people disagree, as that leads to new ideas and different solutions for issues that arise. However, it has become an environment where instead of having this healthy discussion, it is a toxic space of refusing to listen to anyone who disagrees. If we do not scale back this political polarization, we will be unable to collaborate to form any solution in the future.

In the recent few years, we’ve seen some major issues crop up, in which the younger generation has been involved in more. Some of these issues include education, social politics, and recently, the conflict in the Middle East. Just to be clear, this article has nothing to do with discussing these issues or me providing my opinion, but to look at the overarching theme of the political divide in America right now.

All of these current events have led to us becoming increasingly polarized. We have become a society that judges based on political views and political views only. We need to move past this and see people as people and not viewpoints which we can agree or disagree with.

The only way to a healthy society and productive discussion is one where we can agree to disagree and have genuine conversations with the end goal of reaching a middle ground, clarification, or a solution instead of solely attempting to undermine someone. These political discussions are essential to democracy.

Honkasalo from Unsplash


So why has our society become like this in the first place? What sparked this divide? Well, the answer is that this has become a gradual divide that has shifted apart more and more when certain controversies arise.

For example, there’s no specific date, but people look at the early 2000s as the best example of when the geopolitical divide made its way into America with the invasion of Afghanistan. After this, events such as the 2008 recession, ongoing conflict within the Middle East and East Europe, identity politics, an immigration crisis, the pandemic, and fuel added to the fire by political pundits only caused us to grow more polarized at points where we needed to be together the most.

As these ideas within political parties are continually repeated, we start seeing the other side as our enemies rather than our counterparts. For example, the New Yorker reported that almost two-thirds of people affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic party viewed the other party as a “serious threat to America”. This is similar to a concept known as “echo chambers”.

Loosely defined, this means any space where people are only exposed to beliefs that go with their own as opposed to other viewpoints and perspectives. The two main places where I believe this happens are in social media and the news. Considering the media can form its own narratives, most outlets tend to politically lean either left or right and maintain these principles when publishing articles, so someone who only reads from a limited number of sources will experience an echo chamber. This is similar to social media, except there is an actual algorithm boosting content based on what seems “tailored” to the viewer.

These echo chambers, over time, turn people completely intolerant of opposing viewpoints and see people, rather than principles, as the opponents.


As a result of this, there are a few major problems that come in and don’t leave our society. First of all, there is a massive loss of trust in public institutions. Over the education war, we’ve seen a massive debate on high schools and colleges, and these places are seen as battlegrounds rather than places to learn, which is their actual purpose.

Another example is the media, effectively filtering out what it wants to say so that the people who agree with what they say are immediately drawn to the latest headline instead of understanding the multiple perspectives of any story. And lastly, the one I will focus on most is social fragmentation.

With the advances in technology and a much better quality of life, than we had even a decade or two decades ago, it becomes easier and easier to get drawn into your phone or computer and avoid interacting with other people. Online echo chambers are the most dangerous, and they can lead to people severely misunderstanding an issue or people.

If we look at the effects on a higher level, in the US government is also impacted. With political polarization, there is less collaboration between political sides and we are able to pass less legislation and get less work done since many bills are split between Republicans and Democrats. This is very unproductive, and it hurts the US citizens.

Extreme ideologies can gain traction in polarized politics since people are willing to go to extreme ends of the political spectrum to win their next election or gain political influence. This is all supposedly done in the name of making America a better place, but it is clear that the last decade has brought many new issues that are being neglected by policymakers. Overall, these effects are only going to get worse with time.

Sukoff from Unsplash

Bridging the Gap

So what should we do about this? The way I just described this makes this seem like a situation so dire it cannot be solved. But there is a path forward.

One of the main ways we can do this is through media literacy. Educating people on how to critically evaluate media sources and anything they see so that they don’t have to guess whether something is a biased opinion or fact is very important.

Additionally, we should be pushing for more civic engagement. What exactly does this mean? Well, it means students play a greater role in being educated and learning about their community, policies, and local elections, and increasing voter resources so we have a higher voter turnout.

While some of these solutions might be societal, there’s a variety of things that we can do on our own. Part of the problem can easily be fixed by just remembering or knowing a few things.

Firstly, make sure to try to get your information from as many sources as possible so you can get a diverse view of all the perspectives and make your own decision independent of the political bias of whichever media you got it from. While looking at information, make sure to always look at the facts/data and make sure it’s verifiable and not manipulated to look a certain way.

Intraversato from Unsplash


In summary, the effects of political division are pretty big, touching many parts of our lives. But, while facing these issues, there's a chance for positive change and bringing people together. We’ve seen how America can learn to band together when there is a public crisis - I just hope that we don’t need to wait until the point where we see extreme repercussions.

While dealing with our complicated political situation, let's aim for a future where different views are welcomed, where we can talk respectfully, and find common ground for everyone's benefit. Yes, it's a bit tough to get to a less divided society, but the good things that could come out of it are worth it and necessary for us.

Aryan Garg
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Writer since Jun, 2023 · 6 published articles

Aryan Garg is a 10th grade student at TJHSST, in Northern VA. He is interested in writing, and passionate about medicine and finance. His hobbies include photography, running, and reading.