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The Little Hawk

Bye-Partisanship

Lottie Gidal, News Editor

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I have pretty strong opinions. When it comes to my taste in music, politics, social justice, or just basic decency, I’ll be honest, I usually think that I’m right. I know where I stand on an issue, and if someone tries to tell me about a different perspective, it takes a lot for me to consider it.

And I don’t believe that this is just me. No one ever wants to be the first one to back down, the first to cross the aisle, because at a certain point humans just get stubborn. Being wrong isn’t fun, so why would we open ourselves up to that possibility?

It makes bipartisanship—or even basic civility—nearly impossible. And in a government that is split almost in half, that’s the only way to get things done.”

On a national scale, these last couple of years have been especially polarizing. Political discussion has become weighted, everything has been pushed to the extreme sides of the parties’ respective spectrums, and it’s so hard to feel like you can agree with the other side on anything. But sometimes it’s not even about agreeing with the issue. People hear “Trump” or “Hillary” or “Obama” and automatically agree or disagree without knowing almost any details. During the election, we generalized the opposition, they were either all ‘racist, homophobic, redneck, Confederate Republicans’ or ‘socialist, free-range, grass fed snowflakes’. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, half of each party says that they are ‘afraid’ of the other one.

A level of polarization this bad is just not healthy. It makes bipartisanship—or even basic civility—nearly impossible. And in a government that is split almost in half, that’s the only way to get things done.

But this isn’t only about governmental effectivity, it’s about political discourse in our day to day lives. If you can see someone else’s perspective, put yourself in their shoes, that’s when productive discussion happens. It’s not about agreeing with the other side, it’s not about making concessions, it’s about finding a way to talk to someone you don’t agree with. That’s when you learn enough to find the middle ground, the place where you both agree to disagree long enough to come together on a path forward.

So really, this isn’t about being wrong or right, and it’s not about who wins or loses. This is a matter of empathy.

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The student news site of Iowa City High School.
Bye-Partisanship