Political polarization has been a national reality for decades. But during 2020, the messy but often productive middle ground all but disappeared. As a result, Americans were pressured to move further right or further left or be left behind.
Lines were drawn where lines were deemed unnecessary in the past. Everything became a point of contention. School closings. School openings. Masks. Protests.
With the collapse of the middle, nuance left the building. Without nuance, comments are taken more literally than intended, and productive discussion around complex topics becomes virtually impossible. The result: you are for me, or you are against me. It’s all or nothing. But every adult knows the world doesn’t work that way. Nothing works that way. That way of thinking ensures that things won’t work.
If fair-minded individuals, not politicians, would get together to help solve problems, here and around the world, just imagine the progress we would make as a civilized society. Simply sitting down and having crucial conversations would lead us to real solutions, not a state of polarization. Then again, the human condition is such that very few people take personal responsibility for just about anything unless their “tribe” is applauding. The blame-shifting is nauseating.
Depending on who you listen to there’s often sound logic behind issues on both sides of the spectrum. Consequently, this is a place where conditions are ripe for conflict. Where opinions vary, emotions are strong, and the stakes are high. But by logical observation, there are usually three sides to every story. Yours, mine, and the more accurate one somewhere in between.
Do you see how the lines get drawn? Usually around confirmation bias and often by lies believed to be true. A predictable tactic of an unseen enemy roaming the earth, seeking whom he may devour, as the Bible tells us.
And that’s the memo.
By Steve & Colleen Adams from their upcoming book Embracing Brokenness