Political party

Reviews | Wickedness of Opposing Political Party Endangers Society | Opinion

“Too much of what is happening in our country is not normal.”

President Joe Biden has made This declaration on September 1, 2022, while addressing the nation about the dangers to democracy posed by former President Donald Trump’s supporters — or “MAGA Republicans,” in keeping with Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again.”

He continued, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundation of our republic.”

Whether you agree with this statement or not, this is undoubtedly a public attack on a certain demographic. Throughout the speech, Biden talks about unity while slandering the opposition, doing the exact opposite of the supposed intent of the speech.

Animosity between opposing parties is inevitable – their beliefs do not align. However, events that occurred during the two previous presidencies, such as the threats against bureaucrats, the plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan, and the attack on the US Capitol – all mentioned by the Journal of Democracy as part of the increase in political violence – should raise alarm in American society. The country’s leaders are influencing hateful behavior right now, and it’s not just verbal bickering between the parties: it’s rioting, vandalism, death threats and actual deaths.

It was clear when Trump campaigned in 2016 that the divide between the two sides expanded. Throughout his presidency, this file only progressed, each party making hateful remarks on the other. While Trump had the power to downplay this hatred as a figure of influence, he only exacerbated it by making outrageous remarks about the Democratic Party and its members. An example of this, according to The Washington Post, was in 2019 when he claimed four Democratic lawmakers, all of whom were people of color, should leave the country. He said they should “go back” to “the crime-infested places they came from”, according to The Post.

The article continues: He then backed up this claim by stating that he didn’t care if what he said was offensive because people agreed with him. Comments like this continued throughout Trump’s presidency as he took to his social media platforms to spread negativity. This perpetuated hatred within his supporters and the Democratic Party. After the resumption of elections in 2020, tension only increased between parties and within society, as evidenced by the Capitol Attack January 6, 2021.

For our generation, this polarization is terrifying and must be acknowledged. The policy is relevant in student life and it is important that students can debate their positions among themselves without feeling hatred towards the other side or fear that sharing their beliefs will provoke negative reactions.

JMU junior Jack Levy said he was often afraid to share his right-wing views because he was criticized by both students and teachers at the university.

“I don’t feel comfortable speaking up because I’ve seen a few teachers comment on my opinion and students come and say things to me on social media,” Levy said. “I once shared my opinion with a teacher and they said they respected my opinion but it was wrong.”

This polarization is pervasive, and American leaders are setting a terrible precedent for young, impressionable minds that it’s okay to judge someone based on their political standing.

Junior Rachel Gordon said she was now a Democrat, but grew up with a conservative and religious outlook. She said the ability to see different viewpoints is beneficial.

“I think it’s important to understand both sides, and I think it’s a problem that people are so stuck in their ways,” Gordon said. “It’s frustrating to have a conversation when the other person knows they won’t change their point of view or even listen to the other side.”

The ability to communicate civilly is something our society has lost. According to CNN, on September 18, a man was charged with driving homicide after he said he hit someone with his car due to a political dispute. He said he felt threatened because the person was “part of a Republican extremist group,” according to the article. CNN. What could have been a sophisticated conversation instead ended in a tragic death.

In the grand scheme of things, the leaders of the United States bear the greatest responsibility for maintaining democracy. They must refrain from perpetuating negative dialogues and encourage the country to come together. Unfortunately, most neglect this power, so it falls to citizens to try to establish civility. Gordon shared various ways students and young adults can refute this negativity.

“I think it’s important that people see both sides, know how the algorithm caters to each side, see politicians for who they are, be wary of fake news, and most importantly, listen to both sides.” , Gordon said.

Contact Oriana Lukas at lukasok@dukes.jmu.edu. For more editorials regarding the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the Opinion Bureau on Instagram and Twitter @Breeze_Opinion.