Staff Editorial: Kavanaugh hearings emphasize need for maturity in politics
This one was polarizing.
Like it always is. Every month there seems to be a new scandal, and every month it seems to get more and more polarizing and divisive. This month’s scandal was historic though, and not because of the political significance.
The Kavanaugh hearing showed how truly divisive and disrespectful politics have become. It’s bad in the Supreme Court, it’s bad in the news, but what’s most disturbing is that it’s bad in our own backyard. It seems impossible for people to have a normal argument without in ending in a vulgar or disgusting manner. It’s in our school, our social media feeds, and in our homes. It’s the plague.
It seems as if Americans have lost the ability to have a fair and respectful argument. When our history teachers have us debate about current events in politics, it almost always ends with someone walking out of the classroom in fury. These same teachers tell us that the politics in our country have always been this bad, but that is the problem: we’re supposed to be progressing as a country.
This issue should be taken seriously. It’s serious enough to isolate groups, divide households, and tear friendships apart. The sad reality is that it only takes a a snarky comment on a Facebook post for a grudge to be held. It takes just one retweet, one post. The sensitivity level associated with politics is dangerously high, and the responses to political statements are always explosive.
The bickering from both sides is childish, and it can be narrowed down to the same two broadcastings being projected at each other: Fox News and CNN. Each network is always covering the same event, but both are said to be always be putting their own wicked twist on the headline that makes viewers lean towards their side. Even with this doubt, rarely will people watch both and listen to both perspectives.
This is where it starts. Both of these perspectives proclaim that their argument is the absolute truth, and anyone who opposes that truth is nuts. They convince people that their stance on these issues is a declaration of character. If you think differently you’re evil, if you think the same you are a warrior. Is it too much to ask for politics to just stay politics?
If you follow conservative idealists, you’ll end up being fed the agenda of the right. If you watch Youtube videos that are mostly Liberal, you will constantly be suggested videos that show you only one side of the argument (most likely presented by Buzzfeed). You will be constantly told that your side is the truth and nothing else matters. It will never occur to you that there are other perspectives that exist, that is, until you run into someone who has a different viewpoint than you. Then your innate reaction is purely a bit too defensive.
‘How could this person possibly have a different opinion than me?’ This is what people think before debating with their friends or co-workers. It seems to always get ugly. People rarely even see the value in hearing the other side. There is never any discussion. There is plenty of back and forth disrespectful language and rants, but there is never any true, valuable discussion.
We feel that everyone knows how divided we are. There’s been plenty of columns in the paper about it, and most parents complain about it. But people can’t resist from saying something snarky. It’s always a competition, and this has consequences.
At the Kavanaugh hearings, judges who serve the same government made consistent verbal attacks on each other. At the end of the day, they’re supposed to be on the same team. Even if their opinions are opposite, they should at least be able to express them without extreme intolerance from one another. This is a simple — yet not so simple — virtue that even George Washington highlighted in his 1796 farewell address. Even so, the judges’ poor behavior only further justified how we have all been behaving.
So it’s time we talk. It’s time we look each other in the eyes and say, ‘Hey, I hate everything about what you’re saying, but I respect your right to say it.’ Let’s find some common ground. Let’s engage in productive discussion.
The grudges, the bitterness, and the hatred have gone on for too long. Let’s grow up, America.