Premium

Who’s to Blame for All the Division Among Americans?

AP Photo/Florian Schroetter

Despite all the talk of “unity” coming from the left, America still remains a very divided nation. Political discourse has become increasingly toxic and there are few indications that the rift will be healed in the near future.

Many have expressed valid concerns over this societal trend, noting it could have devastating consequences on the culture in the future. Some have predicted widespread political violence or even a second civil war. Others have called for a national divorce as a peaceful solution to what seems to be irreconcilable differences between conservatives and leftists.

This situation raises a sensible question: Who is to blame for the division?

Does only one side bear responsibility for the tense political environment? Are there multiple factors in this equation?

Democratic strategist Justin Horwitz had a conversation with Breitbart News in which he pointed the finger at “cynical elites and politicians,” along with fringe elements and the media as the culprits.

“What we found is after having these conversations —  with Republicans, with people we thought we really don’t agree with or have huge differences with — we’re finding that we have a lot more in common than anybody realizes,” he told Breitbart News last Saturday.

He continued:

“And frankly we have cynical elites and politicians who are trying to weaponize our differences in order to focus on what divides us rather than what unites us, and I really do believe it’s that simple, that we agree on most issues.”

Horwitz also explained that the activist media “weaponizes” differences, “whether it be race, ethnicity, socio-economic class – that that really is the root of our disunity in many ways.”

As an example, the strategist pointed to the national debate over the border and immigration policy.

“I really do believe that both Democrats and Republicans believe in a strong border, southern and northern. Right? That we are a nation of laws,” he noted. “When Trump stands on stage and he says, ‘We are a nation of laws. We need a border,’ he’s not wrong.”

The issue, according to Horwitz, is “cynical absolutists” on both sides of the aisle. Breitbart News reported:

However, the problem, Horwitz said, is “cynical absolutists” in both parties. Far-left democrats, for example, will say the entire concept of a border is racist, which Horwitz noted is false. The Democrat strategist added that a majority of Democrats he talks to say a strong border is not controversial, but activists on the fringe are making the most noise, making it seem as if that is a majority view.

“You literally have a few fringe actors who are making all of the noise” on both sides, he said, noting that the “forgotten man” is not being properly represented.

Horwitz argued that folks on the left should repudiate the radical fringe elements who seem to be the loudest. He used the failure of progressive proposals in cities like Chicago as an example, calling Mayor Lori Lightfoot the “worst mayor in the history of Chicago.” He said:

“But then you have all these cynical activists making all the noise again, right? And they’re saying defund defund defund and that’s all the police hear, and it’s demoralizing them.”

The strategist observed that these extreme figures “continue to get magnified as each side attacks them for tactical reasons, weaponizing the most extreme in both parties,” according to Breitbart News. He also noted the problem with people not being willing to consume news that comes from sources with differing political views. “Have you even listened to Breitbart? Have you ever even read the reporting outside of what CNN has clipped?” he says to people criticizing him for his willingness to engage with Republicans.

“What you need is a true working-class, bipartisan grassroots movement to hold our politicians accountable so they start working for We the People for the first time in the last 50 years,” he added.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see the truth in Horwitz’s remarks.

If one were to look only at news media and social media, they would think the entire nation is at each other’s throats daily. But most who interact with people in real life know that everyday Americans of differing political beliefs have little problems coexisting and getting along with one another.

Like many others, I’ve seen co-workers and friends on opposite sides of the political divide have rational conversations even if they disagree. Sure some discussions can get heated and contentious – but in the end, people can agree to disagree and still have a beer together.

Unfortunately, fringe elements on both sides are gradually working to widen the rift. Politicians, media figures, and social media influencers gain clout and income by demonizing those on the other side, portraying the bulk of the group as being just like their fringe figures.

Democrats characterize all or most Republicans as rabid bigots. Republicans characterize all or most Democrats as purple-haired feminist Marxists seeking to destroy America. There are elements of truth to each side – but the majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, simply want to live their lives.

However, the division in America will only get worse as long as contributing to widening the rift continues to be lucrative. At some point, real life will even more closely resemble what we see on social media. It will take people on both sides who are willing to stand up to those seeking to create more division if we are to reverse the trajectory we are on. The question is: When will enough be enough?