The American Choice: Polarization v. Progression

Photography+by%3A+Angelina+Sotelo.
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The American Choice: Polarization v. Progression

Photography by: Angelina Sotelo.

Photography by: Angelina Sotelo.

Photography by: Angelina Sotelo.

Photography by: Angelina Sotelo.

Angelina Sotelo, Staff

The tension between Democrats and Republicans has been the country’s main concern since America was faced with the decision of electing a woman or a billionaire reality television star as president. In 2016, the country had its first president elected with help from Russian hackers, its first president to use his lawyer’s money to pay off a porn star, and its first president to refer to his opponent as “nasty.” The drama afflicting the White House has been undeniably stunning and abundant, and the turmoil has naturally plagued the entire nation. Citizens have been forced into the depths of their political affiliations, fending for their lives amidst protests, ICE raids, and mass shootings.

The turbulence has occupied all news stations and every inch of the media but has blinded the bulk of America to common sense. Everyone has learned to hyper-focus on their opinions. Social media has become a battleground of 2019’s hot topics. If anyone wants to stay safe from accusations and death itself in today’s political atmosphere, they should make no mention of guns, abortion, or immigration. People on both sides of the most popular issues present their partially valid opinions via social media; however, their perspectives are nearly always solidified and leave no room for change or understanding.

Polarization is America’s most destructive fault. If Republicans wanted to maintain classic and homegrown conservative values, they would not strive to accomplish this through revolution or by idolizing and unconditionally encouraging holier-than-thou Donald Trump. If Democrats really wanted the country to embrace liberal progression, they would not do this by remaining static on the far left or by defending their opinions with unwavering belief. In simple terms: getting what you want begins with compromise and sacrifice.

Facing the standstill of current politics, America must begin building the bridge to a functional bipartisanship. Focus should be centered on the urgent rather than smaller, more particular issues. Climate change should be the nation’s and the world’s number one priority. Climate change is critical and, frankly, far outweighs smaller “hot topics” that immediately divide and alienate the parties. Democrats and Republicans must come to terms with the fact that action against global warming is not a debate of political affiliation. It is the sole concern pressing the lifeline of the planet and an opportunity to bridge the political gap.

Yes, people can work individually to eat less meat and drive electric cars, but the world is at a tipping point and a few minutes less in the shower can only do so much. The planet is facing an almost-science-fiction beginning of the end. The 2018 climate report by the United Nations “describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass dire-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040– a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population,” noted by the New York Times.

 

Photography by: Angelina Sotelo.

 

So what does America do? The country must recognize its problem, its urgency, and make the switch from fossil fuel to cleaner alternatives. This begins with the government. Since the American “by the people for the people” standard still somewhat remains, it is in the hands of the public to influence and change policies.

People need to vote. People need to elect officials and most importantly, a president who addresses real, critical problems. It might seem fun or exciting to support a radical, but what does that really do? America is at a peak of unrest. Politics cannot be about trends, a cool hat, or what is plastered across social media. Politics has to be based on logic, on facts, on what needs to be done. And when it comes time to strive to accomplish these goals, the argument cannot be settled through insults or an AR-15. America cannot progress in two parts. America cannot progress if radicalism is the new trend. America cannot progress if people disregard logic. People must work to compromise, be willing to sacrifice, and, at the very least, elect a competent president.

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