Opinion: America is Too Divided

“America has always been divided to a certain extent. In his Farewell Address, George Washington advises the country to avoid forming political parties and in the very next election political parties are formed. James Madison actually argues in Federalist 10 that factions (political parties) are inevitable due to the nature of man. This means that as long as people hold differing opinions, have differing amounts of wealth and own differing amounts of property, they will continue to form alliances with people who are most similar to them and they will sometimes work against the public interest and infringe upon the rights of others. The best way to fight the creation of factions is to make more factions, so I think that if you would ask our founding fathers what they think about this division in our country, they would not be surprised, maybe disappointed, but they would be able to see similarities between the divisions we see today and the divisions they had back then, regardless of how different the divisions may be,” says American History teacher Mr.Wieckiewicz. Americans now live in an era of instant gratification and communication, more so than ever before thanks to the advent of technology. Citizens of any political beliefs, no matter how extreme they may be, can seek out entire communities of people willing to validate and reaffirm their side.

The American public most certainly have the desire to share their opinions on political topics, and the resources to educate themselves on said topics, yet still lack the actual desire to make sure they’re antiquated with the information needed to form their opinions. Back when Crimea was first invaded in 2014, a study was conducted on whether or not America’s military should intervene, over 2,000 participants were involved. Only ⅙ of those surveyed actually knew where Ukraine was, and could point to the former Soviet country on a map. The ⅚ who pointed to countries like Brazil, Australia, and Nigeria, were also far more likely to support American military efforts than those who did know where Ukraine was located. Everyone has opinions on topics they’re interested in, but the issues arise when people have no clue what they’re talking about. Many Americans will feel the desire to give their two cents on a topic they have little to no knowledge about, leading to a spread of misinformation and cycle where, because a few people in general conversation will have a moderate opinion on the issue, everyone else needs to formulate one of their own. Once people feel one way towards a certain topic, it is more likely they will get caught in downward spirals of misinformation and gradually more extreme ideology. Misinformation in an age where information is shared instantaneously is incredibly dangerous. Americans “Is America too divided? Depends on what happens because of today’s division. Division has led to compromise in our country’s history, and division has also led to Civil War in our country’s history. I think it is too early to really determine if America is too divided, because it really depends on what this division leads to.” Mr.Więckiewicz brings up perhaps the most important question, the future. I on the other hand think events such as the January 6th riot are evident of this great divide becoming more dangerous. However, I would still admit that we likely haven’t seen the worst of it yet.