Political Opinion: The Divided States of America. Bringing Civility into the Status Quo.


A House Divided – Painting by GBHS 2020 Graduate, Patrick Heath

Isaiah Smith, Reporter

      “You’re @#$%$#& stupid!” “Do you talk to @!#%^# stupid people now?” These are some of the verbal assaults hurled my way because of my political stances. Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, or none of the above, if you are open about your political views, then you’ve probably heard similar insults. One side believing they hold a monopoly on the truth and that the other side is somehow just plain stupid. What we need right now, more than ever before, is civility. The recent presidential election has left much of America angry, confused, and unwilling to listen. How do we go back to being the United States, rather than divided states?

Barton County as a whole voted 71% for President Donald Trump while 21% voted for former VP Joe Biden.  It’s OK to support one candidate rather than the other, but it crosses a line when you verbally harass someone espousing a view different from your own. No one should be afraid of being attacked simply because they disagree with the majority opinion.  We, as Americans, need to go back to one of the core principles our founding fathers laid out for us–civility. So, in the interest of a more civil society, I present a three step solution to the incivility that plagues the status quo.

  1. Open your ears: As Americans we should listen to one another rather than split further and further apart. It is normal, and rational for reasonable people to disagree. It is not reasonable to assume everyone who disagrees with you is a moron.  When you say that one side is more idiotic than the other, you’re calling half of the United States stupid. I hate to break it to you, but that isn’t true. Having a different mindset shouldn’t define someone as a person. Instead of hating on one another, try to understand and be reasonable.
  2.  Open your mind: Why does a state, county, or city have to be considered Republican or Democrat? It doesn’t.  Arbitrary geographical boundaries do not define the people who live inside them.  Just because the majority of people in an area agree, it doesn’t make alternative points of view invalid.  It’s OK to be different, especially in politics. Instead of bashing the other side for saying something you consider “radical,” ask questions, take notes, and then fact check it with multiple different sources to see if they are correct. You disagree with them? Don’t yell. Talk and try to understand their point of view. We all have different life experiences that inform our political opinions.  Try to see the world through their eyes and see if you can understand WHY they have a different opinion than you.
  3. Open your heart: Resisting the validity of opposing ideas is perfectly normal; however, just because you can argue doesn’t mean you’re right. If you were taught to support one side rather than the other, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to that viewpoint regardless of the evidence. California has millions of Trump supporters, likewise, if you live in Kansas, it’s fine to be a Biden supporter. The key to solving our nation’s rampant incivility is the will to care more about the person than the person’s ideology,  a willingness to listen,  and the will to accept that sometimes we must just agree to disagree.

Lack of civility is a huge problem.  If you accept the challenge to be civil – you’re not weak, but strong; you’re not dumb, but smart. Go ahead and try to apply this three step solution, and look at how much difference it can make.