The Basis of Division

January 9, 2023


Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

Despite being “united” by name, America has always remained divided between two or more major political parties.

Truthfully, it’s unlikely that division could have ever been stopped, and that doesn’t just apply to America. Arguably, humanity itself has been divided ever since society as a concept was formed in the first place. The very idea of the struggle between different classes of people, which would eventually evolve into conflicts involving more complex issues (ideologies, religions, nationalism, etc.), was an inevitable source of friction from the beginning. 

As for America, its political divide really shouldn’t be as surprising as it appears. Although the country may seem polarized today, it’s really just how America has always been. Even in the earliest days of the nation, there were major disagreements over the Constitution and how the country would be structured–either having a strong central government or giving all power to the individual states.

From then on, the political climate within America has been a constant shift between stability and chaos, but no matter the conditions, the country has never truly “united.” Political division has always existed, just on varying degrees of intensity. America just happens to be in one of those more intense periods today.

Humans are bound to have different opinions. But then why does today’s division seem so toxic? 

As discovered in a study by Eric Plutzer and Michael Berkman, two members of the McCourtney Institute For Democracy at Penn State, Democrats continue to accuse Republicans of being “uneducated and misguided people guided by what the media is feeding them,” while Republicans claim that all Democrats are “brainwashed by the propaganda of the mainstream media.”

The shocking similarities of these two accusations are not a coincidence; they both stem from the same source of paranoia–the struggle between “good” and “evil,” and the truth behind “the truth.” 

To the most extreme Republicans, a communist, satanic, woke warrior of a Democrat who wants to purge the country of all traditional values is the epitome of evil. For the extreme Democrat, on the other hand, evil is synonymous with those fascist, segregationist, bigoted Republicans who want to violently push back all the progress the country has made.

But while both sides accuse the other of different crimes, when purely examining the essence of what they are fighting against, it’s clear they are essentially battling the same enemy–perceived evil.

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