Throughout the week, families in America and all around the world have been anxiously watching the news to find out the winner of the U.S. presidential election. The winner currently remains undecided, and the race is still close as votes continue to be counted. While the tally continues, the election has the country divided.
Our two-party system means we are used to seeing a divide between Republicans and Democrats, but this election shows that the country is experiencing a split even within these two major political parties. This division goes even deeper inside the parties when we see the differences between Trump supporters and conservatives in the Lincoln Project, or centrist Democrats and the leftists.
Nonetheless, diversity of opinions is not something bad; in fact, it’s quite the contrary. This country has been a melting pot of cultures and opinions, so it is only natural that a multitude of perspectives exist within its borders. This allows us to innovate, push ourselves to think outside our boundaries and find an equilibrium between opinions… however, that careful balance no longer exists.
Today, we are seeing how the people of the country do not tolerate someone who thinks differently: creating conspiracy theories of politicians they don’t support, threatening to open fire in peaceful protests or breaking friend groups just because one is not liberal or conservative enough.
In times of natural crises, like earthquakes or hurricanes, other countries put aside their differences and unite. However, this has not happened in the U.S. during the sweeping pandemic, even after reaching a record number of cases which only seems to continue growing. This crisis has caused an even larger divide among the American people, and things that should not be politicized are becoming political. The resulting conversation about voting did result in the largest voter turnout in decades, but it came at too high a cost.
We could unite under democracy after going to vote. We could (and should) stay politically active after the elections, but that is not all democracy is.
Democracy is also letting everyone’s opinion be voiced and respected, even those you don’t agree with. This has especially been difficult today when the President seeks to discredit journalists, and misinformation and conspiracy theories are at their highest. However, we have to acknowledge that not all contrary opinions are libel and lies.
Don’t be afraid to have difficult but respectful conversations with those who you disagree with. What is most important is being able to understand and respect others’ viewpoints.These conversations may not always end with an agreed opinion, but you will still open the subject to other perspectives. This could help you see things in a way you did not before. It could reinforce your arguments, or it could force you outside of your echo chamber. Most importantly, it will make coexistence possible and create a more united United States.