Extreme Opinions in America

The increasing polarization of American politics is causing problems in our society.



A cracked and backwards American flag to represent our increasing division in America.

As Americans, we have been given the opportunity to express our opinions however we choose. This is a great thing because it means everyone can have different opinions, and different ideas.

But what happens when the people holding opposing views begin to hate the others, when we can no longer express our views out of fear that it won’t comply with others’ opinions.

This is something that’s happening right now as 27% of Democrats view Republicans as a threat to our country’s well being and 36% of Republicans feel the same way about Democrats.

A chart displaying the growing polarization in America. Both the median and the highest concentration are growing farther from the center. (Pew Research Center)

The median Democrat continues to move farther to the left of the political scale as the median Republican grows farther to the right. This is causing “Ideological silos.”

“Ideological silo” is a term used to describe a person with down-the-line political views, completely to the left or right on every issue. 

This is a problem because it means that people who are ideological silos will simply agree with everything their party says without thinking about it.

This is the exact opposite of having different opinions, this is creating uniformity, lessening the diversity of our opinions.

Now, a side effect of our increasing split to the far sides of the political scale is partisan animosity. This means the people who fall very far on one side or the other begin to despise each other.

Needless to say this is a big problem, this causes violence and division among our people. When our people our fighting against each other they can never unify to get anything done.

Where does much of this stem from. Well it comes from the people leading us, the leaders of radical movements. These people promote the idea that anyone against their cause is a terrible person.

“Leaders can be very effective at creating and strengthening ‘mutual radicalization,’” says Fathali Moghaddam, PhD. Mutual radicalization is a term that Moghaddam created meaning, when two groups take increasingly extreme opposing views.

If our leaders are promoting division in our country they shouldn’t be given power, we are a nation that is supposed to be united. As John Dickinson said, United we stand, divided we fall.”

Another large factor in the division of our country is the impact of social media. We fraternize amongst only those who align with us politically and therefore separate from the other side of issues even more.

We were taught to promote division by our leaders, but now due to social media we have the power to promote division ourselves.

Another thing that social media has led to is restriction of free speech. We constantly worry about weather or not we can say what we want because we’re scared of the backlash we will get for saying it.

Nearly two-thirds—62%—of Americans say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive.

As Noam Chomsky said, “If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all.”

All people must be allowed to have an opinion and be able to express it however they choose. If not we become censored and limit our ability to think for ourselves.

We must promote unity and think for ourselves. We must create a free-thinking society instead of only believing in two ideologies. We concern ourselves with physical diversity so often, why don’t we ever consider our diversity of thought?

The more different ideas we have, the more potentially great ideas we can have. So why not have as many different ideas as possible.