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The Antelope

Political civility works better than hostility

Photo by Getty Images President Trump and former Vice President Biden took to the debate stage last month.

So it’s election season. 

For many, that means muting family members on Facebook or avoiding the news until Nov. 3. With election night quickly approaching, both candidates (and their vice president picks) have taken to the stage to express their ideals. But recently—especially after the first debate— it feels more like a shouting match than a well-regulated debate. In some ways, however, these mass-broadcasted quarrels resemble the current political climate. 

On Sept. 29, former Vice President Joe Biden and sitting President Donald Trump took the stage for the first regulated presidential debate. Within the first 20 minutes of the debate, it had already devolved into name-calling. Neither side could really get a word in before being interrupted. Moderation seemed almost entirely useless as the candidates talked over each other with no penalty. While there was no clear winner, the loser of the debate was obvious: the American people.

Has this become the standard for political discussion? Surely not, right? I would love to agree, but seeing two men vying for one of the most powerful positions in the world while bickering like children has changed my point of view. I thought name-calling and strawman arguments would be left on Twitter, but it would seem that our leaders have adopted the same practices. When did disagreeing merit such hatred?

Have the presidential candidates normalized toxic political discussion? I’ve spent the past year ghosting Twitter discussions only to see the same volatile behavior. If you disagree with the right, you’re a sheep who needs to do your own research. If you disagree with the left, you’re a fascist (Godwin’s Law working overtime). 

Where’s the middle ground? Is there even a center anymore? Why is it that refusing to see from somebody else’s point of view such a common occurrence on the internet? Seeing both sides isn’t a weakness, yet so many people refuse to do so.

“All or nothing” for either party makes affiliating with one or the other nearly impossible. From my own experience, sharing sentiments from one party does not translate well to the other, and vice versa. It seems that having any ideal that varies from the majority instantly alienates oneself. 

I find it incredibly frustrating that mentioning one thing excommunicates you from a party that once had your favor. We are all Americans at the end of the day, so arguing and wishing death on your fellow countrymen and women does no good and only serves to divide us further.

In trying times like these—especially among a seemingly worsening global pandemic— unity is what we need more than anything. We as Americans have to bridge this gap or our country could suffer from it greatly. Don’t follow the example of our presidential candidates. Civility works better than hostility. 

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