We, as Americans, cherish the freedom and right to disagree—which we do, often deeply about important issues that need resolution. But polarization undermines that freedom by tightening prejudices rather than opening thought, thus diminishing the chances for finding resolutions and moving forward. So while polarization may feel like a righteous champion of freedom and right, it is in fact just the opposite—a stick jammed in the spokes of the democratic discourse of freedom. Here are some of the common ways it does it:
- SEDUCES with loaded, heated language and childish name-calling that appeals more to emotion that reason.
- BLINKERS by using cherry-picked facts, and ignoring or mocking opposing arguments and evidence rather than actually addressing them.
- TRIVIALIZES by focusing on “straw-man” issues whose value in re-enforcing biases is clearly greater than their substance.
- BULLIES by making you feel like a dupe or a traitor if you even listen to the other side.
- FLATTERS with language and a tone that makes you feel like an insider, who, of course, agrees with them because you “get it” … just like they do.
- FRIGHTENS by portraying the other side as not just wrong, but a dangerous, evil enemy, replete with wicked hidden agendas.
- “CLANS,” that is, plays the “us vs. them” identity politics game of associating the other view with groups or people (implicitly) “inferior” to “us.”
- “TRIBES” by using the knowing winks and nods of sarcasm, coded language, words in quotes (suggesting they’re misleading) and innuendo which you, as a member of the tribe, of course, will understand without explanation or justification.
This week…Conspiracy theories! Propaganda! Double standards! Media complicity! Theft! Political violence! War on science! Lawlessness! Cesspits of homophobia! And more! Who could have predicted the National Inquirer would become our nation’s model for political discourse? At last, maybe we’ll finally discover the real truth about which party was abducted by aliens.
When reading these examples, check the above list and ask yourself: regardless of whether you agree or disagree, is this really advancing an intelligent resolution through the persuasive, rational arguments of advocacy…or simply fueling the fire of conflict through the divisive, emotional manipulations of polarization?
Here are a few blue and red polarizing headlines from the past week.
GOP Minority Leader spews fusillade of conspiracy theories to cover for Trump selling the presidency
Which Flavor Of Right-Wing Propaganda Is Worse: Fox News Or Sinclair?
DownWithTyranny!: According To Señor Trumpanzee, “We Are Leading In Everything”
Republicans Defend Trump’s Election Interference Comments by … Blaming Hillary Clinton
I Don’t Trust This Administration* With a Lemon Zester, Let Alone a War With Iran
Trump’s War on Science Is Grounds to Impeach
Media’s complicity with Trump continues: Acts of resistance are ignored
Anti-Trump Leftists Go Full Conspiracy Theory
The Democrat Double Standard on Foreign Interference
Left Preps to Say Trump Stole 2020
Far Left WaPo Hits New Low: Takes Disgusting Parting Shot at Sarah Sanders: Lying “Queen of Gaslighting”
Poll: Leftists More Likely to Support Political Violence
The left complains that Trump is lawless, but they are attacking the fabric of society
Is There Nothing Democrats Won’t Promise Voters?
Why Is The Far Left Such A Cesspit Of Homophobia?
The Left Has Been Trying To Erase 9/11 For A While. It Counters Their Narrative That Only The West Is Evil