Americans should be more open minded

By Daniela Alvarez and Abigail Ramirez

In light of the current political climate, it would be an understatement to say that political tension among Americans has heightened over the last few years. While politicians and movements rise and fall, different opinions and criticisms have flooded into towns, social media platforms, schools, and even dinner tables.

Recently, contrasting political views have been polarizing the American people. Partisans on both sides of the spectrum constantly associate their rival party with extreme stereotypes without a second thought. What some fail to recognize, however, is that by assuming the worst in people, we are deeply distorting our view of others, creating a perception gap. This is the foundation for political conflict in the United States.

In order to create a civil common ground, we, as Americans, must learn to actively listen to what others have to say before defending our opinions. If we do this and create a safe environment to voice our opinions, we can become more well-rounded individuals.

In modern America, politics have become a sensitive subject because we have let ourselves believe the worst of each other. In a time in which technological advances reign supreme, so does the media. To increase ratings or clicks, news outlets and social media platforms purposefully release biased news that exaggerates the radical beliefs of either Democrats or Republicans to engage their audiences. There is a monetary incentive to do so; more clicks equals more commercial dollars.
Although this can be entertaining at times, it ultimately creates a rift in the United States due to the culture of extremism that such media outlets foster.
This influence has created, within ordinary people, a habit of automatically rejecting what others have to say. This is the type of behavior that deepens partitions between families, friends, and the American people as a whole.
Agreeing with any type of view from the opposite side automatically makes someone an outcast to their own party. This political toxicity is rendering the American people so obsessed with self righteousness that we are less the United States of America, and more every man or woman for him or herself.

However, we can still reverse the effects of this political polarization. The first major step we have to take lies in the hands of the nation’s youth, especially amongst teenagers who are still developing their own political views. American teenagers need to realize that exposing themselves to different beliefs is equally as important as vocalizing their own.

“I try to not overreact the best I can. I think that trying to remain emotionally sound allows for the best side of your party to come out. If you get too emotionally attached to your ideals, there will be problems in the future,” junior William Bacon said.
However, in practice, this concept proves to be much more difficult. For many, being close-minded is an instinctive reaction because people naturally want validation for their opinions and thus may not listen to others.

For that reason, becoming a more open-minded person in politics does not have to be an immediate process. It can be a gradual transition. Simply allowing the other person to speak before conceding or refuting their points is a small step in the right direction.

In the last few years, Americans have seen compromise as a betrayal of one’s own views. In reality, it entails expanding one’s knowledge of how others process the world.

If we begin to view it in this way, political debates will become less of a conflict and more of a learning experience through which we can become more open-minded and eliminate perception gaps to advance the creation of a more united society.

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper

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