An epic battle between the people. It’s ongoing, as each side tussles for any ounce of power; any story that can glorify one side while demonizing the other. Instead of respecting each other’s opinions, individuals are inherently anxious to passionately argue their perspective until the bitter end. Instead of being willing to learn something from one another, one concludes that the opposite side is wrong.
It’s this type of polarized politics that will rip this country and society apart. There has always been a divide, that’s a matter of fact. Without the divide, there would be no diversity in perspectives, opinions, or politics. A few things have garnered my attention to the political discourse in which we include ourselves in.
With the emergence of social media and widespread internet access to the majority, information is always readily available. This is both good and bad. The internet is now the major player in the market of news and journalism. What does that mean? Well, the watered down pseudo-news which fought to compete for ratings on television now have an even broader range of competition.
From sensationalized headlines to Buzzfeed clickbait, it’s all aimed at obtaining viewers and readers. The more outlandish or attention-grabbing the headline, the more likely it is to incite a reaction out of someone, thus clicking the article. As seen in examples such as The Rebel vs Rachel Notley and the NDP, stories can be taken out of context, fueled with personal belief. Not to say there isn’t a degree of truth to what The Rebel is saying (which may not always be the case), his stories are sensationalized to get people angry and emotionally fueled, and are not intended to merely inform the reader and allow them to make a personal judgment.
These emotions, when questioned or provoked, cause yet another reaction, and incite the individual to cling to their feelings defensively. Believe it or not, that makes us vulnerable.
I see all too often the trend of confirmation bias: seeking and promoting information that is in line with our views, while ignoring or dismissing information that’s contradictory. We don’t do this consciously, or at least most of us don’t. We’re prone to it. When we have to uproot something we believe to be true it makes us uncomfortable and can really shake the foundation of who we are based on its severity.
But listen, it’s okay to have your views and opinions change. It’s even a great ability to pull up a story or statistic within an instant to prove your point. It’s a strength to be able to admit to yourself when you’re wrong, because it helps us learn and develop as an individual. So, my suggestion is to aim to engage in respectful political conversation by being mindful that perhaps there is a degree of truth to what the other person is saying.
At the end of the day, political discourse comes down to one principal in which we continue to play a political tug-of-war over: justice versus equality. Justice allows one to get what they deserve in life, both positive and negative. Equality is ensuring everyone is provided with adequate supplies, opportunities, and potential for prosperity. Most, if not all issues can be contained within this juxtaposition.
Justice and equality don’t necessarily go hand in hand, because it takes compromise to allow the two to work harmoniously. It takes compromise for any group to come to a decision. Through respectful debate, acknowledgment of others’ ideas, and compromise, groups facing a challenge can come to a decision that can benefit the majority.
You see, equality assumes everyone is the same. We’re all blessed with the same skillset, same attributes, and same physical ability. We know this to be inherently wrong, and so we incorporate justice into our decision making, and we allow for equity: ensuring those who need more, get more. Not painting everyone with one brush and calling for a blanket decision. This is how concepts such as universal healthcare and social services come to fruition, by ensuring those who need care, receive it. Those who don’t need it, won’t, but when they do, it will be there waiting for them.
When we break it down, justice and equality appear to have the potential to work together seamlessly. Hah, wouldn’t that be nice? The way I see it, when looking at just the surface, justice can represent the right, and equality can represent the left.
Right-wing politically minded folks want justice. They want to be given what they’ve earned. I can respect that. Left-wing affiliates aim for equal treatment of all groups of people, ensuring everyone has food on their table, and opportunities for everyone to succeed.
The funny thing is, justice alone won’t allow one to be given what they think they’ve earned, because life if filled with unexpected circumstances. Equality alone won’t provide those who need welfare most with an opportunity to grow out of poverty. Working together, through respectful political discourse, justice and equality can ensure the equity of all citizens, getting everyone on a levelled playing field.
We need diversity of opinion, and we need to utilize the range of opinions we carry for the greater good.