Politics, No One Likes You Anymore

Picture: A Depiction of the American Civil War (Picture Found on Clipart)
By Joshua Fitzgerald

We Americans have been fighting a Second Civil War for two years. The war has ruined friendships; it has caused numerous injuries and deaths through riots and protests; it has made democracy look idiotic. It has exacerbated racial and ideological distinctions; it has made social and news media almost unreadable; it has redefined opinions into facts. Most importantly, the war has made America miserable.
I am not the only person at Greensboro College who recognizes that something is wrong with America. Katie Clark, a junior who described herself as a Democratic-leaning Independent, noted in an interview with The Collegian that the United States’ political atmosphere has become “the most hostile we’ve seen it in the past sixteen years.”
Caroline Meisner, an unaffiliated junior, expressed similar frustrations. She explained, “It’s all debates nowadays and I feel like there’s nothing that gets done. And the debates can turn into — or spark — more disagreement in the community, and you have all these rallies and protests and things that are happening that, you know, it just feels like you’re waiting for the next one to come up.”
Some of the students and faculty that The Collegian interviewed suggested that President Trump has negatively affected America during both his presidential campaign and his term in office. Meisner, for example, asserted that Trump has made political tensions worse; she postulated that Trump has helped Americans become “more hateful to each other.”
In contrast, Lauren Smith, a conservative who graduated from Greensboro College earlier this year, thought that Trump has been “trying to do the best that he can.” She said, “I don’t think that he is being judged fairly… I think that everyone just needs to sit back, and wait, and give him a chance, and maybe see ‘Oh, hey, this guy might actually do something good for us.’”
Interestingly, most of the students and faculty that The Collegian interviewed, regardless of their political views, agreed that the media has negatively impacted American unity. For example, Dori Medlin, a junior who cheerfully described herself as “pretty darn liberal,” said, “I think that a lot of media nowadays is definitely leading one way or another, and is focused on making its target audience happy than it is reporting actual facts—what is going on, what’s actually happening, who’s actually affected.”
Similarly, Smith explained, “I figure they’re a part of — they’re a huge part of — the problem, because a lot of it comes from… not getting their sources correct, and they’re printing more… partisan.”
On the other hand, Dr. Archibong, a political science professor who stated that he belonged to the “center-left,” stated that he thought that the media has been properly functioning. “The fact is that a fact is a fact,” he explained. “Interpretation may vary, so the same fact the media on the left will interpret… different, and the media on the right will interpret… different. It’s left for us as educated people — people that can reason — to decipher where the quote-unquote exaggeration is.”
How we will make America whole again? Perhaps we can never heal; our divisions have become very pronounced and our methods of finding common ground have become mostly useless. As Medlin remarked, “A lot of the things in the past that have tried to help… mull things over like political humor and stuff… I feel like now it’s just so overdone. It’s sad. I see Alec Baldwin play Trump on ‘SNL’; I don’t, like, laugh about it; it just bums me out at this point.”
Still, the scars of previous conflicts have gradually healed; hope may still exist. Interestingly, Smith, Meisner, and Archibong all suggested that education may facilitate reunification. As Meisner noted, “People need to be more informed overall, and informed from the right sources.”
Smith made a similar recommendation. “A lot of people are very uneducated about their rights as human beings,” she remarked, “and their rights as a nation, and they need to be educated about the past. I would recommend taking a Civil War history class with Dr. Sistrom, because that’s what I did and I learned a lot from that.”

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