Political division isn’t the issue, it’s what we’re divided on

If this country is divided on issues that determine whether we should help people, then so be it. Better divide the country than let people suffer as a gesture to appease others. | Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

Many people talk about how the issue with our country is that we’re so politically divided. I don’t think that’s the problem. 

It’s not surprising that a country with a two party system is politically divided. It’s not OK for progressives to compromise on issues that put people’s lives at risk. 

The problem isn’t that we’re divided, the problem is what we’re divided on. Instead of trying to compromise all the time, we should fight for what’s right.  

In political discourse, you will often hear people talk about how divided America is today and how we need to bring our country together. They talk about how in the past, the right and the left were not so far from each other to the point of hatred. And this is right, in a way. 

Throughout history we’ve had a lot of bipartisanship in America. Examples include The Great Compromise in 1787 where two houses of Congress, one with equal representation and one with proportional representation, were created to please small and large states alike. 

NASA was created thanks to bipartisanship. So was the  Welfare Reform Act, one with policies that Republicans favored but a Democratic president signed it. There are many more examples throughout the course of American history. 

Many people also believe that in the past, politics wasn’t as polarizing as it is now. You and someone else could be voting for opposite candidates and still be friends without any problems. With exceptions, that isn’t always the case now. I don’t think that’s always a bad thing.

Joe Biden has been a proponent of unity and bipartisanship in this election. He even bragged recently about having worked with segregationists in the 1970s to show that he could “bring people together.” He may have said this to make it look like he could unite the country, but it backfired. 

Some people may have heard Biden say that and think “wow he can really unite our country,” but most Democrats definitely didn’t. 

Kamala Harris criticized his statement and general past relationships with segregationists in one of the early debates. 

When we’re compromising with the right in a country where our left-wing party is conservative on many issues, we keep moving right. 

We’ve seen this with Donald Trump who validates a lot of extremist ideas. Trump has recently implied that COVID-19 will end on Election Day, a conspiracy theory a lot of “alt-right” people believe. He also refused to tell racists off in one of the debates, telling the Proud Boys to “stand by.” 

Most progressives today don’t necessarily want division, but they care more about  healthcare, police reform and climate change. 

How can we compromise on climate change with a party that largely doesn’t believe it exists? 

This is why people were so upset at Biden bragging about working with segregationists. When he did work with them, he wasn’t pulling them left. He joined them in opposing integration of schools.

There’s also the fact that it’s honestly just wrong to compromise on certain things. 

Our healthcare system kills people every year because they can’t afford treatment. 

Our current system of immigration tears families apart and kills migrants struggling to cross the border. Our police in this country kill without consequence. 

These are things we shouldn’t compromise on. 

If this country is divided on issues that determine whether we should help people, then so be it. Better divide the country than let people suffer as a gesture to appease others. 

Maybe Democrats and Republicans were more united in the past, but it wasn’t always a good thing. 

We have to stop caring about division and start caring about the issues we’re divided on. It’s up to us to fight for what is right, even if it causes Republicans to be upset.

Anna Baker is an English junior who can be reached at [email protected]

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