Wan-Take: Game of political disconnection

On any given day, my Instagram feed can range from a column on vaccinations to an activist speaking about gender fluidity or racial hate crimes. I read the New York Times at least once a day and am a casual listener of an NPR podcast. I’m also 99 percent sure that you just formed an opinion about me and my political party. Now, what if I told you that I grew up in an Independent household and that a majority of my friends are Moderates from Conservative families?

Let me start by saying that I don’t blame you for judging me. We’re Gen-Z. If we’re good at anything, it’s generalized accusations that provoke polarization. In other words, you disliked something I said because of the media you listen to and the people you converse with, so you’ve automatically placed me in the category of people you hate. 

What determines this category is a stagnant list of black and white questions. Trump or Biden? Vaccinations or Anti-Vax? I mean, if media corporations and business moguls are vocal about their side, then we must be just as adamant about the sides we stand on. There should also be no room for conversation, in case someone sways your beliefs in the wrong direction. 

If you’ve read any of my previous columns, you’d think I’m just like that. That I would never give a second to someone who doesn’t agree with me. But, as adamant as I am in my beliefs, I also believe in open-minded discussion. 

In journalism, the whole point of an editorial is to have your opinion be heard by others but also see the reaction of others to your opinion. Applying that same logic to our society, the only way to progress is to actually listen to what other people have to say, regardless if they agree with you. 

Sure, there’s the belief that you have to push for the extreme to actually make any changes. And, while I do believe in that to some extent, courtesy of landmark Supreme Court decisions, can we really move forward as a society if we’re so adamant on staying divided? 

Just take one look at our government. Whether it’s the war between Russia and Ukraine or a stance on rights for the LGBTQ+ community, Republicans and Democrats will only ever agree to disagree. Each side will attempt to pass the most extreme version of what they want in order to move the pendulum slightly to their side. 

In no way am I saying to agree with people you morally disagree with. If someone believes in mass-murder and white supremacy, you will not find me within a 10-foot radius of them. The same can be said for people who believe that race is a social construct and that the LGBTQ+ community should be condemned and have no rights. 

Everything in between—it’s at least worth a conversation. If by the end of it, the person stays rude and disrespectful, then, by all means, walk away. But, how would you know if you never even try?