The Wedge That Drives Us Apart

Why do we allow irrelevant influences drive our society further apart?


Maisy Wadlow

The Democrat Donkey and Republican Elephant fighting to see who ends up with the American flag.

Democrat or Republican?

One or the other. You have to choose, right?

Except you don’t. Throughout history, it has been a common misconception that politics are a two-sided battle between the Democrats and the Republicans when in reality, there is an endless spectrum of political beliefs where people fall. This idea of two sides has led to the segregation between people with different political beliefs in everyday life, to the point that many communities have become divided by their own political opinions.

This has created a wedge.

The wedge that drives us apart.

Over the years, ignorance has grown to the point of unbelievable disrespect and in some cases, violence erupts when people disagree. While it might be hard for some to believe, there is, in fact, a way to express our beliefs and opinions while respecting one another. Crazy, right?

No problems can be solved if we as a society are too politically divided to sit down and civilly solve the simplest of problems. ”

All of this acrimony and lack of respect we have for people with a different belief system from ours just further divides our society.

A person who has recently come to light all over social media is the “Kent State Gun Girl”, Kaitlyn Bennett. Bennett is a conservative, gun rights, and anti-abortion activist. After graduating from Kent State in May of 2018, Bennett has returned to the campus as well as other colleges to interview students and bypassers on a number of controversial topics including gun rights, the LGBTQ community, and views on abortion.

Now, while I may disagree with Kaitlyn Bennett on many of her political views and opinions, this is not at all why I find her toxic to her community. It isn’t Bennett’s opinions on these controversial topics that present a problem.

It’s the way that she dismisses the opinions of others by insulting them and their beliefs, and therefore blatantly implying that she is right and they are wrong. It isn’t fair to the people she is interviewing to be harrassed with words and not have an opportunity to defend their side because Bennett is too closed-minded to hear things from their perspective.

Bennett is looking for one thing only: attention. Whether the feedback she receives from the media is positive or negative, it earns her followers on top of followers either way.

People like Bennett do things only to benefit themselves without thinking about the bigger problems they are creating. Bennett uses insulting language knowing full well that she will get a rise out of people which is all she wants. This is all just a distraction from what is really at stake. 

Division. No problems can be solved if we as a society are too politically divided to sit down and civilly solve the simplest of problems. 

Political polarization rates have been climbing over the years at unbelievable rates. Over the past 20 years, the share of Republicans that have unfavorable opinions of Democrats has jumped from 17% to 43%, and the amount of Democrats who say the same has increased from 16% to 38%. Many people can’t even stand to be in the same room as people who have different beliefs than their own; people can only see their side of controversial issues much like Bennett.

Every day, the wedge just grows and grows, and it seems like there is nothing we can do to stop it. But there is. We need to listen to one another. Not just hear. Listen. I personally understand how hard it is to see someone else’s side on such controversial issues, but it is important to try.

So let’s try. Let’s try to make a difference. Let’s try to come together as a society in such trying times and put our differences aside.

Let’s be the change that puts an end to this ever-widening wedge.