I am startled at how polarized this country has become in the last decade. It seems that a growing contingent of the U.S. is elevating politics to a near religion. I thought that the practical benefit of a two party system was to provide an arena for opposing views so a policy consensus could be reached that would benefit the most within the constraints imposed by the Constitution. Instead of lively debate, I see attempts to remake this country according to the vision of just one side or the other. The capacity to compromise is essential to maturity, so why are we as a nation becoming more immature as we reach our 240th birthday?
While it is true that there is a personal dimension to politics, I feel it is folly to take political issues so personally that one is willing to reject friends or family because of opposing viewpoints. This great country of ours was founded in part on the freedom of speech, so who are we to try to subvert a basic right by browbeating each other into political agreement?
As the election approaches, I welcome hearing opinions from many perspectives, even if some of those stances may be extreme. I do not mind hearing an impassioned point of view, but I hope that I don’t see more people threatening to “unfriend” or otherwise alienate others based on political differences. Our friendships and family connections should not be threatened by disagreement over this election, whether Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump gets elected.