Threatening Skies

Making Us Better, Or Worse?

Richard Turcotte

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At the heart of polarization is when people believe that those on the other side are bad people with dangerous ideas. When people believe that, compromise is impossible. You don’t make compromises with the devil. You don’t look for common ground. Instead you do whatever is necessary to minimize the danger that the other side presents. That means all political measures are in play. Partisans, both elites and masses, can shade the truth or change the rules without feeling too badly. Argument quality ceases to matter. In a polarized system, anything required to stop the other side can be justified. Marc Hetherington

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The world isn’t being destroyed by Democrats or Republicans, red or blue, liberal or conservative, religious or atheist — the world is being destroyed by one side believing the other side is destroying the world. The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. — Village Voice advice columnist Andrew W.K.

Ignoring Consequences

For most of us, politics is background noise. We’re aware of it. Now and then we pay attention for any number of reasons. But mostly, we’re fine letting others do the heavy lifting. We just follow along as best we can, hoping that what we’ve entrusted to them will be addressed honorably and ultimately for our benefit.

But are we paying enough attention to where we’re all likely to wind up if we don’t find ways to tone down the bitter divisiveness which now threatens our future well-being? If we aren’t creating meaningful opportunities to address vital national issues, concerns, or problems, What Happens Then?

More to the point, what happens when one or more among those many contentious and/or pressing issues finally leaves us all no choice but to find resolution then and there, no matter how sincere or passionate ideological opposition has been every step of the way? Ignoring problems doesn’t make them disappear, nor does it diminish their significance and potential for great harm. Woefully unprepared is not a good starting point.

Our behaviors and the psychological shortcuts taken may buy us another day to avoid responsibility for dealing with the economic, cultural, environmental, and…

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Richard Turcotte

Partisanship has no good ending. I’d like to do my part to change that. A better future is a choice.