My 2 cents.

Author:Serafini, Dom
Position::Political divisiveness in the US - Editorial
 
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Divisiveness and polarization have been around for centuries and they are the root causes of wars. Today the Internet accelerates these, but traditional media is where all of the memes have originated.

Why is America (along with many other nations) so divided and polarized? Aren't the main issues the same? We are used to seeing the Middle East and Africa divided into many factions, but the problem exists also in the U.S., France, Italy, Venezuela, Colombia, the U.K. (with Brexit) and many other countries.

In those countries the laundry list of problems is clear and valid for the overwhelming majority of people: Jobs, schools, health care, mass transit and safety.

And yet, the same messages are somehow distorted during the carriage from the source to the citizens.

With the fall of Communism and the end of the divisive ideology between Communism and capitalism, the hope was that citizens the world over would focus on practical matters. Instead, people replaced economic ideologies with social and religious issues, sidetracking pragmatism.

Worst of all, practical matters got wrapped into social and religious issues (abortion rights, same-sex marriage), so that health care became a religious issue and safety became an immigration issue.

The rifts are also within various political parties. In the U.S., the Republicans are split into two or even three factions and the Democrats are divided into two camps.

The question now is: Why is the U.S. polarized at levels not seen possibly since the Civil War?

In my view, this neo-phenomenon has been initiated by the proliferation of TV and radio talk shows, in addition to an increasing number of news shows, and has been exacerbated by the widespread diffusion of Internet and social media.

When the number of TV channels was limited, information was more or less uniformly balanced toward the center. In those days, extremists had to join under-the-radar associations in order to hear and amplify the messages they wanted to hear.

When "cheap" talk TV became popular and widely emulated, TV stations needed new angles to be competitive and started seeking extreme topics and subjects. The language also changed, with curses sprinkling typical conversations and dialogues conducted by using vocabulary...

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