Prevailing Problems with Polarizing Politics

Posted: November 16, 2012 in Politics, Television

I have spoken much in the past several posts about the divisiveness of the media and prevailing belief structures on the extremes of both of the main parties of our political system. This is an issue that continues to plague our nation as we try to move beyond the election and get back into the necessity of figuring out how to survive the fiscal cliff, growing tensions in the Middle East and maintain the best path for our country to continue as a premier nation of the world. Then Mike Huckabee reminded us that we will continue to remain too stubborn for our own good.

While on The Daily Show earlier this week, Huckabee was responding to some concerns by Jon Stewart about FOX News’s exaggeration of the intimidation issues in Philadelphia on Election Day as well as, more importantly, the political ad that Huckabee sponsored toward his conservative, religious constituents. The problem that Stewart was trying to highlight was that the perspectives on FOX News and his commercial played more toward this divisiveness issue rather than support a more positive narrative about the direction of our political landscape. Huckabee refuted the claims by claiming that his message was a positive message for his fan base and not a negative one against non-believers.

Where my frustration comes to play in this interview was with Stewart missing the opportunity to more clearly point out that being pro-traditional, biblical marriage does mean that you are anti-gay marriage. While Jon tried to refocus on other missing issues with poverty, Huckabee was able to divert without actually responding to the larger concern. When his commercial talked about Christian values standing the test of fire, it gave off a sense that non-believers were sinners and were therefore invalid in their desires for stances that go against the interpretations of the Bible. This, of course, ignores the fact that the Bible has been reinterpreted on multiple occasions and there are beautiful LGBT-identified families in existence, most of which are more successful than the average heterosexual marriage.

Both sides actually need to wake up with these divisive issues. I do not think that democrats should reduce their fight for equality and access, but there should also be more of a focus on the issues that are typically seen as stronger for conservatives (i.e. economy, foreign policy, military support, state governance). Democrats also need to be more ready to articulately support their social policies in a way that reaches a broader population while also listening to their reasons for struggling to support the same issues.

The republican party is in a much more difficult situation. Pandering to voters only weeks before the election by starting to talk about issues that were important to them instills no confidence that they are actually going to carry out positive change if elected or reelected.

The demographics are changing, but in reality, they always have been. Each new population overtakes the last one at some point, and a new population tries to search for acceptance under a discriminating lens. The colonists arrived and took the land away from the native peoples. Protestants discriminated against Irish immigrants, Catholics and Jews. Men maintained dominance in the political and social realm until the suffrage movement. People of color had to fight for their equality, just to be recognized as equal citizens. Now the LGBT community is asking for the same access to rights afforded to heterosexual couples. The discrimination never fully disappears, but society does eventually begin to progress forward.

Can we just agree that this is a problem and that we all have to begin to look at how we contribute to it? I think that is called Step 1.

Huckabee Interview – Pt. 1

Huckabee Interview – Pt. 2

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