The following is an op-ed by senior political correspondent Ryan Durburg. All of the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent The Forest Scout as a whole.
After a long and strenuous day of schooling and sports, I finally get to sit down on the couch and turn on the television like anyone else.
On a typical day, the first thing that is usually playing is a late night special with Tucker Carlson on Fox News. Coming from a conservative household, this is the only network that usually plays without unrest. Regardless, the only thing that is being covered is the deterioration of the Democratic party. The coverage has turned away slightly as of late with the destruction of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but with all of that being said, the leftist media is no better.
If you then click the channel to CNN or MSNBC, it’s the same story. They constantly bash the Trump administration, making mostly baseless claims that create a strawman out of American president Donald Trump. In fact, a study from the Washington Examiner shows that CNN and MSNBC’s coverage of the president is a ghastly 93% negative. Fox News was slightly better than that with a 64% negative coverage clip regarding Obama during his eight year administration.
It is time, as Americans, for us to stop polarizing ourselves in the name of politics. The United States is built on multiculturalism and the belief that assimilation to culture is a unifying force. All of that fails, however, when politics gets involved at the center of the discussion. In today’s day and age, people will refrain from having a relationship with another unless they align with the same political identity. Our leaders in office over the past decade–be it Donald Trump or Barack Obama–have not helped the current polarization of the two political parties considering they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of policy, but they are not the only ones to blame.
Our country has not been politically neutral since the second term of the Clinton administration in the late 1990’s. After turning to a more centrist way of running his agenda, Bill Clinton established a sound political climate by reaching out to middle class voters who voted Republican. In time, however, this has changed since George W. Bush held office in 2000, which ultimately became the foundation of the polarization in today’s political climate.
American citizens and people around the world were quite astonished with the results of the Bush administration, whether they approved of it or not. From a neutral standpoint, it is fair to say that George W. Bush was not one of the greatest presidents in American history. This was directly illustrated by the decision making regarding the Iraq War and the War on Terror. The military efforts in the Middle East are said to have cost over 2 trillion USD, which drove Bush’s legacy into the ground for some who did not agree with going into the Middle East in the first place. His agenda leaned right, which hurt his approval ratings, and more importantly, the gap between Democrat and Republican approval ratings were at an all time high. In fact, 84% of Republicans and only 13% of Democrats approved of his job in office, a 61% gap.
Some time later in 2008, Obama was elected, who–because of a multitude of factors–polarized the country even more. Obama’s most disappointing policy in office, from a Republican standpoint of course, was his healthcare plan, which increased the already devastating national debt by an estimated 1.76 trillion USD. His left wing agenda separated the two parties by an even greater amount, having an 83% approval rating from Democrats while only garnering 13% from Republicans, a 70% deficit. Barack Obama drove this country so far left via economic and social policies that he, in a very roundabout way, created a presidential candidate that could completely contradict his agenda and pull the country in the entirely opposite direction.
Thus, President Trump, the politician, was born. Though I don’t personally vindicate all of the decisions that he has made while in office, it is the predisposed polarization in the political system that has caused such dramatic pushback and opposition to all of his policies and practices.
The American people are going to continue to polarize themselves unless we can find a way to set politics aside and find a common enemy to conquer as a country. A lot of options, be it economic policy, international threats, or even natural disasters–all of which we are seeing currently–could be the catalyst to bring the United States back to a more, well, united state.
It is time for Americans to grow up and establish unity once more, for the betterment of the people and, of course, American politics.