Although American politics have always been a battle between the two primary parties, the political divide seems to grow wider everyday. To shine a light on the reasons why, Sophia Dennis’ Phace the Youth created a short documentary explaining the various causes behind the divisiveness ahead of the historic 2020 election.
In the clip, Latoya Green, the director of debate at California State University, Fullerton, says that people are becoming more comfortable talking about politics with their peers and family members. This is due to the growing nervousness surrounding politics and the fear that certain freedoms are at risk of being encroached on. “In relationship to the comfort that people have in talking about politics, I definitely think people are getting a little more comfortable,” Green said. “That comfort is a direct result of kind of the anxiety that they feel that they need to kind of relieve because there’s a lot of uncertainty.”
Dennis also found that with relying on our communities to participate in political discourse, comes the uptick in social media use. Although it’s used for organizing protests and spreading information quickly, social media has also allowed us to curate a feed to filter out any information we don’t want to see. The effect is two-sided—it has made way for the rampant spread of misinformation, but it has also further radicalized us.
The rise in identity politics, lack of faith in the two-party system, and use of social media as a main source of information are major reasons why America finds itself in such a divided place. Through it all, it’s important to lean into the differences of opinion without bringing pitchforks to the table. Division can exist within a society, but it’s up to us to respectfully participate and reconnect with our surrounding community.
Watch the full documentary below.