On the political spectrum, there is no doubt I fit somewhere on the extreme left. I consider myself a very progressive liberal and most of the people surrounding me share similar politics. Therefore, sometimes it is easy for me to fall prey to the notion that every person on the planet should have the same ideology and those that do not are misinformed. I was living in a political bubble filled with like-minded people, and I didn’t realize it until the presidential elections of 2016. The Trump rallies broadcasted on national news opened my eyes to the crowds with ideologies almost entirely opposite from mine and the results of the election are evidence of the consequences of my own ignorance. For so long, I dismissed dissenting opinions as a byproduct of Republican propaganda or mere lack of knowledge without taking into account not every person has the same priorities and principles. I came to the realization I was trying to force my own beliefs onto other individuals on the basis of their inherent superiority.
The liberal bubble of southern California allowed me to feed into the idea my political view was the only relevant one. Therefore, once Trump became elected, I expected the end of democracy in America and the beginning of a totalitarian dictatorship, but the reality is more nuanced than that. The rhetoric and blatant lies the president continues to propagate are severely condemned by the American public, even if, unfortunately, there are some who agree with him, or they are willing to turn a blind eye as long they benefit from the administration. The midterm results showed that most of the electorate demands a change.
The current political parties have become extremely polarized and the rest of the country continues to be forced to choose between the “lesser of two evils.” As a progressive I feel like I should be happy with the fact the Democratic party has shifted towards the extreme left, though the Republican party has also become even more conservative, which ultimately feels like a drawback. Moderate politicians are continually dismissed over their more radical counterparts, which only deepens the political divide in the U.S. It does not feel like progress when the “progressive agenda” is well-represented in the House of Representatives while at the same time candidates across the country are running overtly racist campaigns.
Living in Salt Lake has shown me that maybe the solution is truly moderation, however. Rather than completely dismiss the opposite views, moderation allows us to reach a compromise. Meeting in the middle is not a betrayal to my principles, or even settling for less. The truth is the government is meant to represent the interests of the entire electorate, not only of those I can agree with. This divided climate has only created a country where it is “us against them” which has seeped into our government. This mentality prevents us from understanding each other and isolating ourselves from dissent.
Progress can only be made through discussions. The midterm elections proved how more moderate Democrats were able to win seats in districts considered to be fully GOP territory. This not only demonstrates a changing demographic but also the need for moderate candidates. Policies should not be perceived as only pertaining to the liberals or the conservatives. A moderate approach allows us to meet in the middle and find a solution that would benefit most of the population. This is exactly what the government is expected to do. Unfortunately, the president has an inclination for uncivilized discourse which prevents any kind of conversation. However, this behavior is also found among the infamous “social justice warriors” of social media.
Despite this, I encourage moderation and I still hope for a future where universal healthcare, free education and a higher minimum wage were a reality instead of campaign promises from senators from Vermont. Although I’m unable to find a middle ground when it comes to politics at this point in time, I am now aware my bubble does not encompass the U.S. and I don’t have the right of imposing my ideology on others.