By Izhaan Ahmed
Very often, people are like sponges. They absorb everything that is in their vicinity. They feel wise, fulfilled, and complete. Too many people are tricked into this scenario. Too many people are surrounded by either a red or blue bubble. Too many people, after feeling particularly adamant, are compelled to post their political bias on their Instagram story for all of NHP to see. However, it is not their fault, since social media, news outlets, and other click-driven mediums only contribute to a growing sense of political division. Given this unforgiving environment, it is up to the individual to walk against the tide of the things that a YouTube feed, impulse, and news source encourage them to believe.
“It has come to the point at which no politician can be successful without painting the other side as either 'anarchists' or 'fascists,'” said sophomore Helee Shukla.
When it comes to interacting with people at NHP, it is very important to acknowledge those who make insensitive comments but not give them the attention they may want. If they try talking, do not swat them off; instead, speak with them with just one underlying rule of thumb: respect. Do not question their personality or show disgust; instead, try to sympathize with them rather than disassociate from their attitude. It is implied that the point of talking to them is not to convert them but to listen and acknowledge their ideology.
“It has come to the point at which no politician can be successful without painting the other side as either 'anarchists' or 'fascists'...”
Firsthand accounts show that intolerance based on political ideology poses a genuine problem at NHP.
“Personally, having more of a conservative viewpoint, people have labeled me as a racist and a sexist, and I find that completely wrong. It's honestly sad how low people have become because of politics. I believe if we want to actually make a change, we have to look at both sides and understand what’s right and what’s wrong. I have stopped talking to some people because they would just judge my character based on politics. It’s not right to judge someone like that,” said sophomore Luke Jacob.
Artwork by Sabeena Ramdarie, @jammin_with_jelly
People with opposing political standpoints usually cross paths on popular social media sites, resulting in getting locked into intense debates.
Some of the best ways to make this new unconditional sense of social tolerance less of a facade and more honest lies in the nature in which media is consumed. It is not very easy to stay attentive to both conservative and liberal news. However, there are apps that make it not as difficult of a situation. For instance, the app Newsvoice tags the bias in each and every article in its catalog so the reader knows what they are reading.
Social media requires a bit more dodging to obtain both sides. Due to the platforms’ incessant nature to scroll or watch for long periods of time, there is a very high probability of going down a deep rabbit hole in whatever direction the platforms’ algorithm sees fit. While following many accounts on opposing sides could work, it is not convenient. A viable method to ensure exposure on both sides of the story is to go incognito or to make a new social media account.
Recently, an important question was asked at the vice presidential debate by Brecklynn, an eighth grader from Utah, on the topic of political divide: "If our leaders can’t get along, how are the citizens supposed to get along?"
Walking against the tide of political divide is undoubtedly tough, and the political landscape overall seems bleak and polarized. However, as time progresses, there will hopefully be many future leaders who look beyond politics and answer important questions about the nation’s fabric.