A Politically Polarized America

By Anjali Nayak 

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the United States to unveil its hidden disparities in unemployment, housing, and health care, the public response has been a politically polarized country. The national distress has naturally increased the awareness of political debate and the responsiveness to government decisions. While American democracy hinges on compromise between the two parties, the current state of the country is not one of agreement, but rather of detrimental stubbornness. 

COVID-19 brought previously swept aside issues to the forefront of America’s political agenda. Issues revolving vaccine mandates, public lockdowns, and social distancing became highly contentious issues during the pandemic. These measures have often been depicted as politically motivated on both fronts, leading to fierce debates between those who believe in the necessity for public safety and those who perceive them as unfair government overreach. Research conducted in the National Library of Medicine depicts that political affiliation strongly correlates with vaccine attitudes, there being a notable divide between Democrats and Republicans.

Furthermore, the spread of misinformation regarding COVID-19 brought the prevalence of fake news to the public eye. As former presidents and billionaires continued to post completely false information regarding how to respond to the virus, millions of susceptible Americans followed suit to the delusion. Rather than listen to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans opted to listen to these faulty — often politically misinformed — approaches, thus furthering a confused political culture. 

Of course, it would be impossible not to mention the January 6, 2021 storming of the capitol, an event that will forever be seen as a stain in twenty first century American politics. The capitol raids best encapsulate the grip Trump had on the American right, something that the Republican party still pays the cost of today. 

Left and right have grown even farther left and right. The middle ground slips away.