You could say that polarization is the driving force of American politics these days. It affects everyone and everything.
It influences budgets, politics, culture, daily life. And, we might add, does absolutely no good at all of this.
If traditional politics was the art of compromise to get things done, modern politics is quite the opposite. Winning is what’s important, winning at all costs and to hell with the people.
What has happened in recent years is that the element of anger – for some people, blind rage – has been added, creating a toxic cultural cocktail.
In the Mining Journal newsroom, we cover political polarization almost daily. Take our word for it, there have always been Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. But unlike an earlier era, political polarization has now perverted the process. It’s an ugly situation that doesn’t seem to be getting better.
There was a time, and not too long ago, when Mining Journal readers who didn’t particularly like this columnist or that one would simply skip the article to something they wanted to read.
For example, Cal Thomas too conservative for you? All right, read Jules Witcover, who sits left of center on most issues.
Froma Harrop too liberal? No problem, keep an eye out for Michael Barone or Rich Lowry. Both are declared conservatives.
It’s not like that anymore. Now, a lot of people not only won’t just jump on a columnist they don’t like, but they won’t tolerate them being on the page outright.
The same principle applies to political cartoons. By definition, someone’s beef is always gored by political cartoons. That’s the nature of this beast. But now cartoons that ridicule politicians are seen as aggressive slurs, often eliciting angry reactions from readers.
Opinion pages have always sought to be platforms for engagement, the exchange of ideas and viewpoints with the opportunity to learn something new.
And because The Mining Journal is a journal for general distribution, we are challenged to include something for everyone in our opinion pages.
Going forward, we respectfully ask readers to keep this in mind. What you may not like or disagree with, someone else supports and cherishes.
While love can make the world go round, the ability and importance of compromise should not be overlooked.