It could be argued that polarization is the driving force behind American politics these days. It affects everyone and everything.
It influences budgets, politics, culture, everyday life. And, we might add, it’s useless.
If traditional politics was the art of compromise to get things done, modern politics is quite the opposite. Winning is what matters, win at all costs and people be damned.
What has happened in recent years is that the element of rage (for some people, blind rage) has been added, which has made a toxic cultural cocktail.
In the editorial office of The Mining Journal, we deal with political polarization almost every day. Take our word for it, there have always been Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. But unlike before, political polarization has now perverted the process. It’s an ugly situation that doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
There was a time, and not so long ago, when Mining Journal readers who didn’t particularly care about this columnist or that would simply skip the article to something they wanted to read.
For example, is Cal Thomas too conservative for you? Well, read Jules Witcover, who is left of center on most subjects.
Is Froma Harrop too liberal? No problem, keep an eye out for Michael Barone or Rich Lowry. Both are recognized conservatives.
It’s not like that anymore. Now, many people will not only skip a columnist they don’t like, they won’t tolerate it appearing on the page.
The same principle applies to political cartoons. By definition, someone’s bull is always being gored by political cartoons. That is the nature of this beast. But now cartoons pillaging politicians are seen as aggressively insulting, often drawing angry responses from readers.
Opinion pages have always wanted to be platforms for engagement, for the exchange of ideas and points of view with the opportunity to learn something new.
And because The Mining Journal is a general circulation newspaper, 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 agree with, someone else supports and loves.
While love can make the world go ’round, the capacity and importance of commitment should not be overlooked.
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