By Sophia Maietta, Staff Writer
The recent turmoil that has enveloped the country—government and civilians alike—over the past two weeks has been continuously and quickly building since Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th. Granted, many would argue that the political and social upheaval began long before Trump even stepped foot in the White House, and that it instead has been brewing since the announcement of his presidential campaign. Regardless, almost no one can argue that since taking office, the situation concerning Trump, his new administration, and his executive orders has quickly escalated. In many people’s eyes, things have gone from bad to exponentially worse in a mere two weeks’ time.
Just beneath the surface of all of this political strife and change is the discord of the American people. Whether they support Trump’s new measures, vehemently oppose his presidency, or simply wish that things would go back to normal, people across the country are in dissension with each other, attacking each other, and getting into screaming matches over political issues such as Trump’s travel ban, the border wall, and countless other matters.
So why can’t people agree? The answer to that is simple enough. We are all individuals: all uniquely built, with different thoughts, ideas, and opinions. However, the more overarching question of why people can seldom have rational, productive conversations still remains. This issue exists perhaps because we grow to become so passionate about the issues that matter to us. As a result, we get so engrossed in our own argument that we are either unable, or simply unwilling, to adequately contemplate and understand the other person’s point of view. Instead, we are too concerned with pushing our own agenda and our own argument. People never want to listen to others in the midst of a heated conversation; we just want to defend our own viewpoints, utterly convinced of the notion that only we are right.
I have many a time struck up a conversation about politics out of my own curiosity, and with the fullest intentions of having an interesting debate. By the end, I always seem to end up in something just short of a shouting match, with both parties interrupting the other, solely concerned with getting their point across, and fully convinced of only one thing: that the other side is wrong and ignorant.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that people are capable of having rational, productive, and civil conversations about politics without screaming at each other. I know that people have walked away from conversations such as this arguably better off than they were before, with some understanding of the other side’s viewpoint. However, I believe that situations like this are becoming an exception to the norm. The trend that seems to be manifesting and growing is one of obstinance, disrespect, and a refusal to truly listen. The question is: when will Americans learn to at least respect each other, if nothing else? In the Trump Era, an unprecedented amount of strife has erupted. And in the midst of all of this, America needs to take a moment to listen, to understand, and to breathe.