10/17/2012 04:07 pm ET Updated Dec 17, 2012

Political Polarization Echoed Within American Culture

Given the election season, politics have become an even more prevalent conversation topic throughout my college campus. Politics are of course interesting, and while submerged in such an educational atmosphere political talk can almost seem unavoidable. Collegiate political groups have begun sponsoring viewing events of the recent political debates around campus in various public spaces, rightfully urging the student body to become an active participant in the upcoming election and hopefully not only making sure students are planning to vote but also breeding educated voters. Even though I am a strong supporter of student engagement with not only the election but the political happenings of both our nation and the globe, I found myself repelled by these public viewings of the debates. I cringed away from the idea of watching political debates in a room surrounded by my peers, fearing that the atmosphere would quickly become overly politically polarized.

I grew up being advised never to discuss politics and religion, as they are topics in which people often stand firm and passionate on their ideological positions, often cultivating argumentation. I believe that the visible political polarization within the federal government has seeped into the American culture, or the collegiate culture at the very least. It seems that many of my fellow peers have taken on political views that strictly live within the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, leaving no room for cross-party beliefs. Not only has the inability to propel movement between the parties' belief become prevalent in college students but so has the vocalization of these beliefs. It is one thing to be able to debate and discuss but what I feared would happen at the public viewing of the debates is the abrasive voicing of political thought, which are often more quick to provide damnation of the party they oppose than perhaps the glorification and understanding of why they believe their party holds the more appealing position on a topic.

The staggering rift between parties has become evermore apparent, with the importance of bipartisanship in the first presidential debate exemplifying such. It is very doubtful that the changes our nation needs to undergo can be remedied by strictly employing the ideologies of one party or the other. There needs to be a return to balance in the political sphere; however, it is hard to believe a return to bipartisanship will easily be attained when the political fissure seems to have transgressed throughout the entirety of the national public, beyond the political realm. The collegiate political culture seems to contain students who simply express their political identification without perhaps understanding the entirety of the party's platform or even worse a failure in trying to understand and contemplate the opposing party's ideologies as well. A nation of such diverse thoughts and ideals should not be molded into a system that pushes one to choose between only two sides, forcing one American against another. The government and the President represent all Americans, not simply those of their party, therefore compromise is necessary and failure to work together is inexcusable.