In America, tensions are running high. Neighbors, family members, even communities are clashing. Why are we so antagonistic toward each other?
There is no shortage of ways to separate people. For example, the political divide is larger than it has been in a generation. Economic inequality is at record levels. Rural and urban areas are at odds with each other.
Why is there so much tension?
It’s true that thanks to the Internet, people are able to seek out ideas similar to their own. Social media can act as an echo chamber, and algorithms can limit exposure to competing ideas.
Similarly, cable news has spawned a news channel for every political outlook. Talking heads with an agenda help shape public opinion.
There is also what is known as “self-selection”. When deciding where to live, people will often choose a neighborhood filled with people who look like them, vote like them, and pray like them.
Gerrymandering, or the political act of grouping conservative or liberal voters in a district has led to candidates that are more ideologically extreme.
There also seems to be just a general lack of civility. People arguing are quick to insult, or to simply disengage altogether.
What is the cause of our polarized environment? Is it one of these explanations, or something else entirely? Why are we so antagonistic?