Toxic political environment touches everyone, everything

Polarization might be argued is the driving force in American politics these days. It touches everyone and everything.

It influences budgets, policy, culture, everyday life. And, we might add, does absolutely no good to any of it.

If traditional politics was the art of compromise to get things done, modern politics is much the opposite. Winning is what’s important, winning at all costs and the people be damned.

What’s happened in more recent years is the element of anger — for some people, blind rage — has been added, making for a toxic cultural cocktail.

In The Mining Journal newsroom, we deal with political polarization pretty much every day. Take our word for it, there have always been Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. But unlike a previous time, political polarization now has perverted the process. It is an ugly situation that doesn’t seem to be getting better.

There was a time, and not that long ago, when Mining Journal readers who didn’t particularly care for this columnist or that one would simply skip over the item to something they did want to read.

For example, Cal Thomas too conservative for you? Fine, 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 avowed conservatives.

It’s not like that anymore. Now, a great many people not only won’t simply skip over a columnist they aren’t fond of, they flat out will not tolerate it being on the page.

The same principal applies to political cartoons. By definition, someone’s ox is always being gored by political cartoons. That’s the nature of that beast. But now, cartoons lampooning politicians are seen as aggressively insulting, often engendering angry responses from readers.

Opinion pages have always sought to be platforms for engagement, the exchanging of ideas and viewpoints with the opportunity to learn something new.

And because The Mining Journal is a newspaper of general distribution, we are challenged to include something for everyone on 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 cherishes.

While love may make the world go ’round, the ability and importance of compromise should not be overlooked.


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