The repercussions of isolationism

By Breanne Williams, COLUMNIST
On March 19, 2017

Counties have grown increasingly partisan, highlighting the growing dissention between political parties,
according to a recent analysis of voting results. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

America has become a clearly divided nation. 

People are moving to counties that reflect their political and ideological beliefs, and thus are facing little-to-no conflicting opinions, according to an article on fivethirtyeight.com. 

The article, written by David Wasserman and titled “Purple America Has All But Disappeared,” examined the voting results from every county in the country during the national election. 

It examined how despite this being one of the narrowest elections in history, most Americans don’t know many people who represent the other side of the political spectrum. 

Republicans don’t personally know anyone who voted for Hillary Clinton and Democrats can’t think of a single person who supports Donald Trump. 

The voting results showed that unlike other elections, counties had increasingly voted for one candidate or the other. 

“More than 61 percent of voters cast ballots in counties that gave either Clinton or Trump at least 60 percent of the major-party vote last November,” Wasserman wrote.

That’s up 11 percent from 2012, and 22 percent from 1992. 

While some may say the growing trend is not important, it reflects an extremely unsettling reality: Our political views are tearing this nation apart. 

We are so appalled by those of differing beliefs that we have literally relocated to ensure we never have to face ideals that differ from our own. Rather than attempt to understand the other side, we have chosen to live in a bubble of political affirmation. 

How can those who grow up in a community where everyone believes the same thing ever be expected to have a bipartisan outlook on life? How will our future politicians that emerge from these heavily biased counties ever bridge the gap in Congress, ever come up with policies that help the entire population, not just those who want the same things they do?

A country filled to the brim with deep-seated, unwavering citizens is a dangerous place to live. There will be no more compromises, no moderate laws or arguments. Instead, every action, every platform will come with battle lines no one will be willing to cross. 

The election was a runaway in nearly 90 percent of counties, but Tampa remained a reassuring blend of purple, yet to be tainted by a single political ideology.

Tampa Bay had two of the six closest voting results among large voting counties in the U.S. Pinellas topped the charts, with the closest results in the entire country. It was 48.6 percent for Trump and 47.5 for Clinton. Hillsborough County was 51.5 for Clinton and 44.7 for Trump. 

Somehow, this city by the Bay has successfully blended conservative businessmen with liberal hipsters and college students. Retirees from across the globe, all bearing differing stances, come to Tampa to spend their golden years. 

And we do so without major quarrels. 

Our tolerance is ultimately one of our greatest assets. Here, one must be able to defend one’s beliefs because it will inevitably be questioned at some point or another. Nothing is simply accepted as truth. 

You have to know what you’re talking about, or else you’ll be ridiculed for standing for something you don’t understand. And because of that scrutiny, we are pushed to be as informed as humanly possible. 

Does this blend cause us to have more bipartisan attitudes? Sometimes. Not always. But it inevitably helps us at least understand where the other side is coming from. An outlook not held by those living an hour in any direction. 

The rest of the nation will need to make a major effort to return to a predominately purple blend, or we will soon see major repercussions of our isolationist culture. 

 

Breanne Williams is a senior majoring in mass communications. 

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