The Unrepresented Pros of Polarization: Disagreement Can Serve Us and Our Society
By Sienna Strickland ’22
Political polarization has become a popular media buzzword used to indicate catastrophic political turmoil. This negative representation of the phenomenon is not unjustified.
There is a notable and problematic pattern of hatred simmering beneath the thin veneer of civilized society amongst those who hold polarized positions—a pattern that does seem to be worsening. We see the use of ad hominem attacks more often in a debate than we do substantive reasoning, violence as a means of political expression, and resolutions in Washington, D.C. being bloody, brutal, and slow affairs (although this example is as old as the U.S. itself).
The negative connotation of the word may not be unjustified, but it is certainly not helpful, as it has succeeded only in feeding the internet trolls, fueling the fire, and misconstruing the fundamentally positive aspects of disagreement. Just like in any “bad” situation, there is a silver lining to be found if we look for it.
Polarization does not have to equate to catastrophe. Disagreement does not have to end with blood. Rather, it can present an invaluable opportunity for individual and societal progress if we let it.
On an individual level, being confronted with an opposing point of view provides an opportunity for a moment for self-reflection, education, or, at the very least, empathy—if the opposing belief is feasible, of course. Disagreement fortifies our own argumentative ability, as well as our ability to meaningfully interact with the ideas of others. Disagreement is the ultimate test of individual maturity and is the cornerstone of civilized society.
Without disagreement, there is no progress. This is the societal benefit to intense disagreement as well. There is a utility to the existence of “ideological extremes” that the panicked tone of the media fails to capture.
There has always been polarization, and if human beings are not an artificially robotic monolith reminiscent of a dystopian novella, there will always be polarization. The good news: something must give. If we are careful to redirect our animalistic tendencies from physically duking it out to battling in the intellectual arena, where we may possess the confidence to take our stance but also have the humility to admit ideological defeat, it can change for the better—right now.
Daily Coffee With a Side of Daily News: Staying Informed Made Easy
Katie Belbusti ’22
The beginning of every new semester marks an adjustment period for all students. Providence College students must manage their time to complete schoolwork for their courses, to participate in extracurricular activities, and now, additionally to get tested for COVID-19 twice a week.
With all of these necessary duties that come with being a college student, plus all of the unmentioned activities that we spend our time doing, it seems daunting to set aside time to do something as simple as read the daily news.
Perhaps now more than ever before, it has become extremely important to stay informed about the daily news, particularly because of how quickly news is developing around topics such as our new president and COVID-19.
The good news is that there is a way to stay informed without students feeling as though they are adding yet another activity onto their already full plates.
One way to do so is as simple as an email subscription. For example, MorningBrew is a daily e-newsletter that distributes mainly business-centered updates in short, digestible articles. Despite the company being centered around news in the business world, there is a wealth of articles that relate to all types of news, providing a well-rounded synopsis of the most important events occurring in our world today.
Next time you sit down with your morning coffee, consider pairing it with a side of daily news.