A recent study by Gallup has found us to be the most polarized electorate ever. This links directly into my complaint about the sportsification of politics. But all to often people, instead of their political medium, are blamed.
The average engaged voter's medium these days is a partisan ideological thicket veiled in a context of “social” where we all end up being the homeless man in robes with a “The End Is Near” sign slumped on our virtual shoulder. The question of why this happened must be addressed before we can attempt to fix it.
First and foremost, do we want to fix it? I say no. I admit that we all pretend that we want to fix it, but do we really want to? Immediateness is a feature the media of all democracies go for. When something cannot be spun to say it has an immediate impact on the trade-off is that its consequences will be even direr. We are either immediately being heroes or villains or we are investing in super-heroes or super-villains.
The narrative of Western culture is ridden with extremes. Anything we have to look up to is an extreme. Movies, books, television, and musical narratives are all built upon extremes. To be “normal” is viewed as, not only uninteresting, but as being complacent. And to be complacent is equivocated to being purposefully blind. We shape ourselves in our heroes' image. We think being ideologically pure is the same as being morally pure.
In some ways you can't blame us. We have built our lives in the shadow of art while forgetting art is a shadow of life. We have forgotten that “extremes” are a plot device used to make moderate but effective people and ideas interesting. Practical conversation can no longer happen. Saying you like one thing over another now comes down to “ruining the world,” “helping evil corporations” or “fighting the good fight.” It's as if on all of our deathbeds we will mutter, “turns out people like me weren't the only ones holding this world up from collapse” or we will mutter that super-villains got us in the end after all.
We can no longer be moderate or reasonable. Both are seen as weaknesses. Our media is no longer a reflection upon us because we are ourselves a reflection of it. With the West's aggrandizing ideal of the “individual” it was only a matter of time before it fell into an ideal of “self-importance.” Instead of fictional, unrealistic, extreme heroes being based off of us, we base our very real selves off of these fictional uncompromising heroes. It's no wonder we are more polarized than ever when we are so prone to painting the world in stark blacks and whites as if it were a simple action-suspense movie.