This election season has something in common with the month of July: they are both the hottest on record. In fact, this election has provoked fights so heated they have even caused rifts between family members.
Today, William McKenna fielded the question of how to engage people in civil political debate:
Allow me first to put your problem into proper context. On a mass group process scale, the nation is using a psychological defense seen in children known as splitting. Splitting is a phenomenon where individuals divide people into an all-good or all-bad category. Clearly, splitting is a primitive defense since any mature adult would tell you that people are neither all-good nor all-bad. Instead, people possess both good and bad aspects within themselves simultaneously. This insight, though, introduces doubt into people’s minds that may be initially intolerable to them. An example of splitting within this election would be that both sides of the aisle have idealized their candidate to the point of making them a quasi-deity.
As a millennial, it is hard for your contributor to remember a time when a candidate was not held up as a paragon of humanity by one side and slandered beyond recognition by the other. Every four years we are introduced to a dozen new faces and then over the next year we find out little things that lead us to abandon each of them until we are left with one. It’s really not all that different from The Bachelor.
Has the election season always been this crazy or are we spiraling? What do you think?