Last year’s turbulent election season made it quite clear that American media and politics have become increasingly divided between two political camps. Bozeman is no exception, as our wonderful town is fraught with the same political division that only serves to weaken our community and sow distrust between its members.
Many believe that frustrating political arguments tend to be between people who aren’t necessarily well educated on the subject at hand, especially involving social media. There seems to be a lack of substance to their arguments and an abundance of personal insults that have nothing to do with politics. Most of us see no end in sight for these trivial debates. The question is, how can we take action to resolve this issue of reckless conflict?
We, as voters, must take an active role by educating ourselves on the belief systems and proposed policies of candidates running for office. We must visit candidates’ campaign websites, listen to their speeches and tune in to their debates. Furthermore, we must look to reliable and unbiased sources in order to gather accurate information about the issues our candidates promote. If we fail to do this, can we justify even having political arguments? Or are we destined to reflect the media, absorbing and repeating only the negative (and oftentimes false) information expressed in campaign ads?
I believe that we are capable of more than that. We are Bozemanites. We take pride in our city and its people, and we must all work together to create a town that fosters respectful and educated debate. Until then our only political future is a bleak one; one where politics is dominated by mindless mudslinging and deceitful propaganda.