Politics can be very dividing. It is one of the topics that is commonly dismissed as an inappropriate subject at dinner or public discourse. The polarizing nature of it is not something novel but has existed at the core of every nation. The United States is no different. Modern America has entered into a very divisive epoch of her history. The divide in the two party system is at an all time high and extremists exist in both camps.
The extremism seems to be the loudest beyond the norm. It is heard on the news and on social media. Extreme views that are uncompromising and blind to the other side dominate message boards. The extremism is enhanced through social media. Social media has supplied a voice to many to share their views. This is fine to share views but a civil way of communicating has vanished as individuals can hide behind a computer screen.
Furthermore, violence through the extreme elements are becoming stronger and stronger in public arenas. Even though these elements are a minority on both sides, they receive the most press, leaving a cloud and sense of anger and hate throughout the country. Extreme nationalists have emerged with their hate filled rhetoric, as well as extreme liberal movements that while teaching respect, hypocritically seek to silence and disrespect others who disagree.
One may ask is the country really this divided? Is it only seen in the political chambers of Washington, at rallies, and on social media boards? It is hard to say but the reality is it has created an environment of tension. A tension that exists even for moderates who become stressed by its very existence in the negative energy that has encompassed the country.
With polarization on social, religious and political issues, as well as lack of common and academic dialogue, emotion has taken over reason. Each side is seen as a threat and enemy to the republic or to humanity. This justification to hate the other extreme leaves open doors for violence and hate speech in public. The result is a ticking time bomb for violence and anger.
How one conducts oneself is key. One needs to avoid the noise of extremism. One needs to manage one’s own emotions in the this tense atmosphere. One needs to give respect to other opinions, even if it contradicts one’s own beliefs. Diplomacy, patience, and understanding are key to compromise.
Anger, especially misdirected anger, leads others away from compromise and mutual respect. It is hard when two extremes are playing the country against each other for one to find reason and sanity in emotion and insanity. The extremes only continue to irritate the soul of the United States leading to a collective angry environment within the nation. Some may disconnect from social media, watch less of the news, but others wish to remain engaged. They wish to engage with reason and mutual respect in dialogue. Unfortunately, even those that hold moderate views are not immune to anger.
How to manage this anger in a era of social media and extreme views is a difficult thing. It is even more difficult for those who find politics and social issues to be the most important thing in their lives. However, one should never become so intense about something to the point where it produces a state of perpetual anger. That anger is not only unhealthy for oneself but it also plants seeds that can lead to other arguments, fights and social uneasiness. Like sports, sometimes, its important to take a step back. It is important to value your opinion, but to also know when and where not to share it. It is truly an ego thing but somethings or debates are not worth it. Adding fuel to a fire is not always the best answer.
The other important element that many forget is that the over egotistical value of one’s opinion. This does not mean, one should not share it when needed, or that it is irrelevant, but it does point to an ego element where one must always be right. One needs to know when to let something go. Many things are not worth fights or escalation over things one cannot change. One’s opinion at the restaurant is not going change who is president of the nation or not. One’s opinion will not alter on going legislation. This is why it is important to not over emphasize one’s ego as well as not to place one’s opinion in unnecessary settings that do little to change the situation but only enhance tension.
It is important to know when and where to share political views. It is important to value your belief but not at the abuse of others and not allow static noise of others on social media or at the other “table” to affect your daily feelings. There is more to life than political ramblings from those not educated or extreme or obnoxious. If you cannot filter out political noise or feel the need to delete individuals with different values, then something is far more wrong with you as an individual. You need to be passionate but not emotional.
Controlling illegitimate anger is about controlling emotion. Once one associates things more intensely with one’s identity, then emotion is always more sure to erupt. One needs to see themselves as first an American before party affiliation. One can be anger but have reason but not angry having emotion. Anger with emotion leads to more division, frustration and ruining one’s own day. So if one needs to ignore other posts or comments, it may be the only way they can avoid the frustration but it points to a deeper problem. The best situation is to be able to read, laugh and then continue to scroll down the threads or just ignore stray comments from the other side of the room. This involves controlling ego, understanding the time and place, and not becoming emotionally attached to a situation that is not personal to start.
If Americans do not start to filter out the noise of extremism and learn to control their own impulses, political anger will continue to divide the country and make everyone exist in a more perpetual state of anger than they need to be.
Please also review our Anger Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and open to qualified professionals. Those who meet the requirements can earn a certification in Anger Management through AICHP’s online and independent study program. The online courses lead to a four year certification that can be renewed very four years.