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Jiffy Rental Center
Jiffy Rental Center
Jiffy Rental Center in Riverton, Wyoming
 



Today, Americans are more polarized in their political views than ever.  What does polarized mean?  Think of it this way… if your opinions are at the North Pole or the South Pole, consider them extreme.  When you are polarized, facts matter less than thinking you are right and others are wrong.

No one is happy about the  gridlock in Congress.  Inflexible views are responsible for difficulties in our relationships as well.  Clinical Psychologist Jennifer Kunst says that when we demonize or idolize, we eliminate the middle ground.  The realm doesn't matter.  Whether it is politics, religion, or our personal lives, the opportunity for compromise is lost.   On a larger scale like national politics, we lose the ability to solve problems by working together. Dr. Kunst says that to be polarized is to be paralyzed. 

How did we become so politically polarized?

Part of the reason is the media.  Today, Ameicans have a variety of choices to obtain the News.  Television  media personalities are no longer journalist reporting factual news.  The news has evolved into a combination of entertainment and news.  Your favorite cable news network has a target market.   It is you.   Advertising sponsors want to reach  specific markets for their products and services.  Look in the mirror.   It is you again.   And people just like you.

For as long as people have held differing opinions, we have had the opportunity to subscribe to extreme views.  While extreme views rarely prevail, they often move us from the status quo and can be beneficial at times.   But polarization narrows thinking rather than expanding it. People lose sight of the value in alternate viewpoints.   Without any middle ground, compromise is difficult, if not impossible. 

How can we save our relationships and political structures? 

The process begins with trust.  Each of us chooses how to live each day.  We can live openly by seeing the value in others or closed-mindedly in suspicion of motives and opposition.  One choice is healthy for us, the other is toxic.  If we look for the worst in people, we will usually find it.   Conversely, when we expect the best from people, we create opportunity to be pleasantly surprised and rewarded.   

People are more important than ideas.  They are the creativity behind solutions.  When people genuinely value others, they can walk in their shoes.  They can find common ground.    They can forgive.  They can make amends.  They can make grand bargains and seek solutions together.     

Most of us want to be defined by our unique qualities.  This is why we tend to value the character and personality of others more than their associations or ideology.  We are uniquely individuals first.  Our value to each other is rooted in our shared humanity.   While we may strive to derive our opinions from facts,  we are persuaded most often by our emotions.  

So it is no surprise that we champion individual thinking, particularly when it inspires us to a common goal.   The people we elect to Congress want to succeed as much as any of us.  Yet they are increasingly frustrated by the demands of party politics that discount their individual thinking for the sake of party loyalty.   It is not enough to simply parrot a  political party's talking  points.    A Representative's job satisfaction comes from understanding complex issues and applying their unique skills and knowledge toward solutions. 

We want our leaders to improve our lives and the lives of our children.   T
his is a lot to ask.   It is not too much to expect.  No one is well served  by a polarized and paralyzed Congress.

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Jiffy Rental Center Riverton