Emerging from COVID-19 fog, polarization

"The fog started more than five months ago as the pandemic descended on the nation. For a few weeks it felt like the polarization in our society would give way to collaboration.... It was short lived."

By

Opinion

September 9, 2020 - 8:46 AM

Photo by NAID / TNS

The fog started more than five months ago as the pandemic descended on the nation. For a few weeks it felt like the polarization in our society would give way to collaboration. Public officials worked across difference. People felt pride, togetherness and a can-do attitude.

It was short lived. The pandemic simply became the latest canvas on which Americans paint a polarized civic culture.

Polarization isn’t good for problem solving in a democratic republic, which requires working across factions to find solutions to challenges. Polarization is both in our face and illusive. Who is responsible for polarization? Them! Not us! How do we fix it? They need to change! Not us! I spoke to two prominent Kansas political figures this week, one Republican and one Democrat. Both bemoaned the hyper polarization in our state government. Neither saw their part of the mess.

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