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The United States is believed to be divided into issues regarding politics. The media has made the greatest contribution to informing people about politics, but it has also caused misunderstanding on where America stands on the political spectrum. As of today, the issue of a “culture war” has been an ongoing discussion and some believe that it does not exist. In this essay, we will be discussing Morris P. Fiorina’s argument on the polarization of America, evaluate how efficiently Fiorina used evidence to support his claim, and explore how the “culture war” resonate with today’s generation and discuss how it affects them.
On electoral maps, it is noticeable that the states are either colored Blue (Democrats) or Red (Republicans) which represents the party the states support during presidential elections. The idea that America is a polarized country comes from the grounds that the states are divided solely into being a Democratic or a Republican state, therefore creating a “culture war”. Political Polarization refers to the division of a population based on the political ideology that is taken to the extreme. Although there are individuals that take their political ideologies to the extreme, Morris P. Fiorina argues that there is little-to-no culture war and America is not polarized. Fiorina stated that one of the reasons that Americans think that the United States is polarized is because of the influence of media.
Journalists tend to cover materials that have “news value” to interest people to read them. To do this, journalists occasionally exaggerate their news headlines and content to gain more audience. According to Fiorina, journalists have biased exposure as a result of spending most of their time talking to members of the political class and attending political events that consist mostly of people that work in the government. Thus, journalists are not accurate representatives of people’s stand on politics. This has a significant effect on public opinion because faulty news can spread quickly through social media and other online resources. Fiorina mentioned other people who argue about the misconception about a polarized country, she stated,
Ironically, Glenn was searching for evidence of depolarization because many at the time thought that the spread of the mass media would have a homogenizing effect on public opinion.
To strengthen his argument, Fiorina provided statistical evidence in her work titled “Red Versus Blue State Political Factoids” that shows the position of Red and Blue States in terms of owning a gun and voted for Bush. The result revealed that “a 13 percent red-blue difference in gun ownership translated only in to a 9 percent difference in vote”. Fiorina ought to convey that although Conservatives and Liberals have opinions that differ in some matter, they have more similarities than differences. To further prove his point, Fiorina added more evidence that shows similar results.
Abortion has always been a controversial issue in society and raises questions about the ethics behind it. Most of the time, Conservatives are perceived to be against abortion, or pro-life and Liberals are deemed to be always for abortion, or pro-choice. Fiorina previously mentioned that the reason why polls fail to accurately represent the public’s opinion is because of how the questions are asked. Questions can be manipulated to get the answer that the inquirer desires to get out of certain individuals or groups. Fiorina validates his argument by displaying 6 different question scenarios that were provided by the General Society Survey about abortion. Some might expect that the opinions of Liberals and Conservatives on abortion are opposed to each other, but the results from other works states otherwise. The majority of the votes were between scenarios 3 and 4 which states that abortion should be legal if it is proven that the baby will have serious defects or if the family is unable to raise another child. The percentage of the Liberals and Conservatives that chose either scenario 3 or 4 are relatively close to each other. Overall, Fiorina is attempting to convey that “…majority of Americans consistently responds legal only under certain circumstances.
Morris P. Fiorina believes that the political party is split into a “black and white” area where both parties are on the extreme side on the political spectrum with no people in-between. With the influence of media, only a small percentage of Americans are accounted for when discussing the public’s opinion on political issues. Fiorina also explored the issues of the gender gap and discovered that if the issues on gender gap comes “from traditional issues of peace and war and social welfare, and not from the issue of abortion” then it is additional evidence that the culture war is only a misconception. He proves this claim by using the poll from The Public Perspective as evidence that explains how Women’s and Men’s attitudes Differ. Fiorina proves all his arguments by using evidence from credible resources to make him credible.
Morris P. Fiorina is effective at using evidence to support his claim because he can convey the idea that America is not polarized and that the culture war does not exist by showing the similarities between Conservatives and Liberals using data that he gathered from credible resources. The evidence that he provides is compelling because they are issues that the majority of Americans are aware of and know sufficient information that enables them to create their own opinion. The most popular issues that Americans are aware of are abortion and homosexuals. Knowing this, Fiorina discussed various situations that he used to explain why he believes that America is not polarized. The people can use the information that Fiorina displayed to reflect back on society and see how things are currently.
In today’s generation, it is apparent that Americans are becoming more accepting and open to homosexual people., Fiorina displayed a graph about the declining hostility towards homosexuals from the National Election Studies. He uses this evidence to back up his claim about the increase in support for homosexual people. Thermometer percent from 1984 to 2004 and it shows a percent increase from 30% to 50%. This concludes that as the year go by, more people are opening up to homosexuals. Fiorina is trying to communicate to Americans that it is impossible for a culture war to exist if people are growing to be more accepting on what used to be complicated issues over the years. The evidence that he provides makes people think about issues that some people have never really thought about.
Some of the evidence is quite surprising because it is a subject that is barely thought out by people that are not as interested in politics. Fiorina was able to provide information to Americans that exhibits issues that some people may be aware of but have not given much thought. For instance, the issue of the gender gap. Men and women differ percentage wise about the role of government and force/violence. Fiorina is able to show the readers that men and women can have big differences in opinion in some matters, but they also have opinions that are similar. For example it was shown that men and women’s opinion in abortion in general is quite similar and both believes that women should have a say in what they do to their bodies. As was mentioned earlier, Fiorina was attempting to argue that a culture cannot exist if the issues originated from the issues of “peace war and social welfare’. The readers are able to comprehend the evidence that Fiorina provided by carefully analyzing the graphs and tables. Although it can be slightly difficult for some readers to comprehend, Fiorina does a wholesome job in explaining the content that can successfully convince the readers that America is not polarized.
The people in today’s generation usually do not follow news about Politics and does not have much knowledge on issues regarding it. Fiorina’s argument on America’s polarization resonates with my generation because it is impossible to have a polarized country if the majority of America barely knows about the issues surrounding politics. I personally think that America is not polarized because the individuals that are saying that America is polarized are mostly political activists that are on the extreme sides on the political spectrum.
In some ways, there might be a culture war because having no culture war means that everyone has the same opinion, but I don’t believe that it is a huge issue that divides the country as the media portrays it out to be. Some people in this generation are convinced that politics does not affect them and as a result, they do not follow up on issues regarding politics. During constitution day, it was confirmed that people barely knows anything about politics after taking a test on knowledge on politics. I agree with the results.
Most of the time that the issue of politics is discussed in class or in public, you can hear at least one person say, “I know nothing about politics”. Perhaps the only person in politics that people are interested about today is President Donald Trump as he seems to be the center of attention in politics. Overall, I believe that Fiorina’s argument that America is not polarized is convincing because most of the people around me and the people in today’s generation can be considered as the silent majority because they do not want anything to do with politics.
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