I feel as though Americans today are more divided than they ever were. And that’s saying something. So many new things have come up in recent years that divide us right down the middle. But this is a good thing, we as Americans are entitled to our own opinions and are able to discuss them in a free and open manner. There are many countries and societies in the world where free speech is nothing but a dream. We are lucky to be able to be divided in the way we can be. And division is nothing new.
The news is a point of contention for many people. This very much so came to light during the 2016 election, but similar to division in America, this is nothing new. Many channels are known for having a sort of bias attached to them. For example, CNN is commonly referred to as a liberal news station, while FOX is regarded as conservative. While this doesn’t have the same sort of catalyst for division as presidential elections or foreign affairs (more on that in a minute) it is still showing something important about our nation. Freedom of speech allows people to follow what they believe in or think is just. For example, one news station could be praising a political figure for something they did, but a different news station could be talking about the same politician with a negative connotation.
The 2016 election was covered with controversy. The two major candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both had aspects that made their opposite parties hate them with a passion. There were fights that broke out because of the political views expressed in the campaigns of both parties. Once again, the country was split pretty much down the middle. This split is good, however. Were we in some other country that didn’t have the same laws and rights as ours, if you disagreed with whoever got elected or appointed there was a likelihood of punishment, of varying severity. Being able to argue about and vote for different people to lead us is a major part of our society in America.
Now to look at an earlier example of Americans disagreeing with one another. In 1955 America went to war with Vietnam. South Vietnam was at war with Northern Vietnam, which was Communist. America got involved in assistance with South Vietnam as to try and stop the spread of Communism, fearing if Vietnam became communist many other countries in Eurasia would do the same. This conflict was highly controversial, as many believed it wasn’t our place to get involved in foreign affairs. Others thought it was the right thing to do, to try and stop the spread. This deeply divided the country, with families refusing to speak with one another over differing opinions on the subject. There were hundreds of protests, asking to pull out of Vietnam. This is a very American action. Being able to protest what your government is doing is not a universal right, many countries will silence you one way or another.
Even though we may not agree on some things, we are all still American. The American Creed is being able to talk about what you want and at any time you want. This is a fundamental aspect of our culture.