Benjamin’s Reflection on Political Polarization

Benjamin’s theory is built on the basis of defining oneself through the opposition of another. Knowing what you are not allows you to understand what you are. This idealogy can explain the extreme polarization of politics in America. While “Democrat” and “Republican” are labels used under the two-party system, they have evolved into divisive terms. Unlike Benjamin’s typical binary, the oppressor and the “Other” are subjective to the individual. By taking Benjamin’s theory into account it is easier to understand how individuals adopt alienating attitudes toward the opposing party. The fact you are a democrat or are a republican as opposed to having democratic views emphasizes how support for a political party is directly tied to an individual’s identity. In defining yourself as a Democrat it becomes obligatory to align with all viewpoints associated with that party. If you are a democrat then by default you are not a Republican, meaning you agree with all and only democratic positions. To overcome this label-riddled political system, constituents should vote for candidates that align with their beliefs first instead of a “brand”.

One thought on “Benjamin’s Reflection on Political Polarization

  1. Isabelle J.

    I agree, polarization is an excellent example. Especially in recent years the political climate has become more and more polarized and people have slowly began participating in “negative partisanship”, that is voting for a democrat strictly because they AREN’T a republican or vice versa. The two-party system doesn’t help and we seem to be immobilized in this current climate of polarization so I really wonder how we can apply the principles of mutual recognition to this issue and if it is even possible considering how far gone politics have become and how firm people are on their ideologies.

    Liked by 1 person

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