What’s Left: Political Attack, Polarization and Pipe Bombs

The United States is becoming progressively more polarized, as witnessed by the recent elections and the current state of the government. This is dangerous to our country in more ways than one, as people have begun using violence as a means to express their political views and harass those who don’t share the same beliefs. Recently, multiple pipe bombs have been sent to Democratic political figures in an attempt to injure or kill those who represent more liberal perspectives. Some of these figures have included Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros and other prominent Democratic supporters. This willingness to kill based on differences in political views is extremely dangerous. As a nation, we have to be willing to listen to other perspectives without getting hostile or violent in order to be successful as a country. The polarization of the United States is becoming even more extreme as more and more people are becoming hateful towards members of the opposite party.

President Trump spoke regarding this issue on Friday, October 26, condemning the man who committed this act and stating “these terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country…we must never allow political violence to take root.” He is right in that this behavior is inexcusable and should never happen in America, however, it can be argued that Trump’s aggressive political behavior has fed the polarization of the country. Trump continuously insults not only the beliefs of Democratic supporters, but also their character. This behavior results in hatred toward individuals and goes beyond disagreements in political views. Trump cannot be blamed for the deranged behavior of Cesar Sayoc, the man who was arrested for the distribution of the pipe bombs, but he can be blamed for promoting hostility between political par- ties. His use of social media outlets to insult and mock Democratic supporters needs to stop, as it is unpresidential and exacerbates violent attitudes.

There have been many responses to the pipe bombs put out by Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc, many of which display this hostility that Trump has encouraged. One theory, put forth by certain conservative media outlets, was that these pipe bombs were actually sent by Democrats to impact the midterm elections in their favor and make the Republican party appear hostile. Conspiracy theories have also become popularized following the 2016 presidential election, as Trump himself often promotes theories that lack evidence. This spreading of falsities, such as the conspiracy theory behind the pipe bombs, is furthered through the use of social media.

Luckily, no one was injured, and the person who committed this horrendous act is now in custody. However, it brings into perspective the severity of the polarization of this country. We should come together as a nation to make sure that acts like this are never accepted. We need to be cautious not to spread falsities that could prompt violent mentalities. We must also make sure to listen to different perspectives and respect the views of others, even if they are different from our own. This is how compromise is reached, and often how the best policies come to fruition.

Contact Rachel Gunders at [email protected].