The Emerging Narrative Shift in American Politics

When we start to think about the complexity of politics in the U.S, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, most of our exposure to politics as children began with witnessing emotionally charged conversations between adults. They would banter back and forth and once the conversation was over, nobody looked happy. We are given the impression that politics is an intimidating topic right from the get go. But, I guess this should be expected when dealing with opposing ideologies.

The opposition driven framework which comprises the U.S. government has pressured citizens into believing that there are only two roads to lead us forward, one going left or one going right. So, we have to pick a side or get left behind in the dust.

In America, we don’t have two leading parties so much as we have two opposing parties.
— Edgar Twilson

But, we believe this ongoing narrative of bipartisan opposition is changing in America. You won’t hear about this in the mainstream media, because it’s a truly grassroots movement, but there is a new narrative emerging in America which is unified by this one question, “why are we fighting each other instead of working together to solve the complex problems facing our nation?”

Many Americans are beginning to recognize how paralyzing bipartisan opposition can be; they also realize that most people agree on and hope for the same things, like financial stability, economic prosperity, national security, and equality of opportunity. They know that we can’t continue forward with the same mental models which created this bantering mess of a political system, especially since these mental models are no longer serving us or our country.

This group of dissatisfied citizenship is breaking the mold. They are seeking alternatives to their bipartisan government. According to Gallop, “an average 43% of Americans identified politically as independents in 2014”. And this climbing number of individuals identifying as independent is an unintended consequence of the U.S. political system’s rigidity (and untrustworthiness). Most politicians are viewed as superficial figureheads who only talk in circles, leaving no room for average citizens to discover the complexity and nuance hidden under all the talking points.

But, people like Joe McGovern are cutting straight through the talking points to get to the “meat”, the complexity, the rawness that lives within politics. In a recent article Joe says, “most things of importance are complex and the world is filled with nuance. The way we talk politics in the US, however, doesn’t allow for much of this complexity and nuance. We oversimplify things. We generalize. We hyperbolize.”

Joe recently grew so tired of the extreme political division in America, that he decided to film a documentary called “The Other Side: a liberal democrat explores conservative America” in order to find a better way to talk about politics in America. The story of his journey is truly inspiring, and Joe exemplifies a growing number of people in America who are driven to shift the polarizing narratives that currently dominate American politics.

You can listen to the HumanCurrent podcast here and don't forget to subscribe in iTunes. Listen to our new episode where Haley interviews Republican strategist, columnist, and part-time lobbyist, John Feehery, on the complexity of politics in the United States of America.