Polarization Perils

Thinking Things Over

The thinker imago
Hold on, I have to think about that.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Media soundbites are not stopping people from thinking carefully about issues that matter.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • In the past, commentators weighed both sides of an issue and offered insights and opinions; today the preference is for soundbites.
    • Political standoffs between President Barack Obama and the Republican Party have paralyzed legislative activity in the U.S.
    • Germans are lucky to have a government that prefers to govern by considering issues instead of posturing for TV ratings. 
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

In the past, readers following great writers in their favorite newspaper might say with pride, “That’s right! That’s my newspaper.” Even if they disagreed with some of the arguments, they felt the newspaper’s contents reflected their viewpoint and their needs.

One of those legendary commentators might have written about the growing number of xenophobic demonstrations. 

They would have clearly said that the gross generalizations of the slogans heard at these gatherings do not reflect reality and damage Germany’s global image. This is not acceptable, something must be done about it, but the demonstrations are political reality, like it or not, they might write.

The commentator might add that the demonstrations cannot be ignored as this would open the way for xenophobia. Demonstrators should ask themselves how they can help integrate immigrants and asylum seekers, the commentator would write.

They might have added that efforts in refugee centers, schools and suburbs have lead many people to support the principle of hospitality for persecuted foreigners, though in some cases, there have been abuses.

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