LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- "Is there anything Democrats and Republicans won't fight about?" a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, the biggest newspaper on U.S. West Coast, has asked.
"It's gotten to the point where even the most obviously nonpartisan issues that Americans ought to be able to address cooperatively and rationally have fallen victim to the country's culture of extreme political polarization," the opinion article by Nicholas Goldberg, released on the newspaper's website on Monday, noted.
Partisanship and polarization in American politics are nothing new and they have been growing for decades, stated the article, adding that they have been exacerbated by social media, by partisan news networks, by the country's regional divides and historical antipathies.
The article said that the refusal to seek common ground on even the easiest, least political of issues is a particularly dangerous and depressing development.
At the root of the new tribalism is the extraordinary and growing level of ill will between the two parties. The Pew Research Center says Democrats and Republicans today are farther apart ideologically than they've been in 50 years. A Pew report released last week also showed that Democrats and Republicans increasingly see each other as more closed-minded, dishonest, immoral and unintelligent than other Americans, according to the article.
"With such sky-high levels of rancor and disrespect, it's hardly surprising that there's a lack of cooperation. It's no wonder we believe that if our political enemies support something, it must be bad, and that any victory for our adversaries is a defeat for us," said the article.
The article pointed out that Americans have always had disagreements and they have fought over how to address poverty and racism and about the meanings of equality, justice and fairness in modern America.
"Today it's a different world, as elected officials fight about things there should be no disagreement over, such as defending against wildfires and viruses, building roads and bridges, and transferring power peacefully after elections," the article added, voicing the author's worry over "a dysfunctional government." ■