Polarization is defined as: “division into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions.”

        Ed O’Malley is the founder and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center. Recently he published an article about the “fog of polarization” in relation to this pandemic we are in.

        My belief for some time is that radical polarization is one of the biggest challenges we face in America.

        O’Malley’s conclusion that: “the pandemic simply became the latest canvas on which Americans paint a polarized civic culture” is absolutely right on.

        Ed points out that polarization makes problem-solving more difficult. His examples are familiar. It’s them, not us. They need to change, not us. Get the picture?

        He gave an even better example when he wrote: “I spoke to two prominent Kansas political figures this week, one Republican and one Democrat. Both bemoaned the hyperpolarization in our state government. (But)Neither saw their part of the mess.”

        Our underlying problem as I view it is we’ve quit listening and talking. Politically most of our minds are made up and the resulting polarization is killing us.

        O’Malley points out that both George W. Bush and Barrack Obama ran for president on unifying themes.

        Bush claimed to be an “uniter, not a divider.” And Obama pointed out “There’s no red America, there’s no blue America, there’s just the United States of America.” Unfortunately, both their terms as president ended with America more polarized than when they took office.

        Today the level of polarization in America is off the charts. Have you ever heard President Trump reach out in an effort to unify? Me neither.

        Towards the end of congressman Roger Marshall’s first term at a luncheon, I ask him: “How often do you actually talk with a democrat in Washington?”

        His answer was: other than in a group of newly elected representatives that he chaired, not that often!”

        I was stunned. My contention is if there are not even conversations between Republicans and Democrats in Washington D.C. there’s no chance for compromise or progress.

        My votes in November will be based largely on the candidates that tell me they want to work across the aisle, not for anyone suggesting they have all the answers!

        I’m Steve Sauder.

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