American English lesson culture

Why is America so divided right now?

Have you heard a lot about the division that exists within the US?

We’re going to look at why this division exists.

We’re also going to look at words and phrases you can use to be a part of the important and real English conversations about the core issues in politics with native speakers that you want to have.

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We have a question from a listener about what is going on with the US and the division you hear about.

Hello Jessica,

I have heard a lot about the US being divided and I’m not sure what that means or why it is. I’ve heard about the need to “heal the country” in the media, and I’m wondering what that means exactly?

If you could help to clarify this and why the country is like this, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you very much,

Nguyen Thanh Quang

Understanding The Current Political Situation

We are at a moment of extreme political division within the US.

You may want to know how to break through and be able to talk about it with native English speakers.

Politics are all over the place right now, and there is also a lot of uncertainty in the world.

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) going on and the stock market dropping, it creates a lot of uncertainty and negative feelings.

There’s so much uncertainty and anxiety because many of us don’t know how to deal with a pandemic.

It is the uncertainty that creates some of the issues and leads to the division.

It is also people at either end of the extreme that contributes to the division, and makes it a bigger issue.

We’re going to look at these issues, and also some of the vocabulary words you can use to be part of these conversations.

Talking About The Bigger Issues

It’s great to talk about bigger issues, particularly as you are learning English.

Once you have the tools to have these conversations and deeper topics, then you can be an active part of things.

Talking about guns and equality and issues like this are all part of the political conversation.

The US has a very diverse and often complex country.

There is a lot of division naturally because of these differences, but it’s particularly significant right now.

People are worried because there is so much going on, but there is a great history of division in the US.

With the evolution of tools such as social media or TV shows, this adds to the division and actually makes it worse.

This has positive aspects to it, but there is also the idea that this contributes to the division because you have constant access to information.

No matter what side you are on, it can be great to talk about the issues and be a part of the important conversations.

Vocabulary To Talk About Politics

There are certain phrases or words that you may hear used a lot to talk about politics.

There are so many words and phrases, but this is just a start.

Knowing these can help you to understand what is being said, and also allow you to be part of the conversations too.

  • America is “divided”: This comes down to politics, but this is a very important and relevant topic of conversation. Democrats and Republicans have always been separate in their beliefs. However in the past there were more people in the middle or moderates. Both parties were accepting of the entire spectrum of beliefs. These days however there are more people that are at extremes. These extremes cause problems because people can’t see eye to eye, and there’s a lot of in fighting. People in both parties want their voice heard
  • Highly Partisan Era: Partisan is the party that you associate with. If you want to be on the news or get followers on social media, it seems that you almost need to be extreme in your beliefs. Both sides, extreme Democrats or Republicans, seem to have made the core issues moral in nature. By making the issues moral, it creates a very defensive point of view and mindset. It’s hard enough for both sides to see eye to eye, and when you make the issues moral then it creates a more significant separation.
  • Reach Across the Aisle: You can actually envision this as it would be like somebody reaching across the aisle. This means that you are trying to make a compromise, and it means that you are trying to understand and work with the other side. There is the wish for there to be more of this because it means that the parties can get along. Mitt Romney did this when he voted against Trump, and he was trying to understand and meet the other side. There is not a lot of this, and that makes it very difficult because then the two parties won’t see eye to eye. If there is more politicians reaching across the aisle, then it creates a better atmosphere and more gets done.
  • Caucasus: These are elections held in the state that indicate who will represent each party. These are elections that take place to narrow the field and the number of candidates. At the end of the caucuses there ends up being one politician representing each party.

There are many other words and phrases used to discuss politics.

These are a few to get you started, and they focus on the major issues.

Try using these in conversation, and see how they can help you to be a part of things.

Politics As Part of Your Identity

People tend to identify with their political affiliation, and to a certain extent that’s natural.

The problem is that sometimes issues can go across political lines.

There may be times when you can see the other political point of view or even identify with some of the policies.

You may identify as a Democrat or a Republican, but you may appreciate or even support certain fundamentals that the opposite party stands for.

You will hear a lot of people have their entire identity defined as who they support or represent politically speaking.

While your political views are a part of who you are, they don’t have to be your entire identity.

We will have more discussions on politics as there’s a lot to cover with the upcoming elections.

Knowing some of the basics can help you to be a part of the conversations in English.

Takeaway

You are going to hear a lot about politics in the upcoming months because there is so much going on in the US.

There is a great division because there are many extremes and the different parties can’t see eye to eye.

You can now see why this division exists, and uncertainty in the world certainly makes it worse.

You can be part of the conversation and talk about the bigger issues and you can use some of the phrases we discussed.

This can lead to great and relevant conversation, and this can also lead to making important connections.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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