Guest opinion: Five ways to reduce political animosity

Political animosity seems to be at an all-time high in the US, indeed a recent UVU study finding that Utah isn’t immune to the trend. Anger begets anger rather than reconciliation, creating a vicious cycle. It’s hard to feel like you should compromise with someone when all you see of them is riots and threats, but we’ve come up with five ways we think we can reduce animosity among the left and the right in America. 

  1. Unite on Government Accountability 

Washington, DC, is the richest part of America. In December, US News reported that five of the eight wealthiest counties were in the National Capitol Region. Somehow the part of the country with the law enforcement powers to take our money keeps a lot of it for themselves! 

Specifically, there is the problem of Congressional insider trading, where members just happen to pick stocks with miraculous results. This is such a well-known problem that some clever folks created an ETF to track Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s investments. We can all agree that abuses of power like this should be stopped. 

  1. Say “Populist” Instead of Far-

Have you noticed how everyone is far-left or far-right these days? The term is used to discredit opponents by painting them as extremists. We have probably all done it. But if you want to work with people, we suggest a nice-sounding word like populist instead. 

For example, in May Democrat populist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican populist Matt Gaetz introduced legislation to ban the aforementioned Congressional insider trading! Populist factions of both parties have far more in common than they realize, and corrupt elites get away with more when we’re at each other’s throats. Which leads us to … 

  1. Unite on Corporate Accountability 

Remember when Corporate America was conservative and now it’s all rainbow flags and green logos? All that performative activism is what we call a wokescreen, where organizations use a smokescreen of woke buzzwords to conceal their bad behavior. 

Nike wants to take a stand on America’s troubling history of slavery … but is somewhat silent on their own practice of slavery right now. Apple cares about “racial equity and justice” … so much so they’ve surrounded their factories with nets so abused workers can’t jump to their own deaths. Nestle made a big deal about desexualizing the Green M&M to be more “inclusive” … Nestle is so inclusive that their slave-labor force includes children

This is why the (ahem) populist left should welcome the Republican Party’s move away from its traditional corporate roots. The problem isn’t capitalism, it’s globalism. Globalism allows for soulless multinational corporations to take advantage of the rule of law in developed countries and exploitative labor and environmental practices that harms others. 

Hating Corporate America is now something both sides agree on, especially when it comes to
China. So let’s all … 

  1. Remember That If America Loses, China Wins 

Virtually no one should want to live on a planet where China is the No. 1 superpower. People in China don’t want to live in a world where China is the No. 1 super-power. Conservatives don’t want to see America lose power to Beijing, and progressives won’t see much of their progress in a world ruled by Xi Jinping. 

If labor rights and environmentalism are important, let’s not cede power to a government that puts its own citizens in concentration camps and calls its own environmental record “grim.” Corporate America’s selling out America to China has fed its military power, which should scare everyone. 

It makes me miss that golden time between the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11 when things were relatively safe, which leads us to … 

  1. Somehow Make It the 90s Again 

Remember the 1990s when everyone seemed to mostly get along – to the point that during the horrifying 1992 LA race riots the guy at the middle of it, instead of fomenting violence, asked for everybody to just get along? Could we somehow make it the 1990s again, if not by magic, then perhaps AI could figure out how to do it via science? 

It is very difficult to feel like you should compromise with someone when they’re shrieking at you. It’s amazing that American political life isn’t even more contentious – a fight like this one in the Taiwanese parliament hasn’t broken out in Congress, well, ever. It’s a testament to the strength of the American spirit that things aren’t even worse. At least for now. 

Jared Whitley is a longtime Utah and DC politico, having worked in the US Senate, White House, and defense industry. In 2016, his columns in Utah Policy were named “Best of the West.”