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 Edwin Y. Endo, OD Optometrists, Associates & Interns

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Political polarization is now toxic in America. Here's how to stop it. Political disagreements have morphed from issues to identities, from “I don’t agree with you to “I don’t like you” to “You must be stopped.” Andrew HanauerOpinion contributor

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Does it feel like our divisions are different than they used to be? They are.

Polarization in any society is normal. People disagree. They sometimes disagree about deeply important issues. They fight for their beliefs in the political and social arena. That’s healthy. That’s normal.

The type of polarization now facing the U.S. is different, and it’s toxic. It has morphed from issues to identities, from “I don’t agree with you to “I don’t like you” to “You must be stopped.”

That toxicity feeds on itself. The other side’s actions fuel our belief that our own side’s bad actions are justified in response. Our politician’s scandal is an anomaly or even a conspiracy by the other side, their politician’s scandal is proof of their malice.

Eventually, the divides grow so seemingly wide that a tiny minority of actors believe anything is justified. This is the abyss that should wake the rest of us up. Our country is at stake. Our democracy is at stake. We’re better than this. 

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