We’re at the end of another election season, and the public is understandably weary of partisan demagoguery. Virginia’s gubernatorial race was on the national stage this season, and the choice voters faced was framed in the familiar rhetoric of Republican vs. Democrat, liberal vs. conservative, right vs. left.
The effects of such political divisions are far-reaching, as last month’s congressional gridlock and subsequent government shutdown made all too clear. The divisions we face aren’t merely political, either. The so-called “culture wars” pit science against religion, the educated elite against the working class, the 99 percent against the 1 percent. All of these divisions work to make consensus-building increasingly difficult.
Gettings is associate professor of philosophy at Hollins University.