Sweden’s parliamentary election produced a gridlock and the campaign leading up to it seems to have increased divisiveness and polarization in the society. All of this made first-time voter Rafi Uddin send us this comment:
We are currently living in a very polarized debate climate. Many groupings have been formed in our society, with people having similar perceptions of the world within that group. This has led to the formation of different kinds of bubbles, where people have similar values. People from a certain bubble have a perception that people from another bubble are either facing away from reality or that they are simply brainwashed. The same principles apply the other way around.
There are people all along the whole spectrum who think that people from the other side of the spectrum are wrong. These opinions are formed without talking to one another. The cause of this phenomenon could be explained by ideological reasons, certain labels which people use against other people, because they see them as having the ”wrong” values.
This does not mean we should dismiss every single thing that a certain person is saying due to a label we have put on them. Labels lead to a polarized society. Polarization means there is division and division leads to conflicts. When there are conflicts people think in terms of ”us versus them”, which is something we should not desire.
There are statements from all sides or the spectrum where people bring up good points, but there can also be bad ideas which can originate from any side of the spectrum. It is important to have an open discussion climate, where people should not be afraid to talk about problems. This can lead to an exchange of ideas, which benefits everybody. It also teaches people how to think critically, when they are hearing several perspectives and they become better at critically reviewing their sources. This will help them decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong.
The point is that it is important to talk about the problems we have, because if we do not talk about the problems, they are never going to be solved and our debate climate will continue to become even more polarized.
Text: Rafi Uddin
Photo: Melker Dahlstrand / Image Bank Sweden