fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Loneliness, Polarization and Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal

Yesterday Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska released his second book titled, Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal. Senator Sasse believes Americans aren’t getting along so well. That in fact, polarization is so bad it is leading many to not simply disagree with but actually hate those who are on the other side of the political spectrum. Coming on the heels of the divisive Kavanaugh hearings and as a lead up to the midterm elections, Senator Sasse’s timely book release seeks to shed light on why our political discourse is so poorly fragmented.

From his perspective, the hate an individual feel towards “them” (one’s political opposition) is in large part due to the inherent breaking of “tribes.” On Fox News yesterday Sasse discussed how humans are relational beings, “that we are meant to be tribal with our families, with our friends, in our neighborhoods, in our workplace, and in our worshipping communities and that right now all these tribes have been undermined.”

Sasse points the finger at the digital revolution going on in America as the cause of this, and the evidence is quite disturbing.

The disintegration of these tribal spaces has resulted in loneliness becoming a major health epidemic, leading thousands of Americans to their early graves. Sasse refers to the decline in life expectancy in the U.S. over the past three years and the halving of friendship in America (average American went from 3.2 friends to 1.8 friends) over the past 27 years as indicative of declining mental health.

Echoing Robert Putnam’s 2000 bestseller book Bowling Alone, loneliness is in large part attributed to Americans participating less with others in their public and private lives, and it has led to some real consequences.

People now run to political tribes to fill the vacuum of social belonging that families, friends, and communities should be filling. America has a loneliness problem, and looking to Washington to legislate, adjudicate, or executive order the way out of it will just simply not work. Sasse calls them tribes; I call it community. Call it what you prefer, but either way policy won’t fix our inherent structural problem of polarization. Finding meaningful relationships will.

Jack Campbell is an intern at Center of the American Experiment.

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • 2020 Annual Dinner Featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders- Now in September!

    Location: Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom 1301 2nd Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55403

    NEW SEPTEMBER DATE: We have made the difficult decision to once again move the date of this event. We will now host our Annual Dinner on Saturday, September 19th. All tickets bought for the April 4th, or June 18th dates are transferrable. We are so sorry for any inconvenience this has caused, but we look forward to seeing you on September 19! Direct any questions to Kathryn Hinderaker (kathryn.hinderaker@americanexperiment.org or 612-428-7005).   American President: The Unorthodox Approach to Politics that Changed the World. Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to…

    Register Now