What keeps Americans from agreeing?

In many cases, it’s that we won’t acknowledge the places we do agree.


Mark Fischer

At the United States Capitol building, politicians debate many of the issues we hear about. “US Capitol” by Mark Fischer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Elise Wood, Opinion and Clubs Editor

“US Capitol” by Mark Fischer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0As a society, we tend to argue a lot. Topics include gun laws, abortion, climate change, immigration, and more. Although some arguments can help people decide what action to take, most just keep people from compromising. I think that we often don’t notice the important fact that for the most part, we’re all actually on the same side.

Arguments over issues, while bitter, often actually have the same end goal in mind. Although they may think they’re arguing about the issue, they’re actually just arguing over how to approach it.

According to a poll conducted by Pew Research Center, 94% of Americans agree that gun violence is a problem. Although they may disagree about how serious the problem is, or how to deal with it, they all want gun violence to end. By recognizing this, we could get closer to actually finding solutions to big problems.

Some people say that since people base their opinions on wildly different values, they’ll never be able to agree on a solution. However, most Americans have very similar values. These include freedom, equality, and opportunity. However, arguing over freedom and equality has become very common in the United States.

Although most people agree that both of these values are important, it’s what they prioritize and how they apply them that gives them different opinions.

To address the problems we face, we need to recognize where we have common ground. Much of the time, this is in the results we’re hoping to get. By agreeing on the end goal, we can discuss ways to get there in a more civilized and effective way.

It can seem like we all have very different views, but most people actually want the same things. These include safety, family and friends, freedom, opportunity, basic needs, and hope for the future. Understanding that most of us are actually on the same side is the best way to address our challenges.