Last week, Biden's Texas campaign bus was jammed on the highway by Trump supporters. In the video that a bystander made, you could see how a pickup with a red Trump flag deliberately rammed a car of a Biden campaign employee on the highway. Trump shared the video on Twitter with the text, "I love Texas." That message was retweeted 57 thousand times and liked 350 thousand times.
The confrontation: for or against
It is an example from a long, long list of examples of excessive behavior. Democrats and Republicans attack each other in every way in a spiral of ever-accelerating normative decline. And it is getting more extreme by the day. Yesterday, a colleague who lives in New York reported that the building where she lives is extra protected since election day. Not because it is a special building, but because it is located in the US. As we write this, shops are being boarded up, and demonstrating in New York is prohibited. Words like "riots," "confrontation," "fraud," and even "civil war" have become part of everyday language.
The main problem is that there seems to be a lack of balance. Because the US can choose out of two, you are pro or con. Red or blue. Wrong or right. You have won, or you have lost. Everything turns black or white. And in the battle for power, nuance is the big loser. Everything becomes a conflict. The center, where things come into equilibrium, is so pressurized by this dichotomy that it cracks instead of bends.
Attention as fuel
If we don't pay attention, we also run that polarization risk in Europe and the Netherlands. We already see it in the media: there is plenty of attention for the extremes. The more extreme the position, the more attention in the social and regular media. And, because attention is the fuel for politicians, it drives the extremes even more. No warning on Facebook helps against that.
What does help is a system in which not two but many parties are in charge. This means that everyone knows in advance that we have to talk to come to a workable solution together. Regardless of the outcome of the vote. Voting for the middle is, therefore, not so bad.
Poldering. Poldering. Poldering
We invented poldering in the Middle Ages. The Dutch system of giving and taking. Since the 11th century, in the Middle Ages, farmers, citizens, townspeople, and nobles had to work together to build dikes and keep their feet dry. There was only one way to do this: work together. Continue talking until everyone has added a little water to the wine, no one has gained, and no one has lost. Poldering means talking until there is a solution, which everyone can agree with, slightly grumbling. Poldering. We love it. Shall we?
On November 5th, our pagelong ad about this topic will be in FD. You can find it below.