Is there no longer any middle ground?

Politics has always been a bit of a contact sport.

Sometimes things can get a little dirty. Backroom dealings are commonplace. Mudslinging has been around as long as there’s been mud.

But has there ever been a time when not just politics, but public discourse in general, has been so polarizing?

It’s like there’s no common ground, anywhere.

This week, B.C. had a throne speech and budget announcement.

Within minutes, our office email (and everywhere else) were full of the usual potshots pointing out everything that was wrong.

Now, that’s completely predictable and it’s been that way for some time.

One side does something, other side rips it. Other side does something of their own, that gets blasted.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

But there’s so much more venom today.

There’s no middle ground. Everything has to be a ‘win’ for one side or the other.

There’s ample evidence of this south of the border, where making personal attacks is commonplace for the U.S. president.

You’re either with him, or you’re against him and it’s become remarkably nasty.

Was there more civility in general in years past, or are we simply imagining things.

Also playing a large role in all of this is the Internet, the place where our basest emotions play out in real time.

Used to be you could have a political discussion with your friend or neighbour – face to face – and maybe you disagreed on certain things or policies or people.

You agreed to disagree and got on with your neighbourly business.

Now, emboldened by the anonymity online, it sometimes seems that if someone doesn’t hold the exact same beliefs you do, they must be the enemy.

Surely there are some broad strokes here, and many folks are willing to find that middle ground.

But the nastiness from south of the border is creeping into our own online political battles as well.

Attack ads are more commonplace. Smear campaigns rampant. Unsubstantiated blastings have become the norm.

And it’s not just politics. It can be anything from arguing over your favourite sports team or movie or burger joint.

Discussions online get hijacked, positions are taken and insults fly.

There’s likely no turning back now in a broad sense, but it should never be considered outside the norm to act with decorum and respect the opinions and affiliations of others, even if they are different from your own.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Petition underway to get RDN to improve Sandpiper water quality

Campaign urges regional district to make issue a priority

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

COVID-19: Some gyms re-open in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Fitness facilities create space to allow appropriate social distancing

PQB grads can display signs on their lawns

‘2020 Graduate Lives Here’

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Patient airlifted after crash in Nanaimo’s East Wellington area

Woman sustains serious injuries, requires extrication from vehicle

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read