American Leftism is the World’s Moderate. How do we go About Radicalization?

The United States is known for its unwavering patriotism. You can find merchandise advertising itself as the “greatest country in the world,” complete with an American flag and maybe a bald eagle if you’re feeling rambunctious. The U.S. is also known for its fierce Republican party following, which has only progressed with the presidency of Donald Trump. The majority of well-developed countries globally are far ahead of the United States in terms of “radicalization,” as they sport universal health care and a strict equal rights regime. This isn’t to say that those other countries are perfect, but it does speak to how behind the United States is when it comes to adopting more politically left-leaning views. The issue at hand is, with a rise in self-proclaimed leftists in Generation Z, is the United States ready to radicalize, or is a civil war inevitable between the far-right and left? 

First, it is important to acknowledge the United States’ struggles academically, not to tear it down, but to serve as a possible explanation for the high rates of Republican-views in certain states. Not all Republicans are uneducated; there is a decent majority of brilliant conservatives. However, in a time riddled with fake news, we need to address the fact that thousands of Americans read Facebook headlines as truth because of their inability to decipher opinion from fact and fiction from reality. According to the Literacy Project, “The average American reads at the 7th to 8th grade level.” A total of 4% of Americans are nonliterate. Affordable education is scarce in this country, and the lack of proper funding results in thousands of Americans believing everything they see in the media. 

With the past few years being momentous for social justice, the United States has seen an increase in residents with left-leaning views. In particular, I’ve noticed a considerable change in people actually caring about political issues and growing more passionate about said issues. Gen Z has made a massive impact in politics, whether people want to admit it or not. Even hazardous movements like “cancel culture” have brought on more natural accountability. 

There has also been an increased divide amongst Americans. With people, particularly the younger generations, now leaning more left, the two-party political system has felt immense stress. The presidency of Donald Trump has only furthered this divide, as his extreme right-wing followers have grown more united. Suppose America were to move towards more radical beliefs, with proposed ideas like universal health care. In that case, I believe the divide would increase significantly, enough to ignite ideas on civil war. We have already watched as right-wing terrorists breached the capitol on January 6 over Trump’s loss, and the unpredictability amongst both extremists leaves us questioning if America will ever be able to radically change without war.