Is our society more polarized than ever?

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PLEASE NOTE: This guide was originally written in French. If you are using the English version of our site, you will see an automatic translation. You can change the language from the menu in the site header or see our English language guides here.

January 6, 2021. A sad date in the history of the United States. The attack on the Capitol will have marked the spirits in various ways; among other things, through the operationalization of this polarization which is raging more and more violently among our neighbors to the South. Insights into the sources of polarization in our society and how to avoid falling into the trap.

Are you more “left” or “right”? For or against the health measures imposed by the government? What do you think of immigration? Pro or anti-vaccine against COVID-19?

Several questions that you may have already answered tend to strike a chord with some people. While the majority of the population is able to discuss it respectfully, a minority is closed to any opinion contrary to its own, going so far as to take extreme means to assert its convictions.

This phenomenon, exacerbated by social networks, is called polarization. Do you have the impression that there are more and more people who are shouting out loud that they no longer want to respect the rules by openly defying the authorities? Do you have the impression that there are more and more verbal and physical confrontations during differences of opinion or belief?

This polarization reached a point of no return in the United States on January 6, 2021. Attack by Trump supporters on Capitol Hill, symbol of democracy in the United States, was the culmination of thousands of radicals desperate to stop the procedures leading to the confirmation of the victory of Joe Biden as president. The riot came after weeks of tension marked by speeches by Donald Trump repeating that the election results are a fraud. On January 6, speaking directly to the radical branch of his supporters, Trump said: "We are going to Capitol Hill, we are going to take back our country."

New evidence suggests that some of the attackers may have planned to kidnap elected officials. Two accused men were indeed equipped with plastic handcuffs. Several clues suggest that this event was planned and organized. A death toll of five added to this already very dark day in American history, and for democracy in general. A second impeachment procedure against Donald Trump was set in motion by the Democrats, accusing him of inciting violence during the events on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. If Trump is found guilty, he could not therefore no longer represent himself in 2024 and would lose all his privileges as former president. Not to mention that he was banned for an indefinite period of social networks Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! To be continued…

Your challenge

These extremely violent events made us all react. The images and videos documenting the assault on Capitol Hill are particularly disturbing. Your challenge is to write in a few lines how you feel about everything that happened on January 6, 2021 in the United States. What feelings do you have in front of these images? How do you feel when you hear Donald Trump go against democracy and respect for institutions? Do you think that Quebec and Canada are immune to this kind of polarization?


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