Massachusetts (MA) / Eugene Yi

Massachusetts (MA) The United States is more polarized now than any other time in AMericna history. How plaroaidzed? Since the 2016 Election -cite this https://www.history.com/news/just-how-divided-are-americans-since-trumps-election. 14 causes of polarization:

1. The end of the Cold War. The West’s victory in the Cold War means that (with the possible exception of jihadi terrorism) there is no longer a global enemy to keep us united as we focus on a powerful and cohesive external threat.

2. The rise of identity-group politics. On both the Left and the Right, the main conceptual frameworks have largely shifted in focus from unifying values to group identities. As Amy Chua puts it in Political Tribes (2018): “The Left believes that right-wing tribalism—bigotry, racism—is tearing the country apart. The Right believes that left-wing tribalism—identity politics, political correctness—is tearing the country apart. They are both right.” (Never mind here the possibly problematic usage of the terms “tribe” and “tribal.”)

3. Growing religious diversity. Current trends in American religion reflect as well as contribute to political polarization. One trend is growing secularization, including a declining share of Americans who are Christians, less public confidence in organized religion, and rising numbers of religiously unaffiliated Americans. One consequence is an increasingly open contestation of Christianity’s once-dominant role in American public and political culture. But another trend is the continuing, and in some respects intensifying, robustness of religious faith and practice in many parts of the society. This growing religious divide helps to explain the rise of several of the most polarizing social issues in our politics, such as gay marriage and abortion. It also contributes to polarizing the two political parties overall, as religious belief becomes an increasingly important predictor of party affiliation. For example, among Democrats and Democratic-leaning U.S. adults, religiously unaffiliated voters (the “nones”) are now more numerous than Catholics, evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, or members of historically black Protestant traditions, whereas socially and theologically conservative Christians today are overwhelmingly Republican.

4. Growing racial and ethnic diversity. In the long run, increased racial and ethnic diversity is likely a strength. But in the short run—which means now—it contributes to a decline in social trust (the belief that we can understand and count on one another) and a rise in social and political conflict.

5. The passing of the Greatest Generation. We don’t call them the greatest for no reason. Their generational values, forged in the trials of the Great Depression and World War II—including a willingness to sacrifice for country, concern for the general welfare, a mature character structure, and adherence to a shared civic faith—reduced social and political polarization. Thus, note:

I didn’t vote for him but he’s my President, and I hope he does a good job.
—John Wayne (b. 1907) on the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960

I hope he fails.
—Rush Limbaugh (b. 1951) on the election of Barack Obama in 2008

6. Geographical sorting. Americans today are increasingly living in politically like-minded communities. Living only or mainly with like-minded neighbors makes us both more extreme and more certain in our political beliefs. As Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing put it in The Big Sort (2008): “Mixed company moderates; like-minded company polarizes. Heterogeneous communities restrain group excesses; homogeneous communities march toward the extremes.”

Percent of U.S. voters living in counties in which a presidential candidate won by a “landslide” margin of 20 percent or more of the vote:
1976: 25
2016: 60

7. Political party sorting. Once upon a time, there were such creatures as liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. No longer. The parties have sorted philosophically such that today almost all liberals are Democrats and all conservatives are Republicans. One main result is that the partisan gap between the parties is wide and getting wider.

Across 10 measures that Pew Research Center has tracked on the same surveys since 1994, the average partisan gap has increased from 15 percentage points to 36 points.
—Pew Research Center, 2017

8. New rules for Congress. The weakening and in some cases elimination of “regular order”—defined broadly as the rules, customs, and precedents intended to promote orderly and deliberative policymaking—as well as the erosion of traditions such as Senatorial courtesy and social fraternization across party lines—have contributed dramatically to less trust and more animosity in the Congress, thus increasing polarization.

It’s hard to exaggerate how much House Republicans and Democrats dislike each other these days.
—Juliet Eilperin, Fight Club Politics (2006)

9. New rules for political parties. Many reforms in how we nominate, elect, and guide our political leaders—shifting the power of nomination from delegates to primaries, dismantling political machines, replacing closed-door politics with televised politics, and shrinking the influence of career politicians—aimed to democratize the system. But these changes also replaced the “middle men” who helped keep the system together with a political free-for-all in which the loudest and most extreme voices are heard above all others.

As these intermediaries’ influence fades, politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable. The system atomizes. Chaos becomes the new normal both in campaigns and in the government itself.
—Jonathan Rauch, “How American Politics Went Insane,” 2016

10. New political donors. In earlier eras, money in American politics tended to focus on candidates and parties, while money from today’s super-rich donors tends to focus on ideas and ideology—a shift that also tends to advance polarization.

11. New political districtsWidespread gerrymandering—defined as manipulating district boundaries for political advantage—contributes significantly to polarization, most obviously by making candidates in gerrymandered districts worry more about being “primaried” by a more extreme member of their own party than about losing the general election.

12. The spread of media ghettoes. The main features of the old analog media—including editing, fact-checking, professionalization, and the privileging of institutions over individuals—served as a credentialing system for American political expression. The distinguishing feature of the new digital media—the fact that anyone can publish anything that gains views and clicks—is replacing that old system with a non-system that is atomized and largely leaderless. One result made possible by this change is that Americans can now live in media ghettoes. If I wish, I can live all day every day encountering in my media travels only those views with which I already agree. Living in a media ghetto means less that my views are shaped and improved, much less challenged, than that they are hardened and made more extreme; what might’ve been analysis weakens into partisan talking points dispensed by identity-group leaders; moreover, because I’m exposed only to the most cartoonish, exaggerated versions of my opponents’ views, I come to believe that those views are so unhinged and irrational as to be dangerous. More broadly, the new media resemble and reinforce the new politics, such that the most reliable way to succeed in either domain is to be the most noisesome, outrageous, and polarizing.

13. The decline of journalistic responsibility. The dismantling of the old media has been accompanied by, and has probably helped cause, a decline in journalistic standards. These losses to society include journalists who’ll accept poor quality in pursuit of volume and repetition as well as the blurring and even erasure of boundaries between news and opinion, facts and non-facts, and journalism and entertainment. These losses feed polarization.


hat have we learned so far from this survey of polarization causes?  I’d say, four things. I’d also say, not enough to get to the heart of the matter.

For starters, we could probably make the list longer. For example, we could plausibly argue that rising income equality should be added (though in my view the evidence on this one is ambiguous). Second, we can see that some of these causes are ones we either can’t do much about or wouldn’t want to even if we could. Third, few if any of these causes contain the quality of intentionality: None of them wake up each morning and say, “Let’s polarize!” Even those coming closest to reflecting the intention to polarize, such as gerrymandering, reflect other and more fundamental intentions, such as winning elections, advancing a political agenda, or gaining clicks or viewers.

The fourth conclusion is the most important. None of these 13 causes directly perpetuate polarization. They are likely what analysts would call distal (ultimate) causes, but they are not proximate (immediate, direct) causes. They seem to have shaped an environment that incentivizes polarization, but they are not themselves the human words and deeds that polarize.

And so our bakers-dozen list ultimately doesn’t satisfy. We need a 14th cause, arguably the most important one. It’s certainly the most direct and immediate, the most proximate, cause of polarization.

14. The growing influence of certain ways of thinking about each other. These polarizing habits of mind and heart include:

  • Favoring binary (either/or) thinking.

  • Absolutizing one’s preferred values.

  • Viewing uncertainty as a mark of weakness or sin.

  • Indulging in motivated reasoning (always and only looking for evidence that supports your side).

  • Relying on deductive logic (believing that general premises justify specific conclusions).

  • Assuming that one’s opponents are motivated by bad faith.

  • Permitting the desire for approval from an in-group (“my side”) to guide one’s thinking.

  • Succumbing intellectually and spiritually to the desire to dominate others (what Saint Augustine called libido dominandi).

  • Declining for oppositional reasons to agree on basic facts and on the meaning of evidence.




Capital: Boston

State abbreviation/Postal code: Mass./MA

Governor: Charlie Baker, R (to Jan. 2019)

Lieut. Governor: Karyn Polito (to Jan. 2019)

Senators:Elizabeth Warren, D (to Jan. 2019); Edward Markey, D (Jan. 2021)

U.S. Representatives: 9

Historical biographies of Congressional members

Secy. of the Commonwealth: William F. Galvin, D (to Jan. 2019)

Treasurer: Deb Goldberg, D (to Jan. 2019)

Atty. General: Maura Healey, D (to Jan. 2019)

Present constitution drafted: 1780 (oldest U.S. state constitution in effect today)

Origin of name: From Massachusett tribe of Native Americans, meaning “at or about the great hill”

Massachusetts has played a significant role in American history since the Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom, founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. As one of the most important of the 13 colonies, Massachusetts became a leader in resisting British oppression. In 1773, the Boston Tea Party protested unjust taxation. The Minute Men started the American Revolution by battling British troops at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.

In May 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

The chocolate chip cookie was invented in Massachusetts.

The Boston University Bridge is the only place on earth where a boat can sail under a train moving under a car driving under an airplane.

Revere Beach was the first public beach in America.

Boston Common was the first public park in America.

The country’s first subway system was established in Boston in 1897. The route took just 3.5 minutes to travel one-way.

Both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also in Cambridge, have been ranked among the most highly regarded academic institutions in the world.[65]Massachusetts' public school students place among the top nations in the world in academic performance,[66] and the state has been ranked as one of the top states in the nation for citizens to live.[67]During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services.[47] Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnologyengineeringhigher educationfinance, and maritime trade.[48] The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful commercial and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionisttemperance,[54] and transcendentalist[55]movements.[56] In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively.

Bullet Point - Whirlwind I, the world’s first digital computer that operated in real-time, was created at MIT in 1951. It was originally conceived as a way to design a flight simulator for the U.S. Navy.

Bullet Point - The first transatlantic wireless message originating from the United States took place in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, on January 18, 1903. Inventor Guglielmo Marconi transmitted a message from President Theodore Roosevelt to England’s King Edward VII using Morse code.

Bullet Point - The first telephone call in history was made between inventor Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, on March 10, 1876, in Boston. Bell spoke the words “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you” into the device and Watson heard the message from the receiver in the next room.

Copy - Harvard University and MIT are both widely regarded as in the top handful of universities worldwide for academic research in various disciplines.[65]Towns in Massachusetts by combined mean SAT of their public high school district for the 2015–2016 academic year.[187] In 2018, Massachusetts' overall educational system was ranked the top among all fifty U.S. states by U.S. News & World Report.[188] Massachusetts was the first state in North America to require municipalities to appoint a teacher or establish a grammar school with the passage of the Massachusetts Education Law of 1647,[189] and 19th century reforms pushed by Horace Mann laid much of the groundwork for contemporary universal public education[190][191] which was established in 1852.[123] Massachusetts is home to the oldest school in continuous existence in North America (The Roxbury Latin School, founded in 1645), as well as the country's oldest public elementary school (The Mather School, founded in 1639),[192] its oldest high school (Boston Latin School, founded in 1635),[193] its oldest continuously operating boarding school (The Governor's Academy, founded in 1763),[194] its oldest college (Harvard University, founded in 1636),[195] and its oldest women's college (Mount Holyoke College, founded in 1837).[196]

Bullet Point - The United States Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the Massachusetts gross state product in 2017 was US$527 billion.[204]The per capita personal income in 2012 was $53,221, making it the third-highest state in the nation.[205] 

Bullet Point - In February 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Massachusetts the best state in the United States

Copy - Massachusetts generally ranks highly among states in most health and disease prevention categories. In 2015, the United Health Foundation ranked the state as third-healthiest overall.[340] Massachusetts has the most doctors per 100,000 residents,[341] the second-lowest infant mortality rate,[342] and the lowest percentage of uninsured residents (for both children as well as the total population).[343]According to Businessweek, commonwealth residents have an average life expectancy of 80.41 years, the fifth-longest in the country.[344] 37.2% of the population is overweight and 21.7% is obese,[345] and Massachusetts ranks sixth-highest in the percentage of residents who are considered neither obese nor overweight (41.1%).[345] Massachusetts also ranks above average in the prevalence of binge drinking, which is the 20th-highest in the country.[346]

Copy - In the late 19th century, the Olympic sports of basketball[57] and volleyball[58] were invented in the Western Massachusetts cities of Springfield[57] and Holyoke,[58]respectively. The Basketball Hall of Fame, is a major tourist destination in the City of Springfield and the Volleyball Hall of Fame is located in Holyoke.[58] The American Hockey League (AHL), the NHL's development league, is headquartered in Springfield.[361]




In total there are 108 internet providers in Massachusetts.

There are 161,000 people in Massachusetts without access to a wired connection capable of 25mbps download speeds.

There are 241,000 people in Massachusetts that have access to only one wired provider, leaving them no options to switch.

Another 74,000 people in Massachusetts don't have any wired internet providers available where they live.









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