These days, it seems that the only thing that can bring dissenting thinkers together is a rally. And by rally, I mean a fist-fighting, pepper spray-filled, flag-burning fight club. It’s an inspiring picture of a country united by their mutual hatred of one another. Even inanimate objects like statues of long dead men are not immune from political hit jobs!

In all seriousness, our current political climate is one of the most dire national concerns we are facing today. Most Americans understand that we are deeply ideologically divided as a country. Many of us are also aware that this division has extended into the ranks of the right wing.

Like the increasingly widening gap between the left and right, the latter wing seems to have found itself more ideologically torn apart than ever.

Currently, the right has splintered into three broad-based tribes: traditional conservatives and libertarians, the “New Right,” and the “Alt Right.” The latter two seem to be gaining lots of traction among younger generations as of late. Topics of debate include the meaning of free speech, immigration law, and the success (or lack thereof) of our current economic system.

This division in our political culture is tearing our country apart. So how do we bridge the gap?

For starters, let’s understand what the term “bridging the gap” doesn’t mean. Bridging the gap doesn’t mean that you support another person’s ideas. It also doesn’t mean that you want to befriend those people. As Americans who value our freedom, we should always advocate for and uphold the Constitutional rights of all.

When I say everyone, I mean everyone. That even includes the rights of those who stand against what we stand for. We must stand up for the rights of every American, even when it is socially or politically inconvenient to do so. Even if it’s for people whom we dislike. Even if we fear leftist backlash.

The reality is that the same rights that you fight to preserve for others are also your rights, too. What you protect will ultimately protect you.

Freedom can be messy, but it’s still freedom.