In case you haven’t been paying attention to the news, the federal government (or at least the “non-essential” parts of it) has been shut down.

What’s the cause of this shutdown?  The simple technical answer is that Congress hasn’t approved a spending bill, so the government isn’t allowed to operate.  The more important question is: Why did this happen?  You’ll likely get a different answer depending on who you ask, but the underlying cause is that America’s two major political parties have been unable to cooperate.  It’s gotten so bad that some Congressmen have basically admitted that they aren’t really interested in working together for the betterment of the country; They only care about getting their way.Unlike that song that the kids enjoy so much, the line between Republicans and Democrats does not seem to be blurred at all.  In fact, the line seems to be sharper and more defined than ever before.Most of the population appears to be as divided as our elected leaders.  Since there’s no better way to gauge the mindset of America, I took a quick look around the internet.  Based on what I’ve seen, this is how Democrats and Republicans view each other.Democratic opinion: Republicans are misogynistic WASPs who care only about helping the rich get richer.Republican opinion: Democrats are bleeding-heart liberals who want to bankrupt this country by turning it into a socialist welfare state.I think a large part of this problem is due to confirmation bias.  People have an unfortunate tendency to only focus on news and opinions that agree with their own personal beliefs as well as finding information that proves the other side is wrong.If you’re a Republican, why not take a break from reading articles that declare Obamacare to be evil?  If you’re a Democrat, you might want to diversify your reading and not just stick to sources that harp on how pro-business legislation is destroying the middle-class. And if you’re Senator Ted Cruz, then I ask that you simply stop doing anything, because you’re only making things worseIf we take some time to see things from the other party’s perspective, we might actually start to understand each other better and be able to work together towards a common goal.  Who knows?  If we can change, maybe our political leaders will begin to follow suit. And if they don’t?  Then perhaps it is time to vote in some new leaders who will.