Polarization that balances is the polarization of complementarity: like male and female. But a polarization that separates and annihilates is a polarization of fracture: like white/black segregation. About polarization that fractures I wrote:
""....Fracturing, then, is a process of privileging through polarization where the polarizing process is somehow taken to the extreme. It is this extreme polarization--stretching the rubber band beyond its bounds until it breaks--that creates the fracturing of the relationship. Extreme polarization destroys. The method utilized is to destroy the form (oppositional pair) and thereby achieve a destruction of substance."
Republicans vs. Democrats: Freedom, Unity, Party and Purpose
Today many individuals conceptualize and thereby practice the politics of fracture. They either explicitly or implicitly use the rhetoric of destruction and annihilation: whether reflected in efforts to "secede" from the union or merely suggesting a "gun-sight" be placed on a website over a particular opposing candidate's photo.
Roles have altered over time. But in our day, arguably, it would be fair to describe the Republican party as the party seeking to uphold the ideal of freedom. And the Democratic party as the party seeking to uphold the ideal of unity or community.
There are two different ways to view party roles. One way is the way of fracture and annihilation: that freedom is the only way and that community is socialism and wrong and must be destroyed at all costs or the result is the apocalypse, and vice versa.
The other method is the way of balancing or complementarity. This view recognizes that each party has a purpose. It recognizes that the purpose of each party rests in advancing its particular ideal: freedom or unity. It recognizes that freedom and unity are pairs of opposites that need each other in order to create meaning--that there can be no conception of freedom without a conception of community. This view maintains that practices of fracture and annihilation destroy our whole society, not just the intended hated other.
Complementarity understands that it is extremely difficult to try and hold as your goal both ideals at the same time. One must have priority over the other. But complemetarity also understands that this "prioritization" is not evil. In fact, it is necessary. And, this is the very role of political parties, to hold sacred and advance the core ideal of its group. However, complementarity understands that in any given epoch -- sometimes freedom must lead, but sometimes unity must lead also. It understands that this is why we have elections: to decide which priority should lead given the needs of the time.
Put an End to Civil War Thinking
We must put an end to Civil War thinking.
There are multiple valid purposes, all inspired by a given ideal. Men and women; Parent and Child, white and black, Republican and Democrat, the list goes on and on.