Think for Yourself: Political Affiliation Not Determined Solely By Pundits and Extremists12.16.10
With our polarized political climate comes the inevitable cases where specific groups lay claim to being the “true” party, leaving others as being “in name only.” Not only is this annoying and arrogant in principle, it also leaves a wide swath of people in political no-man’s land wondering: what party do I belong to?
Boiling complex issues down into a strictly “Democratic” or “Republican” viewpoint losing much of the nuance that is required when dealing with real-life scenarios. And unless you’re just a blind follower who agrees with everything that your chosen party tells you to believe, you’re going to disagree with some aspects of their policies.
Let’s say you’re fiscally conservative but socially liberal — you want low taxes on the rich and low spending all around but are all for gays getting married and gays serving openly in the military. You’re going to find yourself finding it tough to vote for a representative that shares those views, who would be willing to truly implement policies to those ends. (Then again, finding anyone to actually lower spending is quite a feat these days.)
Everyone claims to be the “right” version of something. It’s like middle school all over again and I take no part in it. Who am I to say that you’re not “really” a Republican or not “really” a Democrat, as if I am the Definer of All Things Political? Who does get to determine? Rush Limbaugh? Glenn Beck? Olympia Snowe? Ben Nelson? Keith Olbermann? NPR? Fox News?
Suffice to say if anyone tells you what you are or aren’t based simply on themselves as the defining characteristics of a group, they’re not worth listening to. People like that are the geocentrists of political theory, thinking that whatever they’re version of being a Republican/Democrat/Centrist/Libertarian is the right one — and only one. It’s closed-minded, exclusionary, and based on fear. Fear of being wrong and not being able to handle the reality that life and thoughts exist on a spectrum.
It’s why I prefer to voice my stances on issues, not on broad strokes. I do consider myself a Democrat because that is how I tend to vote and usually with whom I relate the most in terms of both fiscal and social issues. But it doesn’t mean that I agree with everything the Democratic President says or the Democratic Congress does. It also doesn’t mean that I can never agree with anything a Republican says or wants to do politically, either.
Same for most people who choose to think about the issues and not just listen to what’s being told to them to believe.
Another thing: it’s okay to not be sure quite where you stand. In fact, I find it extremely refreshing when people say, “I don’t know about _____” because it means they’re thinking about it, and not just regurgitating what they think they’re supposed to say. I haven’t yet written about WikiLeaks and the whole Julian Assange saga for this very reason: I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, trying to figure out quite where I stand. It’s not easy. It’s not cut-and-dried. There are valid points to all sides — except for the ones who call for his execution without so much as a trial.
It’s okay to have wavering ideas. It’s okay to change your mind on things. It’s okay to be skeptical of those who so clearly think they know what’s right or what’s wrong.
Don’t let someone tell you that you’re not something just because they don’t think you’re up to par. In fact, I’d say defend your stance and say that is your party and that you can be one yet also agree with ______ or ______. Too much of our society right now has lost all sense of nuance in favor of straight-line ideology.
The more people who bring the reality back into it, the better we will all be for it.
Posted in Politics | Tagged Conservative, Democratic Party, Democrats, julian assange, Liberal, nuanced thought, political affiliation, pundits, Republican Party, Republicans, rino, social issues, wikileaks |
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