Another discussion response for my US Government class…
My whole life, I have had issues with categorization. In general, I dislike it. It puts us into these preconceived, perfectly wrapped little boxes that do individuality no justice. The idea that there are definitive lines between right and wrong seems so limited and idealistic to me. I understand the idea of structured beliefs up to a point. It allows you to congregate and work towards centralized goals…but the strict adherence to specific beliefs on the part of the whole group seems unrealistic. This is true of religions, of political parties…even of PTA groups at elementary schools.
If you were to focus on political parties, the problems are inherent because you are crossing a vast spectrum of completely unique individuals whose social construction of reality are so different from one another that it is shocking they manage to agree on anything. It is virtually impossible to encompass an individuals entire belief system and simultaneously cater to the wills of individuals across the union.
While the Nolan Chart may be comprehensive, it still fails to cover the extraordinary differences in expectations.
People do not have carbon-copy, pre-constructed little minds. I might be socially liberal and economically conservative, but the person next to me might be both socially and economically conservative. You might get both of our votes for your economic ideals, but if you try to infringe on my rights to marry another woman or to make choices about my own body, you’ll lose me.
This is the same across the board.
Then you have confliction in the very foundations of these political parties. Liberals say they want social freedom and then wire-tap and buy our information from Verizon. Conservatives swear they want smaller-government and scream at the liberals for the issues with the NSA and the like, but eight years ago they were all gung-ho about the Patriot Act. When the ideology-based platform of your party changes with the seasons, the likelihood of creating a loyal voter-base decreases.
A more moderate party is great, but then things can become even more ambiguous.
The innate problem, as I said, is that ideological labels paint people into categories.
Then you have the bandwagon enthusiasts who seem to get caught up in media propaganda—this goes either way, depending on the channel or paper you read most—and who listen to their peers and family instead of paying attention to the issues at hand.
As with religious affiliation, it stops becoming about what you believe and about what you think is right. It becomes saying your father or mother or teacher or grandparent has been wrong all this time…that you actually take issue with what they base their reality on. It is a testament to how people feel about those influential figures in their lives, but it is still complicated. Telling myself that I think something is so much easier than telling myself that my father is too economically liberal. It becomes about him at that point.
This has only been perpetuated by social media circles. Memes are a brilliant marketing tool. They are short, witty, enraging, and to the point. If enough of your friends push things like that, you tend to side with them.
Ultimately, the construction and utilization of indocrinated political ideology is inevitable, but it falls short of realism. In some ways, it’s great because it allows people a basic foundation…a framework within which to develop their own opinions and a way to network with like-minded people. The problem, however, is that it deals in extremity. It fails to acknowledge the fact that there are mitigating circumstances to every situation and that many times political decisions have latent fuctions that leave their followers (and especially their critics) ill-at-ease. Then hypocracy and switching back and forth come into play and it opens the flood gates for confusion.
The funny thing is, despite everyone knowing all of this, many people dislike moderate political candidates. John McCain received an overwhelming amount of disapproval from his own party members because he was not conservative enough. We dislike the radicals, but they are who we vote for. It’s insane.