Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Republicratism: The New Religion

This concept has existed since the beginning of the Bi-Partisan era. However, these days, it's spreading fast. If politics were baseball, Republicans would be the Red Sox, and Democrats would be the Yankees, with Independents as the young kids wondering why their dads are yelling at the other team's fans instead of just watching the game. The two parties are so divided, that virtually no one is a true "Republican" or "Democrat". Or are they??? (Dun dun dunnnn....)

Why do people consider themselves a Republican or a Democrat? Get this - I believe the answer is the same as why people are a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew. Parents and Community. Since birth, we are placed into categories that, most of the time, don't even have close to the same values as us.

"What a cute kid." "Yup he's my little Democrat."

What???

How can a 3 year old know enough about the world to have opinions about it? I don't remember a lot from when I was 3, but I know I wasn't concerned with world issues.

Now when that same kid is 10, he wants to beat up a classmate, because he said Democrats suck (which the classmate's parents taught him to say). These children grow up, vote for their party, have children, and it starts all over again. Just like Religion, people believe in the party itself, retrofitting their views to agree with the party's. As the presidential campaign continues, the initial biases against the opposing candidate get strengthened every time something negative is said. Even if it's not true! These political patriots will still find a way to allow that statement, however untrue it may be, to enhance their hatred towards the candidate. It gets to the point where just seeing the other candidate, or listening to their speeches make them angry. Everything the opposing candidate says is a lie in their mind. It's all an attempt to brainwash you into voting for them, so they can be elected and execute their plan for world domination. Party polarization at its finest. This all happens in the unconscious, which is why most people don't think they are being biased at all. They will just claim that they disagree with the opposing candidate, and agree with their own.

- "We're not anti-abortion. We're pro-life!"
- "Oh yeah? I am also an advocate of life! Go Republicans!"

- "We want tax cuts to the lower 95%!"
- "Woot. Go Democrats."
- "But they will be raising the tax for your business."
- "Yeah, but they are lowering taxes for 95%! Go Democrats!"

Are people actually against gay marriage? Or is it just because their party says they are? Why would someone "pro-life" want less gun control? Ah Yes! Political patriotism is at it again. I think the worst is when people respond with "because I'm a Democrat/Republican" when asked why they are voting for their candidate. We are giving up our critical thinking skills, and allowing the irrational emotional part of our consiousness to take over. No one wants to question themself, so why do it? Admittedly, when Barack Obama became a potential candidate, I wanted to vote for him, almost exclusively because he was Black. I thought that having a Black president would be a huge step in the progression of this country. Plus it would be a great way to tell those who oppose it to get with the times. To me, this issue was way more important than anything else. Now this is no where near as bad as voting for someone because of their political party, but I now agree (thanks to a few friends) that all issues should be considered when choosing a candidate. I mean, what if he was palin' around with terrorists?(LOL @ Fox News) After looking up the issues, and positions I found that I agreed on mostly everything he had to say. Did I hold those same beliefs before I knew Obama was supporting them? Who knows? I'd like to think so (I was a "little Democrat" afterall :)).

But, I'm an Independent now. Only because we all have to be in a category, right? We can't just be a Person. One who holds their own beliefs, shaped from critical thinking, and rational thought about what we experience in our life. We have to choose a group, and since there is no WeLikeTo Party, Independent is the next best thing I guess. It feels nice being able to think for yourself. No obligation trying to defend your group of people against criticism. No need to retrofit your beliefs to justify the category that you want to be associated with. How does one obtain such luxury? Not blindly following one party or another is a great first step. Voting for Obama, because he is Black, or McCain, because he is old are both pretty stupid reasons, but they are at least reasons that required conscious thought. Simply going with "the usual" is not the way to go. Unless "the usual" is a Taylor ham egg and cheese sandwich.


Epilogue - An experiment I would love to see happen is to present hypothetical candidates to the most hardcore partisan patriots. Each candidate has the other party's plaform. How many would still vote for their party's candidate? I would hypothesize significantly more than if you didn't give party names.

2 comments:

Kelly said...

amen to this. one of my biggest pet peeves is when people can give no logical reason to vote for someone other than their political party. and i think your experiment would be hilarious - some people are so focused on the party name, that they don't even look at the issues. (it drives me crazy!)

Mike said...

There are actually a lot of experiments on just this topic. I can't remember who did them, or even what they were called - but they're out there!