Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Test



Last night I was with a female associate when the topic of politics came up. At some point or another my friend mentioned that she didn't know what party she was. I suggested that she take the test.

There are a number of more professional forms out there, like this one at politicalcompass.org, but not having the time, nor the means I proceeded to ask my friend a few questions.

"How do you feel about our current involvement in Iraq," I asked.

"Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm..."

"Okay," I said, "let's start with easier ones."
"Gay marriage?"
"No."
"Abortion?"
"No."
"Health care?"
"No."
For this I needed clarification. "Do you mean 'No' to universal health care, or to eliminate all forms of health care in general?"
"Universal."

Seeing the emerging pattern my friend voiced some concerns.
"I think we're a little lax on gun control," she said.
"No way," I replied, "If I had it my way every man, woman, and child in America would be packing heat."

It was at this time that her roommates, eavesdropping in the other room, began laughing at my wingnut psychosis. I proceeded to explain further, in more realistic terms, why I felt that way and the unseen roommates withdrew from our conversation and began to converse amongst themselves.

"I am definitely not a republican," one said.
"Oh yeah, definitely not," said the other about herself.
"I wouldn't really consider myself a democrat either," one said.
"Oh yeah, definitely not," said the other about herself.
"But I'm definitely not a republican," one said.
"Oh yeah, definitely not," said the other about herself.

In my comings and goings I have encountered this phenomenon frequently. People, especially high-school to college age individuals (and frankly women more frequently than men) love to proclaim themselves above the labels of a particular party. They claim their "independence" with a triumphant air similar to Tom Cruise on Tropic Thunder stating "we do not negotiate with terrorists" to thundering applause. The movie is a comedy, you're supposed to laugh at that scene and I did.

It's a cop-out.

To say that you don't belong to a particular party is synonymous with saying that you are an uninformed, non-contributing zero.

Regardless of whether you are a registered donkey/elephant or whether you participated in the last general election, you--as a human being--exist on one side or another of the political spectrum. The beauty of the U.S. electoral college is that in only allows for two parties to dominantly exist. Over time these two parties have grown to be "catch-alls" where instead of a clear set of ideological values, we have two giant umbrellas that face left and right along the imaginary scale.

Republican=conservative. Democrat=liberal. You ARE one of those things. There are other parties that frankly do a better job of establishing a coherent platform--i.e. libertarian, reform, constitution, green--but in the grand scheme they are lumped into one of the two larger categories...along with you and everyone you know.

You party does not define your beliefs, your beliefs define your party.

In all actuality, my friend's roommates who are "definitely" not Republicans are most CERTAINLY conservatives--two LDS Utahns looking for a husband at USU.

My political preferences are known. That said, I have a respect and admiration for Democrats who are truly democrats, who ideologically believe in what they purport. My beef comes from the mindless masses of my peers that are merely liberal by association. They grew up in the anti-bush decade of Green Day, The Dixie Chicks and Russel Brand and being liberal is "the cool thing to do." I urge them to take the test, if anything it will end their Swiss "armed neutrality" and they might be surprised with what they find.

3 comments:

  1. I was getting ready to cut into you about the problems with this post, then I realized this isn't WoodvsWillis and I can save my energy by only giving a brief repremanding.
    Stop trying to simplify people and stick labels on them as either Rebuplican, Democrat, or Uninformed. There are plenty of uninformed people who choose a party based on what's accepted in their environment.
    Non-conforming is not the same as non-contributing.
    You admitted in an earlier post that one of your flaws is seeing the world in black and white. Stop it. There are hippies living in trees in Oregon who might vote Republican, and there are gunslinging border guards in Texas who might vote Democrat.
    Also, the link you provided so that people could see which of the two groups they fit into talks about how you can't fit people into two groups.
    I'm not an anti-Bush guy, but I scored in the same quadrant as Nelson Mandella, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama (which happens to be opposite of the one that contains Bush and Hitler).
    I still consider myself an Independent. I say this not in the manner of Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder. I say this with a confidence that comes from knowing that I can vote based on what I think is best for my Country intead of what is best for my party.

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  2. I don't know if I really agree with your justification of the two party system. Just because I fall somewhere along the spectrum, doesn't mean that the area in which I fall is well represented by the party controlling that end of the spectrum. this is especially true of moderates.
    But the other problem with America's party system is that the independent parties are usually MORE crazy wingnut than the mainstream parties. Libertarians are just extreme weirdo Republicans who LOOVE the constitution, and the Green Party is just full of psycho, bleeding-heart democrats who love whales more than their own mothers.
    And anyone who votes straight party ticket is a moron. It's only there for people who are too ignorant and too lazy to do any actual research on their candidates. You shouldn't have to be a member of a specific party to make a political decision based on your own morals and values.
    I love your blog, never stop it.
    Also, I scored as one of those filthy dirty liberal hippies who likes using taxpayer money to fund museums. Also, you may have to stone me, but I also support gay marriage AND abortion as long as it's done before the third trimester. Can we still be friends?

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  3. Of course we can still be friends. Bipartisanship is the lifeblood of american stability...and politicis just plain isn't THAT important.

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