America Loves You
Ask anyone their opinion of America and you will get an ear full. The views may vary, but listen to the passion in their voices. Even if you disagree with their assessment you can’t deny the conviction of their belief. It’s almost ingrained into their very soul. Changing those beliefs, while not impossible, would likely take such an eye opening event that clinging to the status quo may prove more harmful to the identity of self than trying to embrace ideas that were once taboo, or didn’t fit into their framework of life experience. In short, it’s an uphill battle at best.
The purpose of this article is not to change your beliefs, your value system, or whatever else you hold dear. The purpose is to ask you if you understand why you believe the things you do. How often do you give someone your opinion on…pick something political…and they ask you why you feel that way? It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, a Liberal or a Conservative, Capitalist, or even a Socialist. Do you know why you are, and why you feel the way you do?
Out of the twelve people I spoke with (for a different article), six were Democrats, four were Republicans, and two had no political ties. The thing I found interesting was out of ten people that sided with one political party or the other, eight of them gave similar answers to the question, “Why are you a (fill in the blank)?” Eighty percent answered this question by telling me negative things about the other political party. Only two people answered the question with no mention of their opposition; instead they gave thoughtful answers that reflected their values and beliefs. As it turns out, one was a Democrat, and the other was a Republican. This is what gave me the idea for this article. Here’s an excerpt from each; I’ve left out the party affiliation on purpose. See if you can pick which one is which.
A.) “…because we care about people – all people. The (x) speak up for those who can’t. (….) We believe that everyone should have the same basic rights.”
B.) “It’s the only party which understands economic reform and isn’t willing to tax and spend us into bankruptcy. (…) Being a (x) means taking care of our world and those in it.”
When I first looked at the responses, these two specifically, it occurred me how similar they were. The negative responses were also insightful, but you don’t need to read those. You can get the same content depending on which television news station you tune into. Back to the topic though, can you tell which answer was from a Democrat and which came from a Republican? If you can, great! But let me challenge your belief system for a moment.
Pretend, just for a moment, that you’re wrong. Read each answer again, and this time insert the opposite political party in place of (x).
These are real answers from people that believe strongly in what they’re saying. They were not quoting mission statements or party ideology from a website; this is who they are. I’m not going to tell you which one is which, yet. In the meantime, just presume that both answers came from the party of your choice.
Why do we believe the things we do? What, or who, in our lives helped shape us as a person? Why do some people have a different value system? Circumstances, environment, and knowledge, are all good answers. No two people are exactly the same, including twins. We are all unique in the way that we think, process information, and react to choices given to us.
Let me put it another way. If you have a political preference for the upcoming election, and you had a choice to visit with and ask questions of one candidate of your choosing, which would you pick? Would you pick the guy you plan to vote for, or his opponent?
No, seriously. Let me know why in the comment section.
Personally, and there is no right or wrong answer here by the way, I would pick the guy that I don’t plan to vote for, and then grill him on various topics. I’d like to think I know the issues well enough to know my guy and how he would respond. It’s the same thing that forces me to keep an open mind and not pass judgment until I have all the facts.
How well do you know what you think you know? That’s not a typo. Read it again. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, a Liberal or a Conservative, Capitalist, or even a Socialist. Do you know why you are, and why you feel the way you do? Knowledge is a powerful thing, but you have to seek it out. If you plan to vote in the coming election and you haven’t even made an effort to read your parties platform, then you are relying on television ads and ‘news’ channels to spoon feed your belief system.
By the way, (A) was Republican, (B) was Democrat.