Red or Blue? Maybe Green? Why does this simple question carry so much weight in our society? In our efforts to simplify politics, something that arguably should never be simplified, we have created a system of hate and ignorance. Aligning yourself with a candidate simply because they are your political party's leader will only lead to the dismissal of their weaknesses in an attempt to hide your own. Arguments become unjustified and emotional because insulting your party is insulting you. We see this at political rallies where supporters are led blindly into hating and looking down on the other side. This article aims to break down why we associate with political parties, something we are ALL guilty of, and why it will lead to our downfall.
Why do we associate so quickly with a political party, you may ask. It is simply the way society works, one may answer. Or maybe it's the Neanderthal in us wanting to belong to a tribe. Whatever the reason, it is essential to remember that we are no longer simple creatures living in a superficial society. America is supposed to be the land of the free, so why do we trap ourselves within a close-minded political group? It feels as though there have always been two main parties, be it the Whigs or Democrats; we have wanted to belong for quite a long time. It is time to move forward; since this nation is one people and many cultures, it is tough to define yourself within a structured ideological system. We often simplify complex issues like police brutality when it is a complex systemic issue.
Have you ever met someone who perfectly capsules the ideologies of a political group? If you have, it's likely only one or two people, and they are likely very extreme about their views. When we start to believe that everyone on either side holds all of the opinions of their party, then we begin to think politics is us versus them. It should never be us versus them. Of course, you can hold political beliefs and know them to be accurate, but when you start to have the ideology that everyone is for or against you, you forget to stop and listen. How do we expect to grow as a community of peoples without first listening to each other?
With everything in the political climate right now, it is essential not to get distracted by who said what, especially when lives are at risk. Let's look at masks. Something so simple quickly became political, and politicians on both sides made it a party issue when in reality, both sides should have been endorsing them. We saw Republicans talking about how fake the pandemic was and telling their constituents not to wear masks, yet the second they could, they were vaccinated. This type of hypocrisy held by leaders is only beneficial to them. They utilize the fact that they have supporters blindly following them to stay in power and tip the scales. Because of this, we often fail to see their flaws until it is too late.
If you're of the age to vote, then you know that when we go to vote, it seems as though there are more candidates than we even knew. On the ticket, it labels everyone as their parties. It's tempting to vote within your party, but what does that mean? Since it is rare to hold all the party's beliefs, how do you know if you both agree on policies? There can be substantial differences between individuals within the same political group. There is no real judge of whether you are voting for the leaders you want just by knowing what party they are labeled. It gives you a false sense of security. In the candidates you vote for, you immediately align with them because, again, an insult to them is to insult the group.
Ideas and free-thinking are what built this country and allow us to continue to grow as a collection of peoples. If we are pressured by politicians who claim to lead us into not trying to understand the other side, how do we expect to grow and get along? It is entirely understandable to be afraid of change but having party leaders alienate themselves and their supporters away from everyone else only divides the nation. If you continue to blindly follow your party, never questioning where they come from or what they do, then you will only add to the problem. We need to grow beyond our differences and listen to what others have to say. If we don’t stop dividing ourselves then how can we ever expect to have a united nation?