I have long ticked off friends and family by not following their lead and subscribing to a single political party. I’ve made no secret about being registered as an Independent voter. I think at its core, I find Libertarianism to make the most sense. Indeed, in the last election I voted for a Republican, a Democrat, and a Libertarian. I was kind of proud of that.
Lately, it seems as though I have needed to hide more and more friends’ posts from my Facebook news feed. Maybe I’ve just lost patience with zealots in general, but discounting entire ideologies or people based on a label seems to demean us all and our capacity for critical thought. I’m not really speaking of a particular current event in the news. The examples are new every day. Listening to political opinions has become embarrassingly predictable, both from individuals and pundits alike. Whoever is on the “other side” will be portrayed as utterly incompetent or thoroughly evil, or often a combination of the two.
I wish we could give up the labels and start having dialogs about individual issues. It saddens and frustrates me that the best we can offer the world is that “the other” team will somehow usher in the apocalypse, and the only way to fix it is to completely disavow anything they might bring to the table. I did not think that Bush was entirely evil, nor do I think that Obama deserves that label. Both men are what we all are – flawed human beings with personal agendas and ideologies.
- Logging into Facebook and hearing how someone thinks we’ll be lucky if we all live to participate in the next presidential election.
- Being told that Fox News or MSNBC are nothing but partisan hatemongers.
- Turning on Fox News or MSNBC and hearing nothing but partisan hatemongering.
- Owning a majority stake in a nationalized car industry.
- Having my son believe that Alaska is where the villains live, because someone thought it would be funny to make Ted Stevens the villain de jour while playing Batman with him.
and so on.
We seem to be restricted to being either Red or Blue, therefore I hereby declare myself purple. Of course, that now gives me the right to ridicule, abuse, and marginalize anyone who is not purple. It’s the American way.