I usually try to stay out of political discussions, but I need to get this one off my chest.
I get really sick of the “either/or” mentality proliferated in the current politics of my homeland. The reality is, most people fall somewhere between the “Republican” and “Democratic” ideologies. The rest of the world rarely sees this, though, as the loudest voices are the ones on the fringes.
It seems that the more similar our political parties become (that is another discussion, and one I would rather not start here) the more they feel it necessary to differentiate themselves with hot-button issues and combative politics. Though I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, I feel like our political system, media included, is intent on polarizing the nation.
I want them to stop it. I doubt that they will. After all, frightened and angry people are easier to lead, up to a point.
A good example of this artificial dichotomy is our “election map.” Sure, it is simple for the sake of being easy to read, but when most people are presented with a map of the States colored in stark red and blue they come away with the idea that there are two monolithic sides at war. A red state is a red state, and a blue state is blue.
Forgive my language, but that’s bullshit. Heaps and mounds of steaming bovine excrement.
Every state in the union is purple, as are most of its citizens. It may be impossible to quantify the shades of red and blue in individuals in order to give an accurate representation of national political leanings, but surely we can do better than the red-state/blue-state false dichotomy.
Thankfully, someone has done this. M. E. J. Newman, I thank you for your fascinating election maps.
Take a quick look at this:
This is a map representing percentages of votes by county in the 2008 presidential election. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any completely red or blue states. I hope this shatters a few illusions, like the assumption that certain regions of the country can be effectively represented by stereotypes. For any who don’t know, I hate stereotypes and blanket statements.
And here is a cartogram, a map where the counties have been re-sized to represent their populations.
Now, I understand the usefulness of the stark red and blue maps when representing electoral votes on election night. But I post this from a need to point out to any who don’t know, that the U. S. of A. cannot be accurately represented by a dichotomy. Even the purple map fails us, for it does not show the growing frustration with the two-party system, the fact that many people who vote Republican or Democrat are not strongly one or the other, or the votes for Green, Libertarian, Independent or Write-In candidates.
It is time for our nation to wake up and stop thinking in terms of “either/or.” The cynic in me says that there is worse to come. Fear and anger are blinding more and more people, and when in that state people prefer to see those who disagree with them as caricatures rather than people. Stereotypes are easier to hate and everyone, whether they admit it or not, harbors some hatred for a stereotype or two.
I don’t know what else to do, save to break down assumptions one person at a time and keep praying that the People of the United States of America will stand up and say “stop putting us in your boxes and listen to what we really think!”
P.S. I know that posting something about politics at this time may seem like an invitation, but I will delete any comment that contains partisan vitriol. This isn’t the right place for that kind of venting.