Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Republicans vs. Democrats

The United States presidential elections are coming up.

This is probably no surprise to you if, like me, your newsfeed is getting blasted with about fifty political banners and criticisms every day. It's getting exhausting already and a part of me just wants to hibernate until January.

Don't get me wrong, the presidential election is incredibly important. YOU NEED TO VOTE. Not voting is probably about the stupidest thing you can do this fall, other than selling your home so you can afford all the useless crap you're going to buy on Black Friday. But that's not what I want to talk about here.

What I want to talk about is the demonization of opposing political parties.

You see, I consider myself a libertarian, which is to say I'm conservative with a good deal of democratic beliefs (ie. I'm pro-life and pro-marijuana*). Therefore, I don't consider myself either Republican or Democratic, though I'm more likely to vote Republican than Democratic if it comes down to one or the other. (This is majorly because being anti-abortion is the most important thing to me, above all other political issues.).

Growing up mostly around Republicans, I grew up thinking that most Democrats didn't know what they were talking about. I assumed that the left was full of ignorance and ill-intent and that you would have to be a moron to consider yourself as such. As I got older, however, I started to see things in a new light. I made friends with people who were highly intelligent and deeply concerned about the state of our nation that identified with the Democratic party. Furthermore, when I discussed certain political standpoints with them, they actually made sense.

I then started to notice that there were many Republicans who had no idea what they were talking about and simply took the stances they did out of fear, ignorance, or in an attempt to fit in. They hadn't really thought through why they believed what they did. They simply accepted their initial inclination as fact and worked from there. I'm not saying all Republicans are this way. I know just as many highly intelligent Republicans as I do Democrats; the same goes for ignorant ones.

This is the point I'm trying to make: We need to stop demonizing one party or another. We can't keep going around acting like because we're Democrats or because we're Republicans, we're somehow better than everyone else.

The way I see it, both Democrats and Republicans are wrong about a lot of things. But they're also right about a lot of things. It's our narrow-minded inability to empathize and see things from a different point of view that keeps us from growing. Sometimes it's worth it to consider your "enemy's" argument. Considering it never means that you have to accept it.

I suppose that's the end of my rant, but I hope I gave all of y'all something to think about. So the next time you're in an argument from an opposing party member, please don't just shut them out. You never learn if you don't listen. Just hear what it is they have to say. You don't have to agree, but you might just learn something new . . . and look a tad less ignorant.

*Saying I'm pro-marijuana doesn't mean I advocate smoking/taking it while it's illegal. Nor does it mean that I do it. I just don't believe it ought to be illegal and ought to be treated like alcohol, legal but only for those above a certain age (18) and not to be used while or before driving.