America is More Colorful Than Red and Blue
Observing how your parents vote and speak about candidates is very influential. As an adult, it is easy to find yourself affiliated with the same party as your parents. Becoming more interested in politics and social issues is a common part of growing up, and with that comes viewing the presidential interviews and debates. In watching these, many people are surprised to find themselves agreeing with the party they do not consider to be their own. Though an opposing party will still say many things you do not agree with, you may also see that side upholding some of the values you do agree with.
Agreeing with the opposing party can be shocking and make someone question a core part of their identity, especially if they are from a state surrounded by people that all vote for the same party. Finding that you lean in the other direction in some issues can be surprising when you consider yourself to be staunchly tied to your party.
Hopefully, this confusion will encourage you to do some research, because it is important to be as informed as possible when it comes to choosing our nation’s leader. There are many resources online on the values of both parties, including some in-depth political party quizzes that ask your opinions on a variety of issues, such as social, national security, environmental, economics, domestic policy, healthcare, etc. In doing some research, you may find yourself to be leaning towards an opposing party, or even that you have balanced views as a centrist.
Candidates tend to leave behind values to stick to a party. Many candidates have been known to switch their views depending on what opinions their voters feel strongly about. During elections, you see videos online and interviews about a past stance a candidate took on an issue that opposes what they are currently representing. This need to change to fit the mold of a political party causes distrust between the people and the candidates.
Progression is necessary, and while some candidates may admit to changing views based on new experiences, you may watch a few outright deny or attempt to excuse their previous statements in fear of their approval ratings plummeting.
This nation needs to progress towards unity. With this past election, there was such hatred between the Democrats and Republicans. You could not go on social media without seeing one party or the other being attacked. People would condemn the whole party based on actions of a few, and many were quick to assume that the radicals on either side were representative of everyone who identified with that party.
Being criticized for belonging to a party is unfair, and ignorant of the criticizer. It would be difficult to find two people in the same party who hold the same beliefs, so why do we treat each other as though all democrats and all republicans are the same? Citizens need to start respecting opinions that differ from their own for this country to move towards unity.
The two-party system is a false dichotomy that puts a strain on the unity of the nation. It sets an expectation of only two sets of beliefs, while in reality, almost everyone has different views from each other. Rather than citizens connecting and having healthy debates on values respectfully, citizens argue over a couple of issues specific to their party. Generations of families vote the same way and allow themselves to be ignorant of facts. Many citizens lack education on their candidate and rather than researching the issues that matter and comparing their views with their candidate, many will vote solely based on the party they belong to.
The two-party system encourages citizens to go to the polls and blindly vote for their candidate, knowing very little about, or having misconceptions about them and their values. Voters assume that since a candidate belongs to a certain party, they must hold specific beliefs, but it is rare to find anybody who aligns one hundred percent with the ideals of one party or the other. Without the two-party system, voters would be forced to learn about their candidate authentically, and candidates would be more likely to be authentic.