Below is a bit of a political ramble as I'm trying to understand the political system (and Americans in general) more and more. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this lately and am trying to come to terms with a philosophy. Below is what I think are the roots of something important. I'm scared to hit publish on this because I'm not sure what the response will be. If you disagree, agree, or have thoughts, I'd love to hear them. Just please keep them rational and kind.
The last presidential election was the first one I was old enough to vote for. Before then, I wasn't much of a political person, and I'm still not, but I did want to educate myself a bit more on political parties and some common ideas before pledging my very important vote.
As I studied more and more, I could not understand the idea of a political parties. I find it very troublesome when anyone outsources their linking to someone else. Political parties, on the most basic level, seem to be exactly that. Someone has a few beliefs about something, looks at which party identifies with those beliefs the closest, and then assumes that identity. The practical next steps of this scenario is that the person who adopted this party based on a few things they actually believed now assumes they believe everything that party stands for, whether or not they've done the intellectual research to take a stand on that specific topic or not.
This kills any nuance in political conversations, and therefore ruins those fun family dinners around the holidays when people from opposing parties are forced to eat from the same turkey. And that's what bothers me. Someone on the left thinks everyone on the right are evil and someone on the right thinks everyone on the left are crazy. There is no nuance in political discussions.
The only ads I see during election season are bashing the opposer and not promoting the policies and ideas of the candidate the advertisement was made for. So now, instead of being influenced by what someone plans to do in office, people are influenced by whichever story they believe the most about the opposite person. This is not a good thing.
The biggest problem that I see nowadays is the lack of important, structured debate on important issues. When a culture lacks the ability to have mature conversations about hot-button topics, the only road that lies ahead leads to stupidity with a dash of ignorance.
I'm not arguing for one side or the other. I think people who are radical on both sides of the political spectrum are important to have in the American democracy, as long those people can keep an open mind, admit when they're wrong, and be honest about the fact that no one really knows the best path forward. We're all just taking bets and hoping we're in a better place in 100 years than we were 100 years ago. If we knew what the right answer is, I don't think we'd be arguing.