I’m Not A Democrat… But Why Does it Matter?
I’ve had a few pointless political discussions on Facebook over the past week that have helped me put my finger on a thing that’s been bugging me for a while.
No matter what I say about a topic in the political arena people will only seem to engage with assumptions about my political party and what that means in relation to people in the party and/or things that people have done, but they won’t touch the substance of my point or argument.
My Political Progression
When I was younger I considered myself a Republican. I thought that unadulterated capitalism was the most fair system and that markets could solve anything. In my mid- to late 20s I took that a step further and considered myself a Libertarian. Then I read “Atlas Shrugged” and started looking a little more critically at my own ideas and the implications of different party platforms. Then in my early 30s I sent back to school to become a history teacher.
My thoughts and ideas didn’t change much, but my introspection and education led me to realize that I didn’t actually fit on the right side of the political spectrum at all. That didn’t bother me much. I appreciate the old quote, often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events; small mind discuss people.” I’m interested in ideas. What’s wrong and how do we make it better?
Over the past few years I realized that my political/economic/societal/etc… ideas happen to line up with part of the Democratic Party. The Warren arm of the Progressive lane of the Democratic Party lines up with where I’m at. Conscientious capitalism with an eye on social justice. I don’t toe the Democratic Party line. I don’t fawn over Joe Biden because he’s the party’s candidate. I don’t contort my beliefs to fit party positions. To assume my thoughts about anything based on my position about something else is often wrong.
Why Does it Matter?
We talk about these echo chambers. People on the right call me a radical, socialist and communist when I suggest government solutions to anything. People on the left call me a shill, a phony and a troll when I criticize Democrats or suggest that things Republicans said were blown out of proportion or taken out of context.
I’m trying to break out of the echo chamber but everyone wants to shove me back into a political box. Why?
Why does party affiliation matter so much and why can’t we just talk about problems and ideas for solutions without dragging in all kinds of assumptions?