I've had this thought many a time before, but I wanted a safe place to voice it and see if anyone else has ever felt this way. Please, I really don't want this to be a discussion of any current events or political ideologies. Here's what I mean: When I was a kid, I lived in one of those states that strongly votes toward a certain color (red or blue), and surprise, surprise, I began to strongly associate with the political standpoint that I was taught. It didn't hurt that I was in a private school, so my teachers were allowed and encouraged to be highly biased. I held strongly to my beliefs until I moved out of that situation. I began hearing the points of view of people who came from other ideologies, and began to realize that while I had always been told I was being taught their points of view and the best rebuttals, it turned out that I really didn't have any idea of the other side's point of view. Now having lived all around the nation, I've lived in states that are strongly red, strongly blue, and sort of leaning. I hear excellent arguments for all sorts of things, and I often remember the arguments for the other side that I've heard in the past. Every time I'm presented with a forceful opinion, I begin to question the speaker's well-roundedness. I've begun to think that the only way anyone can be that convicted about a political issue is to be somewhat sheltered from the other side's point of view. And I feel that this is in large part due to access to information, not just socially, but through the media. On that point, I DON'T want any rants about how biased the media is...I think the real cause isn't media bias, but lack of access to a wide range of intelligent, informed media. Too many pundits, not enough culturally respectful and open-minded journalists. Anyway, has anyone ever felt this way? Maybe the only way to really get a well rounded perspective on the issues is to live in a purple state! A place where intelligent people from both camps can politely discuss their ideas with each other and respect each other's opinions. Otherwise, I feel like we're just memes - imitations of our high school teachers' or families' opinions, too sheltered from the other side to really have any perspective. I certainly feel as though I'm just a sheep sometimes, blindly following the common thought in whatever area of the country I happen to live, or being strongly convinced by what my highly informed and highly opinionated husband says. I feel like no matter where I've lived, there has never been a balance of media - it's always too far to one side or the other. I don't normally view myself as being weak of mind or opinion, but the political insulation issue has really made me begin to have empathy for both sides, and I just wish people could stop being so insensitive to other people's opinions and so reluctant to actually listen to the other side's point of view.