Thoughts on this election day-please, NO specific political responses!

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Xtina, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    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.
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Can I say I hope for red results?
  3. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    I think to a point you are right, but as a nation we are very closely split in each state. Generally a state is only one way or the other by a couple of percentage points. For me, I think that we as a nation agree on more than we disagree on.

    Every year I cheerfully let my Father know that I turned in my ballot and canceled out his votes. He always laughs and says "good for you for voting".
  4. Boyd

    Boyd Recipient of The Biff Twang

    Mar 14, 2009
    boyd is colorblind.. But the party I was backing won for the most part [​IMG]
  5. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    For the first time ever, I voted a straight ticket. Usually there is a mix of candidates I like, but not this time. There will always be bias, it's called freedom of thought. If there were no bias we would all the think the same way; nothing would get changed, or improved, we would be the sheep you mention. For every person looking at another person and calling them biased, that person is looking back at you and calling you biased too.
  6. PeepsInc

    PeepsInc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    NY Tri State region
    Personally I feel the individual is far more important than the party.... It generally doesn't take the party long to corrupt the individual, but you have to start somewhere! [​IMG] ...Sorry I try to stay away from political threads, I tend to get them locked [​IMG]
  7. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    I have to say I lean very far one direction, and always have. I have voted "across the isle" when those who SHOULD represent my beliefs did not, and the the other party represented closer to what I thought was correct. Some issues I do not budge on, but if it's close, I have been known to vote for either side. I think the way things have turned out for this election is progressive, and good for our country. No matter what side, there should always be balance between the two significant powers. Too hard of a turn either direction could land us in the ditch IMO. Almost has both times I can think of off the top of my head [​IMG] The key to the government representing truly "We the People" isn't voter turnout at all, it is EDUCATED VOTER turnout.

    To answer your question, yes, I have felt that way, but that is a good thing. It made me research the candidates more closely for myself, and not just according to what others say. I have never voted opposite my husband, but ONLY because I agree [​IMG] I have cancelled out my parents, friends, etc. but never DH...kinda funny now that I think about it [​IMG]
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don't blame the media. I sometimes joke that if you watch CNN, Fox, and BBC and they all three are talking about the same thing, it has a chance to be real news. The media is biased one way or another, but their main purpose is to make money. Quick sound bites and emotional appeal drive their engines. By emotional appeal, look at the way different media and certain personalities demonize anyone that thinks differently that they do. That is not based on logic or reason. That is based on pure emotion. If you really analyze their logic, it is usually ridiculous, but they say it so convincingly.

    I think some of what you are talking about is just personality. Some people only see black and white, no gray at all. Either you are 100% for or against something or you are weak and wishy-washy. Other people tend to see both sides of a situation. They can see that both sides of an argument have some good points and some bad points. To try to not cause this thread to get shut down, I'll move on.

    I've not only lived in various blue and red states, I have lived and worked oveseas a fair amount of time. Not just visit as a tourist but actually live there. That makes a big difference. I've lived in western style democracies, some more socialist than others, in dictatorships, in one that was basically in anarchy, and in one that had just finished a long, brutal civil war and was actually trying to develop itself. It really blows your preconceived notions away if you are willing to look. It clearly shows how closely we are tied to the rest of the world and shows how uninformed many people in this country are. I better understand how quickly it would destroy our country and our way of life if we really did try to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, now that I have actually seen the rest of the world. So I agree with you. Exposing your self to different ideas can be illuminating. But I'm reminded of Rota. One of the places I lived was in Spain, near an American military base. This was right after Franco. The country was just opening up to other ideas. The Spanish people were really friendly, everything was really cheap, there were plenty of things to do and enjoy, yet I hardly saw anyone off the base. They had a bowling alley and a movie theater on base, so they never left, at least enough to see the country. I spent a year on a military base in the army in Korea. I know that unless you make an effort to get out and see the people and the places, all the locals you will deal with are the slicky boys and the business girls. You get the idea that the ones that hang around a military base preying on the servicemen represent the people in that country when they really don't. It takes some effort to see those remote mountain villages, the transportation system, the houses people actually lived in, the thousands of years old culture that was there. In these two situations, I am convinced most people came back with a greatly distorted view of what the people in those countries were really like.

    I also agree that the way you were raised, mainly your parents but your exposure to others in a position of authority, greatly influence how you look at things. I remember a man who would turn every Sunday school class into a rant on race. Not surprisingly his son grew up a strong avid racist. Some parents try to teach their kids to be independent, to be able to think for themselves. Some feel so strongly in their believes they try to teach their kids to think the same way they do.

    I think many people are intellectually lazy. They want to just get on with their lives and not worry about these things. When somebody with charisma tells them what to think, they accept that and get on with the rest of their lives.

    To try to summarize before I get too many more people upset. I think exposure to other ways of thinking and exposure to other conditions that you are familiar with can help you see that there are usually good arguments on both sides of an issue, but I think you have to have the type of personality that allows you to see and makes you want to see. I don't think most people want to see.
  9. I have WHAT in my yard?

    I have WHAT in my yard? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Eggberg, PA
    In sociology there is the term - ego-casting.

    What it means is that now it is possible since you can choose to tailor your TV and your radio and your internet news feed and basically everything you listen to or watch to match your preexisting ideas.

    While the media has always and will always be biased to some degree, ego casting is a serious an bad trend for us. It is human nature to prefer to listen to those with whom we agree. But, by not being exposed to enough dissent we fall into two fallacies: that "most" people think like we do. And that the other point is something to be dismissed.

    Forcing yourself to listen to perspectives that do not coincide with your own takes work and most people don't feel like doing it.

    Try. Grab a bottle of Tums if that is what it takes. Listen to some one whose opinions you do not like.

    This is, without a doubt, one of the things I am most grateful to Nifty and company for providing here - the chance to talk to people whose world views are wildly different than my own. And I am grateful for it.
  10. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    I've lived in red and blue states, and in red or blue counties that were islands. I think it does give you some perspective. I think increasingly, most Americans do not want to look at one another's views, and they would prefer not to see anything valid in the other party's point of view. People isolate themselves in their neighborhoods, churches (most are very politically homogeneous), their choice of radio, tv and print media. The people I know who argue their positions best do not limit themselves to like-minded viewpoints. Most are news junkies, pulling info from a large variety of sources.

    I think most people have their comfort zones, and are unwilling to move very far from them. Political debate has become incredibly rancorous, with any one having a different viewpoint being a moron, an idiot, a clueless wingnut, a nutjob, or a jerk. It makes it hard to see the shades of gray that most of us live in.

    I think most people would agree that you can't cut income without cutting expenses; and that you can't raise enough money to fund everything. In our homes, businesses and organizations we can make these choices for the better good; we only seem to fail this on a national level. The PTA ladies I'm involved with put in hundreds of hours trying to prioritize spending to match our income; to create a budget that makes the fewest people unhappy. We come from all political backgrounds, but we can manage what the entire country cannot. I think that for many the tough choices are too hard, so they vote for the cardboard cutout that most reflects their views.

    I think most Americans believe that all children deserve food, housing and medical care, and that the elderly shouldn't be put out on the street because they outlived their savings. What we can't seem to agree on are the methods and the responsibilities of these values. Who should pay, who gets the money, how long do they get the money? The gray areas are where we fall apart; not on the core values.

    Its the problems that most people agree on, it's the solutions that are hard, divisive and ugly.

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