I’ve been wondering today why people are so fanatically devoted to their political parties that they accept them without analysis and stick to them regardless of changes in their own beliefs or in the party’s own platform. When it comes to things that are equally important, such as marriage, people freely admit that they or their spouse have changed and, even when they do it with anguish, they’ll walk away from marriages when the differences because of those changes become too great. Likewise, when it comes to something that amounts to mere pleasure, such as football or baseball, they study statistics and other information with fanaticism. However, when it comes to politics, something that will have a lasting effect on their lives, the lives of their children, and the lives of their fellow Americans, they’re woefully uninformed about issues and, more significantly, they refuse to acknowledge change.
I stand as the perfect example of this unthinking affiliation. Before 9/11 came and knocked my socks off, I was a Democratic because I was, dammit. I never took the time to look Democratic positions and compare them to my own values, either the ones that were a fixed part of my psyche, or the ones that changed or that I added as time went by. For reasons I can’t understand now, it was more devastating to change political parties than it was to change boyfriends, friends, jobs, schools, anything. As to all of those, I could recognize the nature of change and maturity, but I couldn’t do that regarding politics.
Do any of you have ideas as to what inspires this unthinking affiliation? Even though I lived, I like the insight to get what was going on in my brain, and I certainly lack the ability to understand what motivates others. As it is, I see so many people who can be made to admit, on a point by point basis that, whether because they changed or because the Democrats changed, their values and beliefs harmonize more closely with the Republican platform than the Democratic platform. Nevertheless, despite admitting this, they’ll still announce that Democrats are good, Republicans are bad, and resolutely vote a straight Democratic party line.
By the way, I know some of you are going to say that politics is like religion, and I’ll concede that point — but why do they stick with a religion when they no longer believe any of its doctrines? Is religious belief, whether secular or real, really so much deeper and stronger than marital commitments, personal finances, hobbies, or any of the other engines that drive peoples’ lives and as to which they’re willing to acknowledge and act upon change?
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