Thursday, February 25, 2016

I Don't Talk Politics

I don't talk politics.  I don't know anything about them.  But do you find it interesting that our nation is split pretty much 50/50 on political issues?  Rather, do you find it interesting that half of our nation identifies with one party and half with another?

Now, don't get caught up in semantics here, or you'll miss the point.  I'm not saying that there are exactly the same number of Democrats as there are Republicans, nor am I saying that these are the only two political factions.  What I'm saying is that there are two main political parties and the numbers are close enough that your vote counts.

Maybe that doesn't seem strange to you, but like... shouldn't it?  Shouldn't people generally agree on this kind of thing?  Or shouldn't one argument be more persuasive than another?  On one hand, it seems odd to me that we the people would be so evenly polarized on these issues, but on the other maybe it isn't so surprising.  I will now give several reasonable theories on why this even split exists-- the last is my favorite and the inspiration for writing this post.


People have different circumstances, and one's circumstances play a huge role in one's opinions about what is best for the nation.  It's undeniable that we become biased because of our situations.  When it's cold, I imagine that I would take any heat over Jack Frost's nipping at my nose, yet, when summer rolls around, I reason that if it was winter, I could just bundle up and be a much happier camper.  It's been said that the goal of education should be to become conscious of these ideologies-- maybe that's another blog post.  Back to circumstances.

I find this idea difficult to agree with.  Circumstances are almost wholly dependent on wealth.  Right?  If your income is six digits, your house is probably bigger, your food is probably tastier, your clothes are probably nicer.  People say money can't but happiness, but no one actually believes that.  Now, we've all seen those graphs of "how many people hold what percentage of the nation's wealth," and from this illustration we can see that it's not a 50/50 split.  Few have very much.  Many have very little.  So if one's circumstances dictate one's voting habits and one's income dictates one's circumstances, then it doesn't make much sense to say that this is a reasonable explanation for the split.  That being said, there are factors other than the cash in your pocket that determine your quality of life, but we don't have time to explore every lurking variable, so we'll continue.


People have different ideologies.  I mentioned ideologies before.  If you're not voting on the basis of "what is best for the country" maybe you're voting on "who agrees most with my beliefs."  Maybe political issues equate to moral issues for some.  I mean, if a candidate for president thought that murder should be legal, would you vote for them?  Again, that's another blog post, but you understand what I'm trying to say: people don't vote based on what is objectively best for the nation, they vote based on what is most important to them.

This argument really isn't reasonable.  To say that this accounts for the even divide of our nation makes too many assumptions.  First, that most people vote based solely on ideology-- this likely isn't the case.  Second, that people are split evenly on a moral framework-- this seems counter-intuitive.  Third, that people with one belief will share a slew of others-- this makes sense for a religious nation which would be bound to some standardized moral code, but it is no longer popular (or accurate) to say that we are a particularly religious nation.


If you have a bag that contains 5 red marbles and 5 blue marbles, what are the odds that you will pick out a red marble if you randomly take 1 out?  This calculation is trivial.  There's a 50% chance.  What if it's random?

You're already mentally objecting.  Naturally.  People take pride in their team.  You like the Democrats because you believe in what they stand for!  Right?  You're a Republican because big government sucks!  Yeah?

I already told you I'm politically ignorant.  I will not engage in political debates over this post, but it seems to me that there are truths on both sides of this coin, and many people have just flipped it.

PS:  I didn't revise/edit this.  It wasn't worth it.  Thanks for not holding it against me.