It’s important for people to have their own set of beliefs based on hard facts rather than blindly following the practices of any specific political party. Identifying as Democratic or Republican should not dictate the way a person votes, feels about political issues, or views people of the opposite party. The division of the United States based on labels needs to stop. It’s okay to have opposing viewpoints, but hating a person because they’re a Democrat or a Republican without actually speaking to them is nothing but stereotyping. Agreeing with a particular person because they’re in the same political party is just as wrong.
Many Republicans hate Democrats and therefore vote against Obama. This hatred can possibly stem from conservative news sites painting the Democrats in a bad light, posts on social media talking about how much they hate Obama, or coming from a Republican family and being brought up to hate Democrats. There’s also the issue that some people from either side of the political spectrum are just plain stubborn and unwilling to accept any views other than their own.
The House of Representatives is projected to have 246 seats designated to Republicans, the largest majority since WWII, according to CNN. The gubernatorial election here in Florida between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott was one of negativity, putting the opposite candidate in a bad light rather than running based on personal political platforms and goals for the state, according to USA Today. The campaigns were incredibly negative from both Scott and Crist. Crist had an ad directly blaming, “guys like Rick Scott” for crashing the economy. Scott had an ad that shot down Crist’s platform rather than promoting his own.
People tend to take these advertisements at face value although much of the stuff is false and they aren’t even produced by the candidates, but from independent groups affiliated with each party, which can be found in small print at the end of the ads. People who voted for Scott, the Republican winner of the gubernatorial, said that the main reason they voted for him was to keep Crist out of office, according to USA Today. Their votes weren’t based on facts and research, they were out of hatred of Crist.
Another reason for the Republican party taking over the senate is the fact that many young people don’t vote. In fact, only only 13 percent of the voters in the recent election were 18-29 years old, according to the Pew Research Center. In general, young people and minorities are more likely to be Democratic, according to MSNBC. However, the Democratic party doesn’t really push any political issues that will convince young people to vote besides an occasional mention of student loan debt, according to MSNBC. Another problem is that it’s difficult for out-of-state college students to vote. Twenty-three percent of college students said they didn’t vote because they were away from home, according to the 2010 census. I’m registered to vote back home in New York, but didn’t know how to get registered to vote here in Florida.
Neither political party has everything right, that’s why they’re divided into political parties. Thus, joining a specific party and saying, “These are my beliefs because my party says so, everything else is wrong” is childish. Speaking like this makes a person sound uneducated. To believe in something without even knowing what you’re believing in is just wrong. It’s alright to believe that gun control laws are unnecessary, but have a few facts to back up why you feel that way. It’s alright to believe in a woman’s right to abortion, but do a little research and be able to back yourself up with statistics. It’s ridiculous that some people feel and react so strongly about some topics, but know only the bare minimum, if anything at all, about them. Blindly following a party is like blindly following… anything, really. Open your eyes and educate yourself on whatever topics you so choose.
If you haven’t yet seen the Jimmy Kimmel video about Obamacare versus the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I recommend you watch it. The skit shows people talking about how much they hate Obamacare but aren’t opposed to the ACA. Obamacare is just a nickname for the ACA but random people on the streets are very against it. However, they support the ACA which, I’ll say again, are the exact same thing being called two different things. People are so quick to hate on the president before they even realize what he’s doing.
There’s also the issue of words like Democrat and Republican or Liberal and Conservative being used as derogatory terms rather than broad descriptive ones. The other day, I was called a “libtard” for speaking on a belief that I’ve thoroughly researched, but was differing from the opinion than the person I was speaking to, whose argument was based solely on stereotypes, racism, and a blind hatred of the liberal viewpoint.
I do not identify as liberal, or as any specific party for that matter, because my views on political policies span across the political spectrum. However, using the word “retard” as an insult, even if it’s only half of the contraction, implies that being mentally disabled is the most horrible thing a person can be, which is incredibly offensive and untrue. Being uneducated, offensive, and derogatory, for example, are significantly worse than being disabled. But I digress, if we take the “retard” part out of the contraction of “libtard,” we get the use of the word “liberal” as an insult rather than a label of a series of beliefs. Peoples’ ignorance can lead them to hate liberalism, causing them to use words that don’t actually apply. The liberals aren’t “socialists,” they stand for equal opportunities across the board for all Americans. They’re motivated to bring about positive change for the country.
A hatred of opposing viewpoints is not reason to vote a specific way in elections, hate on the president, or refer to people with those viewpoints in a derogatory manner. The fact of the matter is that the United States is too divided based on a label, Democrat or Republican, and the only way to overcome this is with education.
Olivia Reeb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org