Monday, October 23, 2006

Party ID is a funny little thing.

By funny I mean interesting and by little I mean the very opposite. Our texts and journals will tell us again and again that it is the biggest factor in how people vote. That seems obvious enough, but the formation of party identification is not such an obvious thing in my biased eyes.

I have this friend. She is a 19 year old from Brookfield with internalized homophobia who doesn’t know how to do her own laundry or make jello. She asked me once last year what liberal and conservative meant and what she was. Now, it just seems silly to ask someone that very important question about your place on the spectrum, because for me you’re place on the political spectrum is a bigger determinant not just of how you vote, but how you live your life. What I mean by that is there is more to be said about someone’s political views than if they are black or white, rich or poor (but as we all know those are some key factors into where you are on the spectrum.

At any rate, I was given the distinct opportunity to be part of this young woman’s political awakening, or so I thought. I was trying to be concise in my explanation of the sides while highlighting things I thought would be important to her like gay marriage and other social issues. Looking back, I realize my attempt to con a political moron into being empathetic to liberal causes was doomed from the start when I found out her parents listen to Fox News while doing her laundry and packing her lunch. A few weeks later, the omnipresent Facebook alerted me her conservative political views.

Whether my friend asked her parents the same question she asked me or if she placed Brookfield on a map of Wisconsin and was dazzled by the beautiful shades of red, I don’t know. How did she come to the conclusion she was conservative, and what could change that, if anything? Is party id too sticky to touch?

ABC is attempting to sex up party identification and the idea of family inheritances with the new show Brothers and Sisters. I have to agree that party identification is kind of sexy, but I digress.

1 Comments:

At 12:54 PM, Blogger polsci421-jeff said...

You seemed to hit one of the key issues of party identification right on the head, inheritance. I think it would be a safe assumption to say that her parents are conservative with what you have described which led her to be conservative as well. I did find it interesting that you considered her a political moron instead of just being ignorant. I hope you're not suggesting that just because she doesn't agree with you politically that she is a moron, after all she is your friend. I have run into the same problem as far as trying to change people's political beliefs, but what I realized is that you can't change someone to see another viewpoint unless they have an open mind. Personally, I've changed many of my views over the last few years from not only listening to other people's arguments, but experiencing different things in life which have altered my viewpoint on how things should work. Don't worry, she will eventually come around to your way of thinking on at least a couple of issues. I believe only the politically ignorant people tow the party line on everything.

 

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