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Friday, May 1, 2015

On why it's hard to have a political opinion

I'm scared. We're in the season of a presidential election already. Goodbye, friendships! Goodbye, Facebook news feed! Goodbye calm, rational group conversations!

You know what's also scary? Forming an opinion about a candidate and telling someone. I mean, it's one thing to be an observer. It's another to express participation in the process. Here's a terribly drawn comic I made to demonstrate what often seems to happen:



Or it might go like this:

Person A: You know who I like?
Person B: Who?
A: So-and-so
B: What!?! What about that time they ____________?
A: Oh.. Well, I'm not sure about that. I know that I like this, this, and that about them though.
B: But what about this, this, and that? 
A: Well, from what I heard, they had a reason for that (and the reason was)...
B: But what about the fact that they hate Mexicans?
A: WHAT?

B: Well, they hate tacos. Or at least, they hate Taco Bell. Well, they hate Taco's Bell's Mexican pizza. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT?
A: Well... it is kind of soggy.
B: HOW DARE YOU!!

Or maybe, heaven forbid, you know ten things you like about the person, and three things you don't really like. How do you answer for those three things? Because if you tell anyone you like that candidate and they disagree, they WILL bring those three things up and because you said you liked that person, you may as well have done those things yourself.

Or you have to defend your patriotism.

B: You like that candidate? You must hate America. Have you never read the Constitution!? 
A: No, have you?
B: No, but I've heard things.

Another possibility is that you'll have to defend the candidate's character.

A: I think I'm going to vote for __________.
B: But he/she cut in line for the slide when he/she was in third grade!
A: Oh. I guess I was just voting based on their voting records and social changes. I didn't realize I had to go so far back.
B: Idiot.(Walks off humming "Proud to be an American.")

It seems to me that there are three ways to avoid the scrutiny of having an opinion about a candidate:

1. Know everything about that person and be prepared to defend everything they've ever done.
2. Only know one thing about that person but care SO much about it that everyone knows there's no point arguing with you.
3. Know almost nothing about politics but be so passionate about politics people realize there's no point arguing with you.

I'm thinking of voting for Bernie Sanders because I think he might be related to Colonel Sanders and could possibly get our national bird changed to the chicken. Is that a good enough reason? TRY arguing with me about chicken. Just try. (Just demonstrating points 2 and 3.)



The thing is, most conversations with people who you strongly disagree with are pointless. This past week's episode of This American Life is called, "The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind," and it talks about this very subject. If you want to vote for Hillary, and someone else wants to vote for Mitt (I know he's not running but I don't know any other Republicans)... is there any point in having a conversation? I mean, the point of the conversation will be to either defend your opinion or try to change theirs, right? Will either person come out with good feelings at the end?

Am I getting too jaded, or is this everyones experience?

I'll just be hiding in a tepee for the next year or so, keeping my opinions to myself until it's all over. Or at least, I'll try.



In the meantime, let's listen to a patriotic tune we can all get behind:


5 comments:

Katherine said...

You completely and totally 100% snailed it. That is my experience completely!!!! I hate election season - why can't we have normal discussions about things?? It's exhausting having to constantly be on guard.

Katherine said...

Also, your illustrations are the greatest. You should be a political cartoonist!!!

Heather Lewis said...

I dont voice my political views for the same reason!

My cousins are very conservative in the views, and vocal, on facebook and my sisters tried to get into it with them. So embarrassing. For my sisters. At least my cousins were prepared with points to defend their views while my sisters.... well. I wanted to side with my cousins just based on arguement styles and i am so not conservative.

Heather Lewis said...

I dont voice my political views for the same reason!

My cousins are very conservative in the views, and vocal, on facebook and my sisters tried to get into it with them. So embarrassing. For my sisters. At least my cousins were prepared with points to defend their views while my sisters.... well. I wanted to side with my cousins just based on arguement styles and i am so not conservative.

violet50 said...

You did (s)nail it. And I love your cartoon. You need to do more of them!!
Number three is where most of the people I know fall.