This is not your grandfather’s politics
Introducing a new column, The Paradoxical
By Autumn Berend
Often I find myself tired by the ever growing annoyance that is American politics. If I’ve learned anything from the presidential election of 2016, it’s how low and unenlightened of a country we’ve become.
Often I find myself as the outsider, holding ideas that make me appear more nuanced than the general public. That’s not saying I’m more intelligent, but I don’t adhere to labels like “liberal” even though I am one by definition.
I’m not afraid to hold right wing or left wing ideas at the same time and state my dislike for such titles as “left” or “right.”
People who engage in political discussion typically commit fallacies, or fallacious reasoning, and Americans are no exception to the rule. In fact, they typically commit it far more than Canadians and our European brothers and sisters. Why? Because they generally have more parties and beliefs that are more open, whereas in America we tend to see black and white, or Republican and Democrat; liberal and conservative just to start off.
While we did have the Green Party with Jill Stein, highlighting a new face to the party system, and due to the last election, even the Libertarian Party had more of chance than prior, but nonetheless, people still see left and right.
My problem with this is it blinds and causes us to stick with hasty overgeneralizations. The Republicans and conservatives will argue an idea is stupid and blame it on the Democrats or liberals and the liberals and Democrats will do the very same.
This creates a toxic environment that prevents anyone from having any discussion when we’re far more nuanced than that. Don’t believe me?
Take a look at any issue, such as gun control. Does anyone truly believe that only the left believes in it? And does anyone truly believe that everyone that supports gun control has the same level of control they wish to see pushed through? Of course not.
Not every conservative supports Trump or has all the same views just as not every Bernie supporter agrees 100 percent with Bernie on everything he says or the level of taxation.
This issue needs to stop and the use of labels or identity politics, being a “leftist” or a “right-winger,” being a Socialist or Communist or anything. You should not nor need to tell people you are X, Y or Z. What you are is simply what you believe. If you believe in the Second Amendment but believe in a 90 percent tax increase, that makes you hold views associated with the conservatives and socialists.
We as people who should seek enlightenment and adhere to intellectualism must stop the odious use of labels and political identity and simply argue based on views. Argue taxation with people you disagree with. The level of taxing the people varies with person to person. Being labeled anything puts you in a bubble and subject to lumping.
By definition I’m a classical liberal and yet as a liberal I’ve been lumped with Antifa, which I hate, political correctness, which I don’t agree with, fascism, which I’m arguably the biggest proponent on campus of thanks to the works of George Orwell’s brilliant 1984, and anything you can assume I as a liberal believe. I promise you, you’ll be wrong most of the time.
Don’t be like others, you’re more nuanced than that. You should act like it.