People call me a fake democrat. Although solidified within my ideals, my tendency to hear the other side out or willingness to seek the initiative in mind is viewed as my “political downfall.” Political affiliation is something I take to heart, but listening to the opposition is, too.
Social media has given everyone a platform to share their opinions, ideas, art, and political views. Everyone has a view on politics, and people love using social media as a battleground for discussing – and fighting over – controversial topics. From this, the world continues to become more and more polarized. As the next election approaches, it is important to understand that it is not one party or one person but rather a persistent culture of people shutting out ideas that don’t align with their own.
The intention of pointing this out isn’t to fault a certain side, rather, it is to offer a way to make conversations more approachable, more comprehensive, and more efficient by all sides. We must remain unbiased in situations where we both intentionally and unintentionally implement bias within rhetoric and choice. Regardless of our personal beliefs, it is important to understand that everyone is entitled to their perception, and we must be willing to listen and discuss differences to overcome the consequences caused by them. Today I present to you ‘A Comprehensive Guide to be Unbiased When it Comes to Politics’ (while staying true to your personal views.)
When it comes to politics and news, it’s easy to refer to media outlets or people with beliefs that echo our own. But what we often forget is that at the end of the day politics is just that: politics. Each side has its agenda; there’s not one side that is always right or one side that is always wrong within an instance. What happens is that whenever we refer to biased sources, it skews the truth (whether we want to accept it or not). For instance, when policy initiatives are in consideration, we often look to whether the right or the left are passing it – rather than taking a look at the policy in and of itself. By being able to fact check and look at the relevance of the situation, the policy, or what the governmental action is we’re able to analyze the situation in a way that isn’t biased because you’re checking for the truth rather than the party or person that is supporting it.
Reading News From Both Sides
I’m guilty of reading news sources that cater to my personal beliefs and tell me information the way I want to hear it. This is not a way of saying that we shouldn’t refer to biased news - these sources do provide an alternative perspective that we would never otherwise have comprehended or would have looked to. If we’re reading a source from the far left or moderately left, we should also be reading the moderate right or far right. The purpose of this is to not accept or agree with the counter, but rather to understand why their perception is the way that it is. At the end of the day, it is important to refer to non-partisan and unbiased news sources to get the facts straight. When it comes to understanding the perception behind the other side, reading countering news sources gives us a way to understand the other side’s perception.
Understanding That There Is No Right Or Wrong View
Political affiliation is something that many constituents and civilians, in general, are very adamant about, but it often leads to isolation towards one side. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when it means believing that there’s only one correct perspective, that’s where the problem comes in. Even if another party is doing something “wrong,” the party a person is entitled to is allowed to have their personal beliefs about it. The United States are built on freedom of speech and takes several perspectives. If something doesn’t align with your understanding of a situation, it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. There isn’t one right or one wrong- it comes down to one person‘s mentality, the household they grew up in, and their identity and experiences. One doesn’t hold the right to say that another person‘s feelings or perceptions are completely wrong. For instance, we may say that the other side is wrong, but it’s not right to say that they’re completely wrong. What can instead be done is challenging the alternative and explaining why you have an opposing view without blatantly saying that their beliefs don’t matter because they’re not the same as yours. That’s not how having political views work.
Accepting That There Can Be Different Stances On Certain Issues
Many people’s agendas when it comes to affiliating with a party can be broken down to social and economic views. In this case, it’s important to understand that many people look at multiple aspects as to where a candidate stands. A person could easily support a conservative economical form, initiative, or policy, and at the same time support the liberal policies when it comes to immigration, human rights, and healthcare. The political spectrum explains how people can play and sometimes be on both sides. For many people it just comes down to what the party has achieved in the status quo. One can easily switch from one party to the other because the initiatives or policies brought up truly cater to their beliefs. There’s no one way to solidify perspectives because there are so many diverse factors that people have to consider. Relaying the idea that, when it comes to a person choosing a party, they believe everything that the party stands for takes away the ability for people to truly vote on specific measures that address issues they face on a day-to-day basis. One person in the aspect that they may consider may be economic, and for the other, it may be social. Frequently there is a tendency to categorize without thoroughly comprehending the reasons why a person supported a candidate or party. Automatically assuming they support all aspects of a party causes more polarization and a misunderstanding that shouldn’t be there in the first place. When put in a situation where one feels the need to challenge another person's beliefs, it's better to inquire what exactly they support of the candidate rather than just labeling their views as wrong.
Understanding That Maintaining No Affiliation With A Party Does Not Mean A Person Does Not Keep Up With Politics
As polarized as today’s political arena is, when it comes to somebody saying they don’t have a party affiliation or that they’re an independent it’s written off as a lack of understanding politics. It’s repeatedly said that if you don’t prefer a side, whether it be the right or left, it is because you don’t follow politics or you must not care. If you follow somebody who's not supporting a political perception in that sense it’s genuinely because of their independence from party affiliation and the value of it. They prefer to rather look at various initiatives and policies on both sides and consider why each side is wrong and why each side is right. This is in no way to say that the left or the right are wrong but rather that they adopt a more holistic approach when viewing a candidate rather than the values and firm action that parties stand by. People are so adamant about making others choose between the left or the right, but it is important to realize that independence, although it may be unready because they introduce an alternative way of looking at politics and it’s necessary to have that there. At the end of the day when considering the left and the right and how they are so adamant about having their beliefs, being an independent represents a belief in and of itself.
All in all, being understanding of the other side doesn’t mean you’re supporting your own beliefs any less. Rather it shows being the bigger person within the situation means understanding the other side while also staying in touch with your roots. In a world that is so polarized, in order to reach any terms of agreement, we need to grasp the other side, elaborate upon it, discuss it, refute it, and undertake whatever needs to be done in order to reach terms because as the world continues being divided the attention is diverted away from fundamental problems, real issues, and real consequences. By remaining unbiased in a world where being biased is the only approachable option, it challenges the status quo and sets a precedence of true comprehension.