“In my younger and more vulnerable years” — as F. Scott Fitzgerald begins The Great Gatsby, describing the ideals of good judgment — I didn’t actually understand how government affected my life in the context of my individual position.
I believed myself to be a Rockefeller Republican: liberal on social issues and fiscally conservative made sense to me and seemed to be a good way to pander to both sides. But to be honest, I don’t think I really even knew what I was talking about.
In my teens, categorizing myself in a political party seemed to be trite — so further categorizing myself by qualifying my stance was ironically trite.
When I was entering the political dialogue at 18, I wanted to show how my ideas stood out.
I’ve come to realize in the four years of my voting experience, that a voter shouldn’t be a singular link with no connection to a bigger chain in command. In order to engage in our system, you must cast off your pubescent intellectual rebelliousness and join a clique of sorts.
Maybe an individual’s decisions aren’t identical with a political party, but one eventually needs to stand behind a candidate that has a majority of their deal-makers and none of their deal-breakers.
Eventually you need to give into conformity and be a part of a group large enough to make an impact so your political beliefs can be sworn in and materialize into government policy and action.
Greater issues like gay marriage, the female body’s rights, my tax bracket and how I hope the following administration “fixes” the economy clarified my political choices. I didn’t realize what type of candidate I needed until I discovered my personal tenets.
Berkeley could have played a role in my “liberalization”, but I’ve always had liberal-leaning alliances. I was Thespian President in high school, for god’s sake.
My hometown neighbor calls Berkeley “a liberal bastion” and I take that to heart even if she didn’t say it in a positive light. Berkeley is a bastion because is a citadel where — and I want to use this word carefully — “progressives” try to thoroughly drive political ideals to their fruition, even if it is just in their simple social responsibility or protesting on Sproul Plaza.
I wouldn’t cast my liberal vote for 2012 preemptively because the game has hardly begun.
However, confidently I know, I don’t want the next administration to be run by people who hoot and holler as if they’re at a Glee concert— Republicans at the debates cheer upon the mention of the 234 executions in Texas and dying patients who don’t have health care, but then boo at a military member in Iraq because he’s gay.
I can’t see the typical independent voter drinking the harden-heart-and-ignorant punch come next November, so the Republican Party will have to pull up their bootstraps and muzzle their representatives who say things like that the HPV vaccination makes you mentally retarded (i.e. Michelle Bachmann).
Aside from alleviating the national deficit in some way, voters need to keep in mind that the president is more than the political and economic circumstances they work under. The masses rule the elect, so they typically push what people clamor for.
Our current President reminded Americans that this next election is also, “a contest of values.” Mr. Obama remarked last Sunday when announcing the American Jobs Act that, “This is a choice about who we are and what we stand for. And whoever wins this next election is going to set the template for this country for a long time to come.”
When it comes to making an independent choice and supporting a candidate this election season, I want to agree with a party who looks out for the greater good — not a small slice of American pie that’s actually the impediment of society’s overall betterment.
Image source: DonkeyHotey through Creative Commons