Published: September 11, 2015
I recently found myself watching and listening to a mandatory advertisement on YouTube while attempting to play a favorite studying track. The advertisement, I must admit, baited my attention and reeled me in. The message elicited congenial emotions, but as it progressed, the message revealed its true intentions.
The message was a clever political advertisement in support of the Republican Party. It adhered to a standard party persuasion policy and elaborated excessively on the common goals, dreams, and ambitions that most Americans possess. Republicans are not the only politicians who present exaggerated advertisements—typically, both Republicans and Democrats claim that they strive to help Americans achieve these goals.
By the end of the ad, the congeniality had faded and had constructed, in its place, a reinforced belief in independence. We allow ourselves to be lulled into (notice the passivity) the beliefs of the party that best resonate with our own beliefs. Americans forget what independence entails. It entails actively and thoroughly discerning what changes we want to see, using the information that represents the superlative of our intellect. It entails the right to independent views—views unshackled from the political party system.
The problem of the political party system lies in the placement of our superior commonality—the main, unifying factor that makes us all Americans. As it stands today, most Americans are content allowing their superior commonality to be a political party. They hide behind the guises that are elephantine or asinine, and with celerity, they assimilate positions with which their minds are not necessarily in agreement.
We should not have to contort our beliefs to those of a political party. The true superior commonality of Americans is the United States. The country is currently devoid of this understanding, and due to the void, we accomplish little in terms of concrete, observable social improvements. Words such as partisan, chauvinist, etc. should be regarded with the greatest dismay, for these are the precise type of words that divide the house and retard improvement. These words instill an unconscious “us vs. them” belief.
This is not a new idea, merely a reiteration of the fears brought forth by George Washington in his farewell address. Sectionalism is the name given to the precarious process that channels the interests of the people into the interests of the group. When we make our beliefs mutable to the whim of a political party, we forfeit all autonomy. We see this on a smaller scale in the psychological phenomenon known as the crowd effect. When in the context of a crowd, we tend to participate less in the cognitive processes of decision-making and, instead, engage in unnecessary mimicry.
We do not need a political reformation; we need a cognitive reformation. We the people must regain our autonomy. This does not restrict us from identifying with a party, but it demands a degree of intellectual vigilance and a willingness to openly identify any incongruences at all times. This means that if we no longer find concordance with a party, it is up to us to realign ourselves appropriately. This is especially relevant in the approaching political climate that is due to arrive with the 2016 presidential election. As you may have noticed, it has already begun to incite all sorts of tempest-like elements. While sailing this storm, remember this: humans have the incredible gift that is self-awareness. Make certain that you are aware of yourself.