The Independent Voter That Stands Apart
I am an Independent Voter and according to polls conducted by Gallup, I am not alone. “Democratic, Republican Identification are at Historical Lows” and 42% of Americans choose not to affiliate with a political party. There are two reasons why I am Independent. The first is because of the possible association to extremists that comes with the identification of a group. For example, Extreme Republican labels could equate to a caricature of a hyper-religious, gun obsessed, immigrant hating and racist person. Extreme Liberal labels could equate to a super-secular, elitist, advocate for a government takeover of everything. These simplified characteristics often stop a reasonable conversation from taking place before it even starts. Therefore, this reason for not wanting to affiliate with a political party is unlikely to change.
The Independent Voter That Doesn’t Know
The second reason I am Independent is because I have not yet fully considered these issues in depth. Someone once told me “Independent Voters are just people who don’t know what they believe”. And while I didn’t admit it out loud, at least in my case, I partially agreed. These issues are incredibly complex, multilayered and have deep roots and historical contexts. They can evoke deep emotional responses from people. And this makes it impossible to embrace a stance aligning completely with Democrats or Republicans for fear of offending someone else. Or worse, being completely wrong.
Solution: A Critical Look at Preconceived Ideas
From Climate Change to War, each topic will be confronted by encouraging a challenge of the validity and the influence of my preconceived ideas. The personalities of politicians and media biases can impact the focus on facts, statistical evidence, and context. In order to understand how I lean as an independent voter, I intend to strip this away as much as possible. And as multiple sides are considered, it will be easier to have a civil conversation or debate with those who think differently and understand how they have arrived at their conclusions.
And as my search for greater understanding continues, it is my sincere hope that the audience does 2 things:
- Participate in a Civil and Respectful way
- Recognise that “Understanding” does not have to mean complete Acceptance or Validation
In essence, this series of reflections will help define my own stances on topics but may also be for the person who has not fully considered these viewpoints either. I’m hoping we can learn together. Because I believe informed Independent Voters are the solution to the partisan divide as they can rise above the politics and reach out across the aisle of the political divide.
What makes you an Independent, Republican or Democrat?