Apparently my writings leave some wondering whether to classify me as a Republican or a Democrat. While I’m not offended by the question, I’m often baffled as to how we came to be so thoroughly entrenched in a system of all-encompassing categorization. How did we get to the point where we bundle our ideas, opinions, and beliefs into such a precise and ill-fitting container? After all, we hate being forced to bundle in other situations, and we reject it as soon as we can–take cable, for example. Yet that’s how we most often accept our truths.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the need for categorization on numerous levels. For example, knowing the difference between a wolf and a pug can be very useful information. Or the difference between a knife and a spoon. Or, even a Republican and a Democrat. But I only support those classifications based on their strict definitions. And I find it highly unproductive to force something else–no matter what similarities it holds–into one of those very limited sets.
For example, if someone asks me whether a fork is a knife or a spoon, I honestly can’t give an answer from the sets provided. It just doesn’t fit into either. Its shape is reminiscent of a spoon, but it can’t hold liquids. Plus it’s useful for stabbing food, which is closer to a knife’s purpose. So if someone were to take those similarities and reason that a fork is “just another spoon with some knife-leaning tendencies,” they’d be wrong. And eating soup would become awkward and frustrating. All because of an insistence on bundling complexity for the sake of simplicity.
But not only is this bundling chaotic, it can also be dangerous when used for very important matters such as politics. Each issue discussed on the political stage tends to be important enough to merit consideration solely for its truth, no matter which side presents it. But because of our societal obsessive compulsive disorder, the majority strains to fit us into one of these groups. And that, in turn, pushes us to accept what we don’t agree with in order to fit in where we do agree. And worse still, we’re ultimately forced to vote in the same limited fashion due to the lack of other options.
And so this means that as a Christian who finds abortion to be a matter of the human rights of the child, who wants more responsible spending in our government, I must be a Republican. But at the same time, since I don’t like traditional orthodox religion, want universal health care (just not the ACA as it stands), am diametrically opposed to war, and find welfare to do more good than harm, I must be a Democrat. Or maybe because I agree with each party on different issues, I must fall outside of those labels into a convenient third label called Independent, which neither classifies nor liberates, thus making it possibly even more useless. And so, in the end, this leaves me with no acceptable choice when casting my vote.
Clearly we need a change. Beliefs must be built from the ground up. Opinions must be allowed to roam free, unhindered by neighboring ideas. And we must be allowed to choose a candidate outside of the bounds of a party system. A candidate that is free to express all of their beliefs without fear of polarization, thus empowering the public to know them better and make a more informed decision. I’ll admit that it might seem a little more chaotic, but I assert that it’s really the only sensible path for true representation.