Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One Vote, Two Vote, Red Vote, Blue Vote

Over the last few months, the vilification of local, state, and national candidates for political office has trickled down from the hallowed halls of Washington D.C., through our media outlets, and into our social media pores. Friends, countrymen, posting half-truths and headlines about candidates and political parties, all to the chagrin of the majority of their friends. The vitriol overwhelms friendships, divides families, and befuddles our prior conceptions of who our friends really are.

This morning, amid all the "I voted" posts on facebook, I wanted to distill the anecdotal posts, in favor and opposing the various candidates and positions, into a broader view of how my friends are voting. So I posted a simple inquiry. After a couple of hours, people of every time in my life had weighed in (and continue to do so). The results were not as empirical as I had originally assumed they'd be.

This exercise validates a few realizations I've known for a while, but struggled to come to terms with. The first is that very few people can hone their political philosophies to fit within one cookie cutter political tent. The responses I got varied widely, and represented so many equally valid needs for our country - needs that are both symbiotic and diametrically opposed. The second realization I came to is that all too often people generalize their support behind an ephemeral idea that is so broadly defined that multiple opposing ideologies can all bear the standard while fighting below it. Who isn't in favor of freedom? What party is running on the "Anti-human rights" platform? These items are universally agreed upon, but different parties have vastly differing ways of approaching said issues.
This minuscule case study is not in any way a conclusive litmus test on today's election, but it is definitely an insightful thought experiment. How do you see your friend base? Repost this question and see how your circles respond. Take this day to step away from the hostility we've been inundated with and instead try to understand what is driving the voting process today.

This image popped up on my news feed today, and I thought it an apt sentiment from one of my favorite presidents. Thank you to George Takei for posting.

I'll continue to update the graphic above as more people weigh in. Feel free to go to my facebook page and be a part of the conversation as well.


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