When George Washington stepped down from the presidency all those years ago, he set precedents for those who come after him to follow. Most of us were actually clearly taught this in school growing up. I distinctly remember taking a test in eighth-grade social studies where I had to list a few of them. In today's world, one aged a little worse than the rest.
No political parties.
Maybe George Washington was on to something. Maybe he foresaw the state our nation is currently in. Frankly, we are a bipartisan mess.
Being on the cusp of millennials and Generation Z, I am living in a time where politics is starting to overwhelm social media, which is already overwhelming enough in itself with the amount of control and relevancy it has over young people. Without fail, I can open any one of my accounts on any given day and either see a jab at the conservatives or the liberals, and it's starting to become extremely unsettling. Not because I feel like I am being attacked in any of the posts, but because I am sitting on the outside watching two parties refuse to see value on the other side.
I am sitting on the outside watching two parties pigeonhole a person into a few of their beliefs and assume that because they don't agree with them, they no longer have worth as a human. It's harsh, but it's true.
I am a moderate. I am an independent. I bounce between parties during elections and during casual debates with friends. This shouldn't be a hard thing to say. It shouldn't feel odd to stand up and make my beliefs known without fearing retribution. But it does feel weird to confidently declare that I stand by my ideas.
When last year's election came around, most every conversation began or ended with everyone's elevator pitch as to why their candidate was the best option. The amount of frustration people had toward me for not seeing much of anything to support in either party was striking. Truly, I did not believe either candidate would do the title and job of President the justice it deserves. Both sides would gladly group me with their enemies because I wasn't necessarily their ally. Both sides would refuse to see the credit in anything I was saying because my views were not their own. No matter which way I voted in that election, Democratic or Republican or Third Party, I would be blamed for the outcome.
That's not how democracy is supposed to work.
There are some things, especially with the economy, that I believe need to government-regulated. And then there are some things that I believe shouldn't be the government's choice, especially when it comes to limiting certain people's rights because they don't resemble the people making the decisions. There are some views I am still trying to find my stance on. But this doesn't mean you get to look at me and scoff and tell me I'm wrong. You don't get to look at the opposing party and say that either.
Because if you assume you're right and they're wrong, they are probably just assuming the same thing back.
So what's the crime in me agreeing with you and with them?
It doesn't make me two-faced, it doesn't make me indecisive. I actually think it's freeing. I think that we should be the future, not the people generalizing the opposite party into all morons or all bigots. Obviously, not everyone who affiliates with a party acts this way. But the ones who do are the ones who are driving the political state of this country into the ground.
Stop yelling at me for not picking a party. Stop assuming that because I'm not 100% with you, that I'm 100% against you. I still vote, I still campaign for who I believe in, I still march for what I'm passionate about and I still make my voice heard. I'm trying to find my way like everyone else, and I simply don't think either side is right for me. Maybe if more people were comfortable with accepting this, and maybe if more people accepted that those of us in the middle deserve to have a voice too, things may have gone differently.
There's been a saying passed around philosophers for a while now, so it's hard to give credit where it's due. People like Winston Churchill, Georges Clemenceau, and Francois Guizot have all been cited expressing the idea in some fashion that if you're not liberal in your 20's you have no heart, and if you aren't conservative in your 40's you have no head. Maybe it's time for us all to look for a happy medium, or at least try to understand it.