Opinion: Too much emphasis on binary politics

Being a student who has yet to find my political stance, I am often caught off guard in figuring out where I stand with respect to economic policies, modern political movements, and current political trends. This year’s election confused me even more because it apparently created such a rigid and divisive electoral base.

On the one hand, I support the rights and freedoms of individuals, such as the right to have an abortion or the protection of the LGBTQ community. But, on the other hand, I tend to want free labor markets while maintaining some level of government-funded programs, like education initiatives.

Politically, that puts me somewhere between a liberal and a libertarian. But I don’t necessarily like to put a label on my thought process. I’m not close to the modern connotation of many political ideologies, and I don’t like how a person’s political mindset determines who they are in this country.

Politically, I don’t necessarily believe in just one philosophy. I feel like I have both feet in each of them. I walk on the lands of Democrats, Republicans, libertarians and communitarians at the same time.

But I feel like the more I learn about the importance of elections, the more this ground turns to quicksand. I sink into a country that puts pressure on the vote, but demands that I choose between two camps.

Last month, I registered to vote in Arizona, and was forced to call myself “Democrat”, “Republican”, “Libertarian” or “Other”. I felt blindsided by the way the ballots wanted to lock me into one party.

The decision to tag “Democrat” was nearly impossible because I hate labels. I felt like it didn’t matter what I believed in, as long as one of those parties could claim me as “one of their own” and know they could count on my vote.

I ultimately chose to check the Democratic Party box because I believe individual freedoms trump economic beliefs. But I still don’t like the feeling of this tag.

It’s so important in this country – it could mean the difference between making a new friend or getting kicked out of a job – yet it’s just a box that everyone has to tick if they want to have it. its say in the elections. Am I the only one who thinks this sounds basically ridiculous?

I agree that people deserve to have their opinions, at the very least, heard on a larger scale. But is it crazy to suggest that political thought should be more fluid than ticking a silly box and accepting every political action of a party?

The basic human mindset should, in theory, always be oriented towards progress. I think both parties and each of the millions of other political ideologies can agree that we as a society should strive to be better and learn from the mistakes of the past. But the America we find ourselves in right now is simply at an impasse.

This binary has stuck the game on “checkmate” for too long, and it’s time for the citizens to abandon the game.

To me, that feels like ignoring the label given to me by the November ballot and voting for who I think will serve best during their term. I will vote for the candidate who I believe has the best record of service to their community, regardless of the label the candidate gives themselves.

I have to remember that I’m in college and I have no idea what political ideology I align myself with – and that’s okay. It may be uncomfortable to acknowledge my uncertainty, but I find comfort in the fact that there are millions of other people, especially people my age, who are in the exact same boat as me.

I encourage all ASU students to register to vote, do their research, and vote in November. But let’s also recognize that we are human beings and deserve better than to be defined by our political knowledge or a party label.

Election season is alive and well; let’s not let it get the better of us.

Edited by Piper Hansen, Sadie Buggle, David Rodish and Grace Copperthite.

Contact the columnist at [email protected] and follow @ZachBradshaw14 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are those of the author and do not imply any endorsement by The State Press or its editors.

Want to join the conversation? Email [email protected] Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.

Continue to support student journalism and make a donation to the state press today.