Imagine if Wall Street and multinational corporations valued empathy for a change. Families wouldn’t have to suffer through no fault of their own, and good people wouldn’t have to lose their homes, their savings, and their jobs. We would have access to adequate health care. We would have hope for a prosperous future as big business would not be booming at our expense. Unfortunately, it became clear to the people that profit is more important than their well-being. This soaring profit angered me and propelled me to the voting booth for the 2012 Presidential Election. My voice was heard, but I didn’t feel special. I didn’t even expect my vote to remedy these desperate times. I just knew that these two warring political factions, the Democrats and the Republicans, seemed indifferent to the plight of the people.
Despite the injustice to the poor and the out of touch politicians, what if I told you that my vote was an anomaly and that I usually don’t bother to vote? How would you process that information? Would you say that I was apathetic during my budding adult life, that I didn’t bother participating in some psuedo-democratic political circus? Would you say that I was lazy, too engrossed in what new gadget I was to purchase next, instead of deliberating on how to make a positive contribution to society? I imagine if someone truly cared why I rarely voted, they’d sincerely ask me about it.
Sadly, as evidenced in the 2012 Presidential Debates, sincere questions weren’t raised all too often. Indeed, what did dominate the political landscape was the bickering among rival candidates and the sweeping generalizations made to further an agenda. Media icons, politicians, and voters labeled groups of people as they saw fit and as such, cognitive distortions were substituted for logic and facts. For example, many people willingly dismissed the talent, the work ethic, and the intelligence of the lower classes and labeled them as lazy, selfish, and parasitic. They simply use a few polarizing labels to define what they know little about.
It genuinely amazes me when a group of people or individuals are repetitively marginalized with inaccurate labels. People contend, so passionately, so intently, that their political stance is right, but I don’t see facts, numbers, or any indisputable evidence supporting the theories that they hold dear. While voting, the tools often used to facilitate their choice largely comes down to anecdotal evidence and their own brazen grandiosity. They won’t hesitate to use stories of people they know or heard of to support their beliefs and flaunt their pride in being “right.” In other words, many appear to vote based on labels supported by flimsy, overly simplistic explanations of complicated situations. Voters, for instance, scapegoated one man, Barack Obama, as the source of the nation’s ills.
The truth should always be relevant, but deluded bias prevails all too often. The objective world simply cannot fit inside such a limited perspective. Positing that Barack Obama won the 2012 Election because he was “Santa Claus,” giving away free stuff, fits the mold of this label consciousness. Propaganda like this prevents the flow of useful information and encourages using it to masquerade as the truth. In fact, label consciousness stifles the true American spirit. Many Americans, unfortunately, rely on these labels instead of thinking and deducing, drawing their own conclusions, and even instead of reading and researching. Using convenient labels to guide our thought stalls any real progress. Just imagine where we would be without the lessons that blossomed out of the Civil Rights Movement. Out of chaos and prejudice, love for one another rose out from the cries in the streets, and we learned that we are equal. However, voters who prefer the fiction, the propaganda that news establishments bombard them with, can only sink the American public back into the Dark Ages, a period where Feudalism made it clear that most people were not worthy human beings.