The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Indepedent, not Apathetic

When asked what political party I fall under, my answer is always “none.” This is usually received with a frown, because the person that asked the question can’t figure out how to process what I’ve just said. Their first thought is that I just don’t care about politics. Wrong. Their second thought is that I’m just confused. Wrong. And then they pretty much give up and start talking about something else.

Self-classified “independents” are usually classified as apathetic. People think that we just don’t care enough about politics to figure out what party we belong to. And, for most independents, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, most of us just disagree with every party on one issue and agree with every party on another, making it difficult to give us a label.

I grew up in an extremely republican family. I was brought up being told that Christian values were good and should be enforced, and the government should keep their grimy hands off our hard earned money. And that was fine until I was about 15 and started to disagree with parts of what my parents believed.

The problem then became that I didn’t know exactly how to classify myself, and I thought that was a problem. I told people for a long time that I was a “liberal republican,” which I quickly realized made absolutely no sense. Then I tried libertarianism on for size, but I found out that I just wasn’t as anti-government as that title implied. So now I’m stuck in the middle.

And, I really don’t think that is a bad thing. From this perspective, I have no political affiliations. I can pick politicians based on their individual qualities rather than the parties they subscribe to. Actually, I honestly wish that more people would do that.

I know a lot of people, from both the right and the left, that do not look at the political beliefs of the people that they vote for. They just check the “straight ticket” option at the voting booth. Party politics has become the tell-all about a candidate, and unless they have cheated on their spouse or not paid their taxes, their background and politics just don’t matter as long as they affiliate themselves with a party.

These staunch democrats and republicans do not care about facts. They care about what they think reality is. They watch Fox News or MSNBC and disregard facts that don’t fall in with their line of thought. Oh? Sarah Palin never actually read the health care bill and there is no such thing as a death panel? That’s okay. Oh? Obama attempted to ban Fox News from the Press Pool because he didn’t like what they were saying about him? That’s ok!

In the eyes of those that have classified themselves and do not further question the beliefs and merits of their party, their politicians are infallible. They find a way to place their candidate of choice on a pedestal regardless of what negative information has come forward about them, and then find solace in the fact that they don’t have to vote for the other party.

As an independent, I have the ability to make my decisions beyond the realm of party politics. I can look at a candidate as a person rather than as a mouthpiece for their party. I can look at my ticket and say, “I would like to vote for these six republicans, and these four democrats” and not feel as though I am breaking some sort of unspoken law.

What offends me the most about the people who classify themselves so strictly to their party is that they are the ones who believe me to be apathetic. I feel the same way about them. I feel that they are so apathetic that they have chosen to take the easy route and decide in advance that they will only be voting for their party’s candidate rather than actually tuning into the news or doing some research about which candidate is the best person for the job.

Party politics have made presidential races, passing laws, signing petitions, and even watching the news a game for children complete with name-calling and lie spewing. The “I’m right!” “Nuh-uh! I am!” fight that echoes from the halls of our university between members of political parties is the same fight that echoes in the halls of Congress, and no one is getting anywhere with that kind of nonsense.

Jessica Huseman is a sophomore political science and journalism major and can be reached for comment at jhuseman@@smu.edu.

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