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Political Stereotyping

Updated on March 28, 2011

Who are you?

You are a rigid, religious fanatic! You are fearful of change, aggressive, and not very stylish. I could list some more flattering traits about you, but you're a conservative so you'll probably pull out your shotgun and go ape on me. While you're at it, why don't you be gooder at educating yourself and work on being more cultured, you know, embrace more cultures other than your own because I loathe the traditional American way- what America was built on. I am a liberal and proud of it because I read more books than you, travel the world, and am empathetic to every living thing. I can save the world, one tree at a time.

(Disclaimer: I am not a liberal, but I am left-handed and in my right mind. My statements above are only an example of the ugliness political stereotyping represents.)

Had enough?

If that stereotyping was enough to get you reeling, think about how these stereotypes are effecting our elections, how we live our lives, how we interact, how we deal with social issues. People voted for Obama because they wanted change, not just a political change. Who wasn't tired of the same old white-haired, pinch-faced, uber-conservative man running for president. Obama was fresh and different. The fact that people would vote based on their political stereotypes is something of a concern.

The government would rather us fight among each other (political parties) than bug the "natural" order of criminal behavior that nearly all of congress has succumbed to. The biggest divide ever between liberals and conservatives- or Democrats and Republicans, is reflective of the situation in our government, and vice versa.


That's me! Not Hitler!
That's me! Not Hitler!

Do I look like Rush Limbaugh or Hitler?

For those of you who did a double take at my picture, get yourself some glasses Sherlock. I'm no Hitler...or Rush- nope, not him either even on my worst hair day. However, according to some educated liberals, I might as well be. More on that later...

Science has been diving into the area of political differences, studying us- how our biology and everyday lives are effected by self-proclaimed titles of either liberal or conservative. The results are ugly. When I used to assist with studies at my local University, this kind of bias I'm reading about in these political studies shouldn't have made it past someones over-caffeinated college study group.

But recently, I picked up a popular science magazine at my local coffee shop and proceeded to read an article about 'your true self', dedicated mostly to a study conducted by a Professor and researcher, Dana Carney. In this study, the same old negative list of traits were assigned to conservatives: minimal change/rigid, authoritarian, less educated, aggressive, fearful, less worldly, etc. On the flip side, liberals were found to own more books and CD's. Anyway, books and CD's are popping out of every corner in my house. What would that prove anyway, one can't clean their gun and read books or listen to CD's at the same time?

On politics and personality, these politcal studies have it all wrong. I just took a personality test and it came up as being empathetic/nurturer and introspective, as well as biologically prone to autoimmune illnesses. Well, that's me and I've got the illness to prove it. Yet political personality studies consistently state that liberals possess those same traits, not conservatives. Since I am politically more conservative, these studies (by liberals...probably) are very rigid in nature, applying such rigid stereotypes with weak science, but rigid isn't a liberal trait. Now I'm confused.

I'm not just talking sh*t

The truth is political stereotyping studies have been going on for decades. An excellent example comes from a 1950's study, in which right-wing types were identified as "rigid, conventional, intolerant, and obedient." (Left-wingers were assigned much more favorable adjectives like flexible, sympathetic, and curious).

According to another study (Frank Sulloway, University of California, Berkeley), "conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past."

Preaching a return to the past.? If conservatives are so hung up on the past why did the liberal researchers conducting this study bring up the past with examples such as Hitler and Reagan? Here's a current example: Rush Limbaugh. He sometimes scares me as much as Hitler, yet I'm being compared to them simply because of my political affiliation.

The researchers involved in the study proclaimed, "This research marks the first synthesis of a vast amount of information about conservatism, and the result is an elegant and unifying explanation for political conservatism under the rubric of motivated social cognition."

"Elegant". Yes, there's nothing more elegant than stereotyping and being proud of it. I guess I'm an under-educated conservative because what the f*ck is 'synthesis of rubric motivation' or whatever? All I have to say to them is congrats on scoring the medical marijuana while simultaneously making me feel like an idiot because they lost me about three words into that statement.

Should I go read the Bible or clean my gun?

Where do we go from here? Aren't we all tired of the nonsense? I believe both conservatives and liberals are in the mood for some changes. The difference perhaps lies in conservatives wanting to approach change as to what worked in the past and liberals want to try a smorgasbord of options until something feels right (OK that was a little bit of a dig, but you get it). Obama may be a Democrat, but it's self-serving politics as usual and the White House has seen it's fair share of "criminals" in congress over the years, regardless of the party.

For the sake of doing what's best for the country as a whole, it's wise to avoid falsely labeling those with opposing views. There will always be groups of people who lend their personas to the stereotypes, and we can choose to focus on them, but if we don't try to avoid this ugly side of political stereotyping, we can't expect our nation to change at all or progress to anyone's ideal.

Here's a personal point of view- take it or leave it because it may be reflective of my conservative views. I think people are spending too much time trying to be politically correct to actually correct things that matter most. Perhaps less focus on our verbiage would lead to more action.


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