North Texas Daily

Political affiliation should not define personality

Political affiliation should not define personality

Political affiliation should not define personality
October 13
17:00 2020

Consider certain aspects of your personality – the little things that set you apart from other people. What are the things you do to remain connected to that part of you? A basketball fan would attend games, participate in discussions on social media and support their favorite teams. A person who adopts their political affiliation as a personality trait is similar.

They will vote, attend protests and rallies, sign petitions and bring attention to politicians who they support. In the process of allowing political participation to become more than a civic duty, politics are used as a pawn to boost their own social standing and benefit how they will appear to others. It creates a harmful cycle of chasing moments that will make them seem more woke than before. This eventually leads to their activism and campaigning to become disingenuous and performative.

Also known as surface-level activism, performative activism may initially seem harmless. A political party’s political agenda is furthered, so does it matter what the person’s underlying intentions are? Discussing hot button topics only to further one’s own agenda is selfish and creates a popularity contest out of real-life predicaments.

Once issues are reduced to a competition to see who can be most woke, it detracts from the severity of them and becomes a clear sign of privilege.  Disenfranchised and marginalized people, the ones most affected by political rifts, will bear the consequences. Privileged people fighting to one-up their opponents create an illusion of progression with shallow efforts that will cease in a few month’s time. 

Those who are directly affected more severely by political decisions cannot afford the mental health consequences that accompany the experience of constantly being consumed by them. An overwhelming majority of people with mental and psychosocial disabilities are living in poverty, poor physical health, and are subject to human rights violations, according to the World Health Organization. These populations already experience more of life’s hardships, relishing them will only further their pain.

Intertwining politics into one’s personality can cause a person to believe their opinion is superior. When a person pushes their agenda too far, it discourages people with differing views from speaking up, stifling any criticism. This is evidenced by a political science and mass communication theory, the “Spiral of Silence.”  The theory validates an individual’s fear of isolation due to their opinions that contradict what is popular. This type of stifling is encouraged when influencers and celebrities participate in personifying their political beliefs on social media platforms.

When it comes to getting too carried away with politics, I think many people automatically envision Trump supporters donning their “Make America Great Again” merchandise. In reality, all political groups have been guilty of taking their political affiliations too personally. As the political climate in America worsens, personifying political issues becomes more prevalent on both ends of the spectrum.

People with more conservative views who let their political affiliation consume their identity can lose track of what may be good about their beliefs with their stubborn commitment to tradition. Meanwhile, those who adopt a left-leaning personality become obsessed with the most radical expression of their agenda and inadvertently distract from the heart of the issues they represent. 

When something is the fundamental root of a person’s personality, it is more difficult to convince them of something that may be conflicting and leaves no room for compromise. Being a toxic Cowboys fan isn’t likely to be harmful for those around you, but in a political context, it makes it difficult to facilitate conversations and change when people are unwilling to consider opinions outside of their own.

Featured Illustration by Austin Banzon

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Rhema Joy Bell

Rhema Joy Bell

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