The World in Red and Blue
How politics ruined my teenage brain
I’ve never really cared about government. Being a lawyer or running for an office simply has not ever crossed my mind as a interesting career or a field that I’m passionate about. But recently, I feel like the United States of America has been shining these two huge spotlights in every teenager’s face. One is red. One is blue. As we face the lights, sometimes they will flicker, and the other light will grow and become brighter, seemingly absorbing the other’s power. For most of us, the lights burn with such intensity that we run back to to our parents, asking for advice on which light we should flick off or which one we turn up even brighter. One of the problems is that they may not know what to do either. The real solution is to think for yourself, and for the millennial generation, it’s one of the toughest challenges yet.
For the sake of this article, I’m not writing as a Democrat, or Republican, or Independent, or whatever other political term you’re thinking of saying next. What I really care about is solving the issues that are created as a result of political parties bickering and mauling each other at every second. It took me a while to realize myself that the way I was thinking about people was absolutely incorrect. Reading the news was hurting my human nature, my sense of kindness, nobility, and simple courtesy.
Last year, when the presidential candidates started their campaigns and I first was exposed to the land of politics (as seen on TV), it was horrifying. Not that I realized it at the time, but I was being brainwashed. I tried to watch every news channel, not just one because of bias, but that only contaminated my individual opinions more.
Some channels told me Republicans were racist, fascist, gun-loving rednecks. Others told me that Democrats were offended by everything and wanted a socialist America. So you can imagine the level of ignorance I had when I checked Twitter and saw hundreds of my fellow classmates, people I saw everyday, supporting certain candidates. Almost immediately, assumptions and opinions formed around the identities of these people in my head. I’ve known most of my classmates for 10 years now, others I’ve known since birth. Looking back on it, my mind was a filthy place that held political parties as the primary method to judge a person’s character. I can’t think of a worse mindset for a human being, much less for an individual developing his own opinions and character.
I don’t want to assume that anyone else will fall into the same trap, but I can guarantee that this pitfall in politics is a huge issue in today’s media-driven world. Most of the time, information for teenagers comes from social media like Twitter or Facebook, and depending on the trends of the site, the information could be biased. A solution might be to keep in mind that everyone is a “you”. “You” being a thinking, living, breathing, human being with individual thoughts, opinions, experiences, and most important of all, feelings. Once we recognize that the world isn’t centered around our opinions or what we think about any given topic, just maybe we can step out of the spotlight.
This article was inspired by the great Hank Green and his YouTube video “The Politics of ‘Parks and Rec’”. Please watch it below let me know what you think!