Social Status in Politics: Why is it “Cool” to be Liberal?
It is apparent, from the correlation of internet videos where people were questioned “Who are you voting for in the US presidential elections?”, a rather common answer was: “anyone but Trump”.
Whether these answers were filmed and put together by right or left wing media broadcasting companies, they usually followed the same pattern. Which would eliminate any speculations of possible footage cutting- for there would be no reason for doing so?
When the general public was questioned over their opinion of presidential candidates, the majority had to think about their answer at first. Many were stuck in the moment of wondering WHY they would rather have anybody but Trump. Is it because their friend Steve told them that Trump was a racist bigot on the way to work today? Or is it because of their sister, Sarah read on Buzzfeed that Trump hates Mexicans? Because Buzzfeed is obviously an oh so reliable non-biased news source, isn’t it?
My honest opinion over the “I hate Trump” trend, is that it has become social conditioning in the most common of cases.
Admittedly, at the beginning of the presidential run, I even jumped onto the bandwagon quicker than anybody could shout “hypocrite”! I even had an argument with an acquaintance over how much of a sad sod they were for supporting him (I later apologised to Daniel for my behaviour). Did I know what I was saying and did I even stop for a second to think about what a sheep I was being? No.
Why not? I realised that being surrounded by those who were of a younger more impressionable generation and age group, meant that the majority would also exhibit left wing views. Being in a new class and year, meant that fitting in was in my best interest- and what a better way to fit in than to adhere to social norms of hating political figures for no reason.
Obviously, when I realised that everyone around me wasn’t as lovely as I had imagined, I slowly began to think for myself again. Then, it struck me; who else was doing the same for social acceptance? Moreover, who else is STILL harbouring differing opinions for social acceptance?
It concerns me how in this day and age, having your own opinion can give way to being expelled from your in-group. But is the in-group that you identify yourself with, really a group that you belong in? Even some of my closest friends do not know my true views and opinions, I most probably do not know theirs, perhaps they think the same and would feel relieved if I were to “confess” to them how I wish that the world would work.
But, it is fear that drives these very rusty mechanisms, that we have waited decades for to oil. It is fear that tells us that our way of thought will lead to less social support in any circumstance. So we hide our true emotions and feelings of the real world, through social conditioning.
We are a lot like subjects in an ongoing experiment of Pavlov’s dog. Just like the dog beginning to drool as it hears the bell, we begin to foam at the mouth and become hostile as soon as right wing politics is set in front of us. Of course, our reward, in this case, is social acceptance. Because, god forbid anybody is fond of right-wing politics. Being seen as ‘kind, gentle and liberal’ is such a strangely positive thing in this day and age.
The positive trait of being a strong and level headed individual has been taken out of the equation completely. Rather, the supporters of right wing politics are belittled and shunned away with derogatory terms such as “redneck” and “nazi”. Left wing media outlets insist on talking about “studies” that supposedly prove that someone who is right wing is less intelligent. However, views do not necessarily show intelligence as a whole, so tests like these would have no starting base anyway.
Has nobody yet grown a backbone on this matter? Or is it just up to the few brave fighters who are happy to defend their right to free speech? No one should be scared of losing friends over a political opinion; no one.