Saturday, October 1, 2016


When I took the political typology quiz, I was labeled as a "young outsider", which is in between the two dominant political parties, but still slightly to the right. I was not surprised by where I ended up, and I think it accurately reflects the opposing political socialization that I am impacted by in my life.

My family is Catholic, a historically Democratic group, but my parents are strong social conservatives and Republicans. Because of this, I receive very different messages on issues such as abortion and gay marriage from my young, Californian environment than I do at home, and it's hard to distinguish which one I think is "right". I used to side with my parents in their steadfast conservative positions, but in more recent years I've reevaluated and shifted more to the left. For example, I do not have a problem with gay marriage; I think people can love who they want to love as long as they aren't harming anybody. I also have a more liberal view of international affairs, and believe that diplomacy is preferential when trying to solve global issues, rather than resorting to military force. Finally, I take a liberal stance on gun control. As the article "The Myth Behind Defensive Gun Ownership" shows, even well-meaning gun owners can cause tragic deaths with their weapons. Although stricter gun control laws would infringe on individual rights, they are necessary in order to protect public safety. There are many households, such as my own, that do not have guns and are still safe and secure, and I think people who use guns for recreation should find hobbies that don't involve killing machines. Overall, guns are something we as a society should live without, because they have taken away too many people's abilities to live at all. My opinions on these three issues come from my upbringing and being taught by my parents and my church to love my neighbor and be peaceful even when others are not.

Despite my liberal leanings, there are some areas in which I still feel conservative, such as the economy. A lower class is inevitable in a capitalist society, and while people should not be deprived of their basic needs, I don't think free college or other programs to make everybody financially equal are beneficial nor realistic. A fundamental part of American culture is our opportunity for upward mobility, and the chance to rise from humble beginnings and achieve the "American dream". Inequality creates something to strive for because everyone wants to get to the top, and people feel motivated to work hard in order to reach it.

Lastly, abortion and immigration are fuzzy areas for me, ones where I truly feel like a "young outsider". On abortion - I don't think it is right because of my religious beliefs, but I also know that I cannot judge other people's ability to raise a child based on my limited experiences and worldview, so I am torn between pro-life and pro-choice. I'm also torn on immigration because I know there are suffering people who need help in the world, but I'm not sure the United States can afford to give it to them right now.

I know that my future environment will help me sort out my feelings on all these issues, and play a big part in solidifying or altering my political ideology. I'm curious to see how how my religion, gender, location, and level of education will intersect and form more complete opinions as an adult.
You know you love us. Xoxo, government girls.
(Claire McNamara)

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