I Am Post-Modern but Not Solid Liberal
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Political identification and self-identification within this context is a complex issue. Today, many citizens often refuse to identify themselves with any political party or ideology (“Beyond Red vs. Blue,” 2011). Also, a large number of individuals are confused and often support contrary political views on various aspects of public life. This essay is aimed at examination of my political socialization process as well as my political typology based on Political Typology Quiz (2014). According to the aforementioned quiz, I belong to the Post-Modern group. This finding is very interesting as I always considered myself as a Solid Liberal. However, the quiz results showed that I am not as liberal as I thought.
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Political Typology Quiz (2014) is an instrument of the political typology study, created and conducted by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. This study was started in 1987. It sorts respondents into groups based on their values, political views, and party affiliation (“Beyond Red vs. Blue,” 2011). The quiz consists of 20 items, representing two contradictory statements about (a) government activities, (b) protecting the environment, (c) helping the poor, (d) the rights of immigrants and homosexuals, (e) racial discrimination, and (f) questions about political affiliation, age and gender. Sometimes it was hard for me to choose an appropriate statement because they were too contradictory and I lacked any medium variant. Nevertheless, the results showed that I am the Post-Modern.
“Political Typology Quiz” (2014) divides citizens into democratic (New Coalition Democrats, Hard-Pressed Democrats and Solid Liberals), middle (Libertarians, Disaffecteds and Post-Moderns) and republican groups (Staunch Conservatives and Main Street Republicans) (“Beyond Red vs. Blue,” 2011). In addition, there is also the ninth group – Bystanders, which is not considered in the political typology study. Each group represents one’s own demographic. The Post-Moderns is the youngest group (“Analyze Groups and Issues,” n. d.). Its representatives are mostly nonHispanic whites with at least some college experience. A majority use social networks and one-in-five regularly listen NPR. I match most demographic characteristics of the group and do not coincide only in terms of few points. The fact that I almost completely coincide with the description of the Post-Moderns speaks in favor of the truthfulness of the study.
My first reaction to the quiz results was a surprise and indignation. I have always considered myself as a liberal person. I found these results offensive because it means that I am not so kind and generous person as I want to be. However, after a more detailed study of the quizquestions and typology analyzis, I came to the conclusion that the Post-Modern group most precisely meets my political views and demographic factors. I have a conservative attitude to the national security issue. Also, I am more conservative in racial problems than other liberals. At the same time, I am extremely liberal to other social issues, such as same-sex marriage or immigration.
Political socialization is an extremely interesting and unstable phenomenon. It is a “developmental process by which children and adolescents acquire cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors relating to their political environment” (Atkin and Gantz, 1978, p. 184). According to Hyman (1959), the discoverer of political socialization, the family is the main agent of political socialization. My family instilled in me love and respect for people, their rights and freedoms. Since childhood, I have been taught that all people are equal and valuable to society. The second important agent of my political socialization is social networks. They are much politicized; political issues are being actively discussed both on Twitter and Facebook. Here, I can find political ideas and experiences of my friends and famous reputable people. The third notable component of my political socialization was the election of President Obama. This event was a triumph of liberal ideas. Simultaneously, this event confirms that the question of race is not the key to our society at the present time. The race is no longer a barrier to career and (or) political devvelopment. The US has already taken sufficient steps to address this matter. We just need to keep the achieved results.
Speaking of more recent events affecting my political socialization, I want to mention, first of all, the news about Ukraine that grabbed total attention of the American and world media. Despite the fact that it is an alien and distant land, the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia is actively discussed not only in the media but also in social networks. My family and friends talk a lot about it too. Therefore, it is impossible to be indifferent to this issue. Besides, the annexation of the Crimea and current Russian destabilizing activities in Eastern Ukraine undermine the system of international relations and threaten both American and world safety. Drawing upon Eric Engle (2014), this conflict “most likely will not result in a new Cold War, but most likely will reflect a “cold peace.” However, there are reasons for concern.
A significant domestic political issue is Obamacare, the most important and ambitious health initiative since 1965 (“WRAPUP 4-US”, 2012). My first impression, based on the positive media reviews and position of my family and friends, was very supportive. Nonetheless, my attitude changed with the growth of the negative reviews of this issue. I still approve the idea of improving the quality and accessibility of the health care, but I do not approve the methods of its realization. For today, reforms cause too many questions and doubts.
Summarizing the above, it becomes apparent that my quiz results are correct and I belong to the Post-Moderns, notwithstanding that I have always considered myself as a Solid Liberal. The performed analysis clarified my political ideology. My demographic characteristic and political views are almost entirely consistent with the description of the group. The key agent of my political socialization was and still is my family. It taught me the basic liberal values. In addition, important agents are friends, media, and social networks. They affect my attitude to significant internal and external political events.
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