Political labels limit individuality, are not always accurate

Mai Hoang

Most people won’t vote this year. Still, most everyone has been boxed into some political cause.

It’s not always fair.

Determining your political affiliation seems as easy as deciding to shop at the Gap, Abercrombie and Fitch or Wal-Mart for your clothes.

People seem to group those in our society into political groupings, not only by where they stand on political issues but by the things they do on a daily basis.

When I registered to vote, I had no idea if I was a Republican or a Democrat. I registered independent, because I thought maybe I was neither.

But over the years, it appears that people have decided for me.

I enjoy going to church. I’m obviously conservative.

I want to be a journalist. I have to be liberal.

I read The Wall Street Journal. I’m conservative.

I don’t like the Fox News Channel. I’m a liberal.

I eat Apple Jacks cereal. I’m a liberal. (Just kidding.)

If it were only so easy. We wouldn’t even have to have elections. It would save a lot of pain and ballots in Florida. (All we would have to do is group people based on their interests – we could put churchgoers for Bush and all the pro-choice folks for Gore.)

But that’s not reality.

It’s amazing how people who don’t know me think they can determine my political makeup just by making a few assumptions.

In reality, I don’t really know where I stand politically. Sometimes I agree with “conservative” stands on issues. Other times, I take the “liberal” stance.

If I can’t figure it out, I really don’t think random strangers can, even if they think otherwise.

But it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, it’s my decision. If I choose to choose or not to choose a political side, it doesn’t matter to anybody except myself.

I know I don’t care who watches the Fox News Channel.

I don’t care if people protest wars or abortion clinics.

People have individual personalities that go beyond “liberal” or “conservative.” It takes more than knowing what newspaper somebody reads to really know a person.

Forget the labels, they’re never really that accurate anyway.

Mai Hoang is a junior print journalism and religious studies double major from Louisville.