To Be a Republican or To Be a Democrat? Neither.


Sofia Nagy, Staff Writer

American society promulgates that one’s political affiliations are an undeniable defining factor of one’s very identity and set of beliefs. Saying “I’m a Republican” or “I’m a Democrat” is taken as seriously, if not more, as saying “I’m religious” or “I’m an atheist.” The two factions are continually antagonizing each other and members of their parties who do not wholly fit their established viewpoints. They are dividing the nation—dictating who’s a friend and who’s a foe—with every single controversiality that arises. Both parties—Democrats and Republicans alike—are taking part in dividing the so-called “United States.” 

Republican President Donald J. Trump is known for repeatedly using nicknames on his Twitter (@realDonaldTrump) such as “Do Nothing Democrats” and “Radical Left” for the Dem. Party members and for anyone who disputes him. 

Former Democratic Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, said, on Feb. 8, that “being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat,” apparently stripping the nearly 21 million members of Democrats for Life from the first word in its name just for not entirely fitting into the party’s political agenda, according to National Review article by Alexandra Desanctis, “Bernie Sanders Reverses Course on Pro-Life Democrats.”

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden said, on May 22, that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” apparently stripping any Black person of their skin color if they don’t like the Democratic Candidate, according to CNN article by Eric Bradner, Sarah Mucha, and Arlette Saenz “Biden: ‘If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.'”

Furthermore, wearing a face mask and social distancing in a country that has the highest number of cases in the world is a Democrat vs. Republican issue. 

This endless fighting in absolutes is not only reserved for politicians and people of power. The battle transfers to the people of the United States who consider themselves to be members of either the Democratic or Republican political parties, and it can affect them extensively.

A crystal clear example being Trump’s fierce opposition to wearing masks. He said in an interview with Fox News on July 17: “I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask everything disappears,” and that “as you know, masks cause problems, too.” According to CNBC article by Kevin Breuninger, “Trump says coronavirus masks are ‘patriotic’ after months of largely resisting wearing one.” Trump then decided to pivot his narrative and tweet a black and white photo of himself wearing a mask.

Trump, Donald (@realDonaldTrump). “We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is no one more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!” 20 July 2020, 12:43 p.m. 

All that it took for hard-core Trump supporters to change their opinion on face masks was for Trump to go from saying, “I think a mask is a… it’s a double-edged sword… I see Biden. It’s like his whole face is covered. It’s like he put a knapsack over his face. He probably likes it that way” and that “it could be” that people only wear masks to manifest their disapproval of him; according to The Wall Street Journal article, “Transcript of President Trump’s Interview With The Wall Street Journal,” to posting the tweet above.

Okay, so if both the Rep. and Dem. Parties are tearing this country’s unity apart and pressuring the masses into believing whatever aligns with their plan, then which to pick? A standard answer you’ve probably heard is picking the one you most resonate with, even if there are some things you disagree with. 

There is an analogy to represent this standard answer, which goes like this: You are standing in between two tables, each offering different sweets. One table has Skittles, Sour Patch, and Reese’s. The other has M&M’s, Xtremes, and Snickers. Let’s assume that you love Skittles, Reese’s, and M&M’s, don’t like Xtremes and Snickers a lot and loathe Sour Patch. You can only pick one table’s sweets. Which one do you choose? The one where you love one of the sweets and don’t like the other two, or where you love two sweets but cannot even bear to look at the third? 

Whichever answer you pick, you’ll end up feeling unhappy with some aspect. However, what if there was a third option? An option that allows you to select the sweets you love from each table or go to the store to get even better sweets and then sit at a third table. Given this third option, which of the three would you choose? Probably the third.

Bretton Holmes from Phoenix, Arizona said, according to a CNN article, published on Nov. 2, 2012, by Christina Zdanowicz, “Neither Republican or Democrat: Why I’m an independent,” “Being an independent has nothing to do with being undecided,” and that declaration could not be any truer. Being an independent means completely embracing your beliefs without trying to fit yourself into a political party you don’t agree with one-hundred percent. It means not being tricked into believing that there are only two tables and that you have to conform to one because you know that you can cherry-pick the sweets that you love and sit at a third table. It means to be congruent with your principles instead of merely going along with someone else’s. It means not to force yourself to fit in wherever you don’t.

Contrary to conventional U.S. belief, political affiliation does not determine who you are as a person. Who you are as a person determines what political affiliation you have, and you have the choice to have none. Having no political affiliations welcomes freedom of thought, logical reasoning, awareness, congruity, and open-mindedness with wide-open arms. This is why I am an independent—an independent thinker.


Graphic Courtesy of CNN.COM