With the US 2012 election campaigns in full swing, the psychological impact of prevalent political hypocrisy is a cause for concern
As America gets closer to the 2012 election, the issues discussed in the media are generally focused on what politicians say and believe in, based upon their histories and track records. Politician A says one thing, and then the news focuses on Politician B’s response.
It’s an acceptable method of journalism in that it reveals two sides to an issue. What it doesn’t do, however, is discuss the hypocrisy of that issue. Let’s look at three egregious examples. These are all from the Republican Party, although certainly the Democratic Party is guilty of many of their own hypocritical actions as well:
At the Republican National Convention (RNC), the Republicans were taking stances to create nationwide constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and abortions. Republicanism espouses the belief that national government should not intrude on people’s lives and social and taxation issues should be left to individual state governments. No Republican, then, should be supporting any change to the national constitution that takes power away from the state’s rights to control their own preferences.
Also at the convention, the Republicans were touting small business owners that “made their own way” as a response to a statement by President Obama that the government helps make small businesses possible. Not only was this quote taken out of context, the vast majority of small business owners they used as examples had in fact received millions of dollars in government grants.
Republican Congressman, Todd Akin, sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. He thinks that women can reject sperm when they’re raped, going against what is widely known in science. This is yet another indication of the way that their side of the government is being run – where someone that doesn’t actually believe in science or know science is allowed to make decisions related to scientific exploration.
This is not meant to be a political argument and, despite highlighting one side, both sides clearly have their own issues in saying things that are consistent with their party’s disposition.
No, the issue to explore here is: what are the effects of this hypocrisy when it comes to the future of America – or any country – where hypocrisy is not met with any media challenge?
It’s something that is likely to have several long term consequences, particularly in the way that future generations start to understand and recognize the importance of politics. The three most likely outcomes are as follows:
The first is anxiety. Hypocrisy often causes confusion, and confusion is going to cause anxiety. When you don’t know who is doing what or where, you find yourself confused and unable to get a grasp on the events taking place in the country and the world. Who is to be believed? What evidence does someone have when hypocritical stances are what is defining the future?
Indifference is another likely outcome and is perhaps even more problematic than anxiety. Youth voters and citizens essentially give up caring, and yet everyone – even those that call themselves apolitical – have political stances on issues like taxation, abortion, gay marriage etc. Indifference gets nothing done and puts all power in the hands of those that are passionate, including those that may want what is not best for the country or any individual person.
Anger is the final possible outcome. Anger is a great motivating tool, and more likely to get people to the polls. But it also has its downsides. Spreading incorrect or hypocritical beliefs has a tendency to affect those that are prone to anger, which can lead to some dangerous consequences as some of the recent shootings in the US reflect. Anger can be somewhat beneficial for making changes to the country, but only if it is placed on the right people and situations and doesn’t get out of hand.
These reactions are all a result of not only the actions of US politicians. They’re also the result of the hypocrisy – the ability to say and do anything because they want to, even if it completely differs with their official stances, actions, beliefs etc. Hypocrisy is a serious problem and one that could have some fairly devastating consequences for the future.
Image from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/27/us-elections-battle-soul-america?newsfeed=true
Reclaim Your Stage:
The Platform is a groundbreaking blog that provides current affairs and cultural commentary. Our pieces offer challenging opinions from a range of spectrums; that’s why we love hosting a platform for them.