One of the things we humans do throughout our lives is craft our identities. The process starts very early, anyone with ever a modest about of exposure to babies knows that personality, the first basis for identity, establishes very early.
As we grow we add all sorts of criteria and puzzle pieces to our identity, things we hates, things we love, people we associate with, the people we don’t associate with, and our relationship to religion and all manner of spiritualism become key elements in our understanding of who we really are.
At some point for many people, and that number appears to be growing, we add politics as a key block in our identity foundation. With that element comes the terrible temptation to define ourselves in an almost purely negative manner.
That is not to say we view ourselves negatively, but rather we identify ourselves more and more by what we are not, using political opponents and what they stand for define us by reflexively standing against them and their positions.
I have seen this play out for people all across the political spectrum. An event or controversy will pop up in the news or social media and if side A has taken one position people who are opposed to side A immediately take a contrary position without have any knowledge of the situation. If this were just isolated cases here and there for these people this would be nothing more than surrendering direction and being a team player. (Though for myself it is always important to look at the facts and not just blindly follow the team but to try to be right for the situation.) However this process happens again and again the cumulative effect if that these people start having identities crafted principally by what they react against. They have surrendered one of the most basic things about being human, deciding who you are, to others and largely they have surrendered that power to people that they disagree with. To me this is madness.
The insidious aspect to this process is that one can be so blind to the course as it runs. It is not that people make a choice to surrender these aspects but rather they reflexively take a position or leap to a conclusion and then create a post-fact justification for their action.
Don’t be the negative image of someone else’s position. Think, question, your side and yourself, dig and work it out for yourself.