Group Think

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

If you know me in the slightest, you know that I am not at all the political sort. When I was at Michigan State, almost 15 years ago now, we lived in suites (two rooms shared a common bathroom). One of the guys in the other suite connected to mine was a super, duper, dee-duper Republican of Republicans. He had a full-size, cardboard statue of George Bush 41. He meant business. And I didn’t necessarily think he was weird… I think I just didn’t get it.

So as I have lived life as an adult for a time, I have understood a bit more the role of politics in our country, and to a degree in my life. But see, that’s just the thing. It has become such a game that it basically has no role in my life at all. To me, everyone involved in politics on any level – not just Washington – is just playing some childish, meaningless game. And that’s too bad, because it shouldn’t be this irrelevant.

I’m just completely irked by the comments leading up to, and now especially following the most recent election. “The Democrats have taken control of both houses of congress…” and, “Americans sent George Bush a message in this 2006 election…” There were many incarnations of that last one, spoken by many media folk and especially the victorious Democrat candidates. The real evidence that it is just a game though is that everyone says the same thing. Everyone is playing by the same rules.

I said to Jen last night, “Our government is not supposed to be two people, who always choose the same way.” That’s what it has become. You either vote for one, or the other. We do not have one president with his cabinet and staff, along with 100 senators and 500-something representatives. No, we have Republican and Democrat. Now that the Democrat controls congress, the Republican won’t be able to get anything done. And, please tell me that when I clicked those 15 or so levers in the polling booth Tuesday night that I was actually voting for individual candidates in individual races… not just “sending President Bush a message…”

GRRRRRR. It makes me so mad! People!! Think for yourselves!!! If you don’t like what George Bush is doing… TELL HIM. Tell someone. SOMEONE should listen. Don’t vote for the “opposite party”, regardless of who that sends to represent us. Pay attention to the individual candidate!!!

OK… now that I have said that, I also understand that mostly the people who really think that Americans “sent a message to George Bush” via the election are the crazy media who live in a made-up world and the politicians, who also live in a made-up world. I just really hope that Average Joe American does not think like they all think we do.

You don’t, do you?

We are individuals. We are not Republicans or Democrats or Independants or any other brand name. We are not blacks, or whites, or hispanics, native-americans, or any other demographic. We are Americans, because that’s where we live… but that does not remove or absolve us from making individual decisions. We don’t all think the same way just because we’re American (that should be obvious!) … we each get to choose in every situation, every time.

The other problem we have in this country is reflected in something Senator Clinton said following her lop-sided victory over the token Republican challenger. She said, “The people have spoken… and we will give you a government you won’t be dissapointed in.” (Something like that.) That revealed to me what she thinks of government. She thinks it should be something. I don’t. I think government should be invisible. I don’t even think it should be a full-time job sometimes. I think people should be allowed to live their own lives, as they desire, and government only represents our country to the world and maintains order/communication between the various states. Any other form of government is something I will either be dissappointed in or not… because… it’s SOMETHING. It becomes its own entity. In a tiny way, it’s like the church actually. When we make it a thing, rather than just a reality, we have gone too far. And then, enter the politics.

So… nothing I can do really. That’s just what we do. We play games. Politics magnifies the scale and the stupidity of that, but it’s all the same on every level. Politics involves playing games for power, so it’s intensified there too. One more example of how we have a totally wrong view of what government is. Government should not be about power. Our government is supposed to REPRESENT us, not lead or “govern” us. At least, not in America. But those days are loooong gone. And here we are.

The only way I could think to fix things would be to actually run for office. I have that notion every time there is an election, or politics is heavy in the news. But then I remember, it’s all just a game, and no one is real. One real person, trying to actually change the way government thinks… not gonna happen.

Who knows. Maybe I will run for president some day.


  1. Your post title is funny.

    I did some research on the groupthink phenomenon when I was doing my psych minor in college. It’s quite an interesting thing, actually, where lots and lots of individuals totally surrender their free will to the will of the group; the group becomes its own organism, making choices that often don’t reflect the actual desires of each person IN the group.

    Is that what our country has become? Mindless liberalism? I too feel like our country needs a third party, and I very nearly voted for Ralph Nadar the last time he ran simply because he was trying to provide an alternative to the status quo, and to even make a blip on the radar, he’d have to get all the votes he could. He made 3% of all votes cast in that election.

    I think it’s a bloody shame. I too am tired of our polarized political system, and how it keeps getting MORE polarized. There’s no balance, there’s no real accountability, only the mob of people trapped in a system that’s ceased to truly represent the individual and has taken on a groupthink mentality.

    If anything, at least the addition of the democrats as a voice in the political system again might start making things happen. But more likely it’ll just bog the government down in debate, where nobody gets anything done anymore because they’re all squabbling over politics again.

    You’re right, it reminds me of church.

    Creepy as, man …


  2. Incidentally, you’d be a fun president, controversial in so many ways. You’d be all like, “yeah buffalo bills” and all the rest of the country would laugh at you, and then you’d start trying to change the entire white house over to Apple computers, and taxes might go up, and then you’d take your kids to camp David and people would be all “awww, so cute!! what a good dad” and all would be forgiven.

    I’d vote for you just for the entertainment value 🙂


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