Fact Absent Opinion: How Political Opinion Is Influenced

1350 words - 6 pages

A 7th grade student walks to school on a Friday morning. Throughout his usual routine, he witnesses a ring of students chanting derogatory phrases of gay or homosexual context while throwing a child around in their circle. To the 7th grade student, this child being tortured has done nothing wrong, and this fact alone constitutes intervention. Much like this child’s thoughts on bullying, political opinions are generated by people who lack understanding of what is occurring, yet can measure the value of discussion inside the circle. In the example of the student, this 7th grade child is formulating his opinion on an issue that does not involve him, but somehow invokes thought. He ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, ideology diffusion from parent-to-child is a major impact on how the child views political topics. For example, the valiant 7th grade student may not have been so eager to help if his father instilled a Republican mindset at an early age. However, this does not mean a child’s moral compass may not conflict with an influenced ideological view. A change in political perspective can occur at any moment through personal experience.
Personal Experience
Perhaps our young 7th grader’s father was a Democratic man, and with this bond between father-and-son, the child adopts his father’s political ideology to a weak extent. As the child completes his primary and secondary education, his Democratic views strengthen as his peers and teachers preach on the extreme end about equal treatment and “death to corporations.” Though this student may not embody the ideal Democratic voter, he has adopted Democratic views through peers and teachers, and interprets them as his own. It is important to note that this student may never have studied extensively on a political issue, such as abortion, and has not obtained facts and data that may sway opinion. However, he is pro-choice because his Democratic ideology leans in that direction, or maybe he was witness to an incident of abortion where the girl was raped and forced into a life she did not choose herself.
This is a key concept in understanding non-factual political opinion. As time forces people forward, the people that are met and the events that occur may strengthen or weaken views on a political issue. Exposure to the real world is a variable that can alter political ideology (Shaw, 2014). The reason why personal experience is a prominent factor in political thinking is that it may even alter factual political opinion. For example, a high school student who has extensively studied facts, numbers, and political voices about the issue of high corporate taxes may sway if his hometown was affected by corporate pollution or Wal-Mart beating out his father’s deli. To this student, the hard times his community or family has faced is more valuable in forming a political standpoint than the facts and numbers he knows. Personal experience is an x-factor in political mind-setting: it is prominent, but to an unknown degree.
Institutions: The Church
Discussed earlier in the semester was the concept of institutions. As stated by Anthony Giddins, “Institutions by definition are the more enduring features of social life” (Shaw, 2014). The value in this statement is rooted in what churches do in paradigm shifting. Social norms are generated often generated through institutions. Whether it be the constructed rules of the legislative branch, the trends of college living, or the religious viewpoints generated through the church, institutions have a major impact on our lives. An institution that should be noted here are churches. Churches allow people to think past the world they live in, and find guidance from a...

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