As an independent, I've often wondered why I chose to think outside of the box as opposed to following the seemingly obvious route of group-think.
I believe it has more to do with my upbringing which, when it came to politics, was never filtered. My parents taught me that there were principles one should personally have and that I should always follow my personal conscience.
As citizens, we need to drop the labels of left or right, Democrat or Republican, and just focus on the direction of this country. We will never agree on the same hot-button issues and to some extent, that is fine. We all come from different backgrounds, with different experiences, religious beliefs, and personal beliefs. So, a debate on those topics is important in many instances.
Still, it's the simple fights that are more agenda-based that need to end. I call it "stepping back from the political ledge."
The idea that we so often get in an uproar because we don't like that someone is a Democrat or Republican is a problem. We rush to judgement based on a political title rather than getting to know the person.
Now, as I said, there are moral and ethical things that might burn us to the core about a person, but those are things we differ on and for most of us, there is never going to be any give on those topics. The problem, however, is so many people choose to literally shun or hate others who don't share their political opinions or party.
Why have we taken titles and made them so important? How fractured is our country today because we spend so much time labeling each other that we miss the bigger picture?
I have made it my purpose to remain independent in my thoughts and actions, including how I treat those who attach themselves to a specific party, and how I treat those who I disagree with.
I apply the same logic to my vote at the ballot box. I never compromise my core beliefs, but I've come to realize that just because there is a "D" or an "R" next to someone's name, that doesn't mean they are always in-step or out of step with my beliefs.
The key is to always do independent research and not be swayed by the media that is slanted in favor or not in favor of one candidate or the other.
For many of us, we are just discovering the power we regain when we allow ourselves to think independently and disassociate with a party. It's a great feeling and one that should be shared.