Americans See a Problem With Religion, Politics — For Everyone but Themselves

It seems that a good chunk of the 2016 primary season has been devoted to religion, either the preservation of freedoms or the contradictions between religion and science.

It seems that ‘everyone,’ primarily on the political right, sees the so-called “war on religion” happening, but Pew Research wanted to see what was happening in people’s day-to-day lives.

The results were astounding. Almost two-thirds of respondents believed that there was a serious tension between religion and science; yet only one-third of respondents claimed that it was an issue in their own lives. Even more shocking, the more devout the respondent, the lower the tension between science and religion.

This is a form of relativist fallacy, when the respondents believe that reality exists differently than their own lives, rather than drawing on their own life experiences to form a sense of reality.

Politicians love campaigning to the “everybody knows” type beliefs, often formed in stereotypes, half-truths, and even blatant lies. What better way to stir up political emotion than to invoke what people believe about others, and not what is actually believed or known by their constituents?

Politicians love campaigning to the 'everybody knows' type beliefs, often formed in stereotypes, half-truths, and even blatant lies.
David Yee, IVN Independent Author

While this has become an effective way of campaigning, it does set into the psyche of large groups of Americans information that is simply taken as a given, without much thought behind it.

This isn’t just isolated to religion.

For instance, 1 out of every 7 Americans is currently receiving SNAP (food stamps) to supplement their food budget. At the same time, it has become ‘common knowledge’ in several political circles that welfare fraud is rampant.

But if this is the case, why don’t we see average Americans reporting this fraud in massive numbers?

It seems that many ‘know’ that welfare abuse happens, yet those within their personal circles using the programs ‘deserve’ it.

Other topics include voter fraud and immigration, all hot button issues where the political devotees often have little to no real experience on the subject.

But why is religion so important?

There’s really no great answer to this, other than the fact that the devout have strongly held views and beliefs that seem to be blended more and more with a subtle persecution complex — i.e. religion is constantly under fire from the government, sciences, and schools.

Extending this phenomenon to all topics, what would happen if Americans voted their own experiences and their own self-interests, rather than the perceptions of what is going on in other’s lives?

Sadly, this is likely to never happen because all campaigns at the federal level seem to be national campaigns, rather than the politicians being interested in what is going on in the day-to-day lives of their constituents.

We no longer hold politicians accountable for knowing the local troubles of their districts, because it seems that the national agenda always takes precedence over constituent’s needs.

Eliminating ‘everyone knows’ type campaigning is the first step back toward campaigning to the actual constituents, rather than campaigning to a party line.

This is why we need more independent-minded candidates, ones who focus on their constituents first, national agenda second — and never succumbing to party agendas.

Photo Credit: Brian A. Jackson / shutterstock.com