Political Socialization Essay, Research Paper
A person is fed information throughout their life from various outside influences, this is how one forms values, views and opinions, and from this, one shapes their political views based on what they believe or have been taught to believe. There are many factors that come into play when these views are formed, some are very apparent (historical events) and others while apparent, have a latent effect (gender, race, socio-economic status etc). The way a person is brought up has a fairly large impact on political socialization, children come to know their parents value systems and beliefs, they brought up around these beliefs and they are instilled upon them in both unconscious and conscious ways. This is the beginning, as a person is introduced to more situations and experiences, their views are molded further, but the foundations are always there.
Most of the American public does not look that thoroughly into the workings of our government and the ideology of politics. Instead they look at what politics has to offer them, (self-interest) it is far easier to just look at politics based on your opinions rather then through the complexity of policies and procedures. With the innovations of modern technology and the mass media, people don’t have to look that hard for issues surrounding politics, all they have to do is turn on their T.V. and listen to their favorite newscaster. I think that this has had a negative affect on people’s political socialization, instead of reading articles and forming opinions on their own, they are shown the sensationalized view of politics and a fairly biased/limited perspective.
I think that my own political views were formed much the way everyone else’s were. My parents taught me about the differences between democrats and republicans, what the president does and even about the legislative branch, mainly based around their own views, but always with quite a bit of objectivity. I grew up on a fairly free rein, my parents encouraged individuality and self reliance, so I really learned to think about things on my own and figure out how I felt about them. Another interesting factor in my upbringing is that I grew up without television, so when I wanted to know what was going on I read the newspaper. The school that I went to was fairly progressive and the teacher that I had for Social Studies taught us a lot about both our local and federal governments. I was able to spend a day at the Vermont State house, and have been to a few town meetings, all of which have helped me form my political views. I am a very open-minded person and this carries over heavily into how I view politics, I tend to focus on the single issues at hand and not on which party is proposing them. I feel strongly on many issues, abortion, education, foreign/domestic policy, welfare and most recently civil unions, however I try to understand both sides, not agree but understand. I do think that I could be far more educated in the realm of politics, but I think that I am off to a good start, and can hold my own in conversations concerning many of the issues that are currently in the limelight.