Angelica Chaudary | Contributing Writer
There are some issues that most people classify as the “impolite topics”, and if you want to keep a conversation without arguing, you better stay a considerable distance away from religion, sexuality, and politics.
There is a reason for this. Why politics? Every single individual will always hold a political side even if they consider themselves “neutral,” as there is always an internal side. Everyone is at one side or another. You cannot be in the middle. But be careful, there is a huge difference between supporting a political party and falling into “partyism.”
I will let you know the difference by telling you how a small country in South America, Venezuela, in which I was born and raised, fell into the obscure world of this extreme devotion for a political party.
David Brooks, a writer in the New York Times states, “Your political label becomes the prerequisite for membership in your social set.” This might be one of the clues that indicate that your country is falling into Partyism.
It all started when Venezuelans were asked to provide a signed statement stating that they belong to the political party who is currently holding power in order to maintain a work position in a public entity. I personally stayed standing for five minutes looking at a woman in astonishment when she asked me to sign for a paper stating that I supported the government leaders, so I could get an important paper from the national service of identification.
The moment when a citizen starts lying and hiding his political position is the moment when you should stop and consider the possibility that your country is falling into partyism. But if you think that is extreme, you definitely have not seen or been forced to use a “patriotism identification” which is not only stating that you support a certain political party, but a document that you will need to not die of starvation.
This obsession, devotion, and fixation to a political party can lead you sooner or later to develop an internal hate, and lack of respect which might turn you into a huge ignorant. Not only the supporters of the political party holding power fall into this, but the other party also can start playing the same game; a game in which there are no winners. According to Brooks, “Those who are not members of the right party are deemed to lack basic compassion, or basic loyalty to country… political issues are no longer just about themselves; they are symbols of worth and dignity.”
I am ashamed to confess that even I fell into this dirty game for a while. I am not proud of saying that I used to judge people at the moment their political position was not matching mine. Together with me, after the presidential elections of 2013, Venezuela was split into a 50 percent eternal arguments in which not only elders were involved, but younger people started to select their group of friends based on political parties.
There are a million reasons to convince you that partyism is wrong. It is not different from racism, xenophobia, or homophobia. All of these are cases of an incoherent feeling of superiority and a constant path towards hate.
There is evidence that this hate and resentment can lead a country to a massive split. Partyism can even lead you to judge people based on their political position, and present unnecessary fights between friends, family, and your love ones. Respecting the side someone chooses to be on and discussing without falling into insults and offense is key to being politically mature. I would encourage you to talk about politics, but I will encourage you more to be aware. Be aware for clues and prevent your country from falling into the absurdness of partyism.