Note: This is my first post outside of Introductions, I apologize if this is in the wrong forum or if I offend anyone by my opinions.
Today, my family and I sat down to watch the Republican National Convention on TV. I've not been very interested in politics until this recent year,
and I've been trying to get a balanced view of it all. As hard as that may seem, I manage as best as I can.
We watched John McCain come onto the stage, looking VERY well for his age might I add. I listened to promise after promise, in which he told America
things would change. His beautiful words went through the mic and the crowd cheered for him joyously. It was truly a patriotic assembly.
I must admit, I half-believed for a bit there. Just like I believed Obama when I first heard him speak. Then I heard him mention Georgia and Russia,
and my heart sunk. While I may be misinformed on who started the conflict, that is not what this topic is about. It is about the response I got from
Until tonight, my mom believed that Georgia had started the conflict with Russia. She had done the research on her own. Hurrah!! We had friendly
debates the last couple of days. There was no need to bully or oppress, no need to fight. Just plain ole' intelligent debate.
The rest of my family had calmed as well. There was no ignorance or mindless elitism. Someone even said they thought Obama was a visionary! While I
don't agree with this, I was excited to see them stepping out from the box they had forced themselves into. Looking beyond the lines set by the
parties, the news, by politicians or by society itself.
Then Mr McCain, the war hero, appeared on the TV screen. Everything changed. I could see everyone tense and bursts of adrenaline went through them as
he read his speech. He appealed to the crowd and in turn, appealed to my family. All reason went out the window.
I call this The Patriot Effect.
Closely related to The Bandwagon Effect--
The bandwagon effect, also known as social proof or "cromo effect" and closely related to opportunism, is the observation that people often do
and believe things because many other people do and believe the same things. The effect is often pejoratively called herding instinct, particularly
when applied to adolescents. People tend to follow the crowd without examining the merits of a particular thing.
Suddenly there is an evil somewhere you must defeat. Suddenly, there is opposition to your beliefs and opposition is not allowed. You are American.
You are powerful. And you are ignorant
Any differing opinion is unpatriotic! Against the flag! Heresy! Traitor!
No one wanted to research what he was promising. No one wanted to read up on his politics or his plans. Nobody wanted to know what exactly he had in
store for American because "he just told us".
Suddenly they were talking about invading the countries who opposed us. "Who cares about diplomacy?! Blow them up!!" I was appalled.
I have witnessed this many times in many different places with many different people. Republicans and Democrats alike. I believe these "feel good"
speeches invoke a chemical and emotional response from its listeners which brings out a dramatic feeling of adventure, foreboding and perhaps-- real
American PARROTISM. The coercion of the mob blankets the otherwise intelligent people.
"Sheep go to heaven."
"I don't have to know anything about it to have an opinion!"
I have witnessed this at rallies, at parties, schools, meetings, conventions... everywhere. You want so much to believe. So much to have that safety
net of security that you will oppose anyone who dares to shake it.
"I don't like it when you shake my tree."
"He needs a black and white world, and when you splash color into it, you **** him off."
The change was instant. Thorough. Almost like magic. How does this happen?