Candidate surveys driving me crazy

Candidates running for political office are asked to complete a lot of surveys from special interest groups. I get several every week. Each of the groups has a perspective or a particular issue that matters to them. I find them almost laughable in their pursuit of ideological purity. If one wants to get their endorsement he better be pure. There is absolutely zero grey area allowed on any of them as all the choices are forced. They usually allow one to clarify a bit but make it clear that those extra submissions will not be included in the tabulation for their members. The most intelligent part is omitted! No wonder our political process is so polarized. We are forced to operate in a forced choice tribal landscape.

I also find many of the questions asked to be unimportant in the grand scheme of what most voters care about. Sometimes the questions are so complicated that I give up half way through and toss the survey in the trash. Much of the time I want to write “who cares?” next to the question. I probably should not admit that because there are voters represented by each of the questions on the surveys, but it just seems that these groups get too riled up about minutia.

To tell you the truth, my goal is to fail the ideological purity test on all of the surveys in order to validate my common sense beliefs. It is not that I don’t believe in anything. In fact, if you look at my statement of beliefs I believe they are about as bold and detailed as anyone’s. Most people don’t even have their beliefs written down. It’s just that I like to think of myself as a participant in many tribes but a loyalist to none of them. I have my own tribe that I usually call common sense conservatism, but I don’t take that all too seriously either and I hope others are skeptical of me too. I have some foundational values, things like freedom, personal responsibility, neighborliness, and thrift, that I identify with, and some character traits that define who I am, but I am always learning and growing too. That is what I mean by common sense.

My guess is I am reacting to the surveys in the way most independent Americans would. People are tired of special interests, identity tribes, and purity tests.


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