Saturday, October 18, 2008

Politics on the Sleeve

Lately, I've been wondering about something. Over the past three or four weeks, I've been wearing every now and then my Barack Obama T-Shirts or buttons. I've noticed that the only people in my town who seem to wear their politics on their sleeves, literally, are Obama supporters. I have seen a couple of McCain/Palin bumper stickers, but I haven't seen any McCain/Palin buttons or T-shirts around. So, I began to think ... is there something about Democrats that propels them to broadcast their political preferences in such public ways? Or do I feel comfortable doing this because I believe that I am in Obama-friendly territory? Or is it just a personality thing? The fact is that it gives me satisfaction and pride to project my political preferences during election time. It is, in fact, my little contribution to the Obama campaign. I don't feel anything untoward about it at all. Neither does my wife. Nor do my liberal friends. And even my conservative family and friends don't seem to be put out or bothered by it. Why aren't there any McCain/Palin advocates out there doing the same thing?

Now, New Orleans is, of course, a Democratic stronghold; but it is not exclusively so. After all, New Orleans is in Louisiana, which is a pretty conservative state for the most part. And liberal Democratic politics in New Orleans is a far cry from the the liberalism of the East and West Coasts. Furthermore, there are places I go in the suburbs, just 5-10 minutes down the road from where I live, that are about as conservative as they come. So it's not like I feel I am completely in Obama-friendly territory every where I go. Yet, even still, I don't think simply being in a conservative GOP stronghold would prevent me from wearing my Obama T-shirt. I've thought about it and I'm certain that I'd wear such political advertisements pretty much anywhere in the U.S. So what propels me to wear my politics on my sleeves? And why don't I see passionate conservatives doing likewise?

Is it that conservatives fear for their safety? Do conservatives consider such displays of preference to be tacky or uncouth? Or is it just the nature of conservative behavior to be reserved and private about such things?

I find it curious and puzzling.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has noticed this phenomenon and has pondered the reasons for it.


Schroeder said...

Obama branding is as visible now as W branding was in 2004. I think it says something about the lack of enthusiasm for Bush ... er ... McCain.

Eric said...

The issue here is that McCAin isn't all that popular, even among the people who are going to vote for him. I usually go to the voting booth wearing my "Goldwater - In your heart you know he's right" t-shirt.

As far as public political displays, I tend to favor ones that show deference to ideology instead of individual politicians. Thus, I have a "Who is John Galt?" bumper sticker on my guitar case and a "Danneskjold Repossessions" coffee cup.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are absolutely right. In my experience, those on the left are more likely to not only voice their political opinions, but voice them in a way that conveys that any moral and educated person in the room must certainly agree with them. As a centrist bodering on conservative, I find myself repeatedly saying that there are good, educated people on both sides of every issue. And, I find that I am saying this to people who zealously proclaim the superiority of the Democratic candidate - in this national election, in the last one, in the one before that, regardless of the candidate. The only reasonable explanation I have heard came from a friend who said, "It's because it's so correct." So - is that it? We all implicitly believe the left is more politically correct? That anyone who doesn't support their candidate must also hold socially unacceptable views? I don't know -but I know that it irks me to no end when people proclaim their political views as fact that surely every else in the room must recognize, especially in the office. The buttons and T-shirts aren't a problem - just the openly political statements spoken as fact to a group of people whose political afiliation one may or may not know.