Discuss how you have been politically socialized in your life, or think you have been socialized.Discuss how you have been politically socialized in your life, or think you have been socialized.

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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So much of what I have chosen to be comes from socialization. We are presented with ideas from our parents, friends, churches or schools that we become a composite of that information combined with our choices.

I know that my choice to pursue my own choice of religion comes from my exposure by my parents. However, I choose where, and what "church family" suits me. In terms of politics, I am not affected either way. Both sides have good guys, and both sides have self-serving egotists. It sounds harsh, but the squabbling between parties, when I think almost everyone is guilty of the same nonsense on both sides has turned me off. I am registered non-Partisan. So I cannot vote in primaries...I find I need not associate myself with either, and can vote my conscience.

My sense of morality comes from training at home, and the choices I had to make growing up, as well as choices I make now. We are all a mixture of the diverse experiences we have had. Even in reading literature, our reactions are specific to who we are and where we have been: though in some areas we will be the same as others, in other areas we will diverge from a shared path.

There is no way to dissect a person's psyche to see where one concept of socialization ends and another begins. We are all a composite of experiences that have influenced us in some way. Some belief and ideas are deeply ingrained, and some are the result of our conscious choices, from day-to-day.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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We have all been socialized, whether we want to admit it or not.  Yes, this socialization comes from parents.  It also comes from community norms and the media.  We will either accept the ideas we have been marinating in or reject them.  Either way, these influences are deeply ingrained in us.  The influence of the media is becoming more and more pervasive, which might actually be limiting that effect in terms of particular political ideas because we are exposed to everything.

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megan-bright | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Certainly my parents and their beliefs played a major role in the beginning. In my case it was more of watching my parents struggle finanacially and try to survive with very little money and no government assistance.

Though my dad was a disabled veteran, and I had relatives killed in wars, there was never much direct political discussion in my household. It was just all about survival and respecting whomever is in power particularly if they are trying to do what is right for us. There was not any strong views one way or the other.

I didn't need a label to know where we all stood as a family on political issues. And not only as a family, but as a member of a minority group, in a low-income area and seeing the homelessness, hunger, and scary struggles of so many people everyday, those are all what have also affected my political socialization.

And like the household I grew up in, my husband and I do not include long political discussions, political TV shows or radio shows, or political readings in our everyday lives. We support who we think is the best person for the job, and just let things take their course. We discuss politics from time to time, but in more of a neutral, low-key manner. I think our daughter will be able to grow up and say, just as I can say, that political discussions were a small part of what she remembers growing up in her home.

rskardal's profile pic

rskardal | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Perhaps the most subtle impact I have felt is the urge to be "politically correct" as much as possible in my speech.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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While my brothers were very influenced by my parents and their political beliefs, I don't feel as if this influenced me much. My parents were ultra-conseravative. So conservative in fact, that my father once bought my mom a Bill O'Reilly puzzle for Christmas and my bothers "extreme" liberal playing cards with the misdeeds of some controversial liberals. I vote a mix of Republican and Democrat as my conscience leads me.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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I also was politically influenced by my parents and grandparents while growing up. While attending college in a very rural setting, as well as growing up in a very rural setting, my political views went largely unchanged. Once graduating from college and beginning my career I was somewhat influenced by my work peers, but have never strayed to far from where my parents and grandparents were.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Much like the poster above, I grew up in a small, rural, religiously conservative town, and was raised by conservative parents.  My grandfather, who was a delegate to the 1964 National Republican Convention for the ultraconservative Barry Goldwater, bought me years worth of subscriptions to The National Review.

And while this socialization worked for a time, I spent my college years in a liberal city and university, and once I had a few years of public education under my belt, my politics swung decidedly to the left, where they have more or less remained for the past two decades.

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I can say for myself that I was politically socialized in two very different and opposite ways.  Growing up in a very conservative household with die-hard Republicans for parents certainly shaped my views on many topics.  Once I was 18, I attended a very liberal liberal arts school and started to see the world from a completely different angle.  I think I have come to a healthy balance. Like so many aspects of life, the mix of family and outside influence would have to both play a part in the final result. 

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Being politically socialized involves more than identifying with a particular political party. Independent voters have also been politically socialized. So what are the influences that determine whether a person votes for one major party, for a minor party, or for no party at all, choosing instead to vote "for the man."

As I think about my own political views over the years, I realize formulating them has been a developing process, beginning with exposure to my parents' political views. Their views were certainly influential as I was growing up, but their views did not automatically determine my own.

In high school and college, I began to think and read a lot; I studied history and paid a great deal of attention to the current events of the day. I asked a lot of questions and tried to find the answers. I became a news junkie, and frequently, a skeptic. I learned to pay more attention to what politicians do rather than what they say--and to judge their values based upon their actions. I've used the same yardstick in evaluating political parties. As a result, I support those in government whose actions most closely align with my own values.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Well, whenever we think of socialisation we have to accept that so much of the socialisation that impacts us we take in with our mother's milk as it were. Just think about the following question: how do you vote in an election? Does it have anything to do with how your parents vote, by any chance? These are the kind of things that we "soak up" as it were in our childhood. So many of our views, whether we are aware of it or not, emerge from what we have heard, seen and experienced from our parents. Thus if they are staunch Republicans, you will have heard disparaging remarks about Bill Clinton and his various pecadilloes, which will probably be a major influence in making you vote against the Democrats yourself. Of course, the converse is true. Democrats would have talked over the dinner table about how terrible it is that George Bush started so many wars for negligible reasons, which will again probably influence the child in this family to vote Democrat.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As with most people, much of my socialization came from my parents.  They were the ones who first taught me what sort of behaviors were expected of someone in my society.  They were even more important to my socialization than for some people because they were socializing me to be American even as I lived in a foreign country.  This meant my teachers and peers were not socializing me to be American.

One way that I was politically socialized is that I was constantly exposed to the idea that it is important for people to know and care about politics.  For example, I remember hearing my mother listening to the Armed Forces Network radio as the Watergate scandal came to a close and Nixon resigned.  I remember seeing my parents reading Newsweek about presidential elections and talking about the issues.  I also knew that my grandmother was a state legislator back in the United States.  All of this socialized me to believe that knowing about politics and caring about politics was something that Americans just did.  In that way, I was clearly socialized to be politically aware.

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