Does our political system, as a whole, filter attitudes, ideas, and political action in ways that perpetuate inequality?

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There can be little doubt that our political system does indeed perpetuate inequality. It is also generally true that ideas, attitudes, and political action are all factors in this situation. One of the main issues concerning our political system and inequality is one of representation. It is no secret that the overwhelming majority of elected officials in America are white men, usually white men who have come from a wealthy background,or who have accessed opportunities in education and business to be able to enter the political world. Because there is a lower percentage of racial minorities and women holding elected office, issues specifically affecting these groups are in danger of being taken less seriously, except of course in cases where the elected official makes a point to address issues of inequality related to race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or other factors.

It is tempting to believe that involvement in politics stems from a desire to make the world a better place, to serve one's constituents, to improve one's community, city, state and country, and to uphold the rule of law. But this assumption seems fairly idealistic these days: we have witnessed an unprecedented amount of corruption and illegal activity within the top levels of government. Corruption in politics tends to occur because elected officials possess an elevated sense of entitlement, and the old saying that "power corrupts" obviously has some truth to it.

One aspect of having political power is related to the promulgation of ideas, attitudes, and political ideologies that further one's own personal or social agenda. If such an agenda contains goals that would result in the oppression or abuse of a particular group, then the result is the perpetuation of inequality. The logical progression is that such an elected official would work within their official capacity to further their agenda, even if that means promoting inequality.

For example, if a politician's personal ideology includes the idea that women should stay at home, have children, and not work, then that politician is not going to try very hard to author or pass legislation that mandates equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender. If a politician's personal ideology includes the idea that marriage is only possible between a man and a woman, then that person will not work very hard to uphold domestic partnership benefits or gay marriage. Both of these examples can be seen as hot-button issues within the conservative wing of politics in America, which tends to favor the privilege of men over the rights of women and which tends to favor heteronormative relationships over homosexual partnerships.

To address the issue of whether our political system filters ideas, attitudes, or political action, it is important to acknowledge that, for many people, their understanding and perception of politics is further filtered through media. The majority of people learn about who their elected officials are and what they do through some form of media, such as print news, TV news, radio news, or the Internet. Increasingly, political discussion takes place via social media, where in-depth conversation is not generally the norm. Given this reality, a comprehensive understanding of how inequality is perpetuated by our political system may be increasingly difficult to achieve, because discussions on social media tend to reward extreme but shallow opinions. Social media also encourages people through memes (single images with text that comment on current issues in reference to another social referent, such as a celebrity or TV show) to engage in many stereotyped assumptions about many social issues.

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