They exist in our towns, our colleges, our social groups, our classes, our families, our social media pages, just about every facet of life — they are everywhere. By “they” I mean political bubbles. That’s right, I’m talking about the seemingly unpoppable and exceedingly restrictive political social bubble that most of us, if not all of us, belong to.
On the surface, a social or political bubble is just a group of people with similar, if not the same, thoughts about the inherently political and social aspects of our world. People can be part of one or many bubbles regarding more than just politics, though that is the most common kind.
It’s not a bad thing to be part of a political bubble. These bubbles that we form around ourselves are often how we form our thoughts, actions and sometimes identities. This is how we attach ourselves to others and form bonds with thoughts, feelings and ideas. Without these groups, we might be lost, filled with ideas and no one to share them with.
But, for just a moment, think about what life would be like without our current social and political groupings. Would we branch out and find others? Would we learn more about the bubbles that we never even thought of?
It can be hard to distinguish our own biases, or even the fact that we have them — but they are there. No matter what side, liberal or conservative or anywhere in between, that one falls on in regard to politics or what one believes about the social features of the world, bubbles exist everywhere.
We should not think about political bubbles in terms of good vs. bad, rather we should think of them in terms of vague vs. clear.
When someone belongs to a political bubble, and rarely ever breaks from the information tossed around in that bubble, that person isn’t allowed the room to grow, to learn. In a group with set ideas, thoughts and beliefs, one can have good view of the world around them, but it might not be completely clear.
I’m not saying by breaking out of one’s current political bubble, everything about our political world will become clear, especially right now. However, I believe that everyone deserves the chance to think for themselves, which often requires a little exploring and some time set aside for branching out.
This doesn’t mean we all need to find new friends for a while or pick a university with different values than our own, or even travel thousands of miles just to find a new perspective. It does however mean that we should attempt to learn about the “other side” before dismissing it. It means we should attempt to read up on more than one theory, listen to more than one speech.
It’s the little things we can do everyday. We should listen to the podcast we usually skip over on the way to class. We should click on the article and give it a chance before scrolling past.
Not all ideas are going to make complete sense or even add anything to anyone’s cause. But, all ideas are worth sharing, worth being heard. You can’t share or hear along with the rest of the world inside a restrictive bubble.
Hailey Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @Hailey_ann97