What can change your politics?


It’s a common belief that adults can easily get stuck in their ways. Some haven’t departed much from their parents’ ideologies while others mold their beliefs during formative years like college. As our resident expert, Dr. Abigaile VanHorn, said, when it comes to politics we seem to be even more reluctant to shifts than in other aspects of our lives.

Two-thirds of people, once they move past young-adulthood, remain firmly in that political orientation for the rest of their lives. However infrequent, there are some that shake loose of those bonds to reevaluate and rethink their politics as adults.

There are typically several things we can look at that can cause these extraordinary alterations in politics. The most common event that sparks change in someone’s politics is some sort of personal experience.

For Troy Medlin, 25, it took moving from a small, conservative town to the middle of downtown Chicago to uproot him.

“I remember working a part-time job with people who were on welfare and lived in neighborhoods on the south-side of Chicago where they were afraid for summer because the neighborhoods were too dangerous to go play outside,”  Medlin said. “I remember being moved by the stories I heard of people who were so different from me.” As a seminary student, religion also plays a large role in Medlin’s life which, as it changed, began to clash against the conservative ideology he was raised in the with.

For his father, Tim Medlin, 58, the way he saw religion also changed as his life and politics did. At the same time, a social movement, the candidacy and presidency of Barack Obama helped spur both of their shift in politics.

Dr. VanHorn explained can these movements and personal experiences, especially in today’s turbulent political atmosphere, can work to jar loose our political orientations in a way that might not have been possible 20 years ago.


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