A soda by any name would taste just as sweet

column by isabelleswanson

izzy-column-picAlthough every issue nowadays seems to be intensely polarizing, one battle has endured through the ages: Coke or Pepsi? Both sodas taste like bubbly maple syrup to my unrefined palate, but I do feel an odd, unearned allegiance to Coke.

The same is the case with Dunkin’ Donuts. If you lined up five coffees and asked me which one I like the best, I would probably be able to positively identify most of them as coffee. My loyalty to Dunkin’ Donuts has manifested into obsessively refreshing the DDPerks app to see how many points I can rack up with my next medium iced coffee, cream no sugar.

If I had to define the year 2016 in one word, I would probably use the word “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.” If I had two words, my second word would probably be “or.” Just about every question asked today has the word “or.” Every issue seems to have become an issue of two sides, when in reality, very few issues are black and white.

Saying the word “politics” is kind of like taking the pin out of a grenade. You have to run away afterward. Our political system became a pretty binary system almost immediately (@Thomas Jefferson), with the name of the party becoming as or even more important than the ideology itself.

Current political issues have been presented as two-sided dilemmas, when in reality, many conflicts on the political stage are complex.

Solving an issue with one approach could present another, more damaging problem in the future. Having two sides implies that there is a correct and an incorrect, a good and a bad, an us versus them.

The truth is that just about every issue is complex and requires serious debate to get to the root of the matter. Most of the time, if something seems too simple or too good to be true, it probably is. With the one exception being the Shamwow. That thing is straight up magic (and not a sponsor). It’s important to question, even briefly, the motives and intentions of those around us, especially those trying to change our opinions.

I believe almost all Americans want the same basic things, but the way we want to achieve those goals differs from person to person. This is something that gets lost with cartoons of a donkey and elephant duking it out.

It’s easy to get caught up in names, but that does not do us any favors. Being blinded by labels removes the ability to logically decide the merit of a person, place, or thing. So maybe, just maybe, instead of judging a book by its cover and a laundry detergent by its bottle, basing judgement on substance is a better way to go through life.

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