5 Bizarre Ways Politics Influences Your Personal Life

#2. Political Views Have an Effect on What You Buy (and How Much You Enjoy It)

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What You'd Like to Believe:

Regardless of your political leanings, you're still a person. Even you, fascists. And every person has the same basic needs: water, sex, Wi-Fi, coffee filters, hand moisturizer, candles to place in the jaws of the many wolf skulls that adorn your bedroom, and food. Whether you're Richard the Red Stater or Mallory the Tree-Hugging Hippie, you both have the same biological drive to consume food, keep your home clean, and adopt quirky political epithets.

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Each of these ingredients represents a different political identity, which is why everyone loves pizza.

The Reality:

Are you reading this article in a grocery store? No? Well, go to one -- now. And don't roll your eyes, just fucking do it. OK. Now, look at that dude in the checkout lane. See him? Well, if he's buying a pack of Budweiser, Coors, Tide, or any other domestic brand, he is, more likely than not, a conservative (and one who clearly has a drinking problem, given that he's already anticipated having to bleach beer stains out of his clothes). However, if that same guy is about to purchase imported or generic goods, he's probably a liberal. But if you didn't figure out that the liberal's "Ivory Tower" was actually made of recycled goods and not-endangered animals, then you just don't know your stereotypes. And there's more.

Conservatives and liberals react completely differently to marketing: Conservatives are less likely to buy energy-efficient products if they're advertised as "environmentally friendly" (rather than merely "cost-saving"). Quite the opposite, liberals are more likely to enjoy coffee if it's marketed as "eco-friendly."

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"It's artisanal, which is French for 'four dollars.'"

Even if conservatives think climate change is a myth, it makes no sense whatsoever to avoid saving money just because of that belief. It's as if conservatives resent the issue being brought up so much that they'll pay more to avoid it. And liberals have such an intense desire to feel good about themselves for their Earth-saving beverage choices that they've somehow tricked their brains into believing their eco-friendly coffee tastes good. But it doesn't, liberals. It tastes very, very bad.

#1. Politics Change How (We Think) People Perceive Us

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What You'd Like to Believe:

Our political process depends on us knowing how closely our personal views align with those of the existing political parties. Without this knowledge, electing future Rich-People-Who-Like-to-Wear-Suits-and-Lie would be even more chaotic than it already is. The political party system lets us know exactly what type of citizen we are and, more importantly, what sort of misguided idiot we most certainly are not.

The Reality:

Both liberals and conservatives have no self-awareness (and at the end of the day, lacking self-awareness is what makes us American, isn't it?). Studies demonstrate that liberals have an overwhelming tendency to think they have less in common with their political allies than they really do; meanwhile, conservatives believe they have more in common with their political allies. And both groups are equally wrong.

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"No! The other side is wronger!"

Think about it: Conservatives oppose same-sex couples in order to "protect family values," yet the "traditional family" is an ever-shrinking minority. It's almost like they just assume that theirs is the "default way to be." Meanwhile, the Occupy Wall Street movement never developed a clear message because no one wanted to risk excluding all the people they assumed disagreed with them. For instance, consider this vague message I transcribed from an Occupy rally: "We are the 99 percent! Yes, we are! The 99 percent! That's what we are! Ninety-nine! Percent! We are! Yes! Ninety-nine!"

Now, perhaps all of this has made you as mad as our hair-receding friend above. But before you get upset and storm into Cracked's secret underground lair (and that's only if you get past reception ... and the confusing labyrinth of neighboring website offices, and, ugh, the sign-in sheet), bear in mind that these findings don't apply to everyone. But hopefully by considering these trends and getting to know our opponents, we can someday come together, look past our differences, and agree upon new, exciting ways to tell each other to fuck off.

JF Sargent is on Twitter and Facebook and a blog and even a sci-fi adventure novel you can read for free.

For more on politics, check out If Politicians Ran On Issues the Internet Cares About.

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