In classical psychology, the term cognitive dissonance is often referenced when discussing conflicting emotions, views, perspectives, emotions and values. Cognitive dissonance includes the conflict between actions and values. For example, an individual who represents a movement that emphasizes equality and compassion while at the same time participating in and promoting non-compassionate actions or values, may experience cognitive dissonance. To unjustly simplify the term further, one may associate the word hypocrite with the implications of cognitive dissonance occurring in either an individual or a group of people.
The effects of cognitive dissonance can be devastating, both to one’s personal image as well as their personal and professional goals. Political ideologies and the politicians representing them are vulnerable to increased attention and scrutiny due to their public standing and ability to influence individuals on a large scale. Often times in political circles, scrutiny of elected representatives, as well as commentators and leaders, is relaxed on behalf of their supporters and followers. This makes sense; of course a left-leaning Democrat is less likely to intensely scrutinize and analyze the words or actions of a Democratic leader, the same way a right-leaning Republican is less likely to scrutinize a member or leader of their respective party. Most politicians persuade their voting demographic to support them and their party, with the goal of being reelected. The followers and supporters of a particular group are also likely to attempt to persuade others around them in regards to the values of their respective group.
Persuasion is best accomplished by using logical reason and emotion to alter or change the views, perspectives or values of a voter and member of society. As an unapologetic member of the political group which resides on the right end of the United States political spectrum, it is my duty to be objective and fair on every issue facing our country and world today. The issue I perhaps struggle with the most is my personal inability to reconcile the political right’s view of healthcare representing a privilege in society, and the prominent and defining pro-life movement primarily on behalf of the political right within the United States of America.
Healthcare, since the dawn of human existence, has been practiced with the primary purpose of extending the duration of an individual’s life, in addition to increasing quality of life for both the patient as well as the community at large, as treatment of transmittable disease and virus is of importance not only to the ailing individual. The same holds true today.The goal of healthcare is to extend life and increase the overall well-being of communities, cities, provinces, countries, and ultimately the world as a whole. The World Health Organization, in its 2016 World Health Statistics Report, holds in high regard the efforts to develop universal healthcare systems in various, if not all, developed and undeveloped nations of the world. A majority of this annual report is dedicated to Universal Healthcare Coverage. In terms of furthered human quality and duration of life, at the center of this conversation is the issue of access to healthcare. The Affordable Care Act, enacted under President Barack Obama in late March 2010, was one of the first attempts to develop a nationalistic system in the United States, by which citizens regardless of color, creed, or socio-economic standing would be guaranteed access to healthcare services, ranging from standard medical preventative care to invasive and highly complex cancer treatment. After the enactment of the ACA, Republicans were quick to highlight its oversights and financial irresponsibility.
In addition to supporting free market and private solutions to expanding healthcare to all demographics, conservatives and Republicans are more likely to support the ideals of reducing one’s ability to obtain access to abortion services. For many years, Planned Parenthood, a partially federally funded family planning clinic, has come under much scrutiny from the U.S. political right. While there is validity in the conservative ideals and perspective on defunding Planned Parenthood, these potentially valid wishes cannot be carried out unless conservatives also embrace the ideals and values of universal healthcare coverage. The statement that Republicans are pro-life is rather contradictory if they are not in support of increased quantity and quality of life for all, regardless of age, color, and creed. Rather than conservatives referring to themselves as pro-life, a more accurate term might be something along the lines of pro-birth.
In addition to the discrepancy between classic pro-life values and limited healthcare access to many, especially low-income minority groups, Republicans fail to support the social services required by many young and needy mothers who have recently given birth. Again, if conservatives were truly pro-life, social services to best benefit the newborn child would be initiated and pushed by the party. However, this concept again violates a core principle of conservatism, that is the continued financial support of social programs, most often benefitting the poorest of the poor and the neediest of needy.
In short, cognitive dissonance affects both parties in a primarily negative manor. In an effort to remain objective and unbiased, I feel as though it is my duty to bring this overarching discrepancy at a hugely broad level within the GOP to light.