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This physician is a registered independent. Here’s why.

Exactly a year ago, on the day of the election, I wrote a piece that touched upon humankind’s turbulent history, basic traits and inevitable propensity for division and conflict based upon an amazing book I read: “A Little History of the World.” I related it to the election that was taking place on that day. A year on, it seems like our country is no less politically polarized. My own sense is that people have always been politically divided, but the age of social media and a 24-hour news cycle just amplifies things and makes them seem worse than they actually are. A cursory glance at world history tells us how divided societies have been since time immemorial — with segments of the population always having different ideas and worldviews. This is something that adds to the electricity of life, and I, for one, think the world would be a very boring place if everyone thought exactly the same way! After all, most of us have very close family members who vote in completely different ways from us, but that doesn’t mean we love them any less or disrespect them because of it. At times, we all just need to calm down a bit and be able to simply say: “Your views are different from mine, but I still respect them” — after that you can always state your own point of view in a calm and respectful manner.

I consider myself middle-of-the-road when it comes to politics, and find it the most liberating feeling. I’m someone who, admittedly, could change my party allegiance in a heartbeat if I ever sensed a good and dynamic candidate with the right ideas. In the United Kingdom, I was a huge Tony Blair supporter (Labour/Democrat) and then switched to David Cameron (Conservative/Republican) — purely because I thought they were the best leaders with the right ideas for the country. The last national election being my first time voting as a U.S. citizen, I didn’t hesitate to register as an Independent. I couldn’t care less what party a candidate comes from, as long as I thought they had a good manifesto for the locality, state or country — and of course, truth be told, the best policies for me personally (we are all selfish animals after all). Loyalty is a good trait to have, but I’m a bit baffled by people who say they will always vote for a certain party no matter what. You could even put a trained chimpanzee in to represent that party — and they would still do so! It’s people who are persuadable and so-called “swing” voters that decide elections, and political candidates are more likely to pander to as well, to court their votes.

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