crowd (by flickr user Incase,

Do you go with the crowd?

Picture yourself walking on a normal day and you see a group of people looking intently at the sky.  Do you find yourself naturally looking at it yourself?

If so, you are not alone.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal talked about that and what people do in general.  While the article talked a little bit about how this works at sporting events, I wondered if it is also true in our politics.

You have to imagine that there were many in 2008 that voted for Barack Obama because they thought everyone else would.  Indeed, since the 1992 Presidential race, we hear all about polling data and what the majority of people think about a race or a particular political candidate.  You begin to wonder if there is anything else to report on.

It always seems like those races end up going the way that the polls indicate, but is it because people have come to a certain conclusion or is it because some of those people heard others say they thought a certain way and they want to conform?  I worry that we are quickly becoming a conformist society, and on the whole, I don’t like the sound of that.

In some ways, conformity can be a good thing.  However, it others, it stifles the very creativity that comes from being a non conformist.  That creative urge and non conformist feeling has brought us some of the more talented people in the form of Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright and so many others that thought outside the box.  I wonder what that kind of thinking would do to our political races?

Imagine if we all decided to make up our own mind about political races and didn’t even count on polls.  What would it look like if we did that?  Would we vote for someone because he or she looks good or would we vote for that person because they have the most principled thoughts about policy?

All of it takes me back to one of my favorite movies and a scene that demonstrates the dangers of conformity.  We all say we value something different, but if that’s true, why then do we all think so much alike?

(accompanying image by flickr user Incase, license here)

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