Agents of political socialization play a key role in constructing our perceptions of government and what we could expect of it. Some prominent agents of socialization are the family, the education system, media outlets, religious institutions, etc. All these agents play a role in shaping our conception of government during our formative years. For many adults, their political affiliation in terms of supporting the Democrats or Republicans, leaning towards Conservatism or Liberalism, etc., are largely influenced by these agents. For example, pupils of Catholic schools tend to ascribe to a conservative viewpoint whereas those belonging to minority communities usually support liberal policies. With respect to the agency of mainstream media, those who watch Fox News regularly are strongly supportive of the Republican Party and its policies. This is in contrast to Alternative media sources which tend to espouse liberal causes. What this shows is that influential as agencies of socialization are in shaping political beliefs, their impact is colored by the nature and bias of its underlying institutions.
Coming to the formation of my personal political beliefs, I would classily myself as leaning towards Liberalism. In other words, I identify myself toward left-of-center government policies. This is not surprising considering that many of the agents of socialization that I was associated with cherished and promoted the liberal viewpoint. The school I went to was fairly liberal. My parents were also not very orthodox – although they emphasized on discipline and academic excellence. Also, they were not very strict in terms of following the mandates of religious scriptures. To this I would also add the agent of public library in my neighborhood, which opened up my view of the world in a significant way. Since government policies in this country have largely been conservative (from both Republican and Democratic Presidents) and which have fared poorly when compared to the standards set by Scandinavian countries, I am fairly happy to belong to the liberal camp. For, in the long run, the country can only see glory by adopting the liberal framework.
Elazar, Daniel J. 1972 (2nd edition).American Federalism: A view from the states. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell.
Elazar, Daniel J. 1970.Cities of the Prairie: the metropolitan frontier and American politics. New York: Basic.