Political pet peeve #3: Disregarding cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.
I've written about this before, in case you're interested.
First prize for cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias goes to the district attorney when a criminal is discovered to have been falsely accused and imprisoned. Second prize goes to everyone else. It seems to me that the political process is completely based on our capacity to deceive ourselves in some very specific ways and the worst of the political process depends on it.
Politicians count on us not noticing when they blame the other party for what they themselves are doing. They depend on us looking the other way when they tell us what we want to hear, like throwing red meat to dogs. They rely on us only trusting the media sources that confirm what we already believe and they demonize the ones that don't. And of course, they have their own cognitive dissonance and biases to deal with, so that sometimes they even believe what they are saying.
We can't help experiencing the dissonance and the bias. We can tell the truth about it, though. We can have enough humility to remember that the more strongly we believe something, the less likely we are to attend to--or even notice--any evidence to the contrary. We can expose ourselves to dissenting opinions and learn to listen carefully to what they have to say. We can discipline ourselves to expect complexity and to hold the tension. We can fully appreciate the value of satire and parody and irony to help expose our biases. We can avoid being so easily offended.
Or we can just keep indulging it and acting like we alone in all the universe are free of it, except, of course, for all the people who agree with us. I think that's called a political convention.