7 Thoughts I'm Having As Election Day Approaches

7 Thoughts I'm Having As Election Day Approaches

Just seeing those huge blocks of text in the comments section hurts my head.
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Now that the 2016 presidential election—Doomsday, as I’ve even heard some refer to it—is only a few days away, talk of the election in any form is impossible to escape. Memes, videos and viral posts are scattered throughout my Facebook feed. I hear it being discussed among groups of friends in my classes and in my dining hall. As much as I want to shut it all down and block it out, I realize that I, too, am part of this new generation of voters counted on to initiate positive change in our country. Unfortunately, though, every time I make an effort to watch one of those videos, read one of those posts or listen to one of those conversations, my head feels as if it wants to explode. Along with the frustration that I really do not believe there is any way for me to help initiate positive change with the options given, these thoughts keep flooding my mind:


1. I don’t even completely understand all of the intricate ins and outs of American politics.

I am going to be perfectly honest here. There have been several times when I’ve had to look up definitions of certain terms I’ve heard or ask my friends to clarify the meanings of things, and I know that should not be the case. Or at least, I feel like that should not be the case. I feel very ashamed of that. It has not made this election season any easier for me—not easier to hear about, and not easier to make a decision about. The information I’ve got to work from about the candidates has come from the same sources it has for everyone my age—debates, Internet articles and social media—and for some reason I feel like that’s not enough, because I haven’t been able to shake this feeling that all of my peers have a broader knowledge base than I do. Particularly the ones who discuss their beliefs openly, frequently, loudly and confidently. Like, how?? I want that.


2. I can’t believe this is the first presidential election I can vote in.

The election that will directly impact my generation is the election that has been repeatedly referred to as a complete joke, the one with candidates deemed “orange crayon” and “crooked Hillary.” Fantastic. Just fantastic.


3. I kinda want to delete my Facebook account.

Political conversations among the millennial generation this fall have played out largely through social media. When I’m not seeing memes about Trump’s pumpkin-colored skin, I see articles shared by my friends who are apparently always armed and ready for a full-blown comment war, because that’s what always happens. Just seeing those huge blocks of text in the comments section hurts my head.


4. How guilty would I actually feel about wasting my vote by writing in “No One”?

This joke has been circulating for months, but I’m actually starting to seriously consider it.


5. This. Is. So. Stressful.

My body activates the flight response every time the election is mentioned because it legitimately stresses me out. Trying to think about what I’m going to do on November 8th feels worse than trying to remember what homework I have to do over the weekend.


6. Which European country could I move to if need be?

I’ve heard many of them will be more than welcoming to fleeing Americans.


7. Hibernation is sounding pretty good right about now.

Wake me up when November ends.


Cover Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9HM13vH3mA

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Revival Of The Coal Industry Is Unattainable

Clean beautiful coal will never be a reality. President Trump's backing of a declining industry is misguided and will have despairing environmental impacts.

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The coal industry and its workers were placed at the forefront of American politics during the 2016 election cycle. President Trump promised a revival of the coal industry and promised to secure the jobs of coal country. The President, halfway through his first term, has so far taken measures to do just that. Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, threw out Obama's Clean Power Plan, and did away with an Obama-era regulation that would prevent coal ash from entering streams and other bodies of water.

On one hand, it's quite extraordinary for a politician to do good on his campaign promises. On the other hand, is anyone considering whether or not the President is putting all his eggs into the wrong basket? Coal has been on the decline for about a decade now. Even without environmental regulations, the energy produced by coal is expected to reduce by 20% by 2030. Renewable energy such as wind and solar are replacing coal.


For an election campaign, it's easy to see why a candidate would align with coal. States like West Virginia and Pennsylvania are key when running a national campaign. The votes are there in those counties that support the coal industry. They will vote for any candidate who sides with their industry. But from an environmental standpoint, there's more on the line than just an election. It's about our clean air and water. Climate change is real and the effects of coal will only accelerate the process.

Coal ash that finds its way into water streams can damage that water supply for good. It could also impact the wildlife within the area. Coal also pollutes the air we breathe. Clean coal is a myth. Plain and simple. Coal is anything but clean. Clean coal sounds good in a stump speech, but we all know it's a fallacy.

Mountaintop mining also has a deep environmental impact. The Appalachian mountains have been destroyed from surface mining. West Virginia residents hold their beautiful mountains in high regard. Now, some of them look very different and the destruction is permanent. If the mining continues, the mountains of the Appalachia region will be gone. It would be a shame if you went to West Virginia to admire their mountains, and none were left.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt passed the American Antiquities Act of 1906. Roosevelt protected 230 million acres of land during his presidency. Roosevelt understood the importance of conservation and preserving our nation's natural beauty. The same natural beauty that God envisioned. We should not take that for granted. We should restore our mountains, forests, and lakes so that our children's children can reside in the richness of our natural environment.

President Roosevelt also ended the coal strike in 1902. The United States was much more dependent on coal in the 20th century than it is now. Roosevelt knew the coal strike had to be resolved because the cold winter would have been fatal. The change of the Republican party over a century later is quite intriguing to ponder. The party went from a strong conservationist in Roosevelt to Trump, who is willing to move mountains for a dying industry.

All of these facts surrounding the coal debate cannot be ignored. The rest of the western world will move on to new forms of renewable energy. While the United States will be stuck in neutral, reviving coal. Renewable energy should be strongly considered if we are to protect our water, air, and lands.

Disclaimer: I understand the risks coal miners make when they show up for work. I know that safety regulations are not always up to par and that coal mining is a very dangerous profession. I also understand the viewpoint of coal miners and their reasoning for disagreeing with me. I know they want to work and provide for their families. That's what we all want to do. As I write this, I wish not to offend coal miners, I only aim to critique the President and his policies about the coal industry.

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