The Affect Of One On Many

The Affect Of One On Many

What I took away from Ms. Marhaban's peace building strategies and how that can cause the rest of us to change others.

When I think of political issues in the U.S., it can only leave me in a headache. The headache grows when I try to discuss these problems amongst peers and find too many people end up either angry and stubborn, or quiet and never say their piece. Our politics has come to a point where there is no such thing as a discussion, and people end up yelling over one another or post slander on social media. Worst yet is that I believe our media feeds a large part of this. On television, we'll see news anchors, professionals, politicians, and common citizens talking about their unrest and how everything in the U.S. is going to hell. This unrest is troubling and, if anything, is causing more problems than fewer, because people are losing trust and faith in those who cared to protect them and their families. It can almost feel as though the same values we try build ourselves upon are being violated left and right before our own eyes, and there's nothing you can do. I know I feel that way at times and feels so easy to give up, but it's in those little moments in between when I realize that there are still those fighting to make the world better. One of those people was Shadia Marhaban, a peace builder mainly working in Indonesia.

Towards the end of the school year at W&J I attended two of Ms. Marhaban’s sessions. One was a welcome reception of the exceptional peace builder, and the second one was her lecture in the Allen Ballroom regarding her work in Indonesia. I was impressed by her lectures and her work. I was impressed because her work was based on cooperation, something that feels intangible in the United States. The U.S. has a tendency to televise our differences in politics and to use this to create unrest as a solution for problems, but to have someone like Ms. Marhaban prove cooperation more useful, was eye opening. It was interesting because with someone like Ms. Marhaban using peace building strategies, we in the U.S. don't televise more about her cause and others like it, using peaceful techniques and advertise cooperation. Unfortunately, I think part of this problem may come from the U.S.'s past of being on top for so long. I think we've become so accustomed of the U.S. overcoming disasters with American citizens leading the future with innovation and now that we are coming across problems we can't fix with past tactics, it unnerves the populace.

Many of the hardworking Americans that would rely on old industries, like coal, lost their jobs and have some difficulty turning to newer occupations. Progressive minority groups find that it's harder to have the public have conversations over prejudice, and to get injustices retconned by their congress, only then to find that these conversations are not happening and many of their congress officials shrug these issues off. Scientists and science enthusiasts are facing swaths of people distrusting facts and regressing back to falsities like claims of vaccinations giving children autism. Americans have come so far that it is frustrating to know that now we are facing a threat that can destroy America, but not with missiles and military force, but with the clenched fists of frustrated Americans. Any more of this unrest and America may be doomed to a similar fate as Rome. So what can we do to prevent that?

When I mull over this question in my mind, I reflect on a quote that I remember from one of my favorite books, Space Chronicles by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Mr. Tyson stated, "Until recently, space exploration stood above party politics. NASA was more than bipartisan; it was nonpartisan. Specifically, a person's support for NASA was uncorrelated with whether or not that person was liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, urban or rural, impoverished or wealth." I believe Mr. Tyson was on to something about American politics, especially outside of the realm of science. The U.S. is turning many social issues and exploration as a matter of politics rather than as a matter of "nonpartisanship," as he coined it. It may be that some of what we are doing is politicizing the issues too much, to a point where it is getting difficult to differentiate a political party's stance from the social matter. For instance, when it comes to the issue of African Americans being shot by cops, it is common for people to assume that if you are a Republican, then you don't support black lives, and that if you are a Democrat, you don't support cops. Yet that doesn't have to be the case, but it makes it so because we have politicized this social matter rather than put it under this realm of nonpartisanship.

I believe the reason Ms. Marhaban is successful is from working at this angle of nonpartisanship, where the issue of peace isn't a matter of conservatives versus liberals, but a matter of human compassion. Ms. Marhaban isn't alone in that fact either, because others like Malala Yousafzai and Desmond Tutu still fight for social justice and peace amongst people. Plus, many of us in W&J can do so as well. We can participate in active conversations on these social topics, we can attend sessions like the one I went to, and W&J also offers a robust Conflict-Resolutions Studies course. It doesn't have to only fall on a few to solve these problems, but can turn into the responsibility of the citizen to better their communities with active participation on these social matters.

P.S. I know that Mary Montigue will be returning to W&J and that she will hopefully give a lecture, so keep that in mind for all of the freshmen out there.

For more information regarding Ms. Marhaban you can visit Inclusive Security:

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?


Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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