Should You Respect America's Two-Party System?

Should You Respect America's Two-Party System?

In a country full of division, we're missing what is most important.
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American politics is a topic currently at the forefront of our minds this season, due to the presidential election lurking just around the corner. Our system of democracy is an interesting one, in that our two-party system was set up to harbor division. Unfortunately, our political system has, in my opinion, ruined anyone who knows anything about politics.

Our system was created to pit people against each other, it's the nature of something that is divided, something separated into two. It began hundreds of years ago with Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican party, which was essentially created because Jefferson disagreed with everyone and wanted to create an ideology that further separated him from everyone else. (That's the condensed version of what happened, at least.) When our country split into two major parties, the Republican and Democratic parties, is when the problem really began. Unfortunately, humans have an inherent judgemental streak that is apparent when we hear something we disagree with. Have you ever heard the argument that everyone's a racist? It's true, and we're also really judgemental. And in a way, that's OK. So in the context of politics, you probably hate the view that's different from yours, even if you don't outright admit or understand that. This is what creates the divide between Democrats and Republicans, because what we have done is given a name to people who have similar ideologies, and it's become as prominent and dividing as black versus white, or men versus women.

I am not so ignorant as to believe that a divide was never going to happen, because human nature has always been us versus them; we will, unfortunately, always turn against each other. The fault is not in the fact that we all have different beliefs or ideologies, the fault lies in the respect we have for each other, or lack thereof. The interesting thing about politics is that everyone talks about it for a reason that is unique to them. Collectively however, everyone talks about politics because they believe in something, and they fight for what they believe in. Whether you agree with their belief or not is a moot point. As soon as everyone agrees to have respect for the opinion with which you do not agree, we can begin moving forward as a country. This problem is apparent in both the American people and politicians, because the fact that anyone running for president allows an ad to be put out bashing another candidate is one of the worst things I have ever heard of. And unfortunately, it's happened in almost every election since we began putting political ads on television. It doesn't matter who you support, how funny you think it is, the reality is that it's immature, wrong, and disrespectful. When the people we look up to set a bad example, it affects the whole country.

Here is my point: I don't ask for everyone to get along, it's impossible, it won't happen. What I ask for is respect. Respect my opinion, and I will gladly respect yours even if it's different. Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to coexist peacefully. We can't go out and seek the Republican or Democratic answer, because there's no telling if it will be entirely right. The right answer could be the liberal or conservative answer, or it could be both. But unless we agree upon respect, we will never get to that answer. This problem can be fixed, if we set the example of respect for each other's opinions. As soon as everyone agrees to respect the opinion that's different from theirs, we can begin.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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