A Completely Apolitical Assessment Of Hillary And Donald

A Completely Apolitical Assessment Of Hillary And Donald

Politics aside, are either of them actually likeable people?
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Before you jump to any conclusions, this is not going to be one of those many opinion articles that make an argument for or against Democratic or Republican policies or ideologies. I enjoy reading my fair share of those, but quite frankly there are more than enough of them saturating the interwebs.

This is just one person's opinion of the types of people that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump seem to be, based on what we've seen of them before, during and after the 2016 Presidential campaign. And let me just start by saying, both of them are far from perfect.

Let's begin with Donald. He was an incredibly successful businessman and a celebrity even before he jumped into the American political arena. I think we can all agree that business is important -- I mean, to some extent, it makes the world go 'round -- but we can probably all relate to the feeling we get when rich, successful people brag about their wealth rather than being humble about it. This is 100% the vibe I get from Donald J. "Sick of Winning" Trump.

And don't even get me started on the nasty things he did and said during the campaign. He was actually really rude to so many people, from reporters to everyday Americans that he hadn't even met. He also had (and still has) an awful habit of saying whatever the heck he feels like saying, without regard for whether or not it is cruel or just plain untrue. I think we can all agree that, even if this hurtful or dubious speech is protected by the First Amendment, that doesn't automatically make it professional, polite, or even decent to say. There is a difference between saying the hard but necessary things and just spouting unfiltered nonsense, and I don't think Donald has ever fully grasped that difference.

Even though Hillary doesn't suffer from "foot-in-mouth disease" in the same way that Donald does, she has still made her fair share of mistakes. This could partially be a product of the hillary-ous (pun intended) way she is characterized on SNL by Kate McKinnon, but there's just something about Hillary's behavior that seems so ungenuine. One minute she claims to care about improving the lives of middle and working-class Americans, and the next minute she refers to a significant portion of the electorate with very deplorable language that does not need to be repeated here.

I must admit that I disliked her instinctively; it felt like she was grasping for power rather than actually acting out of concern for the people of this country.

Now, this is not to say that Donald is always entirely genuine either. But I must say, despite his near-constant stream of problematic tweets, some of his actions as President have struck me as incredibly heartfelt and sincere. The most recent one that comes to mind is his brief speech at the US Capitol when Billy Graham was honored there earlier this month. Although he's not as moving a speaker as Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan, his short remarks seemed very personal, especially when he talked about his own father had gone to hear Billy Graham speak.

There's just something about Donald that seems like he has really risen to the occasion and wants to be a good and effective President.

Of course, I'm sure Hillary also would have been capable of similarly magnanimous behavior had she been elected. But as it is, her post-defeat actions have seemed to cast her as the victim of a sexist society, as she lists off the various parties that are to blame for her loss in her infamous book What Happened.

Lest we forget Donald has played his fair share of the blame game, I don't think I've ever heard so much about a "rigged" and unfair system than I did before this election. I suppose we'll never know for certain whether Donald would have been a sore loser or not. He has not always been a gracious winner, but at least he seems to be moving on to more pressing national issues at hand.

Overall, it is undeniable that both candidates, like all the rest of us, are flawed, fallible human beings. At times, they are both selfish, disrespectful, dishonest, and worse. But both do have their virtues, and both had every right to participate in the American political system, and have the right to do so again in the future.

While I think that ideological and political issues should ultimately be the deciding factor in an election, there's no denying that it is vitally important to pay attention to the type of person that you are voting for (or against, as was the case for many Americans in 2016). I only hope that this tumultuous political climate can lead us to closely examine ourselves as well as our politicians, and hopefully to demand the same high standards of our society as we do of its leaders.

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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