I Think More Conservatively But That Doesn't Make Me An Awful Person

I Think More Conservatively But That Doesn't Make Me An Awful Person

Stop being hypocritical and saying all voices matter when you shut mine down.

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I am not one to get involved in politics usually.

Yes, I am pursuing a degree in journalism at a politically active campus, but I am not pursuing a degree in political journalism.

I want to make people smile and laugh and talk about the good things in life. I am more of a cosmo Snapchat quiz or review a good book kind of journalist.

That being said, I am constantly surrounded by politics in my everyday life. People at my university love to talk about it and love to voice their opinions. And that is GREAT.

It is so good that young people are so involved and care about the state of our country.

Every voice should be heard and I find it inspiring how motivated and active the students at Syracuse University are. However, I am terrified to speak my opinion despite my school and peer's motto of everyone's voice deserves to be heard.

I am not a die-hard conservative.

I consider myself more of a moderate, if anything. I have certain things I lean more to the right on and I have certain things I lean more to the left on. But I definitely lean to the right more than I lean to the left.

Before coming to college, I grew up in a conservative Christian home and was surrounded by a community and town that was more conservative as well. I never got involved in anything and didn't talk about politics, however, I just accepted the fact that I was conservative because of how I grew up. I didn't really know what it meant.

Coming to college, I was introduced to a whole new world and boy was it terrifying.

I was surrounded by people who knew so much about current events and who really loved talking about politics. I was way out of my league and even reconsidered why I came here. I felt cornered and I wasn't educated enough to even know how to handle political conversations.

Throughout my freshmen year all I heard was "your voice matters," "we want to hear your voice," but I NEVER felt mine would even be taken seriously. Sure, I agreed with those who spoke in my classes and my friends sometimes, but there were also times I didn't.

Every time I thought about speaking out I knew I wasn't ready to handle the looks I would get and the judgment I would receive.

That first semester of college was a rough one for me.

Then, I started making more friends and getting more comfortable with the people around me. I started talking about my home life and sometimes they would bring up politics and I would say a thing or two sometimes. Every time I opened up, however, the others would get quiet or would start to get agitated.

If I am thinking or believing slightly different than people here are, I am not heard. I did not feel as if my voice matters and I still don't.

I felt like no one was on my side and I still feel that today.

A lot of my beliefs are supported by my faith, as well. That adds an entirely new element of judgment from others as well. When people find out I am Christian AND think more conservatively, I am immediately pegged as a judgemental person.

Voicing my opinion and beliefs does not mean I am shutting other people's down. Voicing my opinion should matter, and in the environment I am in now, I do not feel that it does. I am constantly afraid of voicing my opinions.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. I am disappointed in how a community that promotes the importance of voice is so quick to judge me.

You have your beliefs and I have mine, that doesn't make me less of a person.

I hope that one day I find the strength to not be afraid of standing up for myself. I hope that others who are afraid to share their voice as well, no matter their beliefs, find strength.

I don't put you down for your beliefs, so stop putting me down for mine.

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.

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When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

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