Hey, Democrats, It's Okay To Be Friends With Trump Supporters

Hey, Democrats, It's Okay To Be Friends With Trump Supporters

As objectionable as their views may be to you and me, they are still human beings worth far more than their political ideologies.
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It has been over two years since then-reality-star Donald Trump glided down an escalator, corn husk head of hair and all, took to the podium, and announced not only that he was running for President, but that he would "Make America Great Again."

In the time that has followed, politics –– a topic that is universally known as one of the few things to never bring up at the dinner table or with strangers –– has seemingly only become more rancorous and toxic a topic of discussion. Aided by the bevy of insults launched at political opponents, (eventual) political allies, disabled journalists, and Gold Star families alike by now-President Donald Trump, politics became more personal and tested personal relationships marred by ideological differences.

During and after the election, there were articles written about married couples splitting up over their political differences and parent-child relationships being severed, too. Now, almost a year after the election, our collective inability to separate the politics from the person is still dangerously high, especially in liberal circles.

A recent Pew Research Poll –– their Political Typology report published on October 24 –– found that fully 55% of "Solid Liberals" responded that a friend supporting Trump would "put a strain on their friendship." That is so disappointing and disheartening to me.

I would most certainly fall well within the "solidly liberal" tier or, if we're being honest, somewhere further left than that. But I also have many casual acquaintances as well as some close friends who are staunch supporters of Trump and much of his agenda, and I have never considered this to be a hindrance to our relationships.

I find many of my friends' views extremely objectionable and, in some cases, unfathomable. I have wondered how they arrived at these views and how they continue to support a man and President like Donald Trump, but I have never wondered if these beliefs that I find so objectionable should mean we cannot remain friends.

The idea that all of Trump's supporters are irredeemable, virulent racists who hate women, immigrants, and poor people, too is just a false and immoral oversimplification. There are certainly Trump supporters who fit one, if not all, of these characteristics, but there are also plenty who are genuinely good human beings with good morals and good intentions.

I must acknowledge that part of my ability to see people for more than their political views comes from my place of privilege. As a straight, white male from an upper-middle class family, I largely do not have to worry myself about the real-life implications of President Trump's agenda within the narrow context of my own life.

However, I do not think that there is anything to gain from refusing to look at people as nothing more than their respective Presidential ballots. There are a wide variety of reasons people voted for this President –– and 46% of voters did vote for him –– and, though they ultimately all led people to the same (in my opinion, wrong) conclusion, intentions do matter.

I am not prepared to write tens of millions of Americans off as incapable of being my friend simply because they made what I perceive to be a demonstrably and undoubtedly wrong decision on their ballots last November. I am equally unprepared to write off the millions of Americans who still support the President, despite what I see of him failing as a leader and a unifier.

I would hope that all Americans, regardless of political leaning, can see beyond politics and share in empathy and love for everyone, even if you find some of their beliefs extremely objectionable.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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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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A Glimpse Of My Adventure In Germany & Poland

This why everyone should study abroad.

Learism
Learism
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Two days ago, I arrived back in the States from a two-week study abroad trip to Germany and Poland. This trip was entitled Experiences in International Justice. On this trip, we studied the Holocaust and its consequences through the lens of criminal justice. This trip changed my life in so many ways.

Firs, I really connected with all the other students on my trip, so I know that I can find friendship and understanding in them because we shared this experience.

Secondly, I discovered a newfound respect for life and need to work towards a more just world through learning more about Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust. We visited three infamous concentration camps: Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. I don't know if I can explain to you the emotions I experienced, but I would like to try since I think it is very important to share my experience with others. It was so surreal to be in a place where millions of innocent lives were taken away. Seeing where the many Jews, Roma, and many other groups slept, worked, suffered, and died really put my life into perspective.

It got me reflecting on what I have to be thankful for, and the problems that I feel are a too big deal to handle. Nothing I could ever go through can be compared to what those poor people went through. Because of this realization, I have become empowered to do what I can to help those who are suffering and who do not have anyone to stand up for them. I know I can't effect change all over the world, but I want to help others in any way I can, in my community and in my future career as a Forensic Psychologist, as well as with my friends and family.

I also have been inspired to be a torch-bearer for the memory of the victims as well as the Holocaust itself, so that something like it never happens again. Knowledge is power, and so being educated about what happened and how it happened can help us take a stand for what's right. Because not everyone has the privilege to travel to the concentration camps as I have so I have an obligation to share my experiences there with the world. I do not want the victims to disappear, from the Holocaust or any tragedy. From a criminal justice perspective, it was also very interesting to read more about the perpetrators, how normal people can be so violent and destroy fellow humans without remorse. I think it is beneficial to study them because it shows that anyone can become overwhelmed with power and let it go to their heads.

My trip to Germany and Poland was an amazing experience that expanded my mind and my world, inspired me to continue down my chosen career path, and gave me great friends. I hope that everyone has a chance to study abroad and always be curious and open-minded because it will do so much good for you.

Learism
Learism

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