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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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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