Don't Tell Me What To Be Outraged About

Don't Tell Me What To Be Outraged About

Why does my rage have to be mutually exclusive?
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We need to talk about one of the most common phrases said when someone is about something; "How can you be upset about (any number of issues that you have a right to be upset about) when women are getting abortions?"

I've seen that statement, or any variation of it, when people begin to talk about gun control, animal abuse, the environment, or even something that may seem mundane to most, but important to the person who is talking about it. For example, how they lost their favorite necklace or how Starbucks didn't get their order right.

I understand; some people are very upset about abortion. Although I am pro-choice, I understand where that feeling of sadness about abortion comes from. However, when you tell someone that they're not allowed to be upset about anything other than abortion, you're taking away their right to think for themselves (sort of how pro-lifers are trying to take away women's rights to their own bodies, but I digress).

Don't tell me that I can't be upset about how a man killed 17 high schoolers, or that I can't be upset that vendors in China are selling baby sea turtles in small plastic pouches as keychains, because believe me, I'm upset. I'm upset that those lives were lost, and that those animals are living in such terrible conditions.

Even if I were pro-life, I'm pretty sure that I would still be upset about those issues, and many more. I can't imagine that those who are upset about abortion have never felt a moment of sadness for any other issue.

To be honest, I'm not sure why some of those who are upset about abortion believe that you shouldn't be allowed to be bothered by anything else. I'm not sure if they realize the damage that that could cause. Putting focus entirely on one subject alone, no matter what the subject is, is incredibly dangerous. The issues that I care about will not be determined by anyone but myself.

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The Post Grad Phase No One Talks About

Graduation is all fun and games until you remember everything you're leaving behind.

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"Congratulations!" It's such a small, exciting word. The weekend I graduated from college, this was the only word I seemed to hear. It left me feeling confused. Congrats on leaving all my best friends behind? Congrats on never finding comfort in that morning stroll across campus again? Congrats on leaving a town I have called home? Congrats on leaving the school that has taught me some of the most valuable lessons? I just couldn't seem to find the excitement in this word-- all I could think about were the things I was going to miss.

5 -- The Local Restaurants, Bars, Shops

To be completely honest, it's almost insulting having to leave behind all of the restaurants, bars, and shops in your college town. After years, you have finally found all of your favorite hot spots-- places to day drink and avoid going to class, a spot to grab a pizza to celebrate a Friday, a boutique for a last minute game day outfit, and even your favorite local coffee shop.

So, it doesn't quite qualify as a restaurant or a bar, but the local Target (that closed at midnight!!) was my hot spot. My roommate and I would go there for any and all reasons. We would go to buy school supplies to mark a new school year. We'd go late at night to buy our favorite binge worthy snacks. On our many and short "let's be healthy binges" we would buy a ton of fruits and vegetables we never ate. We spent a ton on Christmas decorations and Valentine's Day candy. The house that built me, ya know what I mean?

4 -- The Campus

You walk on campus so many times during your college career. Unfortunately, most of the time, you take your surroundings for granted. But remember these things: the campus saw you on your worst and your best days, the campus saw you crying to your mom on the phone when you knew you had to change your major, your campus saw you when you got the call letting you know you got into graduate school, and these buildings let you sit on the steps when you needed a chance to breathe between classes.

You'll take all of these buildings and campus surroundings for granted, until it's your last walk. My last walk around campus as a student was hard. It was suddenly even more beautiful than I remembered. It had been my home for four years, and somehow four years had gone by in a blink of an eye.

3 -- Game Days

If you're fortunate enough to go to a football school, you know how fun game days are. Game days in the south are all about dressing your best, getting up early to tailgate (because you can't drink all day if you don't start early), and cheering on your team. You get to spend an entire day with all of your best friends at your favorite school.

It's weird leaving the student section for the last time. I remember we all looked around and said "Thanks Bryant Denny," knowing we'd for sure be back in the fall as alumni, but our time as student fans had officially come to an end. One of the hardest things about this goodbye is that it's the first goodbye you really have as a senior. When the season comes to a close, you have yet to finish your first semester, but you realize how fast it's flying by.

2 -- Greek Life

Similar to game days, if you were lucky enough to join Greek life, you know how hard it is to leave. Going to a big school, you realize how communal Greek life has made your college experience. Somehow, everyone knows everyone. You start seeing the same faces around campus, and it's served as a comfort for you. You have made endless friendships in your house, but you've also made friends in other houses. The people in your house have become your family for four years.

I ate every single meal at my house. I studied for all my exams at my house. I complained to my friends about annoying classes. I celebrated my successes and the successes of others at my house. I found my people at my house.

1 -- Your People

Your people are what you'll miss the most. Your people are the reason the word "congratulations" is so daunting. You're leaving your support system. Your people are starting jobs or continuing their education, but not with you. Your people will be scattered all across the country.

This is the absolute hardest part of leaving college. This is the reason I cried all the way home with my car packed to the brim. My girls have been with me through the good and the bad for four years. Even weeks after graduating, it's hard to write this without shedding a few tears. To my girls: I already miss Netflix and wine nights, I miss Snapchats after a night out at the bars, and I miss walking over to your houses just to do homework. You are all so special to me, and I will be cheering you all on throughout your next adventures. Can't wait to plan many trips together!

You will miss these things, and this phase will be one you'll go through. But the point of the matter is, you'll have these memories and these people forever. So, congratulations! Congratulations on an unforgettable college experience. Your future is bright.

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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