I Don't Want To Be In The Room Where It Happens

I Don't Want To Be In The Room Where It Happens

I am the one thing in life I can control.
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I've been aware of presidential elections since I was eight, when George W. Bush was running for re-election against John Kerry. The first one I remember in more detail is the 2012 election, though. I had an active opinion (even though I was too young to vote), and I watched the debates. Back then, politics interested me and I even considered minoring in political science when I got to college (something that never came to fruition).

This election season has changed a lot of that. The primaries didn't shape up at all how I wanted them to, and the last few months have felt like a nightmare we can't wake up from. Any time politics came up in my own house, I would end up fleeing from the room because I knew the conversation would take a turn that would stress me out. Deciding who to vote for has left my stomach in knots on more than one occasion.

Ironically, I decided to take a 100-level political science class this semester as an extra gen-ed. I knew it would be extra interesting because of the election. Most of the time during class, though, I end up hunched over my computer, just trying to avoid the fray. Controversial opinions are voiced, ones I vehemently don't agree with, but confrontation scares me. I stumble over my words and forget my well-formed thoughts any time I engage in debate. I would love to push back against opinions I view as wrong, but I never have the courage to do so.

And I most certainly, unlike former Vice President Aaron Burr, do not want to be in the room where it happens. Learning even more about our political system has taught me that. I could never be a senator or state representative, let alone a president. To avoid arguments, I often concede to another person when she expresses her opinions, even if I disagree. I'll usually say, "Yeah," or "No, I get it," or something along those lines. It's not like I change my mind with every new person that comes along; I just worry so much about starting something I can't finish that I'd rather not even get involved in a heated discussion. I'd be a great bipartisan politician but terrible at representing my constituents.

This all doesn't mean I completely ignore politics. I believe in the power of voting. I discuss issues with one of my best friends, and we always stay civil. Sometimes I have random fantasies about what I'd do if I were in Congress. And I often stress about the decisions our nation's leaders are making and the people who are about to be in power. I want our leaders to be wise, caring, and smart. I want them to, as the great Peggy Carter said, "Compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't." If you aspire to be in politics someday, hold firm to what you believe, learn from your mistakes, and work to better our nation.

But, at the end of the day, I have to remind myself that no matter what happens, God is in control. He knows what will happen, and He will use it for the glorification of His kingdom. I can't control the outcome of this election or how people vote, but I am the one thing in life I can control. I will vote. I will have opinions. I won't always voice them, but I will hold firm to them. I will dream for America's future, even if my wishes are hopeless.

As T. E. Lawrence said, "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

So if you want to be in the room where it happens, props to you. Just don't be Hamilton or Jefferson. Be the Washington in that room.

Cover Image Credit: Portland Press Herald

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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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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