The Future Is Now: The Beauty Of Political Differentiation

The Future Is Now: The Beauty Of Political Differentiation

It's OK to agree to disagree.

In light of the recent political rallies, such as those of presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, in Pittsburgh over the last few weeks, I think it's necessary to take a step back from the superficial tension and delve a little deeper into the core of varying political viewpoints.

As I scroll through my Facebook and Twitter, I continue to see political post after political post, some more vicious than others. As the race for the White House continues, people are becoming more and more passionate about their thoughts and feelings on the topic. As young adults, we are learning about what goes into making our country successful as an individual nation, as well as with its relations with other countries.

As we progress further along in our lives, we experience different scenarios and situations that have the potential to sway our political views. Some people follow the political beliefs of their parents, while others feel undecided about what they think, or may even sharply contrast with what their family stands for in that realm. However, it seems as if the media coverage and political rallying associated with this intense election has sparked a heightened level of controversy between the supporters, and opposition of all of the candidates.

On April 13, 2016, Donald Trump paid a visit to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He spent about an hour filming a televised interview with Sean Hannity from Fox News at the University of Pittsburgh, and the rest of Trump's evening was spent at a rally in downtown Pittsburgh at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. I figured that as a politically interested college student, I would take advantage of my free time on that day and head down to Oakland to see Mr. Trump speak with Mr. Hannity.

The first thing I need to address was that the amount of traffic and commotion throughout the entire city was astounding. I have lived my whole life in this city and had never seen such congestion. That aside, I came into the event curious to see the interaction between the avid supporters, the people like myself who simply just wanted to attend the event and seek more information about this particular candidate and his campaign, and the protestors of Mr. Trump.

There had been a lot of information going through the rumor mill regarding the types of protests and groups that would be present at the Pitt event, as well as the subsequent rally. However, upon my arrival, I just wanted to take everything in around me. Many people had signs, and while some protestors were more vocal than others, I had no conflict with anyone of any belief, nor did I witness anything overly dramatic. The most common behavior I witnessed was the proposal of simple questions such as, "Why are you here?" "What do you support?" and "Why do you support this candidate?" I did hear of more vicious and physical protests at the downtown rally and that saddens me because that takes away from the purpose of these sort of events. You can love, hate or have no concrete stance on Mr. Trump or Mr. Sanders or whomever, and you can go to their events with any sort of belief you want, but we must understand that people are entitled to their opinions, and that's OK. It is not OK, however, to infringe on people's rights to engage in these sort of political activities, even if you don't fully agree with them.

While I understand that some people could be easily angered by the sort of questions asked by peaceful protestors, I took no offense. I went to the event on a quest to seek out more information regarding the potential Republican nominee. I had no firm stance on the man. The event was close and worked with my schedule, so I went. It was an eye-opening and thought-provoking experience. Being there made me feel so thankful for living here in the United States, where we have the legal ability to express how we feel and can attend these sort of political gatherings. There is a distinct beauty in political differentiation.

If we were all clones who wore the same clothes, ate the same food and talked the same way, life would be such a bore without progress and advancement from the general basis of conduct. We can apply this philosophy to our views on this heated election race. If we all loved one candidate, there would be no need for this in the first place. No new ideas would ever emerge, and we would be stuck living the same life on repeat for the rest of time. Now is the time to embrace people's political differences, and think about why they think that way. Because who knows? Maybe that one thought or that one conversation with someone who believes something totally different than you can transform the way you look at our nation.

This article is not about Donald Trump. It is not about Bernie Sanders. It is not about Ted Cruz. It is not about Hillary Clinton. It is about agreeing to disagree, and getting the facts in an attempt to understand why people believe what they believe.

So stop stealing your political beliefs from Facebook and Twitter. Educate yourself on what's really happening because we are the future, and the future is now.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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A Glimpse Of My Adventure In Germany & Poland

This why everyone should study abroad.


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.


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