It's no secret that being a young adult, especially a college student, is hard. Making it especially harder is the toxic political climate we currently find ourselves in, no matter which side of the political spectrum you find yourself on. The world seems to be just full of hate and anger, and our 24-hour news cycle constantly bombarding us with the horrors of today's reality, from terrorist attacks to Hollywood scandals and everything in between, just seems to make everything else worse. The CNN news alerts that buzz my phone throughout the day are additional reminders of what we are currently facing on both domestic and international levels.
But with all of this hate, all of this frustration, all of this tragedy, we need to come together and put our differences aside. Our country isn't perfect right now, few people would probably support that opinion. And it's not going to get any closer to this subjective idea of perfection if we continue to let political disagreements drive a wedge between us. While it can't be expected for everyone to agree about everything (a quick scroll through the Facebook comments of nearly any post will confirm that), we can start to treat each other with more basic humanity and compassion.
Little progress of any type will be made if the only way we communicate with one another is through insults and belittlement. I know it's hard to start conversations about the tough topics, for fear of repercussions due to your beliefs or of starting arguments, but one the best ways to make those conversations a little easier is coming from a place of respect and understanding towards one another, and being comfortable to let your guard down or open your mind a little bit to opposing viewpoints.
Despite being from mindsets across the political sea, my friends and I recently had a tough conversation about a controversial political topic, and instead of closing up and instantly rejecting any opposition, I was so proud that we all communicated with respectful, respective tones towards one another. You don't necessarily need to go into a discussion with the goal of changing someone's mind entirely, but instead, start to get those wheels turning about a viewpoint contrasting of their own. You'd be surprised how much more hospitable someone is when you acknowledge and respect their beliefs, and THEN try to defend your own side.
The world will not change for the better unless we help to facilitate those positive interactions. One the best and easiest ways to generate progress is to start dialogue not from a place of hate or intolerance, but one of consideration and openness. Whatever this "better" world and country will manifest themselves as, I hope they're something that people from all backgrounds, be it political, ethnic, economic, etc., can be proud of. It's not easy to have these conversations, especially when you don't expect the other person to be open to your views.
No one said change was ever easy, but there are ways to make those starting points a little easier.