What The Lack Of Civic Discourse Means For Our Future

What The Lack Of Civic Discourse Means For Our Future

The only solution to a divided America, is to seek to understand each other.

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There are many things that are great to talk about at dinner parties and family gatherings; you can talk about your job, your friends, places you've been, the possibilities are endless. But there is one thing everyone always says never to talk about in mixed company: Politics.

Why should we not discuss Politics? Is it because your outspoken Uncle will go on another tirade? It is because you hold different views than your family? Probably all of the above. But what does it mean that this topic is so contentious that we avoid it at all costs?

Politics nowadays is seen as a dividing force. Your political beliefs are seen as something that can drive a wedge between a relationship. This is mainly because we don't know how to talk about politics without getting heated. The lack of civic discourse in America is showing us that we are not trying to understand each other. Instead, we are fighting with each other, writing angry Facebook posts, and refusing to talk about either the elephant or the donkey in the room.

We as a nation cannot move forward to improve our country if the people won't even talk to each other. America is very divided right now because we live in a world that says that it is okay to avoid difficult things in life. Our society says that it is okay to live in your own bubble. It's time for us to pop those bubbles and start trying to bridge the gap between people.

The first way to start talking about issues is to understand your intent in the discussion. When engaged in a discussion about politics, your goal shouldn't be to prove that you're right and the other person is wrong. Your goal should always be to try and understand the other person's beliefs and background supporting their beliefs.

The second thing to know is that it's okay to disagree. It is okay for you to not agree with everyone that you meet. Disagreement doesn't mean that you have to throw punches and it doesn't mean that you have to engage in debate. All disagreement means is that two people have two different viewpoints. If a disagreement on political matters costs a friendship, then it is not a friendship worth saving. Everyone has different beliefs. Some people like coffee and some people like tea. Does that mean that someone who likes coffee should never be friends with someone who likes tea? Of course not! If someone said they wouldn't be friends with you because you like tea, you would think they were strange. Why should politics be any different?

Everyone, no matter what side of the aisle you're on, wants what's best for our country. Each side has different beliefs in how to achieve progress, and each side has different beliefs on what issues need more focus, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that we are all Americans, we are all humans, and we are all individuals who should seek to understand other people and perspectives.

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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To The Girl Who Doesn't Know What's Coming Next, Just Hold On

It's not going to be easy, but I promise it's going to be so worth it.

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One of my favorite habits that I've ever picked up is journaling. I used the same journal from sophomore year, right up through my senior year of high school, and I cherish that book with all of my heart.

That journal was the start of my writing career, believe it or not. I have remnants of the old poems and story ideas that my 15-year-old self was so proud of, and I love looking at them and reminiscing on how much I've grown as a creator and person over the past three years.

I got a new journal to start off my college career, but I'm still keeping my old journal by my side. After writing my first entry in my new journal, I decided to look back at some of my old entries to see what I was up to this time a few years ago.

You see, while I chronicled many of my high points in that trusty grey book, it was also my place of solace when I was feeling sad or stressed. If I had a thought that I was upset about, I would write it in there to send it off into the universe and get it out of my head.

I don't think journaling is a foreign concept to a lot of people, and if it is to you, I highly recommend trying it. However, reading the entries of my struggles with anxiety and depression hurt my heart more than you can possibly imagine.

I know they're in there, but looking back on them scares me. I remember writing those and feeling absolutely lost. I felt like there was nothing left for me, and I didn't know how things could possibly get better. The light at the end of the tunnel was nonexistent at that point, and no matter what I did or who I told, nothing got better.

I look back at myself a year ago, and I remember a girl who would go to school and put on the happiest face in the world — and then get in the car at 2:30 and immediately break down into tears. I remember being in class, smiling and laughing with my friends while simultaneously feeling nothing at all.

That's the problem. I wasn't feeling bad. I wasn't feeling anything. I wasn't just sad. I didn't feel anything whatsoever. Everything felt wrong, but I had no idea what to do to make things right. Everything I loved just lost its former appeal.

When I read those entries I'm looking into the eyes of a girl who was struggling just to get out of bed in the morning. I look at someone who wanted to be strong and wanted to get better, but didn't know what to change. Those entries were written by someone crying out for help, someone who didn't understand why no one seemed to hear her.

This isn't me putting anyone I tried to talk to during this time on blast. This is me calling out to anyone who doesn't know what to do next. This is me telling you to hold on.

The past year has been a long, painful and amazing journey in faith and self-discovery. It has been a year of building strong relationships and letting go of old ones. It has been a year of me working toward being a better me.

And your journey is going to be the same.

I'm not telling you it's going to be easy. I'm telling you it's going to be worth it, and that I'm rooting for you — even when it seems like the rest of the world isn't.

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