Everything You Need To Know About The Midterm Elections

Everything You Need to Know About the Results of the Midterm Elections

In the United States, change is made through voting and the results of those elections.

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The current state of politics in Washington D.C., as they have been since the 2016 presidential election, has caused eligible voters to take action on election day. Most recently, these calls for action were heard in the 2018 Midterm Election, which ended the Republican's control of Congress.

Democrats took control of the House, holding 232 seats opposed to the 199 Republican seats (and four independents). The Republicans gained even more seats in the Senate, holding 52 against the remaining 47 Democrats (and one independent). This is not the ideal result that Democrats were hoping for due to the Senatorial election results, but gaining control of the House in such a drastic fashion is much better than no change at all.

But why are these election results so drastic?

The simple answer is that these results are different from what this country has always known. Many candidates for office and those who have won their races are making history. Barriers have been broken in the 2018 Midterm Elections in gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Firsts in the Gubernatorial Elections Include:

-Jared Polis (D), the First Openly Gay Governor in United States history, was elected in Colorado. (Polis is not the first open member of the LGBT community to be elected, because Governor Kate Brown of Oregon is bisexual).

-Kristi Noem (R), the first female governor of South Dakota.

-Janet Mills (D), the first female governor of Maine.

Firsts in Congressional Elections Include:

-Rashida Tlaib (D, Michigan) and Ilhan Omar (D, Minnesota) being the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Omar is also the first Palestinian-American congresswoman.

-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, New York) is the youngest woman elected to Congress, as she will be 29 when she is sworn into office.

-Sharice Davids (D, Kansas) and Deb Hassland (D, New Mexico) are the first Native American Congresswomen. Davids is also the first openly gay representative from Kansas.

-Marsha Blackburn (R) is the first female Senator from Tennessee.

-Veronica Escobar (D) and Sylvia Garcia (D) are both the first hispanic congresswomen from Texas.

-Jahana Hayes (D) is the first black Congresswoman from Connecticut.

-Ayanna Pressley (D) is the first black Congresswoman from Massachusetts.

-Abby Finkenauer (D) and Cindy Axne (D) are both the first female members of the house from Iowa.

-Krysten Sinema (D, Arizona) is the first openly bisexual person elected to the Senate. She also was sworn into office by Vice President Michael Pence on a copy of the Constitution.

42 women are joining Congress. (Only 4 of them are Republican…)

There are 24 people of color elected to Congress (One of them is Republican...)

These elections have brought about change to the United States government, and with greater voter turnout in years to come, hopefully, more change will occur. Ideally, change will continue in elections to come to represent a greater diversity of people that accurately matches the United States population, and with more bi-partisan results.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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