Stop Complaining That I'm Not In Your Political Party

Stop Complaining That I'm Not In Your Political Party

When did bipartisan become the only acceptable answer?

When George Washington stepped down from the presidency all those years ago, he set precedents for those who come after him to follow. Most of us were actually clearly taught this in school growing up. I distinctly remember taking a test in eighth-grade social studies where I had to list a few of them. In today's world, one aged a little worse than the rest.

No political parties.

Maybe George Washington was on to something. Maybe he foresaw the state our nation is currently in. Frankly, we are a bipartisan mess.

Being on the cusp of millennials and Generation Z, I am living in a time where politics is starting to overwhelm social media, which is already overwhelming enough in itself with the amount of control and relevancy it has over young people. Without fail, I can open any one of my accounts on any given day and either see a jab at the conservatives or the liberals, and it's starting to become extremely unsettling. Not because I feel like I am being attacked in any of the posts, but because I am sitting on the outside watching two parties refuse to see value on the other side.

I am sitting on the outside watching two parties pigeonhole a person into a few of their beliefs and assume that because they don't agree with them, they no longer have worth as a human. It's harsh, but it's true.

I am a moderate. I am an independent. I bounce between parties during elections and during casual debates with friends. This shouldn't be a hard thing to say. It shouldn't feel odd to stand up and make my beliefs known without fearing retribution. But it does feel weird to confidently declare that I stand by my ideas.

When last year's election came around, most every conversation began or ended with everyone's elevator pitch as to why their candidate was the best option. The amount of frustration people had toward me for not seeing much of anything to support in either party was striking. Truly, I did not believe either candidate would do the title and job of President the justice it deserves. Both sides would gladly group me with their enemies because I wasn't necessarily their ally. Both sides would refuse to see the credit in anything I was saying because my views were not their own. No matter which way I voted in that election, Democratic or Republican or Third Party, I would be blamed for the outcome.

That's not how democracy is supposed to work.

There are some things, especially with the economy, that I believe need to government-regulated. And then there are some things that I believe shouldn't be the government's choice, especially when it comes to limiting certain people's rights because they don't resemble the people making the decisions. There are some views I am still trying to find my stance on. But this doesn't mean you get to look at me and scoff and tell me I'm wrong. You don't get to look at the opposing party and say that either.

Because if you assume you're right and they're wrong, they are probably just assuming the same thing back.

So what's the crime in me agreeing with you and with them?

It doesn't make me two-faced, it doesn't make me indecisive. I actually think it's freeing. I think that we should be the future, not the people generalizing the opposite party into all morons or all bigots. Obviously, not everyone who affiliates with a party acts this way. But the ones who do are the ones who are driving the political state of this country into the ground.

Stop yelling at me for not picking a party. Stop assuming that because I'm not 100% with you, that I'm 100% against you. I still vote, I still campaign for who I believe in, I still march for what I'm passionate about and I still make my voice heard. I'm trying to find my way like everyone else, and I simply don't think either side is right for me. Maybe if more people were comfortable with accepting this, and maybe if more people accepted that those of us in the middle deserve to have a voice too, things may have gone differently.

There's been a saying passed around philosophers for a while now, so it's hard to give credit where it's due. People like Winston Churchill, Georges Clemenceau, and Francois Guizot have all been cited expressing the idea in some fashion that if you're not liberal in your 20's you have no heart, and if you aren't conservative in your 40's you have no head. Maybe it's time for us all to look for a happy medium, or at least try to understand it.

Cover Image Credit: Roya Ann Miller

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

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

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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For The One Who Loves Too Fiercely

I challenge you to love yourself even more
"Her soul was too deep to explore by those who always swam in the shallow end."
-A.J. Lawless

My mom has a saying that "almost" is the same as never will be. You "almost" got the guy. You "almost" found your best friend. We "almost" could have worked out.

But it didn't.

For a lot of my life, I grew up believing that something was wrong with me. I was too loud. I wasn't funny like the rest of my family. I wasn't good enough.

People would befriend me and then walk away without notice. Guys would take interest and then not respond just when I started to catch feels.

I didn't understand why I always felt like second best to my friends instead of their first, absolute best friend. And I spent countless hours wracking my brain trying to figure out what I needed to change in order to fit the seam I somehow always lacked.

But the truth is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with me or you.

We as humans all live completely separate, yet selfish lives and each and every one of us has a different past and future that will inevitably define us.

Some of us have been incredibly blessed. Never questioning our parent's love of us, feeling financially secure in attending college or getting the next best thing.

While others of us have feared to open the pantry or refrigerator door, hopeful that something might magically appear inside. Some of us have experienced the neglect that our parental figures left us and search for love in individuals who can never give as we may need.

But there is nothing wrong with being different.

With being the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. The girl who screams at the top of her lungs and emotions deeper than others can handle. With being the girl least likely to speak up in class or approach the one who her heart desires. With being the girl who hates shallow conversations and questions the great unknowns.

And while you may feel alone in certain groups or at certain events, my greatest hope is that you may also learn to feel full from others, but at least always in yourself.

To understand the love and admiration that your true friends most genuinely have for you. To feel included, even if you may not have anything to say this time. To feel worthy even in the darkest of storms, or the gloomiest days.

Some people will never understand the emotions brewing inside of you, for they have never lived the hells you have learned to call reality. Some have never wanted to discuss the greatest struggles and triumphs of our government or lives of our society.

Regardless of where you stand in the midst of this, the center, outer corners or nowhere in sight, I hope you come to understand that it will never be because of you. My god it never was you.

Your soul is far too vast to be cherished in the shallow end.

And while you might have felt more rejection by men and women your age, the love you feel for yourself must always come from within.

I challenge you to find space in your heart to love yourself as wholly as you have attempted to love the individuals who failed you. To wait for the friends and loved ones who will appreciate you and lift you up, but understand that they can never fill you. For you can only fill yourself.

Because while you might be far too intense for everyone, you can never be too much for yourself or the people who learn to love the real you. And that, in my honest opinion will always prevail over anyone who walked away before having the chance to love the individual you so desperately want to hide, but I so desperately want to see.

Choose her over anything, and love yourself more fiercely than anyone ever could.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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