Stop Hiding Your Bigotry Behind 'Political Opinion'

Stop Hiding Your Bigotry Behind 'Political Opinion'

It's not up to you to decide who deserves equal rights.
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In the United States, we recognize an inalienable right to free speech and the open sharing of differing opinions. These days, you can say pretty much anything and take cover under this free country, as your political opinions are protected by free speech.

But there is a difference we are forgetting about, America: the difference between political opinions and actively denying people rights.

Political opinions are the way you think government and politics should function. For example, some people think the government should be small and non-intrusive into the lives of citizens, while other think government should be large and involved in people's lives. This is a fair difference in political opinion.

There is no real right answer, though, because the government is man-made. There is no natural, moral answer to the question to what extent government should be involved in people's lives. The only way to answer that question is to openly discuss differing political opinions. That's what America is all about: diversity... Right?

Political opinions, though, do not cover existing prejudices against people different than you. You do not have the right to an opinion on whether another human should have rights.

Stop hiding behind your "political opinions" to justify your racist or sexist attitudes.

It is NOT a political opinion to think all genders are undeserving of equal rights to cis-gender men.

It is NOT a political opinion to think whites are the superior race.

It is NOT a political opinion to think all Muslims are terrorists.

I would say this is just you being homophobic, with your "political opinion" that gays do not have the right to get married like straight people do, but I find the "phobic" part of the word very problematic because a phobia means an irrational fear. Arachnophobia, for example, is the crippling fear of spiders.

You are not scared of the LGBTQ+ community. You do not fear them. You hate them. There is a difference.

So instead of proclaiming that people who include anti-gay rights in their so-called "political opinions" are homophobic, I venture to say they are simply hateful of gays. You are not transphobic. You are trans-hating. And hating people simply because they are different than you is NOT a political opinion. It is you perpetuating discrimination- NOT exercising your right to your own political opinions.

Stop saying such discriminatory things and then covering it up with, "well that's my opinion! Everyone has a right to an opinion!"

You do not have the right to form an opinion on who should and shouldn't get equal rights.

Yes, you can have personal opinions like, "I don't like Mary," but your prejudices against people from different countries and backgrounds, of different skin colors, or different sexual preferences, do not translate into hard political opinions.

Would you say we should ban all people named Mary from entering the country or getting married or getting equal pay to people who are not named Mary, just because you don't like her? Of course not.

But that's exactly what's happening here in America today. Because of your prejudices against different groups of people, you think you have the right to carry them as your "political opinions" and make them law.

Well, you don't. You do not have the right to dictate who gets equal rights.

Cover Image Credit: Elvert Barnes / Flickr

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Truth Is, All Trump Has Done Is Make America Hate Again

I accept and understand that you may have different opinions, but please respect mine too.

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A feat that was thought nearly impossible. Almost every poll reported that it was a clear win for Hillary Clinton. Yet, the day of the election many Trump supporters found themselves overjoyed.

I remember that day very clearly. It was incredibly late on a school night but there was no way that I could go to bed. I was sixteen years old and terrified for the future. Whoever won, I was aware that it would be an interesting, but tough four years. I remember not being particularly fond of Hillary, but I strongly opposed (and still do) Donald Trump.

I want to point out that I try to be very respectful about different political opinions, I feel like there is something to learn from everyone. I find it difficult to do that in this case. I will attempt to look at it from both angles, regardless.

I am outraged. Outraged by the reality of his presidency.

A man with zero qualification in regards to politics, no experience in the field, and ultimately a failed businessman. One can argue that it's very elitist of me to believe that someone who went to school or has experience with politics should be the only people with access to the White House. I argue that it is important that whoever occupies the oval office should have education on the very thing he was elected to do, lead the country. A degree doesn't make one better than anyone else, but it indicates a formal education, which I believe is fair to ask for when put in the highest position of power in the United States.

I firmly believe that Donald Trump's views do not coincide with what the Republican party was before. This poses the analysis of how much the GOP has changed since he announced the beginning of the campaign. I believe that before Trump, and even Obama, ran the White House, Republicans and Democrats were different in some ways, but never with this aggression and blatant disrespect for one another.

"Respect," is a word that Trump doesn't seem to be too familiar with. It seems like he doesn't know when he is being severely disrespectful. For example, when he attacked the disabled reporter; More recently, when he mocked Christine Blasey Ford. Whatever your position, Republican, Democrat or Libertarian, we can agree that mocking people on Twitter or in rallies is poor taste...

... or not.

Which brings me to my next point and what I believe to be the worst part of Trump´s presidency. I believe he has not "made America great again," but he has made it OK to be hateful again. I think this incessant bullying and obvious racism has only enabled those who have believed these things but knew it was bad to express it. This attitude and distaste towards minorities or just those who are different is so prevalent. Donald Trump has taken a large part is encouraging this.

He made it OK to oppress people again.

He made it OK to hurt those who are different.

He made it OK to be racist and proud.

He made it OK to be shamed for being an abuse victim.

He made it OK to hate on the right to free speech.

He made it OK to be narrow-minded.

Don't get me wrong, I am positive that there have always been people like this but never out in the open. He exposed this great issue and frankly, it's depressing.

It's depressing to know that there are people who are this vicious towards others. I think this norm of being so distasteful towards each other and it needs to stop.

This is the reality of what we face in this country. It´s up to us to change it. Political science major or not, Democrat or not. It is imperative we see the harm of this administration and hope to change our country for the better.

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