friendship over politics

Being 'Bigger Than Political Differences' Is Not Noble, It's Ignorant

Could you really "agree to disagree" with someone who supports your disenfranchisement?

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Okay. Here's the thing that I really need you all to understand.

There have been a ton of pictures going around lately of friends taking pictures together, one of whom supports a candidate of one party, and the other a candidate of another. The sentiment of such photos is almost always along the lines of, "real maturity" or "real friendship is not caring about differences in political opinion" or "not caring how our friends vote" because "friendship and/or family matters most."

Here's the thing, though. There is so. much. privilege. inherent in this mindset.

As I wrote in my last article, choosing to put politics aside and meet in the middle is a huge example of privilege, and here's why: Could you really just laugh and agree to disagree with someone who believes that you should be deported? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who wants to take away your access to healthcare? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who thinks it's more important to sell more guns than allow you to practice your religion? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who thinks you should be fired and without access to care because of who you loved? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who thinks the best way to support you after your child was murdered going to school is to say that there should be more people with guns? Could you laugh and agree to disagree with someone who wants to take away your rights to your own body?

Look yourself in the face and ask yourself, honestly: Could you just laugh and agree to disagree with someone who supports candidates whose actions literally threaten your life and well-being every single day?

Probably not. As I say in the article aforementioned, if you are able to "put politics aside" and "focus on what really matters," or "don't be a democrat or republican, just treat your friends with respect and that's all that matters," then you aren't aware of the huge amount of privilege you have by simply existing the way you do. Your life, family, well-being, and safety aren't going to be threatened by the people who may write and carry out the laws of this country.

There are posts all over the place, even post-election day, that champion friends or acquaintances "putting their differences aside" and "agreeing to disagree" as being what America "needs more of" right now. But I implore you to realize that this is not something to strive for. These decisions we make continue to contribute to the disenfranchisement of POC, LGBTQIA+ people, immigrants, etc. Doing this equalizes "rooting" for certain candidates and parties to something as inconsequential as a sports team. Those who run our country and whom we elect have real power to ruin peoples' lives. Doing this normalizes privilege and labels those protesting as uncivil.

Being supportive and loving each other "no matter whom they vote for" are two different things. Your vote is a moral issue. If you really loved your neighbors, you'd listen to why those disenfranchised groups are protesting in the first place. Your vote is bigger than agreeing to disagree. It has the power to change lives, for better or for worse. Remember, the personal is political.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Supporting Late-Term Abortion Is Actually The Opposite Of Feminism

Feminism is about gender equality and women supporting women- so shouldn't we support the unborn women of tomorrow?

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Before you read this, if you are someone who feels strongly that abortions are the "right" choice and that supporting late-term abortions is a step for woman anywhere, I do not suggest you read this article. However, I do want to write that I support conditional abortions- situations where the birth can kill the mother or where conception occurred because of rape. If someone rapes you, that is not okay by any means, and a baby conceived of rape can be terminated by the mother to avoid PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and any other mental health diagnoses. Of course, if a woman can bring a baby into the world to keep or give up for adoption, even if it was the product of rape, she should seek life for the innocent child rather than death. And what a rape victim chooses to do is neither here nor there- and it damn well is not anyone else's business.

So why should it be my business (or anyone's) if women have late-term abortions? Agreeing to murder out of convenience should not be societally accepted as okay. When the law passed in New York for late-term abortions, I did not picture 39-week pregnant women rushing to Planned Parenthood to abort their child because they got cold feet. I highly doubt that is the exact scenario for which the law went into effect for, and that was more so intended for women who did not realize they were pregnant and missed the time period to get a legal abortion.

Not that I support early-term abortion, because all abortion is the same regardless of when it happens during the pregnancy. Killing someone sooner rather than later does not make it less worse.

Excuses about how women are not ready to be mothers, do not have the financial means, would ruin their futures, they would get kicked out, lose their bodies, etc. are just that- excuses. Carrying a child for nine months might be an inconvenience, but killing someone will be on your conscience forever. If murders pleaded their motives to police as a way to justify what they did (excluding self-defense), what difference is it if a woman kills her unborn child?

Planned Parenthood might be taboo and have a stigma attached to it, but it does so much more than kill babies. Planned Parenthood is a place where girls can go to see OB/GYNO, get birth control, and learn about safe sex, protection, STDs, etc. Instead of stigmatizing it, young women should be encouraged to go to this institution for woman and feminism. Let high school health classes plan field trips there so that everyone becomes more educated on female health (boys included!). Female health education is very limited, especially in school, and many women feel that an abortion is their only way out, however, it's not. By becoming more educated, the rate of teen pregnancies can go down, as well as the need for abortions. Women educating other women should be the goal of Planned Parenthood, and abortions should be reserved for those who got raped or whose pregnancy cause death, health complications, etc.

Abortion might be giving women a choice- but who is giving the unborn babies a choice?

And of course the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is abstinence, and if that is your choice then good for you, and if you choose to have sexual intercourse, good for you too. Be safe. No slut shaming here. Women need to continue supporting other women, regardless of their sex life. Women who have abortions are not "whores" and should not be labeled as such- they are just people whose biology reacted to another person's biology.

If you truly do not want to have a baby, please please please give it up for adoption and do not kill it. It did nothing wrong, and yeah, it might be a little inconvenient to be pregnant, especially if you are in school, but there are hundreds of thousands of people that would love nothing more than to raise your baby. Be a woman supporting other woman and give the gift of motherhood.

If you take away anything from this article it's this:



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