American Revolution and Moral Standing

Is America today On The 'Right Side Of History'?

In this polarized and political America, one must wonder whether they are on the right side of history. Are the causes we're fighting for just?

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I have been on the East Coast on my senior trip: a whirlwind crash course of Colonial American History. This trip contained pit stops in Salem, Boston, and Philadelphia. These cities are well renowned for their history: the senseless murder of nineteen, riots and acts of violence, and the meeting where the word independence was first uttered. This history is elegant, neat, and linear.

By visiting these locations, I came upon a realization: we know what happened because that's what we learned. Yet, what we're taught is never the whole truth. There is always a forgotten narrative. There are ones that may be too painful to study, ones that don't have adequate documentation or ones that didn't fit the image presented to us in school. Sometimes, the stories may even be that of the "bad guys." But, while history is happening all around us, how can we be sure which side is "right?"

Take Boston. In the years prior to the American Revolution, Boston was at the center of the rebellion and a handful of townsfolk had a habit of becoming violent. They hung a dummy of a tax collector from a "Liberty Tree" and tore down his factory by hand, only because he was to become the Stamp Act tax collector. Property was torched, people were injured, and there was a general air of storminess throughout the town. By the time of the Boston Tea Party, this group of people had a name: The Sons of Liberty. Unlike the mainstream narrative presented, the town was not cheering these men on. Instead, they were dead silent as men with faces painted black carrying Tomahawks destroyed 1.5 to 2 million dollars worth of Crown property.

These (most likely) drunk men carried Native American weapons meant to break apart crates. These men destroyed property. Property of a government they were still a part of, a government some still supported. About a third of Bostonians were self-proclaimed "Friends of Government" ("Loyalist" and "Tory" were insults given to Crown Supporters by the Sons of Liberty). To them, the Sons of Liberty were rabble-rousers and ones that ruined everything. The Boston Tea Party resulted in the Coercive Acts, a set of acts that resulted in the closing of the Boston Harbor, the banning of town meetings, and British soldiers coming back to Boston tenfold. The many were being punished for the actions of a few.

In a time where everyone was a proud British citizen, the Friends of Government were the ones who still believed peace could be achieved. Many enjoyed the security that the Crown provided and were not eager to lose that. These beliefs lasted all the way to the first shots fired at Lexington. After war broke out, many fled back to England, as staying in the colonies might have meant their death. To them, the Revolution was not a grand, eloquent formation of a new country. It was the result of violence and rebellion against Law and Order. They knew revolutions never succeeded. They thought they were on the right side of history.

Now, in this polarized and political America, one must wonder whether they are on the right side of history. Are the causes we're fighting for just? Will our success prove the betterment of America as not only a country, but as a republic? Is the battle we're currently fighting worth it? If so, fight on, and fight hard. The Sons of Liberty did.

The Friends of Government did too.

Cover Image Credit:

Katie Looff

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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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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