Stop Judging Me For My Beliefs

Stop Judging Me For My Beliefs

I'm no longer allowing myself to be silenced with fear.
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This article is difficult for me to write. It's difficult because, when discussing politics, I always choose to stay quiet or to stay on a level ground. I love talking about politics, and all sides of politics too. I love researching political issues, and I love discussing why some people believe what they believe and how they think we can improve America as a whole. I have loved politics since I was 12, and I have genuinely formed my own opinions as I've grown up. Although my parents and I share similar views, I am actually less moderate than my parents which is something that is very uncommon in today's society. I read a lot of political articles, and I read them from all sides. I also have friends from many different sides of politics and I really enjoy hearing why they support certain candidates and movements. Overall, I love politics.

But in recent years I've grown to hate it. I hate talking about it, I hate the jokes about it. I hate watching television shows that discuss politics, and I hate celebrities that join in on the narrative. I hate when I'm in a group of people and someone makes a political joke just assuming everyone is in agreement about those beliefs. I hate talking about politics because it has become an intolerant and extremely toxic environment.

I am not a liberal or Democrat nor do I consider myself conservative or Republican either, mostly because I'm very much against political parties and extremes as a whole. But in recent years, I've grown to really oppose the Democratic party. Not because I don't have liberal beliefs; I support gay rights, women's rights and all rights such as that. I'm the most inclusive, live-and-let-live person you will every meet. I strongly disagree with the government getting involved with the people's personal lives, so I agree abortion should be legal, and I think marijuana should be legal as well. Not necessarily because I support these things, but because I'm against big government. Some of my views are democratic so I don't oppose the current-day liberal's party because of beliefs.

I think a large part of today's democratic party has become toxic, exclusive and all around mean. Before someone jumps down my throat, calls me a bigot or de-friends me on social media and possibly real life, I'm not saying everyone who is a Democrat is this way. I know a ton of understanding, kind and mature liberals who love political discussions and are respectful of people's opinions, and I love talking about politics with them. One of my favorite teachers was liberal, and he was both respectful of everyone's opinions and incredibly educated in his own. And I'm not saying every Republican isn't this way either, as I am sure there are plenty of conservatives out there who aren't understanding, kind and mature, and instead help spread the political negativity in today's society. So before anyone writes a response piece to this article, I understand the world isn't black and white, and I understand there is good and bad from all sides.

But political extremists don't understand this, at least from my point of view. I am sick of being called a bigot because of my opinions. I'm sick of having my words twisted, and my intentions being misread. I'm sick of being silenced and I'm sick of being scared to talk about what I actually believe. Altogether, I'm sick of being bullied because I of what I support. The world isn't black and white. How ironic that the same people who preach about inclusion, open-mindedness and diversity are the ones shutting people down and bullying people into submission because of one aspect of their entire being. There are gay Republicans who are more afraid to admit they're Republican than to admit they are gay. Don't people see how twisted this has all become?

I am not sorry I believe in states' rights over the federal government, or that I believe the second amendment is incredibly important. I am not sorry I believe in less federal government involvement, in a strong military (and in supporting that strong military), and that I don't believe in the government paying for higher education. And I am especially not sorry that I thought Hillary Clinton was incredibly unqualified and an extremely dangerous candidate for our country. I am not sorry for my conservative beliefs, just as I am not sorry for my liberal beliefs.

We need to stop calling people bigots. We need to stop acting like the people who did vote for Donald Trump are stupid, uneducated or even evil. We need to stop judging people's worth or character off of political opinions. I can tell some people silently judge me for my opinions. I even get nervous people will stop being my friend because of it, and that is absolutely ridiculous. I would never stop being someone's friend because of something so silly as political opinions unless they actually were racist, homophobic, sexist or a bigot. Which guess what? I am not and neither are most people if you actually listened to their opinions.

This is a risky article to write because I did not hold back my opinion in fear of being judged or inciting criticism. I did not sugarcoat it or try to stay in the middle of the argument like I usually do because I'm sick of being respectful over everyone's beliefs and not getting the same courtesy in return. I'm no longer allowing myself to be silenced with fear. All I'm asking is to have my opinions and other people's opinions heard and respected. I am tired of the hate, the toxicity and the all-around division, and even if most choose to ignore this article and continue to try and shut others down, I still won't be silenced. I'm done playing along with this dangerous narrative. I believe what I believe, and I respect what others believe whether it's aligned with my beliefs or not. If you don't see it this way, then you are the problem. Not me.

Cover Image Credit: The Statesman

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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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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