A Thank You To Pantsuit Nation

A Thank You To Pantsuit Nation

We are stronger together, and we are always with her.
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Pantsuit Nation has emerged from the post election rubble as a force to be reckoned with. The secret Facebook group, started just weeks before the November 8 presidential election, aims to promote unity amongst a party that is now divided.

As a proud member of this group, I wanted to express my sincere gratitude about my new friends, my belonging as a Democrat, and finally finding it within myself to accept me the way others do.


Dear Pantsuit Nation:

I never thought I would find "my people" on a secret Facebook group.

In the days leading up to the election, I was proud to read uplifting stories about how a girl was about to run the world. On November 8, I watched in horror as a nightmare became a reality. The next day, as I was scrolling through the countless posts about the outcome, I realized that I was not alone, and for the first time, I felt a sense of belonging.

it was comforting to see that I was not the only one grieving the possible progress. People from across the United States shared what I was feeling. The tears I shed were "normal," and I have you all to thank for it. Not only was I able to feel my own personal emotions, but I was able to be there for my friends.

After the initial grieving period was over, we were able to rally and canvass, text, and call people in favor of our Louisiana United States Senate runoff To think that millions of people across the country have focused on a Senate runoff here warms my heart, and I wanted to thank you all for coming together to restore our motivation.

I love that I am now aware that there are plenty of people who share my ideology. So I believe in some "liberal" things. Nearly four million fellow "pantsuiters" agree with me. When I was lost, especially in the week after the election, I would read through the posts, able to get my groove back.

Another thing that I have to thank you all for is for inspiring me, only twenty years old, to make and enact a change in my red state. Being blue is being an outcast many times, but I never feel that way with any of you.

The election, and its tumultuos ending, are over. Through the past few weeks of grief, I have found immense solace in the stories of love and triumph in the face of adversity. So thank you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for reaching out when I was lost. You guys are my rock. Thank you for the new Facebook friends. Thank you for sharing your stories that have continuously inspired me. We are nasty women and men, and while we have a long way to go, with each other, we can do it.

Thank you, every one of you, so much,

Emily Rasch

Cover Image Credit: Inverse

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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I'm Not Voting, And Guess What, That Is OK

To all of the recent political endorsements by celebrities and Facebook posts telling me I should register to vote, I'm not voting.

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I am not the type of person to normally ever write a Facebook post related to politics, yet here I am dedicating a whole article to it. Or rather about voting itself, not my political affiliation. For the most part, I like to keep my political outlooks to myself instead of broadcasting them to all of my friends, family, coworkers, and that handful of people I do not actually know but I accepted their friend request anyway. Instead, I grace this group of people with animal videos because it doesn't cause any friction, the videos are always light-hearted, and there are already so many other people posting about the next election.

But tonight that changed. I saw a post about how people who do not vote should be fined. I do not know why this ignited something in me, but it did. I have no problem ignoring every other person telling me to register to vote or vote a hundred times on my feed, but charging me a fine for exercising my right crossed a line.

Quite frankly, I do not identify as a liberal democrat or conservative republican so I should not be subjected to vote for either. I choose not to vote because I do not support either side of the political spectrum and I do not think any of the candidates are true to what I want in the future of my country. There are some ideas I like from Democrats as well as some ideas I like from Republicans, but because of the political climate in recent years, the political parties are becoming more polarized than ever with their ideas, and instead of seeking a moderate stance, are becoming more extreme. I understand that voting is seen as a civic responsibility that comes with being a U.S. citizen, but I have the right to vote not the obligation to vote, and people should respect that decision.

Can you imagine amending the constitution to include penalties for not voting? Where is the democracy in forcing citizens to the ballots via scare tactics? I just do not want to be forced into voting or supporting something that I do not believe in. I will vote when there is a candidate that earns my vote and that I support instead of voting just to vote.

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