The DUP And Why You Should Care

The DUP And Why You Should Care

UK politics just got a whole lot messier.
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If you’re anything like most Americans you’re likely aware that our international ally the United Kingdom runs their country a bit differently from our own. They are a parliamentary democracy, a form of Western liberal democracy where the party that has gained an absolute majority of seats in parliament (legislature) forms the standing government and appoints its party leader as Prime minister. Once the Prime Minister is appointed he or she creates their cabinet by selecting active Members of Parliament, usually from their own party.

You are likely also aware (at least vaguely) of the fact that the United Kingdom just recently held a general election, the results of which have been both messy and impressive. Jeremy Corbyn’s leftist Labour Party made serious gains while the conservative Tories under Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership lost quite a few seats in parliament. This shake up has not only caused the Tories to lose their standing majority, the entire basis of May’s ability to operate as the Prime Minister, but has caused what is known as a hung parliament. In a parliamentary democracy when the parliament is referred to as “hung” it lacks any one party with an absolute majority of the seats meaning that there is no party with the position and representation to form a government. Theresa May, unfortunately, has decided on a method to counteract this problem.

In order to create enough of a majority to form a fully functional governing body Theresa May and the Tories have made the decision to form a coalition with a right wing party out of Northern Ireland called the DUP. The DUP, or Democratic Unionist Party, holds just enough seats in parliament to help push the Tories back into a governing majority. So, the question must be asked, who are the DUP, and what do they stand for?


First and foremost the Democratic Unionist Party, currently headed by Arlene Foster, is a right wing group based in Northern Ireland and founded in 1971 on Protestant fundamentalist principles. Already this should be ringing alarm bells in the minds of those who recognize that, like in the United States, the governed citizens of the United Kingdom are a plurality of religious beliefs. Any government by one particular religious group is bound to discriminate against or at least ignore those that do not fall into their rigid system of ideals. Although they have loosened this influence slightly to try and bring socially conservative Catholics into the fold, this is still rather worrying. Thankfully the DUP are not the ones forming a government, they are simply a supplement to the waning Tories, but they get much worse than just playing religious favoritism.


These heavily conservative roots have led to a variety of problematic beliefs, actions, and statements over the years by the DUP and its members. One of the most commonly cited issues with the DUP is their historically bad record on women's reproductive rights. For example on the abortion issue they are so firmly against extending abortion rights to the women of Northern Ireland that even victims of sexual assault are not allowed an exemption. What makes this worse, however, is that they only begrudgingly allow abortion in cases where the woman's life is endangered and, when a UK High Court ruled that banning abortion for rape victims went against human rights the DUP elected to mostly ignore it.

Next come their unsurprisingly archaic views on the LGBT community. A quick Google search will present you with a variety of astoundingly absurd and offensive quotes ranging from calling gays "offensive and obnoxious" to saying "you certainly don't bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That child is far more likely to be abused or neglected." These statements are as bigoted as they are completely ignorant of fact, though the DUP's relationship to facts seems to be a bit rocky.

Their touch and go relationship with facts and information is on full display in the party's views on scientific matters. Although these things are not officially party policy climate change denial and Creationism have found a home amongst several of the party's governing members and, possibly, amongst their voting base. Just like with their rather nasty quotes on LGBT issues a Google search is well worth it for more in depth examples and breakdowns of these problematic views.

Now why exactly should you, as an American, care? It isn't our country's election, we have enough craziness going on in our own government right now as is, and the DUP are not the powerful party in this new coalition. So what exactly about this coalition is so wrong? Well, firstly by allowing the DUP representation in an empowered government coalition they are being given a stage to attempt to validate their views and policies. They are also working alongside the Tories, a party of dangerous conservatism that has allowed privateering in the National Health Service and that has worked to consistently undermine the middle and working classes. This is an unstable match, one of dangerous, mismatched ideals, and if it continues it will be the government moving to negotiate Brexit with the European Union. Without a strong, intelligent governing body that is sure of its demands and working for the benefit of the middle and working classes first and foremost the negotiations could become historically disastrous.

Cover Image Credit: getty images

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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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Melania Trump, We're Going To Focus On What You Wear AND What You Do Because Both Are Bad

I don't even want to hear the bullshit excuse about her not knowing the significance of the pith hat. If people on Twitter know the history of the helmet, she should too!

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Former nude model and current First Lady, Melania Trump, seemed to be an innocent victim of Donald Trump's narcissism, gross stupidity, and overall bigotry. Whenever she looked absolutely disgusted while in his presence, or snatched her hand away from his grasp, a little ping shot through my heart. "Poor Melania," I would think to myself.

Melania Trump Hates Holding Donald's Hand Source

Her lack of warmth and adoration for her husband always seemed to be an indicator that she hated him, and I automatically equated that to her hating his political views. I mean, what is there to love about a misogynist and racist? I silently rooted for her, hoping that one day she would divorce him, take all of his money, and write a tell-all book with photos and audio tapes to match.

It seems like my hopes for her will never be realized, as it appears that Melania is just as ignorant and offensive as her husband.

A few months ago, Melania was spotted wearing a jacket that said, "I really don't care. Do U?" on her trip to the US-Mexico border, where she visited an immigrant's children shelter.

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Really, bitch?

You know, I really want to be fair and give her the benefit of the doubt, but the shade is too damn dark for us to excuse her actions. I mean, what grown adult lacks the discernment needed to realize that wearing that was a bad idea? Out of all of the jackets in her wardrobe (and I know she has a lot, she's rich for Christ's sake), that was the one she wanted to wear on that particular occasion? With all of the tension rising up in the country in regards to immigration, especially how it relates to the separation of families and the abhorrent living conditions women and children are subjected to in detention centers, she thought it would be appropriate to wear a jacket that said IDGAF during her one interaction with Mexican immigrants?

She's bold.

Recently, she was spotted wearing a pith helmet during her trip to Nairobi, Kenya.

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OK, one time is a coincidence, two times is on purpose.

For those of you who are unaware, pith helmets are a common sign of colonialism. They were frequently worn by European colonial officials, soldiers, and explorers during the 19th century.

Yes, colonialism. That thing that centered around the political, economic, and social domination of other countries by Western nations, leading to the death of thousands of natives, the adulteration of Eastern culture, and the stripping of precious natural resources that left both the land and people barren while Western nations profited.

I don't even want to hear the bullshit excuse about her not knowing the significance of the pith hat. If people on Twitter know the history of the helmet, she should too! It's about time that we stop excusing people's ignorance. We live in a digital age, an age where we have tons of information at our fingertips. As the first lady, it's literally her duty to conduct herself with elegance, grace, and to have the people's best interests at heart. I don't think it's classy or helpful to American society for her to claim that she doesn't care about kids being locked in cages in detention centers, or about the brutal history of colonialism that her hat signifies.

When confronted about her offensive attire, Melania responded with "focus on what I do, not what I wear."

You know what she should be doing instead of pretending that she's dense and doesn't understand the cultural context of her clothing? She should be speaking out against the disgusting words and actions of her husband and his entire cabinet. Melania claims that she "supports women," but that they should "show the evidence" when accusing men of sexual assault.

Oh, right, because I'm sure that all victims of sexual assault have convincing evidence at their disposal. They should've recorded their rapes, am I right? Hell, they should've kept the used condom.

Her ignorance and lack of moral judgment are absolutely abhorrent. Not only because she is the first lady, but just because she is a woman in general. In this country, there's been a history of privileged, White women upholding the systems that cripple other communities, while they get to sit back and remain unaffected. 53% of white women actually voted for Trump... The same guy that professed he grabs women by the pussy and who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.

Early feminists rarely cared about issues affecting Black women and other minorities, while some even wanted to cling on to patriarchal and oppressive institutions. The truth of the matter is, that while all women are affected by sexism and misogyny, white women have a leg up compared to the rest of us. In our society that is plagued with other social issues such as racism and xenophobia, white women remain protected under White supremacy.

That's how it's possible for a 14-year-old boy to be beaten and killed simply because a white woman accused him of flirting with her (which later turned out to be a lie). That's how it's possible for white women to make 20 cents more to the dollar than Latinas for the same work. That's how it's possible for dumbasses like Tomi Lahren to endorse Trump and his ignorant views, even though they harm women. They just harm white women a little less.

I didn't write this to criticize white women. After all, it's not their fault they're white. But it's time we start holding every bigot accountable, even those we consider our sister.

Melania, you know exactly what you're doing... And it's pretty damn disappointing.

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