The Impact Of Understanding

The Impact Of Understanding

Two sides of the aisle exist for a reason.

Growing up moving all around the country has its perks. Seeing a diversified version of the truth is the most crucial one of these. I have lived in places both where my opinion was the majority and where my opinion was the minority, with little exposure to a blend of each, which is precisely the problem. On each end of the political spectrum are people who have no idea or experience in what they’re talking about, only spewing recycled information to make the other side look bad. I have often been among these numbers of people, because winning an argument in the moment feels far better than being factual and actually getting a point across.

Of all people, I understand. Many people with more liberal politics, such as myself, are incredibly guilty of this; our smug and self-identified superior intelligence over our adversaries is just as harmful as we perceive our political opponent’s views to be. We are what we fight against. The importance of consideration and the recognition of a grey area comes into play here; to avoid this absolutist ideology, we must learn to at least try to see something from the other side. Seeing isn’t always believing, however; seeing and understanding someone’s point of view doesn’t mean that you have to be any less vocal in your beliefs - just that you have to acknowledge that other, valid ones also exist.

Before starting college, I lived in middle, mostly rural, Georgia for three years. Yes, Georgia is certainly a red state and yes, I was definitely in a red area, but it wasn’t as unbearable as you would think. I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where our politics are often referred to as a "bubble." Most people here have politics that lean pretty far to the left. There is no obvious right wing here, not one that is proud and not one that shows itself often.

In discussions with people here in San Francisco I would often find that they were the parallel of their conservative counterparts in Georgia; that they often spoke on their beliefs with incredible bias and no actual fact, and that they couldn’t understand why someone would believe the opposite way. In San Francisco, if you voted for Trump, you are a bad person, and someone who hates minorities and is a Nazi.

While I disagree with voting for Trump, I can’t reconcile the people I know and love from back home who, yes, voted for Trump, with this perception that people here cultivate; just as I can’t reconcile people here with vegan crybabies who hate America, as many people down south warned me about before I moved here. Don’t get me wrong, its refreshing to be around people who sustain my beliefs so I don’t have to fight anymore; I just worry about assuming everyone I speak to will agree with me and won’t challenge my beliefs.

I’m asking people on both ends of the spectrum to understand that a differing belief doesn’t equate the person who holds that belief with the human embodiment of evil, that realities for people in different spheres of political influence is vastly varied, and usually cultivated by their environment. I urge you to look at a person holistically, at how they act and speak to determine their quality, not at what they believe.

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It's Time To Take Action

I am fed up with all the violence in this great country. All this talk and yet no reform. One shooting is one too many, so let's do what we Americans do best and defend ourselves and our fellow Americans.

It's time to start talking about gun violence and gun control reform. NRA don't jump down my throat, I am not saying diminish all guns or impede on Americans' Second Amendment Right. I am saying there needs to be a better interpretation of our Founders' meaning of, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." In their time, "Arms" were muskets. Today, "Arms" stretches across a multitude of weapons, including automatics.

This is not just a mental health issue or just a gun control issue, but a combination of the two.

The Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment in the Constitution to allow Americans to protect themselves against, at the time, Britain's standing armies. Today, America has Posse Comitatus, which is a law stating that the American government cannot deploy American Troops on American soil. Military personnel and SWAT teams are the only people who legally have automatic weapons. Since they cannot, and would not, lawfully attack citizens, there is no need for citizens to have automatics.

On a Federal level, there is no requirement for licensure to purchase a gun. However, some states do have this requirement. According to the Washington Post, 18 states (CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, MI, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, WA) and Washington DC require extended background checks. Six of those states (IA, MD, MI, NC, ND, PA) only require extended background checks for the purchase of handguns where as the other 12 states require extended background checks for the purchase of all guns. 13 states (CA, CT, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, MN, NC, NE, NJ, NY, RI) and Washington DC require a permit to purchase a gun. Seven of those states only require a permit to purchase a hand gun (IA, MD, MN, NC, NE, NY, RI) while the other six states require a permit for the purchase of all guns.

According to the National Rifle Association - Institute for Legal Action (NRA-ILA), this is the official list of requirements which prohibit someone from purchasing a firearm:

  • Those convicted of crimes punishable by imprisonment for over one year, except state misdemeanors punishable by two years or less.
  • Fugitives from justice.
  • Unlawful users of certain depressant, narcotic, or stimulant drugs.
  • Those adjudicated as mental defectives or incompetents or those committed to any mental institution.
  • Illegal aliens.
  • Citizens who have renounced their citizenship.
  • Those persons dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
  • Persons less than 18 years of age for the purchase of a shotgun or rifle.
  • Persons less than 21 years of age for the purchase of a firearm that is other than a shotgun or rifle.
  • Persons subject to a court order that restrains such persons from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner.
  • Persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

I have highlighted the requirement I believe needs the most attention.

For me, I believe there needs to be a Federal requirement for extended background checks for those purchasing any firearm in every state. In addition, I believe there needs to be a more extensive and thorough check of one's mental health during those background checks. Furthermore, I believe the requirement for prohibition needs to extend to not only those who have been deemed as "mental defectives" in a court of law, but also to those who are deemed that same mental health condition according to a professional psychiatrist. Just because a judge or a jury did not deem someone as "mental defectives" does not mean they are responsible and appropriately motivated to own a gun.

Gun purchasing does not stop at the door of a shop. Illegal gun trade is an issue that has an even more difficult solution. This problem is not going to stop with the passing of a law, but we can all work together to put an end to these heinous acts. "See something, say something" does not just apply to possible terror attacks, but any threat that is posed to the general public. Together, we can find a way to make our America, and our world, a safer place.


Giffords Law Center. “Licensing.” Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2017,

NRA-ILA. “Citizen's Guide To Federal Firearms Laws - Summary.” NRA-ILA, 24 Mar. 2004,

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I'm A Feminist And I Don't Need No Man, But I Have A Boyfriend

Dating men and being a feminist are not mutually exclusive.

Contrary to some misguided folks, men and women are NOT equal, being a feminist does NOT mean you hate men, and dating men and being a feminist are not mutually exclusive.

Feminists can date whoever the hell they want, and dating a man is in no way correlated to your status as a feminist.

If you're a feminist who dates men, it can be difficult. You'll encounter men who want to argue that men and women are totally equal (because he would know, right?). You'll find that some men agree with the "feminist agenda" of making men and women equal, but he doesn't want to use the label "feminist". He'd rather be called a "humanist" or "egalitarian.

One thing I have realized is that anyone can be a feminist, but not everyone is as outspoken about it as a lot of us are. Some people are simply not as politically-fueled as us, as much as you may want them to be. However, this does not mean they are less of a feminist. My boyfriend is a feminist, but he doesn't parade around campus in a "feminist" sweatshirt or with buttons on his backpack illustrating his political views like me. It's simply not his personality, but his understated support still matters.

There are also men who believe going around and bragging about being a feminist is going to get them laid, so just be careful. Use your gut.

Being a feminist means realizing that you don't need a man to be successful, but you're still allowed to love one.

Media often portrays women as being incomplete without a man. This is simply not true, and is damaging to impressionable, young girls. Women can be happy and successful regardless of whether or not they have a man. There is no rule stating that men are off-limits if you're a feminist (who also happens to be attracted to men). Go on and date men if that's what you want to do.

Be empowered in knowing that a man does not complete you, but can be part of your happiness if you so choose.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Lemon / Flickr

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