I have never been so anxious in my life.
Apparently, it's not enough to be upset about the current situation of our country. The election is almost here away and things have never been as tense as they are now.
But some part of me thought that I would be exempt from all the debates and uncomfortable situations that many people have to deal with on the daily. I have always considered my dorm to be like a retreat from the real world. At home, I was always aware of the news because my grandma was always trying to keep me aware of what is happening in the world. She always said that being cognizant was important.
Last year, I didn't have cable, and the only way I would get my news was through social media, which barely skimmed the surface of what was happening in the world. In all honesty, it was kind of nice being away from the negativity that comes with current events. The world isn't the happiest of places.
When I came back this year, I thought that it would be somewhat similar to last year. But I was very wrong.
Quarantine had changed everyone.
I had somewhat expected that given all that had happened in the span of only a couple months (COVID-19, lockdown, nationwide unemployment, Black Lives Matter, wildfires, Trump's impeachment, etc.), there would be at least some cynicism and hostility. But the amount of antagonism that I experienced was unprecedented.
I personally do not enjoy talking about politics. I find that it always leads to disagreement and negativity and so I always try to avoid it. I used to avoid all confrontation and hide my true opinions because I was scared to be ridiculed and I knew I wasn't going to be able to hold my ground when I was questioned.
This is no longer an option.
Don't get me wrong, just because I don't enjoy talking about politics doesn't mean that I disagree with it. I think discussing politics is necessary and expressing your opinion is a good thing. Heck, we live in a democracy, and communicating our own unique viewpoints is a part of how we are supposed to represent ourselves. This is why voting is so important to our country.
When I came back to my dorm in August, the climate was immediately different. Last year, when my roommates and I would goof off and discuss random things that made no sense, we were now discussing our own thoughts about recent news. I understand that a part of growing up is increased maturity and I accepted this change, but I couldn't help but feel like this seriousness was caused by the recent proceeding of tragic events. It was from this that we uncovered everyone's differing views. My roommate and I are very liberal, especially since all that has occurred over the last couple of months. However, living in a Catholic dorm meant there was going to be a large mass of people that felt completely differently.
Our dorm is somewhat like a high school, and my roommate and I were both roped into an early contract that would make us lose our money if we didn't end up staying. We began to see how integrated our dorm was. Everyone knew each other, there were cliques, and there was drama that everyone knew.
Some of the people in our dorm should be in high school based on their maturity level.
On social media, radical conservative individuals would retweet homophobic posts and unfollow my roommate, who was very adamant about advocating the Black Lives Matter movement as well as discrediting Trump.
We have a pro-life group that also originates in our dorm and a group of students that put together a "Jesus 2020: Make America Holy Again" merch collection.
What aggravates me about this is not that people are overtly conservative in our dorm, but it is the fact that politics and religion, in this case, Catholicism, are getting interwoven so tightly that it is difficult to tell the difference. And people in our dorm are becoming so exclusive about who they associate with because of their political views.
The pro-life group at our dorm is heavily exclusive, and members form their own friend groups within the club and have grievances against those that are more liberal. Girls that wear promiscuous clothing are often looked down upon, and since we also have nuns that live here as well, they often judge what they see students wearing and participating in. Engagements have occurred multiple times in our dorm, and most of the students that live here come from large Catholic families that are usually pretty wealthy. This place that once seemed like a second home now feels so cold and unwelcoming.
In other words, I am just living here for the food now.
I am infuriated by the climate I am living in, and how I have to pay an absurd amount of money to live in a place that doesn't even want me. Although I am glad that I was able to define myself and see how I am different from everyone, I often wish I was in public housing that accepts everyone for who they are.
This place reminds me too much of high school.
But, to conclude, despite the current political climate, no one, whether you are radically conservative or radically liberal, should hate on another person because of what they believe in. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. Everyone was raised differently, everyone has gone through different things that often determine where they sit on the political spectrum.
I have to remind myself of this because I often do not understand people that are different than I am. Respect for every single person is necessary and critical, and even if you disagree with someone on controversial topics, that does not mean that you can't be friends with them.
I think we all need to really understand that there is much more to people than what they believe in, which may sound weird, but a person is not all bad if they believe in something different than you do. People come from all different walks of life, and perhaps by learning from each other more than discrediting each other, we can come to negotiation and appreciate everyone for who they are. I myself have been very bad about this, and I think that during this chaotic time, we really need to reflect and not attack others because of the unfavorable circumstances. Being cynical and judgemental is not going to solve any problems.
Although this is basic and very difficult to do, loving everyone is the best but hardest solution.
Hate cannot cure hatred — only love can do that.