Understanding The Aftermath Of The Election

Understanding The Aftermath Of The Election

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Disclaimer: I spent a lot of time wrestling with whether or not to write this article. There is already a massive amount of rhetoric surrounding the election results, and adding to it, especially as a "typical millennial," could be volatile. A lot of Facebook statuses, blog posts, YouTube videos, and more are misguided, hateful, and downright ridiculous. I do not claim to know everything about this election. You will not find a list of researched sources at the end of this article. In addition, I also will not be addressing third party voters within the confines of this article, so please be aware that this topic is incomplete and meant only to start conversations. What I can do with the knowledge I have is attest to the overall climate surrounding the aftermath and share my opinion on the matter. I have heard complaints from both sides of the argument, and have done my best to listen to and respect them. I am hoping that I can bring some understanding and sympathy to the situation, at the very least. I am aware that my voice may be a shout into the void, but I still feel as though I can attempt to shed light on a complex situation by giving my personal observations about the current state of our country.

Okay. So first thing is first. Nowhere in this article will I claim that all Trump voters are racists, sexists, bigots, idiots, or hateful people in general. Let me repeat that. Not all Trump voters are racists, sexists, bigots, idiots, or hateful people in general. With that being said, we should also establish that not all Hillary supporters can be shoved under one stereotypical umbrella, either. To claim either as true would be too easy. Understanding people's thoughts and motivations is much more difficult.

I believe that Donald Trump won the presidency because working class Americans want change. I also personally believe that systemic racism had a lot to do with it, but that topic is also a bit more complex than I am willing to discuss here. On the other hand, Hillary's campaign represented, more or less, the status quo, which many people have been consistently unhappy with for the past 8 years, to be sure. And that is totally fine, even if I do not agree with you. This is not about Republican versus Democratic ideals. More than that, though, I understand that the middle class is shrinking and that it is becoming increasingly more difficult for working class families to survive in our economy. I hear you and I empathize with your struggles. Yes, your reasons for voting for Donald Trump may be valid to you (regardless of whether his promised policies will actually help you or not). But, to be honest, I don't think that Hillary supporters are simply "sore losers" or "whiny liberals." We are not bent out of shape simply because our chosen candidate didn't win. I don't even think that we all are necessarily so troubled over the possible changes in policy that may occur with a full Republican government. That is part of our anxiety for sure, but it is not the whole story. In addition, I don't think that this is the same situation that you were in 8 years ago when many of you were upset that Obama won. I could be wrong, but I don't think that your lives were in danger because of that outcome. This time around, that aspect is different.

You can argue with me that Trump himself is not a racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigot all you'd like, but even if we do take that argument as fact, it would not solve the problem that we have now. The true, more dangerous and pressing issue is that Trump's campaign rhetoric empowered and incited a fire in the bellies of many racists, sexists, and bigots in society which has now grown to cover much of our nation. And it has worsened with Trump's victory. This occurred whether Trump intended it to or not, and this is what I believe has people so concerned at the present moment even more so than his policies that or may not become law in the future. A vote for Donald Trump was and is a vote that shows your indifference, not necessarily hate, toward people different than you.

People are scared for not only their rights and the "safe spaces" which you so harshly criticize, I promise you. This is about much more than feelings getting hurt. This is about people's safety. Immigrants are scared for the possible ripping apart of their families. Women are scared for the worsening of rape culture ideals (as if it was ever "good" in the first place) that can lead to harassment and sexual assault. Muslims are terrified of being cast out, discriminated against, or physically harmed for their religious beliefs that have nothing to do with terrorism. People of color are concerned about more of the same detrimental discrimination and hatred. Some people in the LGBTQ+ are worried about violence against their community for being different. The list goes on. If you get nothing else out of reading this article, please hear this: all of these things may not affect you directly, but they affect other human beings. You can have your opinions, and I will keep mine. I am not pleading for the election results to be overturned. I am not supporting, nor speaking out against, the protests by anti-Trump groups currently going on. I am simply pleading with you to recognize that others' experiences of the same thing can be different than yours.

Whatever you do, please just pledge not to be a bystander to hate and to protect all people. We need to look out for each other. It's the least we all can do.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=election+aftermath&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS689US689&espv=2&biw=1396&bih=690&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiHqNmQrqfQAhUERSYKHUUqCz8Q_AUICCgD#tbm=isch&q=U.S.+flag&imgrc=kzE6uYsKXjN9sM%3A

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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