On November 28, 2018, Vanity Fair posted a political article about conservative college women. The article, titled, "THEY SAY WE'RE WHITE SUPREMACISTS": INSIDE THE STRANGE WORLD OF CONSERVATIVE COLLEGE WOMEN," follows the lives of a few of UNC-Chapel Hill's female students and the role they play in the republican community.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with highlighting differences among college students, this article makes these women seem frankly like brain-washed children that can't think for themselves. To that, I say shame on you, Vanity Fair. Who are you to discourage different opinions? Who are you to shame young women for standing up for the things they believe in? Who are you to marginalize smart women who have done their own research and made their own supported choices?
As members of the future generation of decision-makers, we deserve better. As women, we deserve better. As citizens in a nation seemingly falling apart, we deserve better.
This political season, however long you choose to define that period, has been one of pure exhaustion. As a nation, most of us are tired in all sense of the word. We find ourselves running from anything political and shying away from any type of political conversation with friends and family. Newsflash (pun fully intended), that is the absolute worst thing we could be doing. At no point in time was our nation intended to be divided between two political parties that hate the other with such a burning passion. I am shocked by the number of great people so willing to preach about inclusivity, love, and respect, yet so willing to show so much hate towards the opposite political party from them.
This article is about much more than whether or not you agree with the statements made. This article represents a much larger polarization of our nation that is more detrimental than any article published or news broadcast aired. Shouldn't we be living in a nation conducive to conflicting ideas and butting opinions? Who cares who your neighbor voted for or what bumper sticker your sibling chooses to display on their car? It seems that most, if not all, of those around me value the democratic system. Very few I've spoken to have expressed an interest in getting rid of that foundation. The democratic system we so rely on is built on differences of people and opinions.
No matter where you sit on the political spectrum, you should respect the other side enough to listen. This Vanity Fair article poses UNC as a university that makes conservative students feel "depressed" and "unsafe". Those two words are not words that should make any university proud of the environment they have created. In an era of feminism and female empowerment, why are we discouraging college women from expressing their views? They are not "strange" for voicing an unpopular opinion.
The example George Bush Sr. set in loving others is one that will live on forever. His final letter to Clinton before leaving the White House read, "You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country's success. I am rooting hard for you." Even after an extremely emotional loss to another political party, Bush stood behind Clinton as a person rather than an enemy recognizing his value as a person and respecting his new position.
Maybe it's time we start seeing people as people and not as parties. Maybe it's time for us to stop making blanket statements about people and parties as if they fit into a structured mold. We are people. People that deserve to be treated better than we've been treating each other.