I've been alive for 17 years, and never have I seen so much national attention focused on Georgia. And that's because until now, Georgia has been a reliably red state. Until this year. With Kemp and Abrams long since predicted to go into a runoff election, I would really like to reflect on what the transition from bold red to a purple means to me.
I live in the suburbs, an hour out of metro Atlanta. The Odyssey community I write for, however, is centered in metro Atlanta. This is significant because a notable trend in Georgian politics is this: Atlanta is strongly democratic. Everywhere else, on the other hand, is not so much. Metro Atlanta is easily identifiable by its position and its daring splash of blue against a sea in red. As a result, I've had the unique opportunity to be raised in an affluent, conservative town and also be able to partake in discussions that veer sharply left whilst talking among my Odyssey peers.
The result of this is my moderate and level-headed view on politics.
Personally, I am economically conservative, which means that I am not a massive fan of raising taxes in the name of societal welfare. However, that's not to say that I don't support Medicare and Medicaid. I also happen to believe that the government has an obligation to take care of its people, and that a nice, precarious balance should be found between complete lack of care and bread and circuses.
On the other hand, I'm socially liberal. I believe that people should be able to dictate their lives with whomever they want as whatever they prefer, as long as it doesn't interfere with the well-being of other people. I believe in free speech of all types. I believe that even people who morally disagree with the idea of not being cis-gender and straight have no business in enforcing their morals on other people, especially in this nation that prizes religious freedom above all else.
People who lean far left or right with no proper justification bother me. I have an inkling that, prior to this election cycle, few actually knew the full extent of what they were preaching. We've all experienced those impassioned, politically fired up people who preach of welfare for all or of devout adherence to the Bible, who have never worked a single day in their lives and live their privileged lives on the generosity of their parents or go to Christian weekend retreats only to get drunk and send nudes.
They've never had firsthand experience in finding that their healthcare bill had risen to three times the previous amount thanks to the installation of the Affordable Care Act or properly realized that they already disobey their holy books on a regular basis, such as breaking one of the Ten Commandments by cheating on your significant other and committing adultery.
Georgia used to be a solidly red state. Now, it's solidly purple.
Thanks to my beloved Odyssey community, my status as a minority of Asian ethnicity, the community I grew up in and my inherited culture, I have learned to broaden my perspective and my understanding of the world around me. Let's be real, we are always going to have people who disagree on a moral standpoint. In order to gain understanding and perspective, you actually have to interact with people of opposing beliefs with a genuine desire to understand them.
My hopes for such a strong turnout on both sides of the political spectrum is that of broadened perspectives and genuine understanding for the opposing side. We're all humans seeking to find our place in the world, and I can't think of any good reason for believing that you, opposed to a different person, is more or less deserving of your place in life simply because of your political ideology. From talking to both sides of the spectrum, I know that there are a lot of people who feel this way in the status quo.
But that needs to change. I am a strong believer that small-mindedness is the root to all evil. The prospect of having people with radically different beliefs this all through the light of a politically divided state has not fazed me, but given me hope in the much more harmonious and understanding future we could have if people of opposing ideologies learn to listen to each other.
The 2018 midterms tell us that we've already achieved the first step to it all — finding people of opposing ideologies in your vicinity. Now, all we've got to do is listen.