What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

Because what I say and what you hear are completely different.
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Since the spirited Republican National Convention that took place in July of 2016, I have ramped up political conversations not only about the past presidential election, but also concerning our current president, Donald Trump. After an exchange with one particular friend of mine, it occurred to me that a lot of people are entirely misunderstanding of where I am coming from.

This has become a pattern, so I have noticed, with many others who share my political views. I think a lot of the discrepancies are a result of the fear of being unfairly judged and ridiculed by those of different mindsets. We're so afraid of being called racist, sexist, homophobic, ignorant, and the like that we just collectively decide to stay silent. But I'm breaking the barrier because these are important clarifications, and I'm tired of inevitably shaming myself for what I believe in.

When I say I am a Republican, I do NOT mean I am racist or that I don't think black lives matter.

It does NOT mean police brutality doesn't disturb me. However, it does not mean I'm okay with violence against law enforcement either. Those of you who know me know that I am well-intended and truly mean no harm. So when I say I am a Republican, understand that the senseless murder of anyone breaks my heart.

Understand that I think police brutality is a disgrace from which everyone deserves protection and that it needs to be taken seriously and punished appropriately. But also understand that I am proud to show gratitude to the men and women who risk their lives to protect me and people I love every day. The brave souls who wear their uniforms the correct way are heroes who should never be taken for granted.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Be A College Republican

When I say I'm wary of thousands of Syrian refugees, I do NOT mean that I think all middle eastern people are terrorists.

I don't even mean that I think most of them are. I mean that I am aware of the dangerous people from whom they're trying to escape, and I fear that some of those very people hide among them. I don't mean that they are all threatening, but that it could only take one to cause more American tragedies. I also mean I don't know how many more we can realistically financially afford to take in. I do NOT mean that their lives don't matter. They very much do. I just mean that this is our home and that we should be cautious and fiercely protect our people first.

When I say I did not support Hillary Clinton, I do NOT mean that I am sexist and just didn't want a woman as president.

It is possible to form an opinion of a person based on more than just physical appearance, after all. On the contrary, I would love to see a woman be sworn in as our commander in chief and give my gender a little more representation. So it should tell you something that I would rather wait for someone with more integrity and servant leadership than have supported her just because she would be the first lady POTUS.

On a similar note, when I say I am against abortion, it does NOT mean I am against women's rights.

It is not some secret ploy to take away our freedom. I'm merely pointing out that a pregnancy directly involves two lives, one of whom literally cannot object. I understand that in the events of rape or a pregnancy being of physical threat to a woman, a case could be argued for exceptions. I do, in fact, have a lot of compassion here. Perhaps I should start clarifying that an abortion procedure feels like murder to me when the only reason behind it is convenience.

When I say I am a Republican, I do NOT mean I contribute to rape culture.

This one is personally extremely offensive. I do NOT victim blame or shame. I am a fierce believer in an individual's exclusive right to decide when, where, how, and with whom to express physical intimacy. I believe in teaching people not to rape instead of teaching them how to avoid getting raped. I believe in consent and healthy relationships. I believe in Survivors.

SEE ALSO: A Female Republican's View On The Women's March

When I say I am a Republican, I do NOT mean I am homophobic.

I have always believed in equal rights and opportunities for LGBTQ individuals and couples. I have firmly stood against prejudiced behavior and intolerance. I believe they should be respected, protected and celebrated for embracing who they are.

I have thought long and hard about my feelings toward gay marriage. And, as a Catholic, I think I have come a long way in accepting that even though I was taught that marriage should be between a man and a woman, love and union should be open to everyone. God does not create mistakes. And I'm honestly just glad to see a little more love in such a cruel world.

When I say I am economically conservative, I do NOT mean that wealthy people are the only important people.

I do not mean that I don't care for those in poverty or for those who are less privileged. It means I believe in minimizing the power of the federal government. It means that I've studied economics and have discovered that conservatism most accurately fits all that I have learned. I know that minimum wage increases will suffocate and strong-arm small businesses and ultimately lead to closures, cut hours and jobs and increase national inflation as a whole.

I know that $18 trillion in debt scares the hell out of me. I believe that socialism discourages individual freedom, excellence and innovation. I believe in working hard and earning every dollar I make. I believe in the American Dream and tax cuts especially for the middle class. I believe in giving aid to the people who truly need it. And I mean that I'm tired of watching my single mother cry over not being able to afford healthcare for herself and her two kids supporting themselves in college because she lost her job a year ago, but Obamacare is as pricey as her monthly house mortgage.

Lastly, when I say I am a Republican, do not assume that I am a monster.

Accept that I may not have the same political views as you, but I mean no more harm than you do. When I say I am a Republican, I mean that I love my country, and even though I've grown used to keeping my mouth shut, I am damn proud of how I was raised and how I see the world, and I will stand for what I believe in.

Cover Image Credit: Daily Mail

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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