What Needs To Be Done To Fix America

What Needs To Be Done To Fix America

As of recently, America has become very divided, which is a major problem - so how do we fix it?
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The last few weeks in Washington have been very interesting, to say the least. From the firing of James Comey in early May to his ratings-record-breaking testimony, from pulling out of the Paris Accords to Trump's dictator-like “loyalty pledges” he demanded of Comey (and likely other officials), there's been so much – yet it's all been publicized, so most people are aware of it in some way. Meanwhile, Fox News is acting like they're following Joseph Goebbels' methods of propaganda, people are violently split over issues, and American citizens have been killed because they were simply defending two teenage girls who happen to be Muslim. We sit here and look at all this, but we just watch it all happening with no real way of bridging the gap between parties. In fact, it all can end up leading to a second civil war – between the alt-right conservatives who refuse to allow any sort of progress to be made and the liberals who want things to move forward.

The first, and most difficult step, is “de-Fox Newsing” the devout Trump supporters. Of course they have the right to believe what they want, but come on – just because Trump is president and just because they heard it on TV/the internet does not mean everything he does is great. In fact, anybody who happens to actually be educated beyond talking points radio and nostalgia for “the good old days” can see the overflowing racism, hatred, and unpatriotic nature of Trump. This is a man who refused to acknowledge the murder of two real patriotic men, killed by one of his supporters who followed his anti-Muslim rhetoric to a violent end – but when Manchester Arena was bombed, he immediately put up a tweet about reinstating the proven unconstitutional “travel ban.” They have been brainwashed into believing that anything “liberal” is wrong and damaging to the country. Even though the reason why they can bring home a decent paycheck, women can vote, why we don't own slaves anymore, and even have a country in the first place is because of different generations of liberal thinkers. Yes, at the time, the Founding Fathers were incredibly liberal, as they believed in religious freedom for all (despite most of them actually making it clear America is not a Christian nation) and free speech, no matter who they're talking about. The Russia investigation is still ongoing, as Comey simply said Trump himself wasn't under investigation at the time, but he could be now, and Robert Mueller is still leading the investigation with no appearance of stopping anytime soon. If it does come out that the campaign worked with Russia (judging by the amount of nations and groups involved, it likely will) to undermine our election, there is no way a Trump supporter can say it was a good idea without being seen as a literal traitor – yet some will, because the cult is that strong. So we have to find a way to help them realize what is going on in front of them, whether they want to acknowledge the truth or not. How that can happen, well, only time will tell.

Secondly, we must put party lines aside and do what George Washington intended – work together without voting based on what political party they are part of. Republicans are very guilty of this right now, refusing to let Democratic Senators/Representatives speak or even finish their statements, especially during Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. In order to keep the people from getting far too divided, the leaders must join together for more than just the rare bipartisan bill. Of course all this is just wishful thinking, because let's be real here, there aren't too many politicians, especially Congressmen, who are willing to actually work together. Obviously the problem is not the people but the reliance on a failing two-party system. On both sides, one always wants to do the opposite of the other, and most vote along party lines because they feel they have to. We can't go and abolish the system, but we can look at the third/fourth/fifth party candidates for elections – even if they don't get in, they're still making an impact. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were often made fun of during the 2016 election, and while their policies weren't the best, they still were making their names known in a way third party candidates rarely see. Meanwhile, may citizens vote only Republican or only Democrat because that's the party they signed for, even if they know their candidate might not actually be best for the job (see: Donald Trump, Richard Nixon). Really, we'd have to create an entirely new system, which is pretty much impossible – so instead, we promote politicians working together by working together to find common ground and topics people can actually agree on, without resorting to calling others names or talking down to them because they just so happen to be on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

And the biggest issue is that we have to realize that in order to make America great, we must acknowledge that America is not, nor has it ever, been truly “great.” We are behind the rest of the civilized world when it comes to tax-funded healthcare and education (see above for the “nobody should be getting any help because I hate anyone less fortunate than myself” mindset). Only within the last century have women been allowed to vote, African-Americans have been granted equal rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution. People were stripped of their name and forced into barely habitable buildings upon immigrating. We still have to pay thousands of dollars if we have to go to the emergency room, people are leaving college several hundred thousand dollars in debt. This is not a problem in other developed countries – and contrary to conservative news, this is rarely a problem in places like Canada. In Canada, people do have a slight waiting period for certain, non-life threatening operations, but they do not have to pay anywhere near as much as we do in America. Even now, people are told they don't matter or shouldn't have legal rights (debate over gay marriage, abortion, etc.), and in some cases, even denied life essentials because of who they are – or killed and the murderer gets off because of the colors of their skin (Philando Castile, for example).

Overall, we need to be better. That's not exactly possible, but hey, we can dream. Whether we like it or not, we are all equally American, regardless of political belief – that's the reason we're even the way we are now, because the Founding Fathers believed in freedom to say and believe what we want. Despite people like Trump who want to demonize the opposition and even cause violence upon them, we have to rise above that archaic way of thinking and find what we all can agree on. There's plenty of it, and as soon as people are willing to actually talk things over with actual sources and well-developed argument, we can get to making America a shining example once again. Until then, well, let's just try to hang on and fight back when we need to. Because if we don't, then we are just allowing this country to fall.

Cover Image Credit: Business Insider

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Why I Love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, not for political reasons

I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love AOC.

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My political affiliation couldn't be kept a secret even if I tried. In the words of my mother, I've been a liberal since I popped out of the womb. So to me, the dramatic change in representation in the House was a huge win for me at this time in history.

While I sit on one side of the aisle because that's where I hear the most conversations about my closest political beliefs happening, I don't want to talk about political beliefs necessarily when I talk about why I fucking love Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The first I'd ever heard of this powerful voice from New York was in a video being shared around on Facebook that gave me a strong sense of hope that I haven't felt in a while. She explains the nuance behind "identity politics" and the importance of complete representation in Congress in terms of race, class, and policy. Here was a young woman in my generation (or just outside of it) running for Congress because she knew there was work to be done, not because she knew she would win, or because of some larger force paying her to win, or because she comes from a family of politicians. She ran because she was passionate and because she works to understand her district and represent them in ways that give her district a matched fight with revolving-door politicians who know how to play the game.

This woman, to me, represents accessibility into politics for Americans. When I first started listening to politicians and presidents talk on TV, I remember listening to Obama speak my freshman year of high school (maybe for a state of the union address?) and I asked my mom what a lot of words meant. I learned what poverty, immigration, economic policy, taxes, the middle-class, and more were. She had answers for some but not all of my questions, and then I asked why they felt the need to use such big, intimidating words? Weren't they supposed to represent the country, who to my understanding, probably didn't know what all of these words meant if my own mother didn't? (Moms know everything.)

I didn't want to be left behind in a country that made decisions based on Harvard graduate levels of thinking when most of us were in fact, not Harvard graduates. I was aware when Obama used words I had on a vocabulary test the week before, and I was aware that my honors class was strikingly different from my friends' general education English classes, and that our entire high school was years ahead of some less privileged schools 30-minutes away. But all of us, no matter how politically accessible our situations were or not, were to be represented by a man using these words.

AOC is progressive (in a non-political sense) for Americans because she uses rhetoric and tools to educate Americans instead of persuading or intimidating them to think that she just knows best. She's a politician, yes, so of course she uses persuasive techniques to get policy she believes in to pass so she can do her job as a legislator. But have you seen her Instagram stories or heard her speak in interviews?

Her style of leadership involves a refreshing level of transparency and group participation. I feel like I'm allowed to ask questions about what happens in Washington D.C., and about what another congressperson meant when they said ______. She answers questions like these online to her followers, some of which are her represented correspondents, and some of which are people outside of her district just desperate to expose themselves to any congressperson willing to talk to them on their level. Her flow inspires the average American to listen and checks the confident incumbent from underestimating just how much she knows.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to afford college. Not all of us are fortunate enough to come from a community where high schools prepared and primed us for college-level vocabulary filled conversations. Some of us have to accept politics as a realm with which we can never be involved, heard, or interactive. A.O.C. is what's changing this mentality. 43% of adults living in poverty function at low literacy rates. If they can't understand political rhetoric, how will they be able to democratically participate? Politicians spend so much time talking about poverty rates and how they want to move every family into a middle-class lifestyle, but they don't alter their political approach to invite the poverty-stricken or under-educated Americans into their conversations. AOC does this.

She spends time every night explaining whatever her followers have questions about in full detail. She actually uses up-to-date technology and social media to communicate with Americans, making older senators look lazy or technologically incompetent for not engaging with their community as often or as explicitly. Not to mention, every video I've ever seen produced by her or her team (including her Instagram stories) have closed-captions already edited in. She considers every American to be her audience before speaking, and the fact that what she's doing feels new and refreshing to me suggests just how badly we need her, and more people like her, in politics today.

This isn't even because of her understanding that literacy affects voting--in the original video I saw of her, she understands that the people she represents were flat-out not being addressed in politics. "People aren't voting because no one is speaking to them." Truly and meaningfully, directly and honestly.

She's America's teacher, a representative of why mentorship on all levels is important, and to me, what America would look like if our politicians were not only our representatives, but our educators, our mentors, and our teammates.

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