Why Are We So Sensitive About Politics?

Why Are We So Sensitive About Politics?

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When you're 63 years old, you have to recycle your jokes every once in a while. I assume that's why my dad makes the same joke every time he sees someone in a t-shirt. It doesn't matter what the t-shirt is supporting. He will make the same joke whether you're repping TCU (go Frogs), the Boston Red Sox, The Beatles, or even his favorite team, the Green Bay Packers. Any time my dad encounters someone sporting the gear of their favorite anything, his muscle memory kicks in and his instincts take over, and he reflexively reacts to the situation at hand by saying “Oh no, you didn't pay money for that shirt, did you?"

About 10 percent of the time, people laugh. Okay, 10 percent of the time I laugh. Innocent strangers who have never fallen victim to hearing my dad repeating the same joke several times a week for 20 years actually find it pretty amusing the first time. They take it in stride, laugh about it and jokingly banter about sports or music or whatever my dad playfully insulted. Even though these people love these things, they have the good sense and spirit to laugh at themselves. They understand that their affiliations with sports, schools or bands shouldn't be so consuming that it causes hostilities in their daily lives. But what about their affiliations with politics? Can they set aside their differences and laugh about those too? My dad recently found out the answer.

He works at a department store here in Austin, Texas in the most conservative part of the most liberal city in the most conservative state in America. Keep Austin weird and what not. Today he told me a story about an interaction he had a few months ago, while Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott were deep into their campaigns for Governor of Texas. Long story short, a couple walks into the store, my dad greets them, looks at the man and his Wendy Davis t-shirt, and (of course) asks the man if he paid money for that shirt. Without even pausing to respond, the man and his wife turn immediately around and storm directly back out of the store.

Honestly, I'm sure my dad didn't even think about the sentence before it came out of his mouth. He didn't mean it as a serious stab at this man's political opinion, but they took it that way. Where people can joke about music or sports or movies they like, they are almost never as willing to joke about their political opinions. So why do we take politics so seriously?

Why is it that with all the endless topics of debate in today's society, politics have to be the most polarizing? Our younger generation receives so much criticism from adults for not embracing political activism and for exhibiting a general sense of apathy about the whole thing. We're less likely to vote, less likely to even register, and less likely to be informed about political issues. But has anyone ever asked us why? Personally, I don't get involved with politics because everyone I've seen who is involved is generally unpleasant about it. Asking someone about their political opinions immediately puts them in defensive mode as they prepare to defend their beliefs to you (usually pretty aggressively), and it's just not a discussion I want to have. Political conversations have a higher tendency to turn into arguments, even though both sides know no one is going to change their mind.

When my sister openly supports the Baylor Bears, even though I am thoroughly convinced (rightly) that the TCU Horned Frogs are infinitely better, I know nothing I say is going to sway her opinion. I just let her live her life with her wrong opinion, and that's that. We agree to disagree. Why is it that we behave differently when it comes to politics? No matter how right you think you are, you cannot force someone else to believe it. In order to have a real conversation about politics, when someone shares their beliefs with you, listen. Hear what they're saying, and take it into consideration. Even if you don't agree with it, tell them you respect their opinion and move on. Aristotle said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it."

I think a lot of political apathy among young adults could be eradicated if politics could be a less closed-minded topic. If we were encouraged to learn about the world for ourselves as we grow up and eventually form our own opinions, rather than to accept the opinions that are taught to us (mostly by our parents and their like-minded friends), young people would probably feel more obligation to be politically active. Instead of telling each other what's right, we should talk about it, learn from each other and respect our differences the same way we do in all other aspects of life.

Cover Image Credit: mashable.com

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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This is Cyntoia Brown And THIS is Why She Deserves To Be Freed, Immediately

A glimpse inside the incarceration of a Tennessee woman who was sentenced to life behind bars for killing a pedophile who solicited her for sex.

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In 2004, Cyntoia Brown, a Tenessee woman, was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who solicited her for sex when she was only 16 years old. Now, 14 years later, the court has ruled that she must serve 51 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

So, what happened to Brown all those years ago? Brown says at the time of the murder, she was living with her abusive boyfriend who would often physically and sexually abuse her, force her to sell sex for money, and pump her full of drugs to make her more controllable.

Brown was picked up on the side of the road by a 43-year-old insurance agent named Johnny Mitchell Allen. Allen brought Brown to his home, showed her his extensive gun collection, and then came onto Brown. Brown then resisted Allen's sexual advances. After being rejected, Allen reached below his bed. Brown assumed he was reaching for a gun, and then shot Allen with her own gun out of fear of being shot herself. On the morning of the shooting, Brown's abusive boyfriend advised her that she better come home with money that day. Out of fear of her boyfriend, Brown then stole money from the dead man's wallet and left the home.

Since then, prosecutors have argued that Brown's intentions were to rob this man from the very beginning, though Brown and her lawyers insist that the shooting was done out of self-defense. It's worth noting that Tennessee law states that any sex work done by minors is ruled sex slavery. Brown was 16 years old, and practically in the custody of a man who is said to have repeatedly raped and solicited her to have sex with other men for money. She was under the control of someone stronger and more threatening than herself. She was scared and did what she thought she had to do to make it out of that situation alive.

I'm in no way condoning murdering someone. It's just pretty appalling to me how courts are so quick to send this woman to prison for the rest of her life when proven sexual predators like Brock Turner are given six-month sentences and only made to serve three for raping an unconscious woman in a park. How in the world does shooting a pedophile out of self-defense warrant a more severe punishment than raping a defenseless woman? Does this make sense to anyone? If so, please enlighten me.

Now, people across the country are pleading Tennessee governor Bill Haslam to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna have shared their sympathy for Brown on social media, which has garnered a lot of publicity from a younger demographic.

On Monday, Governor Haslam gave a speech on education at the Nashville Public Library. After being asked about the amount of justice within Brown's case, Governor Haslam said: "We're reviewing a lot of cases, and while Cyntoia's case has gotten a lot of publicity, I don't think you want us to treat her's any different than a whole lot of cases that I think people want us to review."

Haslam said everyone in his office is looking very deeply into Brown's case and he will make a decision on whether or not to grant Brown clemency before his term is up in a few weeks.

Haslam's conservative reputation could be impacted by his potential decision to show Brown mercy. It all comes down to how he wants to be remembered as a governor. My hope is that justice is shown and that Brown is treated as a victim of sex-slavery, rather than a killer and a thief. No person should be sent to a life behind bars for trying to defend themselves.

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