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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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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