Why Voting On Nov 6 Is Important

Why YOU Need To Vote In This Election

Representation is important!

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November 6th, 2018 may become one of the most important dates in recent U.S. history. This general election sees a whopping 5 Districts in California that are swing districts- meaning they are crucial to whether or not Democrats can overtake the House of Representatives. CA-25, 39, 45, 48, and 49 are the districts to look out for- with many of them located close to Los Angeles. If you are not in California, you can find out if your district is a swing district or not here.

Voting is so incredibly important. It was how this country was shaped, and how some of the most influential and great people have become President, a part of Congress, and more. Not voting is how we are now stuck with the worst President, congress members, and Supreme Court Justice in history.

The problem with the last few elections is the amount of voter dissatisfaction people feel. The largest population of voters are elderly white people who have consistently voted Republican in the past. No offense grandma and pa, but is this the generation we want representing us for the next few decades?

We have grown up in the age of technology- anything and everything we want to know is at our fingertips. I remember being so incredibly frustrated over the narrative in the last Presidential election: "Our votes don't matter." "I'm not going to vote because Bernie Sanders wasn't a candidate." "I don't know much about Clinton, but I know she's bad." This general election is not a Presidential one, and although it might feel intimidating to look at the ballot and see all of the different representatives and props up for voting, there are so many different and easy to access resources out there to help you make up your mind, without relying on twitter memes and sensationalized news pieces.

One of the best ways to find a voting guide that fits you best to first think about where you lie on the political spectrum. Are you progressive? Conservative? Centrist? Once you've picked out which one you are it's really as easy as plugging that adjective into this sentence: "_______ Voter Guide [your state] 2018", googling it, and selecting which guide you like best.

Here is one for the Los Angeles area. One other fun tip is that you are allowed to bring a cheat sheet in with you. Uber and Lyft this year are offering free rides to polling areas. It's still not too late to sign up for voting by mail.

Millennials and Gen X'ers have over 135 million eligible voters to the 95 million eligible for Baby Boomers and older. Yet, millennials and Gen Xs cast on average 21 million fewer votes. Representation is important, and no matter what race or age you are, voting is so incredibly important. You have a voice. You have the power to change the way this country is run. All you have to do is research a little and show up to the polls on November 6th, 2018. See you there.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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