Troubled Leadership Is NOT Helping the Women's March's Fight for Change

Troubled Leadership Is NOT Helping The Women's March Make Any Political Impact

It's just making a less-than-desirable situation worse.

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We're coming up on the third annual Women's March in January. I still remember when the first one occurred: seeing it on the news, watching friends share pictures and posts about attending and how impactful it was, seeing the stories of millions of women WORLDWIDE turning out to march with the women of America. It was absolutely amazing

But.

As I said, we're on the third annual march. And to date, these marches have had zero political impact.

Don't get me wrong. I think the Women's March is an amazing idea that's been absolutely revolutionary. It's been one of the biggest displays of women standing up for themselves and saying "no more" possibly since suffrage. The fact that millions of women not just in the United States, but in numerous countries worldwide marched to make a point and take a major stand against the various issues facing women (and yeah, against Trump and his sexist existence), is amazing, inspiring, and eye-opening.

But take a look at what's happened since the first march in the political world: absolutely nothing.

Nothing has changed politically because of the marches. No new rules protecting women. Planned Parenthood is still at risk. There's still a possibility that health insurance coverage for birth control could be rolled back.

The justice system isn't fairly prosecuting rapists and sexual assaulters, still blaming women as much as they can for what happened. If anything, it's gotten worse, even with the #MeToo movement. Harassment still is rampant, and nowhere near enough is being done about it on any level of politics.

And one of the worst parts: the leaders of the march have been exposed as problematic.

One of the chief supporters of the Women's March, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been outed as an openly hostile anti-Semite. And what have the march leaders done to distance themselves from him? Absolutely nothing. Because co-chairs Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, both women of color and Muslims, are both closely connected to him, and they're the key people who should be cutting off connections to someone like Farrakhan...and aren't. Ironic, considering the Islamic faith faces its more than fair share of hate and prejudice, just like Judaism. And yet, these women who should understand the struggle are staying quiet regarding Farrakhan. This makes the Women's March feel like a less-than-safe place for Jewish women, as the very leaders who spout inclusivity and togetherness won't renounce the support of a man who is for hate.

Sarsour released a statement in November claiming that they should have been "faster and clearer in helping people understand our values and our commitment to fighting anti-semitism...Every member of our movement matters to us — including our incredible Jewish and LGBTQ members. We are deeply sorry for the harm we have caused, but we see you, we love you, and we are fighting with you." That's great and all, but considering the Farrakhan situation has dated back to MARCH? Too little, too late.

Even Teresa Shook, the woman who launched the Women's March, wrote a Facebook post calling for the removal of certain leaders, as they allowed anti-Semitism, homophobia, and "hateful, racist rhetoric" to "become a part of the platform."

Because of the problematic leadership, the entire march and its purpose are undermined. People can turn and say, "How can you protest hate and bias when the leaders of your big march act in the same ways?"

I wish the race had more impact. I really do. I wish it wasn't quickly becoming a way for women (and men! Shout-out to the allies) to come together and just walk around D.C. with clever signs. But unfortunately, that's what it's turning into.

Until our political leadership wakes the hell up and opens their eyes to reality, to everything these marches are working so hard to fight for and fight against, these marches are doing nothing. And it will take more than one march a year to make an impact.

I wish, god I really do wish, that marches as massive as these had more of an impact than they currently do.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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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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