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Trying to Keep It Civil During Election Season: It’s Not That Hard

I would like to preface this article by stating that it is not written to be in favor of either candidate.

Throughout this semester in Athens, Georgia, a local establishment, Mama’s Boy, has been plagued by unknown supporters of Donald Trump illegally trespassing and putting signs in favor of the candidate on their property without the consent of the establishment. Despite both employees of Mama’s Boy getting in legal trouble and the fact that someone takes the sign down literally every day, the signs keep coming. This week, Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was defaced. When someone came to protect what was left, in protest of the senseless destruction, Clinton supporters and Trump naysayers were violent towards the protesters, causing a brawl over a destroyed star.

Both candidates of the two major parties have their faults; many of which are serious, game-changing problems within the legal and ethical world. Both candidates have given the United States reason to be ashamed and angry of what they have done and the fact that one of them is expected to be a representation of the United States of America, both domestically and internationally. And many Americans are angry about this, calling the candidates immature and unfit for presidency. Yet here we are, those same Americans hoping for a better representation of our people, fighting over something that has absolutely nothing to do with the policies or stances of either candidate. 

I see all the amazing things people in this country are doing for those in need. I see our ability to change fashion, art, music, and pop culture across the world essentially overnight. I read stories of people who have literally fought and died for what they believed in or fought and are still living to tell the tale and change history.

And then I see someone start to drag Melania Trump for her “lewd” past, despite silencing those who bring up Bill Clinton because “he isn’t running for president.”

I see people believe that Hillary Clinton would hire violent protesters to crash Trump rallies, with no proof, but then praise Trump for promoting violence towards peaceful protesters.

I see the criticism towards Trump’s mass wealth and potential tax evasion but a blind eye to Clinton’s friends on Wall Street

I see millions of Americans against gender neutral bathrooms for the “protection of their children” and then I see homemade shirts, encouraging Trump to sexually assault, as he allegedly did to a minor, in a bathroom. 

As I expected better of the candidates in this election, I expect better of our adult population in the United States. I’m not sure why I do, given that we live in a country that thought “bigly” was a word, yet I do. I’m tired of seeing the personal attacks on supporters of either side towards each other. I’m tired of seeing listicles on Facebook about how to “deal” with your family who doesn’t believe the same things you do. We are all for standing united when it comes to changing our Facebook profile picture to some premade graphic, but when our brothers and sisters are hurting, we look away for fear of breaking some sort of extremist persona. We dread family dinners and bringing up controversial subjects in class for fear of our friends breaking friendship over our political stance. If you ask me, that’s not unity. And with such a polarizing attitude, we will never be able to make progress or have any sort of change. And as we continue to support whomever says some key trigger words (ISIS, feminist, radical islamic terrorist, equality, right to life) instead of doing research into the issues themselves and the candidates we have at hand, we will continue to be handed a broken two-party system.

Obviously this is a mass generalization of the United States population. I know that many voters, especially college-age students, are passionate, well-educated individuals who refuse to be a part of the sheeple. But who’s out there making international news? It’s the Tomi Lahrens and those writing in Bernie Sanders and the meme sharers of the Internet. It’s not the impartial, NPR-style reporters making news, it’s Ana Navarro and Kayleigh McEnany

We can complain and complain, but until we as Americans start to make ourselves more educated voters and more active in the issues about which we are passionate about and actually participate in the electoral system more than every four years – we cannot complain for whom we have been given.

It starts with asking someone politely how they feel and not letting your emotions get in the way. Politics can be emotional. Someone’s political stance, especially in this era of evolving American politics, does not define them as a person. Ask them how they feel about something and why. Debate if you wish. Get your head out of the ground and into some good conversation because I, for one, am ready. 

Dealing with the realities of undergrad in PR until I can move back to Disney World.
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