Say What?

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare….If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” ~Rep. Todd Akin, R-MO.

Sometimes things happen that set me off so much, that I feel an immediate need to share.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Think before you speak.” It’s one of those proverbs that’s been around for ages, yet seems to be dying out as we progress into more digital forms of communication. On a personal level, we all have – or, in some cases, had – a friend or two on Facebook who doesn’t seem to understand that the things they post could potentially be considered offensive or contain details few people care to know. But that’s only minor compared to some of the ignorance spewed under the proverbial safety net that is the First Amendment.

When I was in undergrad public relations classes, we learned about these things called “prepared remarks.” Basically, any person in the public eye should have prepared key points for interviews to help stay on topic but still deliver main points. This was not the case for Todd Akin.

With his reckless display of ignorance, Akin had single-handedly ruined his campaign for the Senate, drawing criticism from fellow Republicans and losing support from third-party conservative campaign group Crossroads. And to make matters worse, his public “apology” was anything but. By simply stating he had “misspoke,” he only drew further criticism.

Although the majority of my political opinions tend to be more liberal, I have a deep appreciation for the moments when party politics are pushed aside over general agreement that something is flat out wrong. Todd Akin’s comments are that perfect indication that we, regardless of status, need to educate ourselves on the issues before we make assumptions and misinformed statements. The opinions of the American people influence which direction our country heads, but when our votes are placed without proper knowledge, we may end up regretting our decisions as voters.

What I’ve found to be the most useful resource for me so far is iSideWith.com. It helped me realize what my opinion is on the various important issues, their importance to me, and which candidates I agree with most. It is very comprehensive and detailed, and really helped me realize that I’m not entirely as liberal as I thought. I feel very strongly that party politics is ruining our nation’s potential, and believe this will help disseminate those affiliations. If you want to view my results, check them out here.

Now is the time to educate yourself. Discover the issues that matter to you most so you can go out and talk about them. We need more discussion on this issues in this country, and now is the best time to get started.

And most importantly, DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!!

 

Please feel free to share your results, and whether they were what you expected, in the comments below!

Confessions of a Non-Hater

I’m going to start by listing current facts about me.

  1. I love video games. I’m particularly obsessed with Skyrim.
  2. I drink a lot of tea.
  3. I love playing kickball.
  4. I eat at Panera way too much.
  5. I have three cats and two fish.
  6. I’m going to graduate school in the fall.
  7. I’m gay.
  8. I have five siblings.
  9. Christina Aguilera is my musical idol.
  10. I am kind of fanatical about Dr. Who.
  11. I grew up on country music.
  12. I don’t believe in political or religious affiliations.
  13. I bite my nails.
  14. I listen to NPR a lot; I am particularly fond of Diane Rehm.
  15. I try to be nice to everybody as best I can.

All of these things have some sort of impact on my life. By reading all of these things, which do you think is the most significant?

Well, according to our government, #7 is the strongest definition of who I am. Apparently everything I do or say in my life is directly related to my sexuality, which means I deserve to be hated and denied the same rights as people who share some of those other 14 aspects of my life.

As #15 states, I try to be as nice to everybody as I can. I have previously written on the importance of generating good karma, and loving thy neighbor. The first fifteen years of my life consisted of growing up in an environment of hatred and emotional abuse. Yet even in those dark times I still learned to accept that everybody does things for their own personal reasons and shouldn’t be wholly hated for that.

But every day we are being fed into a completely opposite mindset. We are constantly consuming media that expresses–even encourages–a culture of hatred for individuals who are different from us. When it’s not Republican vs. Democrat, it’s Christians vs. Muslims vs. Jews. Or the “pro-abortionists” vs. the “woman-haters.” And recently, when a local municipality passed an anti-discrimination bill including LGBT individuals, it became the “social engineers” vs. property owners.

This has what has become of our “indivisible” nation. The nature of the media and politics has divided us, so much that we start to hate other people simply because they don’t agree with us.

We need to stop feeding into it.

It’s time to stop hating and discriminating. Fifty years or so ago, the de-segregation of our nation didn’t  destroy the traditional white family. And today, allowing two people of the same sex to get married isn’t going to destroy the traditional opposite-sex family. Some only feel that way because that is the message of hatred being spread. 

It’s okay to disagree with the idea; I have many conservative friends who do not favor same-sex marriage but still love me for who I am. Even my devout Catholic father and stepmother and I agreed to disagree on the issue and not let it get in the way of the fact that we are still family above all else. When those personal walls are dropped, we are able to have an adult conversation about it.

This is my message to both sides:

There is no point to the endless bickering. You may have surrounded yourself with people that agree with you, but there are plenty more who disagree. And this is not your invitation to gang up on and insult or ridicule someone who is different. We all know both sides of the issue have their views and beliefs, and the information supporting that thought. Both sides have grown tired of hearing the same info, and have often resorted to name calling. What’s the point in that? What does a playground insult have to do with your opinion?

We all need to calm down. Our country was founded on the basis of democracy, meaning one person’s opinion is no more or less valuable than the next person’s. And as long as our opinions aren’t causing harm to the other side, then what’s all the fuss about? What is so wrong with sitting down and having a discussion as I did with my parents, and finding some common ground, even if it’s agreeing to disagree? Only when we actually act like adults and try to cooperate, will we begin to realize that we aren’t actually that different, and that sexual orientation or party affiliation or any other label is the last thing we should be worried about when it comes to preserving our freedom and well-being.

It’s time to stop promoting hatred and start promoting humanity.