Tag Archives: presidential election

Have We Regressed? Or Have We Just Been Silent?

Hi everyone! I’m doing something a little different today.

I’ve been largely quiet on this page as to my views and beliefs, and I want to state right now, before anything else, that I respect and honor your opinions and beliefs and will fight to make sure you are always able to express them; please do the same for me.

Now, like many people in America, I’m upset and disturbed at the path our supposedly progressive country has chosen to go down. I recently discovered that I’ve honestly been fairly naive and arrogant in thinking that the America that I grew up in, and the world I grew up in, is this great, loving, free state of life. In reality it’s still just as backwards as it ever was.

So why am I writing about this? Well, I grew incredibly upset with an article I read in People Magazine titled Jinger Duggar’s Big Day! This article is about a 22-year-old from a well-known reality TV family. The Duggar family is consisted of two parents, Jim and Michelle, and 19 children. They believe that God will give them exactly what they need in the world, so they do not believe in contraceptives, abortions, or medicine interfering when it comes to children. This girl, who I believe is the fourth oldest, recently married a not very well known ex-professional soccer player, Jeremy Vuolo, 29. I think it’s fantastic that these two got married, as long as they’re happy.

What I had a hard time sitting with was this exact quote from Michelle Duggar:

“Jeremy is a strong leader, and Jinger is such a gentle people person and a great follower.”

Let’s read between the lines here: Jeremy, an athletic, wealthy, religious man, is head of the household and is a great leader, and Jinger? Why she’s a pretty young girl who just can’t wait to follow her husband to Texas, and be a little social bee in their upscale neighborhood.

Maybe I’m just stubborn (I think anyone who knows me would agree with this) but if my boyfriend ever told me to  be his “follower,” I’d plant my heels in the dirt so fast he wouldn’t know what hit him.

Now I brought this up to my boyfriend (who promptly agreed that this would not be a favorable situation for him, but who also looked me in the eyes and told me, “I want you to know I value your opinions.” D’awww!) and we started to have a very interesting discussion – not about these particular people, who can do whatever they please in life, but about American society as a whole.

You see, before the Duggars, I actually did not think there were many people out there who still had their way of thinking: God is king, man is law, woman is behind man at all times. Again, if this is your way of thinking, that’s great. But it’s not mine, and frankly I don’t personally know of any woman who would agree with this either.

So before this well known family emerged, I thought this type of thinking was in the past. Arrogantly, I thought, okay, I know there are some men out there who think a woman’s place is in the kitchen, but there aren’t THAT many. In fact, I distinctly remember when the Duggar’s show came on air, and I thought, wait, is this real? Like actually real? I couldn’t understand that this was a show about real life people and their real life beliefs; that it wasn’t a scripted reality TV program like Laguna Beach, and the people in it were expressing genuine views.

I’m having this same train of thought now, in 2016. Donald Trump had been running for President of the United States of America. A whopping title! I, like many others, believed it to be a joke and he’d jump to the side of the podium one day with jazz hands flailing, yelling, “Gotcha!” And everything would be back to normal.

But nope. Sadly, his campaign has not only succeeded in getting that whopping title, but it’s succeeded in bringing out all of these different people that I thought history had erased. I didn’t think the person across from my apartment complex could possibly be okay with sexual assault, sexism, racism, bigotry, misogyny, and many, many more things that we, as a people, have tried so hard to get rid of. I didn’t think the person that gave me my bagel in the morning was an advocate for inhumane rights, homophobia, and making Muslims wear identification tags. I didn’t think that the friendly people I see every single day secretly hated others so much that they would proudly come forward with Trump. No, sir, I did not.

Growing up in school, the question always raised in history classes was: How could people have let Hitler do the things he did? How could someone have been okay with this?

Well, I’ll give you a new question: How could we, as a supposedly caring, kind, empathetic, accepting group of people, have that age-old-question and still follow Trump blindly?

The answer is so simple. We just haven’t changed as much as I thought we had.

History is doomed to repeat itself. I never thought that the horrible ideals that people had in the past would come back, but apparently they just never left! People are still out there preaching hate, condemning other people based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and even sticking to the idea that women are nothing but pretty objects to look at (but God forbid they talk!) These opinions are nothing new, they’ve just been largely silent for the past 70 years.

I guess what I’m saying is that, it seems to me, large groups of people with ancient and hurtful ways of thinking, have suddenly surfaced in a time where I thought we were civilized enough, advanced enough, and accepting enough to never let history repeat itself in this large of a fashion.

This is a scary time. But remember, it can get better!

My one plea to you is this: Our country and a lot of the people in it are moving backwards. If we, as individuals, can keep moving forward we’ll be all right. We just need to accept people as they are, and understand that you can’t change them – but you can change the way that you react towards them.

I’m going to leave you with a poem that I absolutely love, and find strength in all the time. I’ve tried to live up to this every single day since I first read it.

IN LAK’ECH

Tú eres mi otro yo.

You are my other me.

Si te hago daño a ti,

If I do harm to you,

Me hago daño a mi mismo.

I do harm to myself.

Si te amo y respeto,

If I love and respect you,

Me amo y respeto yo.

I love and respect myself.

Until next time,

Rachel

rachel@booksandcleverness.com

P.S. I’m sorry to anyone who is offended by this post. I did not mean it as an attack, or as hurtful criticism. I simply wanted to get my opinion out there. If we have different opinions, that’s wonderful! I’m glad! That makes life interesting, that makes the conversation better. But let’s keep it at that: a conversation.

Politics: Bah Humbug!

Forgive me as I try something a little different, but I’m from America and we have some shit going on. I know some of my blog family are overseas, and that’s super awesome, but you might not know what’s going on over here. You see we’re in the middle of figuring out our Presidential situation…

I’m going to preface this by saying that I don’t care what your opinions on politics are: whatever they are, they’re right to you because they are your beliefs.  I’m not in the business of telling anyone that what they believe or think is the right thing is actually wrong – you won’t hear me say anything like that. But what you will hear me say is this:

Can we PLEASE stop tearing each other apart? 

Okay okay, so here’s what’s going on. Come November we will have a new president. In the meantime, it’s all about who will be elected and running against each other head to head. Politicians are campaigning left and right to get voted in and currently the Republican frontrunner is Donald Trump, and the Democratic candidates are Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

From what I gather, older democrats seem to enjoy Clinton’s views and the younger demographic like Sanders. Honestly I couldn’t even begin to tell you what Trump’s demographic is. All I know is that both sides of the parties are being incredibly narrow-minded and cruel.

So here’s what I mean about tearing each other apart:

EVERY ELECTION, not just this one, but every four-fucking-years, co-workers, friends, neighbors, people you meet in retail, the barista you like at Starbucks, the dog thats always humping other dogs at the dog park, they all have one thing in common: they totally disagree with your views on politics and therefore you’re a horrible person.

As I said before, I don’t care what you believe – everyone is entitled to their opinion and that is that. I may not agree with it, but I’ll sure as hell fight for your right to say it as long as you give me the same courtesy.

But you see that’s the thing, when election time rolls around no one wants to give others that courtesy. For example, I was talking to someone at the drug store today who was saying that Trump and his supporters have the right idea. Now I don’t know enough about politics to have an in-depth conversation about it, but I said that as a democrat (or at least someone who is liberal) I would rather Sanders be elected.

This person then proceeded to tell me just how wrong I was by listing every single state that has voted for Trump as the Republican frontrunner and telling me that obviously that means that he’s the best candidate. She said that people like me are the reason that Trump supporters are fighting so hard to get him into power. She told me that he tells it like it is and understands what the people really want. I could go on for another 5 paragraphs explaining what she said to me, but all that matters is that it was condescending and made me feel like crap.

But I left the store thinking, really? I have a different opinion than you so I’m the bad guy?????? How is this fair? I didn’t tell you that your opinions are wrong, but mine clearly are? How?

Look, this might sound bad but I don’t keep up with a lot of current events. I’ve only recently been getting into world-wide news and paying attention to the things that are happening in politics (I’m more of a People Magazine gal). But that doesn’t mean that I can’t have opinions on what’s going on. Nor does that mean that anyone else who has an opinion on what is happening in the world is wrong and can’t have that opinion.

The thing that I’ve always believed is this: Every person is different. Every body is different, every brain is different, everyone’s personalities are different. Why? To conform? To be the same? To have exactly the same ideas? HELL NAW! So that we can be different!

One of my favorite things in the world to do is to talk to someone about their views on a book or a topic and hear what their side is. I don’t want to sit here and only talk about my opinions on the use of German tanks in WWII, I want to know what you think of German tanks in WWII. And how am I going to get that information if we all have the same thoughts? That’s boring as shit.

More importantly, how am I going to get that information if the second I tell you my thoughts on them you interrupt me and tell me that my thought is wrong. I’m sorry, but I’m allowed my opinion and you are allowed yours. So, please, tell me your opinion and I will not tell you in any way, shape or form that you’re wrong. But the second you ask me for my opinion and then cut me off saying I’m wrong is the second that I will turn on my heels and walk away. G’day, sir. Good. Day.

That was a really roundabout way of saying, for real guys, just stop making people feel bad about their opinions. As I said, I don’t care what your views are, but when a group of supporters start berating and harassing people simply because they don’t have the same ideals THAT’S when I get upset.

There is nothing that should make someone be so emotionally or physically violent simply because someone has a different opinion than them. And while, yes, maybe there are exceptions (for example, if someone’s opinion is that they want to break your leg, and you think that’s not such a good idea, then yeah, maybe get the hell out of that situation), but for the most part the majority of arguments going around are with people you see all the time (I’m talking to you, lady at the drug store) and there is absolutely no reason to fight with a cashier about Donald Trump as they scan your Chapstick.

Anyway, that was a giant ramble. But please, please, please, please just be courteous and respectful when you speak to people. Especially if they have different views. I understand that it can be hard to refrain yourself when you feel so strongly about a topic, but that doesn’t give anyone reason to be hurtful or condescending.

Just think about the ramifications before you speak so heatedly to someone. Is it worth it? Is it worth it for you to force your opinions down someone else’s throat just to have them spit theirs back out to you? Is it worth it to get in a fight with your favorite barista in the middle of a Starbucks because he happens to support someone you dislike?

Just consider it. And be kind. Be so kind.

Until next time,

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com