How College Affected My Political Views
Real Talk |  Source: L. Smith, Shutterstock

How College Affected My Political Views

Know what you're talking about, people.

College is truly a time when everyone comes into their own. You're away from your parents for the first time, you're responsible for yourself...it's an exciting yet frustrating time.

One thing that I've been thinking about lately in terms of my college experience (I now have three years under my belt...shit), is how much different my political views are now than when I first started college.

I'm going to be completely honest. As an 18-year-old fresh out of high school and ready to embark on the college experience, I was not very educated when it came to politics. Sure, I knew the basic differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party...but that was pretty much the extent of it.

I came to realize that as a teenager, I adopted the views of the people around me purely because they supported those viewpoints.

Most of my family (with the exception of some of my college-aged cousins) tend to be more on the conservative side of the spectrum. I am currently much more on the left side of the spectrum (I supported Bernie Sanders).

Although I don't agree with a lot of the views that my family has, I respect their views. But believe me, there are definitely political arguments that take place.

So anyway, going into college I was more of a "conservative" (I put conservative in quotations because I wasn't really involved in politics at the time, and I wasn't educated enough on politics to really place myself anywhere on the spectrum).

I had these viewpoints that I couldn't defend because I didn't have the information to back it up. Basically, I was blindly following some viewpoints that I didn't understand.

Early into my freshman year, I started becoming more interested in politics.

I read about politics, I kept up with current events, etc. I talked to people about politics, liberals and conservatives. I educated myself on the policies of our politicians. Once I started doing all of this, I was able to form my own ideas and my own opinions, and I was truly passionate about my viewpoints and could talk about them intelligently, whereas before I was more like, "Yeah, I believe this just because my family believes this."

Now, as a soon-to-be 21-year-old who is graduating college next year with a major in English and a double minor in criminal justice and political science, and who is going to law school in the fall of 2018... I know where I stand when it comes to my political beliefs, and that just happens to be different than that of the people around me growing up.

I'm not saying that anyone should go against the political beliefs of their family just for the sheer fact of doing so. But, don't blindly follow your parents' beliefs either. There are certainly a lot of things that my parents and I agree on, but there's also a lot that we disagree on.

The moral of the story is: educate yourself and form your own ideas.

Don't blindly follow viewpoints that seem to be popular among the people around you; educate yourself on the subject, and then decide whether or not you support it. You want the minimum wage to be $15? Great, why would that be beneficial to society? You don't agree with Donald Trump's travel ban? That's awesome, what is your rationale for not supporting it?

Politics is so much more than black and white, and while many people don't find politics as interesting as I do, I think it's important to make sure you understand it to the extent that you can make decisions and form your own beliefs.

There's so much more than just being a "Republican" or a "Democrat." Ideas tend to converge between the parties.

The takeaway: Before you support or reject an idea, a policy, etc...do your homework. You might come to find that some ideas that you wanted to support aren't actually what you agree with, and vice versa. And the most important thing? Have an open mind, and talk to people, especially people with whose viewpoints yours differ from.

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Real Talk |  Source: blake_bab

How Social Media Has Made Elections Unbearable

Get educated first.

I'm one of the few college students who genuinely enjoys politics. I find it extremely interesting and I like evaluating all the different sides, reading platforms, and learning about potential candidates and policies.

Recently, I've felt constant frustration with the impending election. Aside from the obvious issues, I find myself infuriated with my peers. I'm in college, and social media is a really large part of my life as well as the lives of many other individuals my age (it's sad, I get it, whatever, that's a different argument).

Unfortunately, there is SO much ignorance on these platforms with the election coming up. It honestly is astounding, and at times actually makes me laugh. The shit I see shared on Facebook and other social media outlets is borderline absurd.

What is with people arguing their political views to the death on strictly social matters with no understanding of any economic policies? Have you checked out the actual platforms instead of preaching about whatever extremely biased video you saw on Facebook?

Have you fact-checked that photo you shared? Political involvement is so important for my generation, but the presence of social media mixed with the media's sole focus on social issues and political correctness has allowed for so much ignorance and blind arguments.

There is no understanding of the platform on which a candidate decides to run on, but instead there is hatred based off of ignorance and the sharing of photos and videos taken completely out of context.

Before you share that 30-second video, do some research to understand the context of the statement as well as the surrounding argument. Stop sharing posts that are blatantly biased and taken out of context, it makes you look dumb.

Take some time to read the different platforms, steer away from CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and other major news networks. There are so many great sites that cover the election and inform voters of different issues that are much less (if at all) biased. Nonpartisan sites are so important, and one that I really like is actually the main news channel in England, British Broadcasting Company (BBC).

Election time is extremely exciting and it's important to be involved, but before you base your opinions off of shared videos and photos on Facebook, make sure you read deeper into each candidate (unless it's Trump, because he sucks) and form educational opinions on a broad spectrum of issues.

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Real Talk |  Source: L. Smith, Orlando Sentinel

Politics And Sports Don't Mix

Why would an athlete's political views affect our perception of their talent?

If there are two common subjects that go together like oil and water, yet are mixed together by tons of people all the time, they are politics and sports. People tend to make a big deal out of political "issues" just because they relate to athletes and their opinions. But just how much of a big deal do the people who worry about them even think these "issues" actually are? In other words, do they even believe themselves when they are making a fuss about this type of stuff?

So you're telling me if you're a diehard New England Patriots fan up in liberal Massachusetts, you'd turn your back on your beloved two-time MVP and five-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady just because he is friends with Donald Trump? Does that have anything to do with the game Brady actually plays? Will that affect the number of rings he wins for your team?

No, no and no. But we still made a big deal about.

Conversely, if you're a diehard Miami Dolphins fan in conservative Florida, would you start rooting for the rival Patriots just because one of their players voted for the same guy you did?

No.

If you're a diehard Chicago Cubs fan in liberal Illinois, you'd turn your back on former Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta just because of this pro-Trump Tweet?

You guessed it. No. But a big deal about it was still made. Sigh.

Conversely, if you're a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan in conservative Missouri, would you start rooting for the rival Cubs just because one of their pitchers supports the guy you voted for?

Nope.

How about Colin Kaepernick? Would a diehard San Francisco 49ers' fan turn their back on the player who made the team relevant for pretty much the first time this millennium just because he chose to kneel for the National Anthem?

While Kaepernick was actually playing for the 49ers, that answer was also no. But while it's no, you can bet that there were millions of heated social media posts about it.

Conversely, would a diehard Seattle Seahawks' fan become a 49ers' fan just because they support the issues that Kaepernick is bringing to the forefront?

Are you kidding me?

And lastly, how about LeBron James? Would a diehard Cleveland Cavaliers' fan in conservative Ohio turn their back on the player that delivered the city its first major sports championship just because he endorsed Hillary Clinton?

Need I even answer that question? People still made a big deal about it, though.

Conversely, would a diehard Golden State Warriors' fan in liberal California bandwagon to the Cavaliers just because they like LeBron's political stances?

NO!

Based on peoples' reactions to some of these "issues", you'd think that they were actually letting the opinions and free speech of these athletes affect how they root for them. You'll see threats of boycotts and protests, but you won't see anything that actually affects how the NFL or MLB or anything is run as a business. They're not going bankrupt anytime soon.

People want to mix politics and sports and have these heated debates that go on and on about athletes having opinions that fans do or don't agree with. But for what purpose? Nothing political is going to drastically change anyone's true opinion about a player or a team they have admired or despised for years.

Need extra proof? The next time you see a Dolphins fan wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat, go ask him/her if he/she started rooting for Brady and the Patriots since last November. Let me be the first to tell you what that answer will unsurprisingly be.

No.

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Real Talk |  Source: viralshack.com

If Liberals and Conservatives Existed in Game of Thrones

A convo play-by-play of what would happen

Major Spoilers Ahead

Last Sunday's "Battle of the Bastards" was arguably the best episode in Game of Thrones history. We got to see Daenarys Stormborn take on the slave masters and their fleet, Tyrion chide Theon Grejoy, Jon Snow punching Ramsay in the face, and the latter receiving retribution in the most poetically just way.

Ramsay Bolton is dead, and I don't think Thoros of Myr or Melisandre will be able to bring him back.

But, his death prompted me to ask the question: "What if the world of Ice and Fire were real, and my liberal and conservative friends lived in Westeros? How would they react to such a menace?

Since I have friends who sway on both ends of the political spectrum, always letting me know their stances on issues via Facebook, I conjured up a conversation between a liberal and a conservative who live in the Game of Thrones universe.

Liberal: None of us are arguing over the fact that Ramsay Bolton was one evil son of a bitch.

Conservative: Wow, something we can agree on. Okay, but what were the conditions that made him such a disgusting human being?

Liberal: It's obvious, Ramsay Bolton was a product of his environment. He lived in the harshest conditions of the North, and is only responding violently because Jon Snow is invading his homeland!

Conservative: Gimme a break! Let's be honest with ourselves. Ramsay Bolton was a product of the fanatic religion of the Old Gods, worshipped solely in the North. He's been indoctrinated to believe that he is living a just life. I'm not saying ALL of the worshippers of the Old Gods flay people alive, but all men who flay people alive worship the Old Gods. Plus, Ramsay initially stole Winterfell from the Starks!

Liberal: Don't even get me started on the Starks, NONE of this would have happened had Ned Stark just stayed home and minded his own business, instead of worry about what was going on in King's Landing.

Conservative: Oh, what, you don't think the North had a moral obligation to help out the Realm?

Liberal: Was that why he was there, or did he have ulterior motives? He accused Jon Arryn's murder on the Lannisters, that was a deliberate lie and you know it!

Conservative: So, he was wrong about the Lannisters, but they were still an evil family. Let's get back to the point, what could we have done differently about Ramsay Bolton? I'm glad Jon Snow and his men went into Winterfell. Ground troops all the way!

Liberal: Granted, Jon Snow was successful, but think of how many lives could have been saved if he had simply funded the houses around him to overthrow Ramsay? Plus, I think this has greater implications. The Mother of Dragons is standing on our doorstep. We might not be affected by her Dragons, but our children will!

Conservative: Oh, here we go with the "Mother of Dragons" hoax. It's never even been proven that she will come to Westeros! I want to hear facts, not rumors and myths about some "Dragon Queen" invading Westeros!

And it goes on like that until both of them unfriend each other on the Game of Thrones version of Facebook, because if anything makes or breaks a friendship, it's politics and Game of Thrones.

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Real Talk |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

Facebook Changed Its Mission Statement To Bring People Together

It's about damn time.

Mark Zuckerberg has come out with a public statement explaining Facebook's revamped mission statement and the reasoning for why they chose to change it in the first place.

"We used to have a sense that if we could just do those things, then that would make a lot of the things in the world better by themselves. But now we realize that we need to do more too. It's important to give people a voice, to get a diversity of opinions out there, but on top of that, you also need to do this work of building common ground so that way we can all move forward together."

In the interview, Zuckerberg went onto explain that our society is still so divisive that it is our personal duty to try and build more cohesion. Facebook wants to continue to provide individuals with a platform to freely speak, but simultaneously use that same platform to band people together rather than divide them.

The new mission statement is "To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together."

In many ways, Facebook has played a large part in political polarization. Many politically charged people create an echo chamber of a newsfeed -- only keeping posts and viewpoints they share -- resulting social and political dichotomy.

Facebook has not just created a platform for sharing various beliefs. It has been the outlet of horrific Facebook live streams, the perpetuation of fake news, and prompting controversy in various ways.

Zuckerberg seems to be changing the mission statement for two reasons. One, he has to be apologizing for Facebook's role on negatively impacting polarizing people. Two, I think there is a genuine responsibility that the company feels the need to take, which makes me feel good.

It's nice to know and see that behind the vapid and trivial nature behind social media, there is an authentic sense of humanity. Way to go Zuckerberg.

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Real Talk |  Source: politico.com

Is Left Wing the New Black?

There's been a total shift on college campuses.


I would like to start by mentioning that this piece is in no way meant to reflect my personal political views.

You have to be paying absolutely zero attention to the world around you if you're missing the huge shift that our millennial generation is making towards the left wing side of politics. Bernie stickers flood college campuses and just about every issue has to be turned into a political movement.

Identifying as a republican in college was once a common thing.

I'm perfectly willing to admit that a lot of those republicans tend to be kids who are lucky enough to have their college education paid for and stereotypically come from upper middle class families. However, more and more of those kids are shifting away from conservative views, both social and financial, and supporting far-left democratic ideas and policies.

But why? What's the attraction? What is pulling even the most republican bred millennials to the liberal side?

Now I'm by no means stating or even suggesting that anything is wrong with being a democrat. To each their own. What I'm trying to get at is that there seems to be an underlying factor to why everyone all of the sudden wants to be a democrat and I'm not 100% sure is has to do with genuine political views.

More than ever being a democrat seems like it's the "cool" thing to do. Politics aren't supposed to be cool, that's not the point. Politics are supposed to be based off informed opinion. Maybe that's just where millennials are falling into the trap of siding with parties because it's what their friends are doing.

Are we convincing ourselves we agree with political parties just because it's what we see our friends flooding your Facebook feeds with?

I'd argue that which political party you side with has become less of a personal opinion and more of a characteristic used by millennials to judge each other. We're starting to wear our political views as an accessory and being a democrat seems to be the hottest one.

Unless you can have an intelligent conversation on why you consider yourself to belong to a certain political party--you aren't a part of said party. Politics aren't meant to be a trend.