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The Freedoms We Think We Have

After months of campaign ads, news reports, heated debates, and casual conversations, the day has come and passed: Election Day.

I know I am late on posting about the important day, but I couldn’t pass this opportunity.  Better late than never, right?  Ever since my Women Studies class back in high school, I was ecstatic for the day I would turn 18 and be able to vote.  Learning what women went through just to place a piece of paper in a box, is something I will never grasp.  But it was more than a piece of paper, it was the right to vote.  It was the right that all people should have, and value every day.

But, do we have a right to vote for who we want?  Recently, I have discovered the answer is no.  Slandering ads will tell you “Are you better off?” or “Can you trust him?” just to get you to go a different way.  Your friends will ridicule you for who you want to vote for, and your parents will be confused and say, “We raised you a (democrat or republican).”

This is the problem.  People have started to judge each other off of what party they stand for, or who they want to vote for.  Everybody immediately shuts down, and spews out their statistics and hard facts, and doesn’t listen to the other person.  Once you start talking about politics, people get angry.  Don’t tell me you haven’t experienced that.  This is why a majority of people, young and old, that I talk to say, “I don’t ever talk about politics.”

We need both parties, don’t get me wrong.  We cannot have a strictly Republican president, nor a strict Democrat.  I’ve noticed that most of America is divided between Republicans, Democrats, and those that do not care.  Those who really support a party will judge you if you say you stand for the opposite.  I experienced this the other day.  A guy at a coffee shop (which will not be named) would be really friendly and give me a free donut every once and a while.  He had overheard a political discussion between my friend and I, and once he heard that I was a ____, he acted different.  He wasn’t as nice, and I received no free donut that day (quite the disappointment).  If someone’s opinion can change how you act towards them that drastically, what does that say about us?  (Apparently it means that when you are a _____ you get no free donuts or casual conversation).

Isn’t that concept sad though?  Since I believe in something that others may not, I have to fear ridicule or disapproval.  How is this America?  We are supposed to have all of these “freedoms,” but people have begun to dismiss them, or abuse them.  You can’t talk about politics because someone may disagree with you, and instead of offering intelligent arguments, we yell and shout and get nasty.  It needs to end.

Whoever our president is, whether it be now or the next election, we should respect.  You may not agree with what he (or she) is doing, but he (or she) is still your leader.  Let’s just realize one thing: Our country will never be perfect.  How can it?  With all the differences we have, there is always going to be someone, somewhere that is unhappy.   People will blame whoever the president is, for all the bad things that may happen.  High gas prices, tuition is too expensive, rent is too high, energy isn’t efficient, no health care, people are impoverished, unemployment rate, etc.  We cannot keep looking at the past and say, “This president had the unemployment at ___rate, he did a great job.”  There were probably other factors that contributed to him getting the job unemployment rate under 8%.  There have been presidents who have paid for wars on “credit cards,” who have slashed programs, and who have watched us suffer a depression.  Do we constantly bring them up and blame them for everything they have done?  For the most part, no.  We blame the current president, which I believe is unfair.  Yes, the man in office is the leader of the entire country, but if you think you can do a better job, then by all means go enter the next election.  A majority of us like to talk the talk, and overall, we would never be able to do as good of job as the men that have run.

We must remember what our country was founded on, but we have to remember that our country is now changing.  Things cannot stay the same.  There are certain things that need to change.  Along the way we may see difficult times, but we should always try to move onward.  Living in the past cannot get us to the future.

We all have our differences, and I think that it makes us unique, and it is what makes America the greatest country to live in.  I think we should always keep one thing in mind though.  If you do not agree with someone, whether it be for who they want to marry, what they want to wear, what religion they practice, or who they vote for; you need to respect.  We all have freedoms.  You wouldn’t want someone to ridicule you for who you voted for, right?  So don’t do the same to others.

Something that I value most in my life, is having freedom.  We could live in a place where we would never have the chance to vote.  If you feel that you want someone in office, you have the power to do so.  This is something we should never forget.

My favorite presidential quote from JFK, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

I am Madi Moore. And I support this message.

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