A Divided Future

November 29, 2009
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This country is called the United States of America, united being the operating word. Before the American Revolution, the thirteen colonies did not act as one, but as separate entities. The New Yorkers laughed at the Virginia-ites, the Rhode Islanders sneered at passing New Jersey-ans. You’re probably thinking, “Doesn’t this belong in my history textbook? I mean, it’s in the past.” Or is it? As we proudly wear our flag pins, pledge our allegiance, and sing the National Anthem, we declare that we are one united people. But lately, I’ve been doubting that we are united at all.

I grew up in a liberal household. I heard the mantras of the Democrats over and over from the ripe young age of three: Kerry is good, Bush is bad, Liberals are saints, Conservatives are devils. What’s that you say? You’re a Republican? Oh, well that must mean you’re some uneducated glutton from somewhere in the midwest. If one of my teachers made a snide comment about Bush, I ran home and repeated it to my parents, who would surely appreciate the humor I failed to understand. When I found out my best friend was Republican, my opinion of her went down a notch or two.

This biased outlook on life continued until my freshman year of high school. We were required to take a government course due to our supposed limited knowledge of current events. The truth of our almost nonexistent amount of information quickly became apparent; beyond stating our political party, we had no idea why there were troops in Iraq or what Bush’s platform was. We were nothing more than empty labels assigned by our repetitive parents.

As the year continued, however, I felt the already shaky foundation of my political beliefs begin to crack. Though my government teacher was strict, she seemed quite well educated. Imagine my surprise when I found out she was- gasp!- a Republican. I hurried home and asked my father how this could be- I thought only selfish idiots could be Republicans. My father admitted that some Republicans (very few, of course) might have a reasonable idea or two. And, after much prodding and poking, he confessed that he might even agree with these ideas. His admission brought my belief system tumbling down.

In that instant, I had an epitome. The clouds that had blurred my vision of Republicans and democrats parted, and the truth became clear. It doesn’t matter what side you are on in the political battlefield. The important thing is that you don’t shoot the opposition before they open their mouth. Judging someone’s intelligence based on a label is a sure way to form a wrong opinion and limit your circle of friends, as is hating someone because of their beliefs. But even as this occurred to me, I knew that many more did not understand the misfortune of the bias. Even my parents (who I thought were never wrong) were slaves to it.

This country is divided, at war with one another about political issues. Though we will always have our beliefs and form our own conclusions about others, I hope that we will not let our blind discrimination obstruct our view of what is right and wrong. We can only assume this country of angry, fist shaking nay-sayers will learn the lesson before it’s too late.

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oj11230 said...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 2:04 pm
A very insightful opinion piece. I would love to read more from this writer.
rkasinec said...
Jan. 5, 2010 at 9:08 am
I am very impressed with your article and am honored that your opinions have changed and grown due to my class. In my opinion, you have attained the most desirable trait of any student. Keep it up! Plus I would love to know who you are.
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