Sympathy for the republic

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Growing up, I’ve always had the notion that people who vote Republican are unethical, pessimistic and selfish and I realize this is not the mindset I want to live with. 

However, college constantly reminds me I need to unlearn my initial notions of the world we live in. There is something to be said for people who vote Republican, and this is coming from your average California girl.

The first thing I learned about politics in our country is that there are two teams: Republican and Democrat. Since my support system claims blue, I naturally fell in with those who share the same beliefs and morals.

Ever since Trump was voted in, things have gone from bad to racist for the Republican party. This only strengthened my views on how I want my community to choose against being divided by partisanism in politics.

Republicans aren’t as bad as I have been taught to expect, no matter what messy media tells us. The values pushing a divide between blue and red are equally as stabilizing to our nation. We all want our government to pay attention to issues affecting the people. We all want fairness in education and economic mobility, we all want to contribute to making our country as great as it can be for the people around us.

After Trump, racism was synonymous with Republican and it was all I could see. But, how is that fair to the people who did what I did? Why are Republican values any less valid just because I wasn’t raised in that mindset?

“7 Habits of Highly Effective People” a book by Stephen Covey states the best resource is other people. Other people helped me come to the realization of how Republicans and Democrats are basically the same. I realized my feelings toward the entire group of Republicans is dehumanizing, once I heard something from a cousin. 

I realized I have a few outliers, in my own support system, on the political spectrum. They helped me open my worldview. 

“We pay for everything and don’t take anything from the government,” my cousin told me. This really hit me because I never stopped to realize THIS is why he works so hard for his money. He doesn’t want to be like everyone around him, stuck because they would rather just file for government subsidies. I can see the accomplishment on his face. I know that this is why he doesn’t want to vote the way the rest of us do. He doesn’t want anyone else’s approval, he earned what he has on his own. Why did I think that was a bad thing?

Another eye opener for me was an episode of “Parts Unknown:” Montana. This is a documentary series on food from around the world, featuring Anthony Bordain.

I realized that things can be bipartisan. Butte, Montana has the oldest union, thanks to oil drilling. The community speaks out against big business’ grasp on vulnerable Americans. It’s a problem that I hear mostly Democrats speaking out against, but Republican areas did it first. 

“Parts Unknown” also gave me insight to the Republican landowner’s perspective. I originally assumed that property owners complained about taxes to keep themselves rich, but like all issues, there’s so much more going on than most people know. 

There is a lot of nature in Montana. If one group or family has to maintain thousands of acres, why should other people be allowed to tear it up? Why pay taxes when you also have to pay to repair what the state lets other people have access to? I have shifted my view from, just pay taxes like everyone else to: if outsiders are disrespectful to your land tell them to bug off and fight for your rights. 

Values aren’t as decisive as they’re made out to be. Remember this as elections come around and politics surround you. After all, the worst view you can have is you don’t impact anything with your opinions.