This post is more of a personal anecdote than a fact filled essay about taxes or state rights or abortion (which may all be topics down the road). I wanted to start this post by saying I have been wrong about politics and I’ll probably be wrong again. It’s not a big deal and I feel like we shouldn’t sweat being wrong. The problem comes from the fact that everything we do is recorded online, either by ourselves or by other people. Mix this with the fact that people are so willing to label themselves and put themselves in a box and you get people who will blindly follow someone they should no longer support or blindly defend policies they no longer support. It’s possible this is aided by the people they surround themselves with or their family’s ideology.
Maybe you were born in a rural part of the state where most people voted Republican but now you’ve gone off to college and met people from all kinds of backgrounds. Now you’re not really sure if you support cutting welfare programs, you don’t think we should continue the war on drugs, or maybe your beliefs on the second amendment has gotten stronger since you’ve been in college. All of this is fine. It should happen. The beliefs your parents held may or may not be right for you and it’s up to you to figure that out. College is supposed to be a place where you meet people, learn new things, and get your beliefs challenged. I mention college because that’s where a lot of my beliefs were challenged and I feel differently about certain policies because of my life experience in and out of college. Of course life experience can come from a lot of different places. Maybe you’ll read something on here and think “I never thought of it like that before. Maybe I should do some more research.” That’s what I want!
Of course, I say all of this because I can tell you that I’m not the same person I was a year ago or even six months ago. This includes my political stances. Sometimes I’ll read the posts on Facebook I shared years ago and I’ll just sigh and hang my head. On the other hand, these experiences also lead me to become firmer in some of my beliefs. For example, before college I was against gay marriage (GASP) (Barrack Obama was against it in 2007, keep that in mind). Now there wasn’t anything in particular that made me change my mind about it, but over the past few years my stance on gay marriage has slid to the left (more liberal). I went from being totally against it to wanting increased tax breaks for civil unions basically making civil unions and marriages equal in the eye of the law, to wanting a national referendum on gay marriage like Ireland had, to completely accepting the Supreme Court case legalizing gay marriage. Now personally I still would have preferred a national referendum versus the Supreme Court legislating from the bench, but at this point I couldn’t care less. It happened. Let’s move on. More important things to focus on.
Now like I said there are some stances that I support even more after going through college and gaining some life experience. One example is my support for Israel. Before High School I didn’t really know much about Israel (there’s still a lot I don’t know), but I took a Politics of the Middle East class in college and I learned a lot about Israel as well as many of it’s Middle Eastern neighbors. After going through that class, I find myself siding with Israel on a lot of things. It might be walking the line between well-informed decision and blindly loyalty, I’ll admit that, but I’ll also say that the class helped open my eyes to the complexities of the Middle East and the struggles between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I can say for sure that I wouldn’t know anything about Syria if it wasn’t for that class and it helped me understand the Syrian Civil War a little better and really sympathize with the Syrian refugees.
There are other examples that I could go in depth with but I’ll save my other political stances for other pieces. All I want to say is that your political stances can change depending on your upbringing and new experiences. Sometimes these stances get stronger and sometimes you change your stance completely. Either way it’s okay. Of course we live in a world where we like to broadcast our views and we sometimes have to eat our own words, but that’s a part of living your life. You don’t want to be the same exact person forever and that includes a changing political platform. So do some research, go out and see a little bit of the world, and let the world change you a little. Maybe you’ll become more liberal on some views and more conservative on some others. Either way its good to know where you stand on things and have some hard evidence to back up your stance. Maybe looking up said evidence will actually lead you to change your views.
Reminder: Keep all discussion civil and on topic. I do not want to shut down free speech but I will if the speech is hateful and/or not-constructive. Thank you.