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How to make it through this politically intense time

Photographer: Alan Islas

Alan Islas Malanco, Staff Reporter

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We’ve seen the debates, the SNL skits and the political protests. With all of these voices screaming in our ears, all having so many different points of view, how can we handle the clashing opinions and values that we’re faced with every day? Here are some things you can do to survive this tumultuous political time.

Stay informed:

Our generation received one of the trendiest catchphrases on January 22 from Kellyanne Conway when she mentioned that the Press Secretary gave “alternative facts.” Because of the alternative facts – lies that people try to pass off as solid truth – floating around the media, it’s important to stay informed as to what is really going on and to get the information for yourself.

One of the most important things about staying informed is being able to form your own opinion from personal research instead of following what everyone else is saying. It’s not enough to have someone tell you what an article was about and form your opinion based on their review. Rather, you should go straight to the source, make sure it is reputable, double check its facts and from there form your own opinion and reaction.

“I think it’s important to stay informed during this time because a lot of people listen to their parents or their friends instead of making their own opinion,” sophomore Cayleigh Brown said.

How are we supposed to act if we are uneducated on a subject? Well, we shouldn’t, but some people still do. It is not only deplorable but hypocritical to complain about the current status of the country if you are not well informed about what is going on in the nation.

Double check your sources:

One of the most interesting headlines in 2016 by The Washington Post was “N.C. man told police he went to D.C. pizzeria with gun to investigate conspiracy theory.” Because of a rumor, a man began shooting at a pizzeria in order to supposedly stop the child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton.

This is just one example of how real fake news can become. Sensationalism attracts readers to articles filled with lies, and these lies can make people believe and act on things that are not true. Even if these facts are false, they can lead to violence in real life. Therefore, not only is it important to get the facts, but also to approach them with a healthy dose of skepticism in order to ensure that they are true.

“Relying on untrustworthy sources means that you won’t be able to see the full picture, which perpetuates ignorance,” said junior Tracy Yu. “You should only formulate an opinion after you get the facts straight. It is better not to have an opinion at all rather than to have an opinion that is based on all the wrong facts.”

Over the past couple of months, many have become addicted to the media. Some people will only listen to a specific channel, refusing to hear what the other side has to say. In the old days, the newspaper came out with different news articles and opinion pieces from opposing points of view.

However, in this day and age social media has made it possible for people to select what sources they want to listen to and what they don’t. While this can be a blessing, as people can stay informed within the topics that interest them, it is also a curse.

Nowadays, an individual can choose to tune in to only one source of information if they desire to do so. Some people may choose to only listen to Buzzfeed or to Fox News and nothing else; but by only listening to a specific source they are only limiting themselves by not acquiring more information.

This personalization of information, choosing only one opinion to listen to and never being challenged about it by an opposing point, leads to ignorance. If your beliefs are never challenged, how can you know that they are true? You can’t. It is only when your beliefs are challenged, and you are able to uphold them with true, reputable facts that you can double check your opinion and your sources to make sure you are not basing beliefs on something that isn’t true.

Don’t stereotype:

Now more than ever we hear about how all conservatives are evil and how all liberals are special snowflakes. However, not every individual falls under the same label, and people don’t have a specific set of opinions. Rather, some people have a very different opinion depending on the topic. Someone may have a conservative view on an issue and go to the opposite side when it comes to another situation.

In today’s political climate, one of the most prominent issues has become stereotyping. It’s not about whether you have a spectrum of beliefs anymore, but whether you are on the left or on the right. Based on that, people stereotype and there is no room to have a neutral opinion in today’s political climate.

“Stereotypes are damaging and harmful to those that stereotype and those who are stereotyped,” senior Andrew Pollack said. “There will always be exceptions and radicals who stand out from the rest, but they do not represent the whole. Stereotyping is an immature, lazy way to view others.”

One of the things that can get people fired up is when someone assumes that because he or she is part of a specific group that they are like all the “typical” members of said group. All of us have done this at some point. Whether you are on one side of the spectrum or the other, as people we naturally form judgements based on beliefs, feelings and past experiences.

The only way to stop the abundant aggression and racism that has become common in our society is through the conscious effort to recognize an individual for who he or she is, not for which side of the balance we think they fall on.

Stay calm, don’t do anything extreme:

Since the election process started, even before the new administration took over, there have been extreme acts from both sides. However, it’s imperative to remember is to stay calm, especially during conflicting times.

I’m sure all of us have seen in at least one class how two people can start a passionate political debate.

“I think a lot of people get really heated when talking about politics especially in school,” Brown said. “If you’re gonna talk about it in school, don’t just bash the other side because it makes your side look bad too. Each side just needs to respect the other side.”

Staying calm does not mean doing nothing or not having an opinion. Rather, it is being able to express oneself with enough class and composure to maintain a peaceful environment even when talking about something as controversial as politics.

Positive thoughts:

As with any trying time, one of the things to keep in mind is to remember to stay positive even when it seems like the country is being torn apart. Instead of getting angry about it, we need to remember that it’s important to coexist in peace as we’ve done in the past.

“When a new president is elected, there are people that may not support them. And now that it’s such a broad part of the country, there’s been such a negative reaction,” junior Arianna Moreno said. “I just think that’s kind of childish. Even if you don’t agree with him, just give him a chance. When we riot and get angry, it just causes so much unnecessary chaos.”

And she’s right. You may agree with Trump, you may not, but wanting him to fail is like wanting the captain of the ship to crash into an iceberg. Whether we like it or not, Trump is now the nation’s president, and if he fails, the entire country just might too. You don’t have to carry a Trump banner and advocate for him on the streets. However, as people living in the United States, we all need to try and stay positive about the future and do our best as citizens of this country to ensure that the outcome of these next four years will be a good one.

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1 Comment

One Response to “How to make it through this politically intense time”

  1. Anya Mansell on May 10th, 2017 8:23 am

    Alan!!!! I love the Trump edit 🙂 Keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

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How to make it through this politically intense time