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Despite labels, we’re all Americans

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Opinion columnist Tanner Schrad discusses the role of politics and the tendency to label others according to their political affiliations.

Opinion columnist Tanner Schrad discusses the role of politics and the tendency to label others according to their political affiliations.

PEXELS

PEXELS

Opinion columnist Tanner Schrad discusses the role of politics and the tendency to label others according to their political affiliations.

TANNER SCHRAD, Opinion Columnist

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“One nation, indivisible.”

Do you recognize this excerpt? Many of us might have grown up saying this in school. I remember it was the first thing I did after hanging up my coat and backpack all throughout elementary school. I don’t know what it is about looking back at that saying, but it gives me goosebumps to think about now.

I think this one little saying, of all things, defines my idea of what America is the most. Patriotism, as defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary, is “love and loyal or zealous support of one’s country.”

I know this is going to cause controversy — few things in today’s world don’t — but this is one topic I think we can all relate to.

Spending four semesters (and one election) on campus, I can honestly say that I think I’ve seen a lot already. The thing I’ve seen the most, though, is division — division between students, as a result of something that tears people apart like nothing else can: politics.

I believe politics is one of the most difficult things to talk about, even though it’s all around us. My cousin once told me before leaving for college that “the three things you don’t mention on a date are politics, religion and crossfit.”

In the case of politics, though, there’s a pattern I’ve noticed: colleges tend to lead towards the liberal side. I don’t like the terms Democrat and Republican. Those are titles. And even though I don’t associate with either of these parties, if I had to give myself a title, it would be that of a Libertarian.

To me, all these titles hold their own sort of reputation, and I think everyone should make their own judgement about someone after meeting them, not solely based on title.

If I told you I was a Republican, some immediate thoughts by liberals may be “he’s a gun nut, ultra-religious, hates abortion and only cares about funding the military.”

On the other hand, if I told you I was a Democrat, conservatives may think, “this person despises guns, wants socialism, will protest anything and everything and hates our president.”

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but lately I feel these are common topics when I sit down in the lunchroom and overhear different conversations.

I grew up on a farm, in a town of 200, and graduated from a neighboring town with a class of 78 students. It is safe to say I grew up a conservative, but the reason I say I’m Libertarian is because I have a conservative view, but I also consider myself progressive.

I don’t necessarily believe in abortion, but I can’t really have a baby, so in my mind that’s your choice to make, not mine. I’m not gay, but I firmly support gay marriage. Do what makes you happy.

I’m not writing this to try and change people’s thoughts. That’s why America is so great in my opinion: you can have your own thoughts.

That’s what America was built on; that shouldn’t be what tears us apart, as well.

Do I have strong thoughts about football players taking a knee for the national anthem? I don’t think during a game, at their place of work, is the correct time to protest. We have YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, even newspapers for people to express their ideas and opinions.

You still better believe I support everything those protests stand for.

I could be writing about gun control at a time like this, but right now my thoughts are more about support and sympathy for the victims. I can’t imagine a single soul in this country wants unjust death. As a son of a first responder, though, I can say I’ve been exposed to death in my lifetime.

All I know is every person’s blood is red, our organs pink and our skeletons the same. This isn’t about race, religion or gender. This is about us as humans.

At a crucial point in our country’s history, we’re surrounded by devastating storms that don’t know the victims, disease and cancers that don’t target a single career, terrorism is carried out by extremists who pay no attention to others and car accidents claim the lives of anyone unfortunate enough to be in them.

It hurts to see that the most devastating things in our country are less biased and hold less prejudice than us. I’m not asking anyone to go full Braveheart and paint half their face in the name of freedom.

I just ask everyone to think twice about the person next to them before making judgements. To me, that’s something we should all stand behind — each other.

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Despite labels, we’re all Americans