Team USA

This last year’s election has left the USA in a whirlwind. We’ve elected a new president: Donald Trump, and he’s receiving mixed signals so far. And when I say mixed, I mean mixed. It seems you either love or hate the man; there seems to be no in-between. But, I’m not here to talk about the president in particular; I want to discuss labeling.

In the South, we have a tendency to assume someone is Democrat or Republican based on just about anything (and I mean anything). It is no secret that Southern states tend to lean Republican. In many small towns, it’s sad to say that you’re more expected to be Republican. Mine is no different. Liberal views are seen as frightening. Hell, the term liberal is usually whispered with a sneer; it’s the equivalent of a curse word to some. I’m in no way trying to imply that Democrats aren’t welcome or that the entire Southeast is Republican, but in my experience, this is the way things are. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish you had the freedom to believe what you want and not collect flack for it, but that’s just “not how things work around here.” (Yes, I’ve heard that exact line before) Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, that’s your business (and not everyone else’s unless that last part was confusing), and I can honestly say that I don’t care.

I’m that woman who shies away from exclaiming my political views. I don’t share hundreds of posts on Facebook about it (Not even during an election year *gasp*), and I generally don’t jump into conversations about who I’m voting for, whether the election is local, like electing the new mayor,or national, like deciding the next president. When asked, I may or may not choose to give some insight into what I believe (it is my right after all). People love pulling out that 1st amendment (I mean they’re obsessed with it). They wield it like a weapon or a hidden card up a magician’s sleeve. For those of you who don’t know, the first amendment is the first in a list of 27 amendments all located in the United States Constitution (for those of you who didn’t do too hot on that U.S. History state test). The first amendment gives citizens in America the right to free speech (Yes, I know that is not the only right that comes with the 1st amendment; I’m summarizing) It also gives me the right to keep quiet if I so please. I can access my freedom of speech as well as my freedom not to speak (You get me?). I like my privacy which is a characteristic that many of my family members and acquaintances don’t share. So, as election day grew near, I was frequently asked who I was voting for. I would politely state that I rather not say. I found out soon afterwards that this gave people the impression that I was, indeed, a Democrat (gasp!). After the election, my family members tiptoed around me, one even went so far as to apologize because they knew the election didn’t go the way they knew I wanted it to (What the hell?). I had never plainly stated that I had liberal views, but I was told that I “seemed” like the type of person to lean towards being a Democrat (I was highly unaware that I gave off a Democrat vibe but okay). I realized how easy it was people to label me based off all the things I didn’t say. It was unfair and insulting. Instead of simply respecting my privacy, they felt the need to come forward and submit their findings about me. I stay private about my views, so things like this don’t happen, yet it did.

Nevertheless, I responded that I was neither happy nor sad about the winner of the election, and I neither confirmed nor denied the questions about what my political party may be. To be honest, it is no one else’s business, and I plan to keep it that way. The point I’m attempting to make is: don’t assume another’s political stance based on what they do or do not say. Unless someone states their party, don’t try to look for signs and label them yourselves (it’s not a game of Clue).

Sincerely,

Abby

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