Political Rant Part 1 – To The Liberals

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Photo Credit to PBS.org

By Joseph Cox

Disclaimer: The views reflected below do not represent the collective beliefs of UWF Infinite Wisdom, nor do they represent the collective view of its writers. We possess writers of various ethical and political backgrounds, so the notions expressed here should be viewed as my own.

Disclaimer having been made, I’ll note here that I’m making no attempt to remain unbiased, for I believe the only way to move forward is to express one’s opinions raw and openly. Argumentation, debate, and learning is what will drive our nation forward, make it great again even, but cowering behind an unbiased opinion moves us nowhere. Consider this a combusted start to an open dialogue.

There’s only one word that comes to mind when I view the photo above: pathetic. Though, contrary to the opinions of the many who oppose Trump, as well as the newest piece of healthcare legislation, the word pathetic does not pop into my mind because of the miserable forced smiles of 200 men. The word pathetic doesn’t arise when I contemplate the fact that millions of people may soon lose health coverage, nor does it squirm in when I contemplate the enumerable numbers of people that may soon be swindled into increased healthcare prices due to past conditions they have no hope of controlling. No, what is so endlessly pathetic is not this conglomeration of political backwardness because I expected that. It’s not as if we weren’t warned of the atrocities that Trump would come to commit in his reign, and anyone that expressed even the slightest bit of shock from the recent political events clearly paid no attention during the election. No, what’s pathetic is not the foreseen raging tide of the Conservatives on Capitol Hill, but the American nation. Our bifurcation of politics has not only allowed such a miserable piece of legislation to occur, but has utterly annihilated any sense of open dialogue among the parties. Many rational minded Conservatives have been driven into hiding for fear of the public ridicule they’ll receive upon emerging as a Republican, and that, my fellow Americans, is what strikes me as pathetic. It is not the retreat of these rational individuals that is pathetic, but it is the behavior of the opposing side that strikes me as pathetically incorrect.

Before I delve deep into the rant, let us get one thing straight, we live in a representative democracy, meaning that those 200 men pictured above, the Democrats that accompany them, and the senate, are what represent America to the foreign world. It’s not the posts of the Liberals who claim that Trump is, “not my president,” it is not the attendees of Trump rallies, and it is not any particular American city or state, for that’s the point of having representation. We, as a collective, elect the individuals that best reflect our beliefs, but many of us have forgotten what representation means. For all purposes, being in a representative democracy means that your beliefs only hold relevance when they’re influencing those that represent you. From the mayors of cities, to the house, to the senate, to the POTUS, each representative is elected to act on behalf of the collective. America elected the men pictured in that photo, for the Conservatives did not act alone.

Definition of representative democracy aside, it’s time to talk about what’s pathetic. To every Liberal that has ever posted that Donald Trump is not your president, that mysterious blob of spray tan is, in fact, your president. To any Liberal that has dared to disagree with this healthcare bill only to point fingers across the aisle at the Conservative party, this bill is your fault too. Finally, to anyone, including myself, that has ever forced someone to feel idiotic for holding beliefs that they may never have fully investigated, you’re the real idiot in that equation. Yes, I’ve been an idiot before too.

My point here is simple: as a part of a representative democracy, what Trump and the Botox faces do is our responsibility as a collective. There is no Conservative or Democrat to the rest of the world when they see America because all that’s in sight is Trump. The election is over, yes, but the lessons that needed to be reaped from the process have clearly been left in the ashes of Clinton’s dreams. Democrats are every bit as responsible for every action Trump takes as the Republicans are, even if a Democrat voted against him, because that’s how a representative democracy functions. As a Liberal, your responsibility is not to belittle the other side into submission, nor is it to shame those that have defeated you. Any attempt to shame your counterparts is a direct contradiction of the beliefs you claim to hold, literally. Here, I’ll prove it to you. The following is the definition of Liberal: open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values (feel free to google it for yourself if you don’t believe me).

What’s pathetic here is not that the Conservative party is fulfilling its promises, but that the Democrats have dared to act as if they’re powerless to stop the tide of red. The facts are blatant. Facebook posts, whining on Instagram, yelling at your Conservative friends, festering in the wonders of groupthink with those that think like you, and tweeting about how much you just can’t stand those tight faced white dudes in suits isn’t going to get you anywhere. The Republicans didn’t win the last election because Americans are ignorant, but because they were the only people that showed up to the fight. If you want the egalitarian world you so desperately desire, then you may well wish to start talking about it to the people that think your views are ridiculous. Your Facebook friends don’t need convincing, but the thousands of people passionate enough to attend Trump rallies, as well as the millions of people passionate enough to vote for Trump, do need to hear what you have to say. Neither Conservatives nor Liberals are necessarily immoral due to their party affiliations, but backing people into corners until the only voices they hear are those shouting the loudest will certainly convert them to foolishness much quicker. If you think the other party is doing stupid things, maybe blame the individuals spreading the rhetoric and beating you at your own game, as opposed to the innocents that are merely buying into the arguments that are continuously presented to them.

It’s insanely counter-intuitive that the political dogma that so vehemently speaks for equality has collectively grown to have the voice of a nagging 5-year-old that won’t bother to hear what the other side is saying. Belittling, whining, walking away from the difficult discussions, and telling your friends about it isn’t helping, but dialogue with those that are different can, and does, change the world. Debate, engage, and start conversations amongst the people that have the power to sway your representatives in your desired direction because this healthcare bill won’t be the last abomination.  Need proof of my arguments? LOOK AT THE PHOTO because they’re beating you for a reason.

 

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Make America Think Again Part 2: Civility

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By Samuel Alvarado

Candidates for the presidency of the United States of America should be qualified in areas such as experience, civility, and civic mindedness. It is not befitting for a candidate to feel entitled to the presidency, especially if these qualifications are not met. An ideal candidate for the presidency of the United States of America would be a person who not only has experience in government, but also has the civility to govern the great citizens of this nation we call home. In my first article, I discussed experience as a quality greatly desired in a candidate because it makes a candidate better prepared for the difficulties of leadership, and I would advocate that civility is a quality that is required in any leadership position.

Civility entails a person who can respect the position of his or her ideological opponent. Civility refers to having the humility to understand that we are all humans at the end of the day, and should be decent towards one another, as people with different perspectives and ideas should be able to do. Many leaders these days are crossing the line of civility, as they wish to be less politically correct, and blunter with their constituents. However, this incivility comes at a price to both their candidacy and constituents, as it sets a precedent that is not one to be proud of.

Both parties in American politics are guilty of a lack of civility. A prime, and recent, example of the lack of civility would be the 2016 presidential election. The 2016 presidential election was among the most ruthless and pessimistic elections experienced in recent history. In the past election, there was far too little focus on the platforms, and more of an emphasis on the scandals, such as Benghazi and email scandal for Clinton along with the tax return scandal for Trump. The point of being politically correct is to minimize the damage that one is responsible for with their words. Our words have the potential to bring people together or to divide them. Being politically correct is, at its core, being understanding of different people in hopes of being able to work with them effectively. Because of civility, we can more easily make a deal, reach a compromise, and understand each other’s points of view.

When we are civil with one another, we can bridge political divides and make compromises that allow society and government to function  A world without civility is a world with much more ruthlessness, anger, and tribal attitudes. We, the citizens of the United States,  must be able to understand how certain words can trigger a negative response from others, such as calling people “illegals,” “hacks,” or “idiots”. These small acts of agitation will add up to make people bitter towards working with those who have been insulting them. Having a sense of what to say, or not to say, can go a long way for future political discourse. It is understood that the current president was uncivil and politically incorrect throughout his campaign. However, Hillary Clinton, who some would say has maintained an excellent political record for more than 30 years, made a lapse in judgement when she callously characterized Trump supporters. Clinton may have the experience, but she lacked the civility at a moment when civility was her greatest asset. Trump could not have been a better foil for Clinton’s esteemed civility, but she lost that high ground when she got down in the mud. The characterization of Trump supporters as belonging to a “basket of deplorables” was insulting. Trump made various missteps in civility as well by characterizing Mexican immigrants as drug dealers, rapists, and criminals, as well as offending many others within the country, such as the media, the freedom caucus, and other countries. We can see here that both candidates lacked a level of civility during their election campaigns.

It is time for the return of civility to American politics. The return of civic dialogue between the two polarized political parties would greatly benefit the United States of America.  In hopes that our representatives can work together to secure a better future for the citizens of this nation, we can hope, and we can change these bad habits ourselves. This change of callous dialogue does not happen overnight, and we can not expect our politicians to be more civil if we will not subjugate ourselves to the same measures and expectations.

The Dividing Line

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Photo by Peter Lawson

By Rachael Whitlock

Typically, when we order barbecue at a restaurant, we don’t think about the animal that the meat came from. We don’t think about the 9.2 billion animals that are slaughtered every year in America for food (Human Society of the United States). Instead, it’s just a product – something that has been processed for our taste and enjoyment. But if someone ever put a plate in front of us with a piece of dog meat on it, most of us would not see edible food. In fact, many Americans would picture their own four-legged friend, with his wagging tail and lolling tongue, and would be repulsed at the thought of eating him. For hundreds of years, humans have divided animals into two separate categories: the ones we eat and the ones we don’t. In the United States, cows, pigs, and chickens fall into the “edible” category while cats, dogs, and horses fall into the “inedible” category. In other cultures, although animals might fall into different categories than these, there is still a dividing line between the spared and the slaughtered. But how have we come to create such a line? Why is it that people find it acceptable to eat some animals but not others?

It would be difficult to argue that our companion animals are more intelligent or more sentient than at least some of the animals we eat. A series of studies published in the International Journal of Comparative Psychology in 2015 found pigs to possess more cognitive capabilities than dogs, and to be on about the same intellectual level as chimpanzees. In order to conduct these studies, pigs had to pass a series of tests involving using mirrors to find hidden food, completing mazes, learning a simple symbolic language, and manipulating a joystick to move an on-screen cursor. Another study concerning farm animal sentience done by researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, indicated that pigs may be able to empathize with their pen mates, a trait previously assigned only to humans and primates (Scientific American, 2015). To conduct the study, scientists trained a few pigs to feel either happiness or stress based on whether they received rewards or punishments. The untrained pigs began to show the same signs of happiness or distress as their pen mates, even though the untrained pigs had no knowledge of the rewards and punishments. Based on the pig’s reactions, the researchers were able to conclude that the animals possessed the capacity to be effected by, and share the emotional states, of each other (Scientific American, 2015). The study on empathy in pigs was published in the journal Animal Cognition.  These studies conclude that at least some of the animals we eat, including pigs, are as intelligent as our beloved pets.

But even with evidence that dividing species is nonsensical, many of us continue to eat farm animals without blinking an eye. Today, the general public is so far removed from living, breathing, farm animals that the disconnect many feel is understandable. Few people still work on farms and interact with their food before it’s on their plate. Most Americans no longer have to collect chicken eggs, milk cows, and slaughter pigs they’ve raised since birth. After all, it seems the most obvious reason we don’t eat dogs and cats is because they play such a large role in our lives. We feed them, play with them, and sleep with them; many people would find it difficult to fathom eating their companions. The apparent reason for our choices is simply because that’s the way it has always been done.

The point of this article is not to influence people to start eating their companion animals, but to ask people to think deeply about the reasons they eat (and don’t eat) certain animals. Realizing that “edible” animals are intelligent and emotionally cognitive could suddenly make it more difficult to eat them with a clear conscious. Our pets and our food are much more similar than they are different, and, because of these similarities, we should think more closely about the moral dilemma eating animals poses.  Next time, when ordering a rack of ribs, think about that pig as you would think about your dog and ask yourself, should there really be a dividing line?

 

What do you think of this article? Share your feedback in the comments section.

 

References

  • (2017). Protect Farm Animals. Humane Society of the United States. 28 March 2017.
  • Griffiths, Sarah. (15 January 2015). Pigs Have Feelings Too! Farm Animals Feel Empathy Towards Their Penmates, Study Claims. Daily Mail. 28 March 2017.
  • Marino, Lori; & Colvin, Christina M. (2015). Thinking Pigs: A Comparative Review ofCognition, Emotion, and Personality in Sus domesticusInternational Journal of Comparative Psychology, 28 March 2017.
  • Muth, Felicity. (13 January 2015). Can Pigs Empathize? Scientific American. 28 March 2017.
  • Reimert, I., Bolhuis, J. E., Kemp, B., & Rodenburg, T. B. (2014). Emotions on the loose: emotional contagion and the role of oxytocin in pigs. Animal cognition. 28 March 2017.