Alex in Transit(ion)

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Civility and Understanding in the 21st Century

I will admit that I am writing out of emotion (I would love to research this topic more but I’ve got to do my grad school research before I start freelancing) but I feel that with the increased use of the Internet and social media that, although it has revolutionized communication and has made it so much easier for people to connect, it has also made us more divisive. It’s a true shame because the Internet gives its users access to millions of sources and opinions but I see so many people use it to support their own opinions and beliefs, without researching the other side.

If you know me, you know that my political beliefs are as blue as the sky but I’ve always stayed true to the old saying: you are going to attract more flies with honey, rather than vinegar. I love learning about people and what makes them tick because if I’m just enclosed within my beliefs, I won’t learn anything or progress. Everyone has a voice and we owe it to each other to give each other constructive criticism or politely question each other instead of being “OMG YOU DON’T BELIEVE WHAT I BELIEVE, HERE’S WHY I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG. YOU’VE NEVER READ THE CONSTITUTION RAH RAH RAH.”

I deal with it all of the time, especially at my father’s business. The people in our town have seen me grow up and the question always comes up about what I’ve been up to. I understand that my employment background may make others become very defensive towards me and they no longer see me as “Alexandra” but “Alexandra the Democrat.” I can’t even count the many times I had to deflect talking about politics because when I am home, which isn’t very often these days, I want to enjoy my time with my family and not discuss my political beliefs. I truly believe that regardless if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you deserve to have a fine Italian meal that only my family can provide.

The truth is, we are all in this together and I think with wall to wall news and the constant stream of opinionated social media that we forget that we live in the UNITED States of America. One party doesn’t have all of the solutions and as I’ve seen with my experience, there’s a lot that we all can learn from each other. Although I’m for gun control, I joined a Well Regulated American Militia group because I believe I cannot form a qualified opinion without learning how the other side ticks and I can only hope that others who are on the opposite side have taken the time to research both sides as I have.

Also, I’m so sick of hearing that it’s only rich people who get involved in politics. If you feel so inclined, you can get involved as well and maybe achieve a high office! All you need to do is get involved in your community and you can do so by attending town meetings, neighborhood, and community associations. Then, talk to your loved ones, friends, and acquaintances about your vision because if they also agree with you, they will be the ones who help you organize your campaign by making the phone calls to solicit donations from supporters and knocking on doors to reach out to your constituency. It is possible to finance your campaign through solicitations without putting a lot of your own money in it. I’ve seen it happen! You don’t need to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth but what you do need is a strong organization to back you up who will be willing to put in the long hours because what you all believe in is too important to stay quiet. It kills me every time I hear people say government is full of the same old people because honestly, it doesn’t need to be that way. You just need to step up.

Finally, ask until you hear a “no.” You’d be surprised how many doors can open by having the confidence to ask.

In closing, I leave you all with this:

Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country.

– President John F. Kennedy

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Boehner bingo!

At approximately 2:30 p.m., mawkish, terracotta congressman John Boehner (R-OH) will be sworn in as Speaker of the House. What words and phrases might appear in his speech? Place 25 of your best guesses inside a bingo card and play along with us this afternoon.