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Aug 02 2016
by Karly Matthews

We Are More Than Our Politics

By Karly Matthews - Aug 02 2016

I love starting my morning off with a hot cup of coffee and seeing my dogs wagging their tails at me. During high school, all my free time was spent at a dance studio, and my heart will always race when I enter a Broadway theater. Color-coded schedules, photo collages and terrible reality television are easily some of my favorite things. Sure, I’m a Republican and you may be a Democrat, but we both know we’re so much more than that.

In today’s world, we are incredibly divided, and some believe that the ‘other side’ is practically evil. But, don’t we both just want the best for our children? Don’t we both want to solve our country’s problems? We may have different agendas to achieve these things and we may disagree on what the most pressing problems are, but we’re not mortal enemies, which you really wouldn’t know if you stepped foot on Twitter. We’re all Americans, and that should mean something. We have the same enemies, and those enemies aren’t each other.

In high school, I was a bit of minority, being a Republican. I didn’t agree with my peers who endorsed Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton through their Twitter accounts, but then again, they probably rolled their eyes when I tweeted my support for Marco Rubio. Yet, when we found ourselves back in the hallways, many of us were friends. In fact, most of the people I talked to in high school were either my political opposite or had no interest in our system at all. We joked around, each poking fun at each other’s candidates or parties, and that’s okay. Honestly, that’s how it should be. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are perfect, and by acknowledging that, we’re coming together.

Luckily for us, the American government is stable enough that we don’t have to spend our entire lives thinking about politics. The standard of living in this country is high enough that many people can live outside the political system. So, thus, we as Americans are more than a Party affiliation. We have quirks, hobbies, families and senses of humor. We can bond over things other than politics: our favorite music, books, television and pass-times.

Without a doubt, I don’t hate my political opposites. In fact, I’m grateful for them. They challenge me and make me think about my beliefs. Compromise is how things get done well, so our system needs two sides to present contrasting ideas. Just look at history: our forefathers created this country on compromise, one named after Connecticut to be exact. A mix of my beliefs and the other side of the political spectrum is how we make policy and this country better for everyone. If one side ran everything in the government, no matter which side, our problems would only be exacerbated.

Most of us aren’t party robots, endorsing everything politicians of our same ideologies say. I’ve definitely disagreed with fellow Republicans, and I’ve agreed with Democrats. As people, we laugh, we cry, we love, we hate and we live. Yes, we often express our political beliefs on social media, but we also retweet a cute video of kittens playing with each other. Not every moment of our lives is spent thinking about the president, Congress or even our local governments. Those things are important, of course, but there are other things in our lives that make up so much more of us. We are more than the word Republican or Democrat on a voter card.

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Karly Matthews - Temple University

Karly Matthews is a political science and journalism major with a Spanish minor at Temple University. In high school, she was editor-in-chief of her school's online newspaper, a member of the yearbook staff, a Spanish Club officer and a dancer for 12 years. In her free time, Karly drinks too much coffee and follows politics with an obsessive passion. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karlymatthews_!

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