It’s election season again, and your vote matters more than you think. It’s important to use that vote to represent yourself. Voting is important, but so is how we talk about politics in our everyday lives.

Within the first few meetings of an organization I entered as a freshman at SFA, I was talking with some people, and we were exchanging photos of ourselves during high school. After looking at a prom picture of mine, they said, “You look like you’re a Republican, but we could still be friends.”

It was a joke, and we laughed about it because it wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously. However, I think it’s a good example of how heavily we associate each other with an image based on what we’ve seen and heard.

Looking in the comment section of any political news article on social media, you’ll find a slew of generalizations on both sides. It’s not about living together and working through possible solutions together; it’s about demonizing the other side and writing them off as unintelligent and as the villain. When we go down this line of thinking, we’re forgetting something important.

There’s more than two ways of thinking.

We must be willing to hear the other side, and we can’t do that if we’re only trying to win an argument. Isn’t that what voting being all about? It’s not about the politicians; it’s about us. It all starts with the everyday citizen. We need to be better about talking to each other and being more active in our own communities in a healthy way. If we close our minds to change, we will never change, and there’s a myriad of issues in the world that our generation will be inheriting in the coming years.

I’m not the only one who hates talking about politics because of the tension, so how about we try to be more open to other ideas and each other. Be open to being wrong. Disagreements can be discussed respectfully, and we can collaborate instead of fight. It’s not Us vs. Them. It’s Us vs. Us. Either way, we lose that fight.

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