I think we can all agree that, for the most part, politics suck.
When I was younger, I think I just sort of fell into agreement with my family’s political views; one, because I didn’t pay any attention to what was happening, and two, because it didn’t matter to me at that point in my life anyway.
Now that I try my best to stay up-to-date with news, I can actually comprehend what it means, and I feel the effects of the things that are going on in the world around me. Now that I can form opinions for myself, they’ve begun to differ from what I grew up with.
For the most part my parents are very open to discussions and they do their best to give me unbiased responses, but some others in my family aren’t so supportive.
I try to stay away from discussing politics with these members of the family, but sometimes things come up unintentionally. For example: tonight at dinner, I began talking about hopes for my future, such as what I want to study and where I want to go to college, possible careers, where I want to travel, etc.
When I mentioned that one day I want to join the Peace Corps they sort of laughed at me. That’s when our conversation took a turn. Instead of discussing my hopes and dreams for my life ahead of me, I was bombarded with questions like, “Why do you want to join the Peace Corps? Why don’t you intern at Wall Street?” and “Don’t you care about money? Well you will once you have to provide for yourself.”
As a result of those responses, I have a message for the family members in question: Since I decided to keep my larger opinions to myself after the dinner incident, here are a few things that I hope you will someday understand.
First and foremost, I am fully aware that for my entire life I have been financially secure and I haven’t had to worry about anything involving money. I know that this is a result of a lifetime of your hard work, and I am incredibly thankful for that.
Although some of our opinions are quite different, I still respect yours; your opinions are valid.
I’m not sorry that my views differ from yours, but I’m sorry that you completely disregard them. It really doesn’t matter to me that you have different values, so long as you don’t tell me that my own are wrong.
While you are probably correct in that a lot of my opinions are somewhat influenced by my peers, that doesn’t mean that I can’t think for myself.
It’s fair for you to be disappointed that I don’t agree with you, but it’s not fair for you to be disappointed in me as a person. The way I vote does not determine who I am, nor does it determine my character.
Half of my relatives just give away their vote and let someone else decide their views for them. Shouldn’t you be happy that I can think for myself? Shouldn’t you be happy that I don’t believe everything I’m told and that I know what is important to me? Shouldn’t you at least be happy that I believe in something?
Please don’t disregard what I say to you. Please don’t blame my opinions on my age. Please don’t brush off my contradictions with “Oh, she’ll come around one of these days.”
Please don’t look at me differently because of what I think. Differences in opinions should be accepted, not criticized. If our minds were all the same, nothing would ever go anywhere.
Diversity, whether it be found in people, in life experience, or in beliefs, is a wonderful thing.