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It’s Not Because I’m Young

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I’m a bleeding heart liberal in the heart of Texas. Typically I try to avoid serious political discussions, but sometimes they find me. Last week, I got much more combative than I normally do. Despite what the other person thinks, politics are not something I’ll “understand when I’m older.”

I banter about political stuff with the older teacher next door to me all the time. It’s lighthearted, fun, and we are still friends despite being on polar opposite ends of the spectrum. The other day, another teacher joined in our banter. Within minutes, she had begun insulting me.

After she tried to tell me that history happened exactly one way and cannot be reinterpreted (even though that’s what us liberals are trying to do), I realized I should try my hardest to defuse the conversation. Talk to any historian, and they will rattle off all the different camps in history and lenses through which to view history. We all know history is written by the winners.

Then she insulted my education. She said that I just went to some liberal arts college where they teach us lies. She has no clue where I went to school, and it was not a liberal arts college. It wasn’t even a liberal college.

Yes, I have a social science degree. I am certified to teach social studies. I have written curriculum for government. I also love America deeply. I’m an active citizen politically. I am well-read in political and economic theory.

She then proceeded to tell me to leave the country because my beliefs are not “what America is.” She has no clue of my patriotism. The reason I love America is because I can believe whatever I want, and I can vote that way at the polls.

She finished up by saying that I’m young and inexperienced. I’ll understand when I’m older, she says. The ageism really got to me.

I may be young, but I am far from inexperienced. I grew up in poverty. I went to school on government aid and worked all the way through school. In my life, I have benefited from government aid. I am well-traveled. I vote in every midterm and local election. I research my candidates from as nonpartisan sources as I can find. I happily pay my taxes.

As we get older, it’s normal for our beliefs about certain issues to change. I recognize that, but I am not ignorant because of my age. I am well-informed, and I believe what I believe because of my myriad of life experiences.

I know people my age who vote completely opposite of me. I know people her age who vote the same way I do. I respect the fact that she has different beliefs than me. I do not respect her insults.

America is a place where we can get along despite our different beliefs. You vote how you want at the polls, and I’ll vote how I want.

I’m on my way to vote in my state’s primary right now. It’s not because I’m young. It’s because I care.

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