How to fight injustice without killing your neighbor

On November 8th, 2017, I gave up on politics. I drove to school in silence. Mourning the loss of simple humanity.

For months I had taken heat, proudly opposing the injustice I saw so clearly. Taunts came, but they no longer sparked a fight. I didn’t feel courage, or even a desire, to stand up for what I had known so firmly was right.

As the months pressed on, headlines piling in my head, the weight grew more and more immense. It seemed to have suffocated my passion for politics.

“Apathetic”- it was a word I had despised. I never understood how someone just, “ didn’t care”. But all of a sudden, that someone was me.

I watched the fight from the sidelines; blue and red going head to head. There was something between them: Hate. Hate that was far more toxic than a political disinterest.

From North to South, angry faces scream. They cry out against one another, adamantly sure the other is wretchedly evil. This polarization has ruined our nation.

I disagree with the majority of my peers on many political issues. I thought for a long time, this meant I disagreed with them morally and ethically as well. What I have learned is that this is far from the truth. Politics are an individual’s attempt at right and wrong. So easily formulated by their upbringing and surroundings, many’s political opinions have little reflection of true personal moral.

My friends who boldly supported President Trump are not all racists. They are not all sexist, and, they are not all wrong. My friends who supported Hillary are not all baby killers, not all communists, and not all corrupt.

These stereotypes placed on people solely based on political ideology, completely dehumanize them and take away from the purity of their perception.

We don’t see people as people. We see them as black and white, blue and red, their Facebook status and Twitter posts.

I know what it feels like to be seen as an opinion and not a person.

I have looked at people and hated them for the way they think. People have looked at me and hated me for what I think.

In this compartmentalization of human ethics, we have redefined sight. Completely shifted the test of human morals from what they do, to what they think.

In doing so, we take into consideration no fair margin of error. Assuming completely that their beliefs dictate who they are.

Democrats can be racist.

Republicans can be gay.

An individual’s true character and descriptions are much broader than their take on the legislature and current events.

By all means, fight for what you believe in. Do not dissolve interest in issues of the world. Do not extinguish passion for the things that matter, but recognize this: you can help no man without first loving the one beside you.

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