Ballots aren’t Beliefs 

During this grand election season I’ve seen many things that I thought I’d never see. Things that have made me proud, and things that have made me embarrassed for the future. What I literally cannot stop thinking about though, is the amount of humans that I’ve seen lack the ability to empathize. There are grown adults who have literally never been able to put themselves into another person’s shoes and take a look around. 

The way you cast your ballot and your personal beliefs are not the same thing. It’s about being able to momentarily step away from your personal beliefs and really see what works best for everyone

As an individual I have not been directly affected by abortion. If an individual disagrees with abortion, that doesn’t equate to taking the choice away from everyone. I know women who have made this choice for themselves, and it wasn’t easy, but without a safe choice the alternative is dangerous. 

Your beliefs aren’t everyone’s.

As an individual I am not directly affected by immigration reform, but I have students whose parents would be. I have friends that I love and cherish that would be. And I am not so arrogant to believe that just because I was ‘born’ in America that I somehow have more of a right to live in a safe environment, or provide for my family, any more than people who weren’t. 

Your beliefs aren’t everyone’s.

As an individual I have never been labeled as dangerous or been discrimated against because of my religion, but I have friends who have been. There is either religious freedom for all, or for none. 

Your beliefs aren’t everyone’s. 

As an individual I have never had to worry about whether my sexual identity could be considered illegal, or whether it was safe to talk about my relationship at work. Whether my future partner would be legally able to care for our children, or handle our affairs, but I have family and friends who lay awake with these worries. 

Your beliefs are not everyone’s.

As an individual I have never been oppressed by the systems that I benefit from every day, but I have friends and colleagues that have been denied housing, thrown to the bottom of interview piles, and profiled while walking through parking lots. 

The most dangerous thing I have ever seen in another human is the inability to recognize how their actions affect others.

Your beliefs aren’t everyone’s beliefs,

 and that’s OK. 

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