Tag Archives: Politics

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From the Editor | June/July

I GREW UP in a family where there were three things you rarely – if ever – talked about: religion, money and politics.

My father was a Methodist minister for several years, but when he divorced my mother, who was awarded full custody of all five of us kids, we quickly joined the Baptist church that was literally located next door to where we had previously worshipped in our rural Michigan town.

I don’t recall much of anything – I was six – except a bit of guilt for preferring the cushioned seats at our new church over the pews we used to sit in. (I figured God was so big and great, surely He’d know I was praising him in a new location and wouldn’t hold the comfy seating preference against me.) But my family never talked about what the change in churches meant or how any of us felt about it.

Nor did we talk about how little money we had, especially once my father left us, though, of course, it was obvious. Thankfully, our mother worked hard – and not just at her job as a full-time nurse – to teach her kids the value of being grateful for what we did have, and we knew enough not to ask why our father seemed to have more as we struggled with less.

I also still have no idea how any of my parents – grandparents, stepparents and Godparents included – have voted or vote in elections and would never think of asking. That was considered rude and, frankly, very personal. It was a conversation you simply didn’t have.

Oh, how times have changed.

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I now understand religion – and faith – in a way that allows me to accept and appreciate others beliefs, even when they differ from mine. And I want to talk about it and hear others talk about it, too.

I’m still uncomfortable talking about money, but I don’t (fully) avoid discussions anymore. I do, however, find myself bewildered by the power – both positive and destructive – money can have in myriad aspects of life. I know people with wealth who are the poorest people I’ve ever met, people with nothing who have the richest lives and lots of people who fall somewhere in between. Thanks to my upbringing, I am still far more grateful far for what I do have than I long for what I don’t.

But politics? Ugh.

I loathe talking about it, feel anxiety when others do, tiptoe around sharing how I really feel and usually refrain. Because when you do talk about politics these days, it almost always seems to evoke confrontation – or worse – instead of discussion, unless you only seek opinions from those whose opinions are aligned with yours (which research shows most of us do).

But just because we’re uncomfortable about a subject doesn’t mean we should avoid it. That’s a life lesson I continue to learn again and again.

In this issue of Extol, you’ll find a diverse collection of stories about people and places connected to Southern Indiana: WAVE 3 mainstay and community advocate Dawne Gee shares her inspirational story about finding hope after having a stroke. Our explorer JD Dotson travels to Tell City. Writer Miranda McDonald explains what is “fast fashion” and why you should care. Ray Lucas may evoke a tear or two the next time you see a robin in the yard in his A Life in Progress column. Longtime education reporter Toni Konz, of WDRB, offers 10 ways to mesh education with fun this summer. And Hoosier Mama columnist Farrah Alexander shares how she has opted to explain how she feels about President Donald Trump to her child.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the stories and columns we feature in Extol – and then, I invite you to respond by sending an email to angie@extolmag.com.

If you like what you see, let me know. If you don’t, let me know. Because goodness knows, we all could benefit from a bit more discussion and discourse with one another about what connects us AND what makes us uncomfortable.

As always, thank you for taking the time to pick up Extol. I hope to hear from you.

Yours truly,

Angie Fenton
Editor in Chief

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The Personal is Political

By Farrah Alexander

NO MATTER WHICH SIDE of the political fence you stand on, most would agree this election season has been divisive, heated and downright ugly. Across the country, we have had many awkward holiday dinners, mass unfriending sprees on Facebook, genuine friendships have become strained and the overall political climate in our country is tense.

Understandably, many people are done. They want politics to return to a taboo topic no longer brought to the dinner table. They want to turn off the news. They want entertainers to focus on entertaining, parents to focus on parenting and everyone to kindly and politely keep their political opinions to themselves.

I get it.

However, the personal is political. I don’t know a single parent who is not affected by policy change of some variety. Even if you weren’t somehow personally affected, surely you have values you believe in and want those values represented by our elected officials.

For example, maybe you want our country to join the rest of the modern world and provide paid family leave for new parents when a child is born. Maybe you want to ensure parents of disabled or medically vulnerable children have affordable healthcare. Maybe you want to make a difference in the local homeless population. Maybe you’re sick of common core and never want to see it on your child’s homework again. These are all political issues.

Apathy impedes progress. Regardless of your political affiliation, this country needs your passion, ideas and voice. If you’re passionate about a particular issue, you’re probably not alone. But if you swear off the voting booth and turn away from the news in frustration, the likelihood of you influencing change is improbable. If you rally together with like-minded individuals and promote your ideas, well, it may still be improbable. But you’re much more likely to make a difference if you do something, anything.

This isn’t about partisanship. I’m not aiming to begrudgingly drag anyone over to my political party. I just believe politics are something that affects everyone and we should care. Dissent is a fundamentally patriotic act. If I disagree with your opinions and you disagree with mine, that’s OK. I respect your opinion and think we both have the ability to grow and learn – if we would just listen. Decency and kindness trumps egotistical pride.

Parents have the ability to bring a heap of valuable experience, diverse backgrounds and new ideas to the political landscape. We also have the tremendous responsibility of raising the next generation of voters. Kids are naturally inquisitive and may be interested in the political process already. Are we cultivating them to be civically mindful, or are we dismissing politics as a boring chore reserved for adults?

By involving our children in the political process, we have opportunities to share historical lessons. Would you have the right to vote 100 years ago? You have an opportunity to discuss suffrage, civil rights and the responsibility and duty every American holds in the democratic process. What is your child passionate about? Sure, your child may not have strong opinions about tax policy. But your child may care about social justice, the environment or education opportunities. While encouraging these interests by volunteering or learning more, your child is becoming an altruistic and knowledgeable future participant in our democracy. The future will thank you.

I’ve heard many gripe that moms should stick to being moms and stay out of politics. Frankly, this is insulting. Yes, we’re moms. But we’re also women and Americans whose opinions go far beyond our preferred brand of diapers. We have voices we shouldn’t be afraid to use and deserve to be heard.

Although the temptation to bury your head in the sand may be great, I implore you to resist. I trust that you’re a bright, caring, and passionate individual and have much to offer. With a mutual respect for each other and a willingness to work together despite our differences, I feel confident that we can propel our country past this hiccup of dissonance. Together we will be stronger.

Let’s stop considering politics such a dirty word. Let’s stop distancing ourselves from those who are different. Let’s start talking and then listening with the same care. The future of our country depends on it.

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As I Was Saying | Trump Vs. Muslim America

By Scotlyn McConnell

No matter how much you don’t want to admit it, America has an underground factory of racism towards Muslims that has been pumping out hate speech since 9/11. With the possibility of Donald Trump becoming president becoming more and more real, how Muslims are treated in this country might get a whole lot worse. From tagging to tracking to deportation, it’s all scary. So, what will the country look like if Trump becomes president?

Trump has differing views when it comes to Muslim immigrants that are here legally and illegally, and how he feels about Muslims who were born here. I want to talk about how he feels about illegal immigrants first, since it’s a whole lot simpler than his views on legal immigrants. Trump doesn’t want illegal immigrants of any sort residing in our country. He has stated that they will be instantly deported. This is a little strange considering the fact that his current wife, Melania, has had a bit of an issue concerning the validity of her own immigration. He also has spoken about revoking birthright citizenship. This means that if a child is born here, but their parents are illegal immigrants, Trump would take away their citizenship and deport them.

His views on legal immigrants and Muslims that were born here are more lengthy and a bit more confusing. The reason they’re confusing is because Trump often backtracks and then backtracks his backtracks and so on and so forth. However, one thing he has stuck to is tagging all Muslims. He wants to do this in more ways than one. The first way is a public identifier that shouts, “HEY GUYS! I’M A MUSLIM!” which would be a patch or pin required to be worn on shirts or jackets. This sounds awfully familiar to how Hitler started out with Jews in 1930s Germany (which Trump has no problem being compared to, by the way).The second way he wants to tag Muslims is kind of a tracking situation. He will require all Muslims to register with local police so they can be “monitored.” According to NBC News, when asked about whether Muslims would be legally obligated to register, Trump replied, “They have to be — they have to be.” Trump also wants to take away mosques, the place of worship for Muslims.

As of now these are the policies that he seems to be unwavering on, but nothing is for sure when it comes to Donald Trump. You may be asking yourself why this matters. While I’m sure some of you are, most of you reading this are probably not Muslim, so this really doesn’t affect you. I mean, there are only 225 Muslims for every 100,000 people in Indiana and only 3.3 million in the entire country, so what’s the point? It’s not that bad, right? Well, friends, I’m sorry to say that yes, it is in fact, that bad.

While most of us are revving up to do our favorite fall activities, our Muslim friends are considering things that seem out of this realm. I personally have a friend who is considering a move to Canada, where his father already has work lined up. Others are considering things that seem even more insane. From Washington down to Florida, I have friends all over the country considering the need to flee.

We all need to keep in mind that just because a group is smaller, that doesn’t mean that that group doesn’t have a right to be human beings. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t vote for Trump — it’s not my place to decide that for you — but I do implore all of you to take every single little thing into consideration before election day rolls around. And I beg, please, please, don’t not vote at all.