TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: POLITICS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Most people have opinions on politics these days, and they’re usually strong ones. Social media has given us the opportunity to share the things that are important to us. But what should and shouldn’t make its way to our public and often permanent personal history on the world wide web?

COMMENTING

No matter how cautious you are about sharing your strong political opinions on your profile, everyone has those friends who aren’t. And sometimes those friends don’t have similar opinions… So, what do you do when you follow someone who is spouting off about things that, in your view, are just wrong? Do you leave a comment and hope they reconsider their baseless rant? Or, do you scroll on with an eye roll and decide not to take the bate that often leads to pointless and cruel internet fights?

It can be tempting to want to add a voice of reason to blatantly biased posts, but at some point, we have to consider that the people so confident and so committed to their cause that they post about it on social media might not be open to a new perspective. Although you may think they’re asking for it as they’ve chosen to post to a public forum and invited commenters to share, we all know what they’re really looking for is support from their similarly-minded friends. In general, it’s safer (and healthier) to avoid the kind of name-calling fight that gives people on either side of the aisle a bad rep.

THE ARGUMENT FOR AND AGAINST SOCIAL MEDIA POLITICS

On one side, social media gives us a platform to help inform our community about impactful events happening around us, and it lets us become activists for causes we care about. These are important things, and having informed and active citizens contributing to the public dialogue (a dialogue that helps shape public policy) is an important and even necessary component of a republic. Our societal structure doesn’t work without conversation. It’s so important that the freedom of speech, particularly political speech, is the first amendment made to the constitution in the Bill of Rights. Staying informed and informing others is no joke.

On the other hand, however, we all know what a catastrophe political rants on social media can end up being. There are two general scenarios that tend to happen. First, there’s your weird uncle who only reposts “news” articles about the crazies on the other side of the aisle. It’s embarrassing, but besides you and a few other obligatory family follows, he’s pretty much sounding off to an echo chamber of other old men who will never change their mind about the political views that make up their identity.

Second, there’s the political rant made by that girl you sort of knew in high school but didn’t really know. Like, you had a few classes together, had some common friends and saw each other at a few parties, but you didn’t know about her (strong) future stance on The Wall and abortion laws which now seem to be one of her favorite things to post about (outside pictures of her cat). Now you see her posts and cringe.

HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?

So where’s the line? We all want to be the girl that posts informed, insightful, and important awareness posts about what’s happening in the world. The one who reminds her friends and family to vote, that the rights of every person matter, and that there’s something not right with the system. But even that can be tricky. Because here’s the thing, posting anything about your political views on a semi-public forum like the internet could backfire bigtime, especially when you’re in the midst of a job hunt.

You may believe that no competent hiring manager or future boss could ever believe what you know is just and good and right is, in fact, wrong. You, like your crazy uncle, probably live in an echo chamber yourself. We all do. Most people tend to surround themselves with people whose values and opinions align, especially on the hot topics. Your potential future boss isn’t apart of that chamber. They’re in their own chambers, listening to the confirmation of their own opinions and “facts.” So when you’re desperately applying to jobs and the hiring manager who has a fifty-fifty shot of disagreeing with you sees your highly charged political posts, guess whose application just got tossed?

This is one of the first things your professors or mentors will tell you about career prep and managing your social media image: Just don’t do it. Don’t post it.

So it’s up to you, of course (the first amendment says so). You need to weigh your options. It’s important to be politically active and to give a voice to those who don’t have one. Social media gives you a nice and easy platform to do that. However, be wary of adding a voice to an echo chamber that isn’t really adding value to the conversation. Make sure you’re providing verified facts and well-rounded points of view. And be wary of your own personal biases so that you’re not painting yourself as a Millenial version of your crazy uncle: set in your ways, uninformed, and only listening to the messages that confirm your own views.

It’s also important to be professional and to be able to get a job. From a soon-to-be-college-grad perspective, every professional adult will tell you to just keep it off the internet. There are so many ways (oftentimes more impactful ways) to be an active citizen. Attend a march, vote, have meaningful and open-minded discussions with your friends and classmates, talk to people with different opinions from yours, start a movement if you want to.

A great way to practice open-mindedness and learn about the world outside your echo chamber is by have a conversation with someone new. Check out the Hey! VINA app to swipe right on a whole new world of ideas and fun.

WHAT TO DO WHEN POLITICS ARE KILLING OUR VIBES

You know the feeling. You’re at your favorite restaurant after a hard day of work, about to sit down to a killer meal when your political obsessed friend starts in with their latest opinion piece. The minute they open their mouth with the ideal variation of decreasing health care in America, your other friend slaps back with why medical needs are not justified monetarily enough already. Before you know it, the whole table is in a politics standoff ready for a battle to the death. Personally, I just sit back and enjoy my food while everyone else’s gets cold. Here are a few tips to keep you from stabbing your dinner dates with your fork.

REMEMBER YOUR ZEN

It’s impolite to just get up and walk away from a conversation, no matter how badly you want to; mentally escaping is much easier. When conversations start to get heated or controversial and you just need to get away, go to a safe place in your head. Think of something that makes you feel all warm and cozy. Snuggling up with your pup last Saturday, or last week when you went for coffee with your vina and met a cute guy.  Mentally visualizing a serene space can help cool you off and collect your thoughts before your head spins out of control. You are not obligated to hash out politics just because someone comes at you with a loaded question. Instead, politely change the subject or let the other person know that this is your personal time and you are officially hitting the “politics free zone” button.

good vibes

MAKE YOUR INTENTIONS CLEAR

When the topic of politics comes up, make your intentions clear. Whether you want to take a stance on a topic or would just rather keep your opinions to yourself, let people know. When people know that you have a specific opinion or idea, but aren’t trying to challenge theirs, it sets your boundary and keeps the conversation civilized. You are entitled to your opinion, but sometimes you just don’t wanna share it, which is totally valid!

Bottom line is: your vibes should never be killed by politics. Matters of the world we live in and the people we live among are incredibly important, and something we should all be involved in, but there is a time and place. And there is SO much more to life. Why not chat about the ’80s movie you saw for the first time last night, or a recipe you just found for making your own frozen yogurt, or a puppy dressed like Santa Claus?! The possibilities are endless! You have to let people know when they’re crossing the line of your politics limit! Setting some boundaries and keeping yourself together goes a long way. And when all else fails, you can always make an elaborate, unrelated exclamation about something completely random.

Looking for a vina to talk anything but politics with? Start swiping at Hey! VINA. 

 

HOW TO BE AN ADVOCATE FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN

No matter your political, economic, or social standpoints, it is important to speak up for what you believe in. A self-possessed and resolution-oriented person makes for a strong and powerful vina. Those days of sitting back and letting others speak for us are over. Join the conversation; join the fight! Here are few tips on how to be an advocate and make a difference.

ATTEND MARCHES

Marching in a group (no matter the size) is empowering, and reminds us that we are not the only ones that feel the way we do. The march itself reminds the world and community that there is a problem worth noticing. For instance, the Women’s Marches in January gained worldwide attention, due to huge participation in major cities in countries across the globe (such as France, India, Australia, to name a few). I for one marched in NYC, and it was the most amazing experience of my life. So many people came together for different reasons but a collective goal: to raise awareness for an extremely important cause.

UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA

Do not be afraid to share your ideas on social media. Unless, of course, those ideas are directly malicious or hurtful in anyway to a specific person or group of people. Not much is worth a Twitter war over, but creating a discussion is imperative. If your followers disagree with your ideals, hopefully they are openminded enough to listen to your side of the argument, or agree to disagree. And if they aren’t, they can unfollow you because you don’t need that negativity in your social space anyways.

ENLIGHTEN YOUR ELDERS

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via SNL

People over the age of forty can be really stuck in their ways. Sometimes, it feels like a waste of energy to fight a battle that is sure to end in a draw. However, that doesn’t stop me and my sister from letting my grandfather know that FOX should not be his only news source, and making it abundantly clear when something he says could potentially come across as racist/ignorant. You never know what info you have that could be the the last straw to break the camel’s back; to convince them to open their minds a little more. Avoid being disrespectful (or too sassy), and if the discussion get too heated, start playing Adele.

FIND ORGANIZATIONS IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Clubs don’t have to disappear after high school graduation. There are community clubs and organizations for literally anything you could imagine. Anything from environmental clubs, gun control groups, charities fighting hunger or homelessness, intersectional feminism groups, bible studies, groups to aid the cause to end drug abuse in lower-income neighborhoods, and so many more. Marches are actually great places for meeting others with similar interests, and networking to spread awareness for your cause. And if you can’t find the perfect organization near you, start one! That may sound like an impossible task to undertake, but it doesn’t have to be. Download the Hey! VINA app if you want to meets some other vinas in your area who may want to help you. Start by attending city hall meetings in order to make it known you are forming an organization, and talk to others about how they got started.

It’s never too soon or too late to get started. Now is the time, because if you don’t, there is no guarantee that someone else will!

Comment below if you have attended a march or rally to fight for a cause that you believe in!

(Feature image via The New York Times)

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SELF CARE AND ACTIVISM

If you haven’t come to terms with the current political climate yet, I understand. The problem with having social media, not to mention a president who is always on twitter, is that wherever we go, we are overwhelmed with news of a new executive order, controversial tweet, or hate crime. It’s a never-ending cycle of—honestly, trauma. It’s exhausting, and looking at the next four years can be daunting to say the least. But there is an upside to this debacle, vinas. In times like this, it is really important to take care and take action.

TAKE CARE

I mean this—take care of yourself and others. A lot of us got this feeling of waking up, right? That is a good thing because we’re more aware, concerned, and #woke. While it is critical to be woke and connected in critical times, you’re probably (unintentionally) overwhelming yourself. If you go on Facebook or Twitter and your feed is flooded with political crap that makes you question all humanity, especially the humanity within your own friends list—you will soon lose your mind. So honestly, disconnect! Put your phone away because I promise you for the next three and a half years, there will be click-bait-y articles everyday, everywhere you look that will just make you angry. And as fired up as I am to RESIST, being angry all the time is tiring and frankly, unhealthy. So, I actually have started meditating—not for too long because the whole work-school-life-internship-friends-more-work thing kind of takes up most of my time. But before bed, I will just sit with my eyes closed and focus on nothing but my breathing for five minutes. I know five minutes is nothing, but it actually helps! Whatever self-care means to you, whether it be a bath, a walk or a quick breathing exercise, it’s the time to get to it!

TAKE ACTION

I say to take care of yourself first, because it is necessary to be healthy and well in order to be proactive! But if recent events have shown us anything, it is that we need to take care of those around us and attack measures that threatens any aspect of our communities. Taking action means more than a hashtag or sharing the next article you read. Yes, that is all helpful—but you can do more. Seriously get involved in your community, whether that means volunteering an hour a week or organizing a group of activists! You know that anger that comes from reading anything nowadays? Yeah, use that anger-but don’t merely be reactive, be proactive! It may seem daunting to take actual time away from your normal life to dedicate to others, but you’ll be shocked at how empowering it is!

This perpetual political climate we’re living in can leave many of us feeling helpless and frustrated. But it’s extremely important to know that we have the power to change that feeling. No, we may not be able to change the gross policies being written right now, but we can change the day-to-day lives of ourselves and of the people in our communities. The time to cope has passed—it’s now time to take care and take action!

 

How will you take action? Tell us in the comments!

UM… WHAT ARE SPINPLEXES AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Psychology Today recently released an interesting article on getting what you want, where they coined the term “spinplex.” The term relates to the word “spin,” as in, distorting facts to form a bias to certain deets. A spinplex, therefore, is a combo of these persuasive arguments that target a specific purpose. We see this alllll the time in the media. So how do we recognize, utilize, and escape from the effects of spinplexes?

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(Photo via Oh Happy Day!)

NOTICE BIASED LANGUAGE IN OTHERS

I’m not saying to notice a biased argument, rather observe the connotations of the words that are being used to describe something. For example, “angry” has a negative connotation, but “adamant” sheds a positive light. In doing this, you can better understand the speaker’s agenda, and separate out fact from spin. AKA you can form your own opinion on the facts that are being presented to you, and not be influenced by the connotations of the descriptive words.

EFFECTIVELY UTILIZE YOUR OWN LANGUAGE

Something else to pay attention to is when you yourself are creating spinplexes. For example, when you are giving a pep talk or attempting to persuade someone of something, which words are you using? One way to use spin most effectively as a persuasion tactic is to become self-gullible. This means that you are persuaded by yourself, thus making the argument more authentic. Be careful though! Just because you convinced yourself that something is true does not mean that it is.

CREATE COUNTER SPINPLEXES

This is a great exercise to give weight to the other side, no matter what you believe.  When people use a judgement word, silently tell yourself the opposite judgement, for example if someone uses the word “pushover”, whisper “helpful” to yourself. The word you’re using does not have to be the label you believe is true, but this exercise creates a more balanced scale, and reveals the multiplicity of judgement and opinion possible, which in turn allows for the understanding of various worldviews.

What do you think of this new term? Have you noticed spinplexes coming from others or even yourself? Discuss with a vina and comment below! 

(Featured Image via Bloguettes

 

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH FEATURE: AFENI SHAKUR

It’s Women’s History Month and we want to make sure we give props where props are due! So, here are some cool facts about Afeni Shakur!

The late Afeni Shakur was much more than just the mother of hip hop legend, 2pac. She was a revolutionary.

Born Alice Faye Williams in Lumberton, North Carolina she changed her name to Afeni Shakur when she moved to New York City and became a member of the Black Panther Party, a revolutionary black socialist and nationalist organization.  

In 1969, Shakur along with others were arrested for conspiring to bomb public buildings. Against everyone’s advice, she acted as her own criminal defense lawyer and with no formal education, won her freedom in 1971. She gave birth to one of the most iconic and memorable artists in history, Tupac Shakur just thirty-four days after being released from prison.

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In 1995, Tupac made her the subject of his classic song, “Dear Mama” in which he shared his undying love and support for his mother. And after his death in 1996, she founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur foundation, which provided art programs for young people.

In 2003, she produced and even starred in a documentary film about the life, career and death of her son, titled Tupac: Resurrection. She also produced a Broadway musical titled, Holla if Ya Hear Me also based on her son’s life.  She died last May at the age of 69, but, like her son, she left a legacy. There’s a biopic, All Eyez on Me  about her sons life in the works, in which Afeni was an executive producer, where actress Danai Gurira plays Afeni Shakur.

Throughout her life, Afeni Shakur stayed dedicated to supporting and fighting for the rights of voiceless people while also maintaining her late son’s legacy. From revolutionary, mother, philanthropist and producer – we take time to honor the late Afeni Shakur for her many contributions to the world.

And in the words of her late son we let her know, “You are appreciated”.

How has Afeni’s story inspired you? Tell us in the comments!

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: HILLARY CLINTON

We all know that Hillary Clinton was the first woman to carry a major ticket party in the United States, but were you aware of all of the other things that Hilary has accomplished? Read on for some fun facts about one of the most notable women in modern United States history!

Any quick Google search will tell you that Hillary has many “firsts” in her resume. She was the first First Lady with a post-graduate degree, first female partner at Rose Law Firm, and the first woman elected to the New York Senate.

Hillary has been pushing boundaries since her early days. As a teenager, she created a babysitting group to support the children of immigrants in rural Illinois where she lived. Later, she was one of only 27 women in her law class at Yale University (out of 235 students). She also spent many years working pro-bono cases as an advocate for children.hillaryclinton50

Hillary’s achievements do not stop in the political realm. Few know that she is both a Grammy winner and a New York Times Bestselling author! She also appeared on the television show “College Bowl” – an academic game show – while getting her undergraduate degree at Wellesleyhillary-clinton-hard-choices-1.jpg

Overall, Hillary Clinton is known for having made made moves and shakes in politics, but her story does not end there. If you’re interested in learning more about her, check out this Stuff Mom Never Told you episode from 2016!

Who is a woman that inspires you? Comment below or discuss with your vinas. You can always connect with empowered women like Hillary on the Hey! VINA app. 

(Featured image courtesy of Secretaryclinton.wordpress.com)

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE: VINA’S GUIDE TO POLITICAL ACTIVISM

I am, without a doubt, confident in assuming that we’ve all crossed paths with some type of political issue. Especially with this recent election, politics seems to be involved in every conversation in America. Wherever we turn, there’s an issue or cause calling for our attention and support. It’s almost impossible to keep up.

If you’re like me, there are several issues that you want to support. Matter of fact, there may even be some things that you are upset with and want to change now. But, how?  What more can you and I do than sharing a post or two? Where do we start?

VINAs, CHANGE IS MADE THROUGH ACTION

Regardless of your political stance (conservative, liberal, and everything in-between), getting involved is key to creating change.  Politics may seem like a difficult dance to follow, but I encourage all you vinas to get up and get groovin’ onto the political dance floor. Here’s what you can do:

READ UP AND DO RESEARCH

The internet and social media have made it easy to get information. However, there are several clickbait and not-so-accurate sources out there that will cause more damage than good. If you come across an article or issue, READ UP! Not everything is what it seems to be. Fact-checking can help dissolve any confusion or bias. Don’t rely on just one source, check out multiple sources to get the facts straight. Who wants to get upset over false rumors?

REACH OUT TO YOUR LOCAL POLITICIANS

Of course, we always hear about our presidential elections, Congress, and other federal officials. However, state and local governments are SUPER important for getting your voice heard and being involved. Find out who your state officials are and what their goals are. Make sure you become aware of your local election dates and get registered to vote. If they have public meetings, be sure to attend! Rally up with your local officials on issues and plan events for awareness and action. If there is anything you are concerned about, writing a letter is also a great way to get your local officials’ attention. Let them know you are here and you care!

JOIN ORGANIZATIONS

Local and national organizations are great for getting involved! They work by providing a support system and have set goals on accomplishing change. Non-profits, political parties, and community groups are always in need of people who have the desire to make a difference. If you’re a vina in college*, be sure to hit up that club roaster and see what’s poppin’! Many universities and colleges have organizations that focus on special interests or political groups.  Other great clubs to join are cultural groups or those that focus on empowering certain communities, they can help you be connected with like-minded peers.

*If your school doesn’t have a club directed towards your needs, start one up!

DONATE

DONATE, DONATE, DONATE! It may not make the world go ’round, but money does further achievements and brings in resources for movements, non-profits, and groups alike. If you can’t donate money, donating your time by volunteering is also a great way to get involved. 

WE TALK, BUT SOMETIMES WE NEED TO LISTEN

If anything, be a listening ear. Give people a chance to voice their concerns and feelings. It may feel like a lot of these issues don’t hit home, making you feel reclusive. However, that’s not always true. Many of the current issues may affect a classmate, co-worker, a friend, or even family. They may even be able to help you understand more and find out ways to be involved.

There are still more ways to get involved, but I hope this article helps you get revved up! Be aware and be the change!

P.S. Shoutout to my vina, Priscilla, for giving me great advice on this topic!

(Feature image via The Crafted Life)

THE SNL POLITICAL SKITS WE CAN’T STOP FORWARDING TO OUR VINAS 😂

I admit I am one of those people who gets their weekly news from Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Updates or just the whole show altogether as they address recent scandals, problematic issues, or just something good that recently occurred. SNL never backs down from a controversial topic, instead it deals with it head on and will clearly let us know where they stand on the issue. And what’s nice is the cast doesn’t just tell us why they hate or like a certain idea, they’ll explain or satirize why or how the idea is bad and/or good.With the U.S. Election today, here are some SNL political skits recently put on by the satirical cast since the U.S. Primary that we literally cannot stop forwarding to our vinas.

“WEEKEND UPDATE: PETE DAVIDSON’S TRUMPDATE”

This skit on Weekend Update of Pete Davidson representing the young/new generation of voters is, “most of us.” THIS IS WHY WE SHOULD GO OUT THERE AND VOTE! The nominees this year may seem like a joke, but like Pete Davidson says, “It’s not funny anymore.” Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are serious contenders and one of them will be the next President of the United States.

“HILLARY AND BERNIE COLD OPEN”

Kate McKinnon portraying Hillary Clinton and Larry David portraying Bernie Sanders is the best. They point out the flaws and “rigged” political polls when Sanders was still in the running. They throw in jokes that society assume are the reasons for what’s been going on in the election, but aren’t sure if they are actually true, because of course no one in politics will ever confirm or deny such allegations. Although the dance sequence in the end was odd, what took the cake was when Clinton (McKinnon) swung Sanders (David) into the elevator as a “good-riddance.”

“HILLARY CLINTON BAR TALK”

What’s brilliant of this skit is the cameo of Hillary Clinton talking to her representation on SNL. Kate McKinnon who plays Hillary Clinton in majority of the political skits raises issues that were against Clinton, and the real Hillary Clinton addresses them instead of avoiding them. Additionally, it was clever of Hillary to bring in the oil pipe line problem in the skit knowing hundreds of people will be watching and paying attention. Although the real Clinton shouldn’t go into acting, she still took everything in stride such as the jokes that everything Clinton supported could have been done a lot sooner.

“VP DEBATE COLD OPEN”

Of course SNL would address and attack the issue of the leaked audio clip of Trump making lewd comments about women. And it is true, Trump never even apologized for the leaked audio, instead he had his “supporters” defending and backing him up. They portrayed Hillary Clinton as already celebrating like she won because of the leaked audio will cause his downfall. Her last comment addressing the women who are still voting for Trump…”bish you cray.”

“DONALD TRUMP VS. HILLARY CLINTON TOWN HALL DEBATE COLD OPEN”

The opening of this sketch rings true. This was the worst second debate. I watched about an hour of the real debate between the two candidates and couldn’t believe what a mess it was that eventually I couldn’t watch anymore. This debate skit on SNL is actually a lot smoother than the actual debate. Trump would talk over Clinton, interrupt her, interrupt the moderators and get angry because he felt like it was 3 against 1. Similar to this skit, both nominees ignored and avoided answering the questions with a straightforward response.

“MELANIANADE”

And last but not least, I just had to add the parody of the women of SNL portraying the women behind Donald Trump’s campaign. His daughters, wife, and “only black friend,” dancing and singing to Beyoncé’s “Sorry” from her Lemonade album. Although in this parody, they are far from sorry.

 

What were your favorite SNL skits from this political season? Let us know in the comments!

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR US AND OUR VINAS TO VOTE IN THE UPCOMING U.S. ELECTION

*Disclaimer: All information stated below or for more information on each individual candidate and their stance on certain issues can be found here. And shoutout to my vina, Jeantelle, for looking over my post to make sure it was sound and unbiased.

Not to sound preachy, but if you think you’re helping by abstaining from voting, or if you think your vote holds no merit – you’re wrong. Straight up. As women, voting is more important that ever. We have a real chance to elect a candidate that stands up for what we believe in, no matter if we’re Democratic, Republican, or anything in between. Women’s health issues, maternity leave, a woman’s place in the home and in the working world – all of these (and much, much more) are issues that affect us, as women, and are extremely important. We have a right to vote for our morals, our politics, and our freedoms, and we all need to exercise that right!

There is so much going on in the political race and most of it is between the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. But there will be two other names on the ballot that are also in the running for President. These nominees are Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. The media has mainly focused on the debates featuring Clinton and Trump, leaving us wondering who the other two candidates are. Below are a few stances and plans of each candidate if they were to be elected the next President so maybe we can all make a more informed decision come Tuesday.

HILLARY CLINTON (D) / VP RUNNING MATE TIME KAINE (D)

(Via MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA)

Clinton represents the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is known for being more liberal (“left-winged”), meaning they generally support reforms and change in tradition, such as same-sex marriage, the right for women to get proper contraception regardless of their income, or the respect and acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

Economy: If elected, Clinton has a 5-point plan to improve the economy. Her plan includes: eliminating the cost of college and relieving current college debts, fighting for equal pay and paid leave, and making sure that corporations, Wall Street, and the 1% pay their fair share in taxes.

Education: Clinton’s plan includes making sure public schools (K-12) are open and safe, rebuilding healthy and safe school buildings (as students will reside in these environments for a long period of time), and elevating the profession of teaching. She plans on introducing a new student loan reform policy to reduce the debt of college graduates.

Gun Control: In the recent debate, Clinton advocated for closing loopholes that allow people to attain guns online or through gun shows. She still wants to respect the NRA and hunters’ rights to carry, but wants to implement guidelines for everyone to follow.

Health: Clinton is a strong advocate for the Affordable Care Act, but she wants to improve it by deducting costs and making it more affordable. She wants to implement stronger mental health care and physical health care systems.

Immigration: Clinton is very passionate about tackling immigration reform. She wants to make sure immigrants are being checked fairly and equally. She also wants to give refugees a fair chance to state their claims for why we should host them in the United States. She believes in detaining/deporting those who pose a violent threat to the United States.

Military/Foreign Defense: Clinton has voiced her concern for taking care of our country’s veterans and their families.

DONALD TRUMP (R) / VP RUNNING MATE: MIKE PENCE (R)

Via Taylor Hill/WireImage; Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Trump represents the Republican Party. The Republican Party is known for being more conservative (“right-winged”), meaning they would rather stick with traditional and generally oppose major economic and social changes that lean Liberal. They generally oppose abortions and same sex marriage based on religious or moral beliefs, and usually prefer more fiscally conservative economic policies.

Economy: Trump wants to eliminate federal income tax for individuals earning less than $25,000 and couples earning less than $50,000. He has proposed a tax deduction for childcare expenses.

Education: Trump wants to include those left behind and allow them to be part of the American Dream. He believes education should be under state jurisdiction and not controlled by federal government.

Gun Control: Trump is pro-gun rights and has been endorsed by the NRA. He wants to end gun-free zones in schools and military bases because he believes gun-free zones are baiting criminals.

Health: Trump aims to repeal Obamacare and have a more “free market principle” approach to health care. If elected, he would institute a full tax deduction for insurance premium payments for individuals.

Immigration: On day one of his presidency, Trump plans on removing “criminal aliens.” He wants to implement an impenetrable physical wall that Mexico will pay for, and ensure that the deportee’s origin country is forced to take them back.

Military/Foreign Defense: Trump wants to create mental health division for military/veterans. He plans on increasing military spending to declare war on ISIS and send U.S. troops to the Middle East.

JILL STEIN (G) / VP RUNNING MATE: AJAMU BARAKA (G)

Via Breitbart

Stein represents the Green Party, which values being environmentally friendly, having equality between all races and genders, and instilling peace within the nation.

Economy: Stein proposes to increase taxes on the wealthy and cut military spending costs by half.

Education: Stein advocates for free higher public education. She believes education should still take place by instructor and not solely by computer. However, her plans for the Federal Reserve to cancel student debts and not collect from them have not been well received or found conclusive to provide a substantial resolution.

Gun Control: Stein proposes to ban and regulate assault weapons in order to keep them out of the hands of individuals with mental illness. She also wants to strip gun manufacturers’ immunity so that sellers would be accountable for selling weapons to those who are not fit to carry.

Health: She is in favor of the current Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) system

Immigration: Stein advocates for creating a “welcoming path” for immigrants to receive citizenship.

Military/Foreign Defense: Stein aims to close military bases overseas and make the National Guard our main defense.

GARY JOHNSON (L) / VP RUNNING MATE: WILLIAM WELD (L)

Via flickr

Johnson represents the Libertarian Party. This political party promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, peace, fair trade, and the abolition of the welfare state.

Economy: Johnson proposes to amend the U.S. Constitution to have an annual balanced budget report. He denounces earmarks (approved funds for specific projects or that specifies exemptions from taxes or mandated fees). Additionally, he supports the FairTax reform proposal that could be read about here.

Education: Johnson wants to eliminate the Department of Education, as he believes the educational decisions made on behalf of children and young adults should be made “closer to home” – under state and local governments.

Gun Control: Johnson rejects the idea of restricting gun sales and advocates for an individual’s right to obtain a concealed weapon regardless of governmental control. He believes an individual owning a gun is safer as a way of defense and would make others think twice before attacking.

Health: Johnson believes the current costs for health care are “out of control” and that health care should revert to being privately owned and managed.

Immigration: Johnson would create a more efficient system of permitting work visas, providing proof of employment, and implementing better background checks and ways for non-citizens to pay proper taxes.

Military/Foreign Defense: Johnson only believes in engaging in military intervention and war when absolutely necessary. He believes in deep deliberation and debate between himself and Congress when discussing military intervention. His foreign policy includes repairing relationships with U.S. allies.

A lot of people believe that their one vote doesn’t matter, but your one vote does matter. Those who don’t vote will affect the outcome of who will be our next President of the United States of America for the next four years. Whoever wins this November will serve our country and make our decisions. Along with their election, we’ll also be electing the Vice President of the United States; this person would act as the President’s right hand and would be the next in line to be President if anything were to happen to the current elected President before their four-year term is up.

For more information on how to vote in your area- whether in your home state, away at college, or traveling abroad- here are ways that you can still vote and make your vote count. Just searching “how to vote” in the Google search engine will generate resources for you to find instructions based on your state. It also informs you how to vote in person or by mail, requirements for voting, when/where to vote, sample ballots, and even how to register. So grab your friends, your coworkers, and your family members and vote by 8:00 PM on Tuesday, November 8th.

But if you need more information on how to vote the links below should help:

http://www.vote411.org

https://www.usa.gov/how-to-vote

Will you be exercising your right to vote in this election? Tell us in the comments! 

(Feature image via @allijpal)