Addressing the Unavoidable: The Presidential Election

Hello. I know you’ve read a lot of these types of posts. Too many? Sure. The last thing you want to read is another rant about this election and the state of our nation but, like everyone else in the US, I have something to say. I’ll try to keep this brief since I myself have a notoriously short attention span. (Note the word, try).

Before I tell you my opinion on everything, you’re gonna need to know where I’m coming from (something we often assume we understand about our counterparts in argument when we actually know very little). My name is Zoe and I’m a junior majoring in landscape architecture. I was adopted from China. I have two moms and a stunningly beautiful sister. Avoiding confrontation is one of my talents. I try really hard to stay “politically correct.” I think composting is cool and my dream house is covered in plants and solar panels and goats mow my lawn. Also, I’m a registered Democrat.

If anything I’ve said about myself so far has made you want to stop reading, that is understandable. However, it is also the reason that we are in this so-called-mess to begin with. We pick our friends, and we can generally decided what we want to see on social media. We surround ourselves with like-minded people because agreeable conversations are so much more manageable than dissonant ones. And I can’t blame anyone for this because I do it too. Every argument is a loosing battle, especially on the internet. The more you argue, the more both sides dig their heels in. No one ever changes their mind in an argument over those infamously controversial topics like gun rights, separating church and state, abortion, legalizing weed. All that happens is me and you getting angrier than we had been before. For a society that complains an awful lot about how broken we are, it seems like there are few people actively trying to fix it. Are you waiting for someone else to go first?

Remember when George Washington told us not to make political parties? Well here we are in 2016 with our divided nation and it doesn’t seem to be going super well for anyone. The sense of hate is so strong. Not just from “one side”, but from everyone. And it’s scary. I don’t support Trump, but me continuing to hate his guts and hate everyone who voted for him is not going to make a change. In fact, it just reinforces the satisfaction that those voters have for picking a candidate that opposes everything I stand for. It tells them that this stupid college yuppie claims to be “accepting” but here she is, a hypocrite denying and arguing over the fairness of this election. That perpetuates this constant cycle of assuming and misunderstanding and that is no good.

I don’t think it has to be this way. We don’t have to hug and dance in the sunshine together holding hands or any of that nonsense. But there needs to be a better understanding of each other. There needs to be a desire to understand why we believe what we do and not have to feel the need to shove our beliefs down the throats of dissenters. We immediately jump to hate when we don’t like something because being ignorant is so much easier trying to actually understand someone who has led such a drastically different existence than you. You can’t force someone to believe what you believe because their version of the truth is not yours. And that’s OK. But living to hate certain people with certain opinions is no way to live. If you are tired of all the hate, then make a change. Hate less and ask more questions. Appreciate that they are as entitled to an opinion as you are and accept it. Is it a naive hope that people will change? Or that people will learn that understanding and acceptance must reach far beyond like-minded peers? Probably. But without hope, then what are we doing here?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oops. This ended up much longer than I thought. Anyway, thanks for listening and be nice to one another 🙂

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An Uneventful Couple of Weeks

I’m sure you’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a long while. Well, maybe you haven’t been wondering, but in any event, I haven’t updated you on my marginally exciting life because not much has happened. Just lots of work. I know I haven’t been keeping you updated on anything I’ve been doing in studio but we are learning GIS this year which is a program for creating and analyzing maps. It is not the sort of thing that lends itself to exciting blog posts the way the designing and model-building stuff does.

So what did happen in my life in the past couple of weeks?

Fun with Bricks

Our materials class journeyed down to Penn Technical College to learn about brick laying. We actually got to learn how to lay bricks and CMUs (concrete masonry units) which is much more difficult than one would think, but it was actually really fun!

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Cinder blocks as far as the eye can see

 

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We made an arch with bricks and mortar!

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Fall Festivities

My lovely friends and picked out pumpkins to carve at the arboretum! My pumpkin carving was a little lack luster but oh well.

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A Cat!

My friend introduced me to her tiny little kitten which actually isn’t hers it’s her roommates but it’s SO CUTE!

TINY KITTY!

TINY KITTY!

My Professor Owns a Forest

Not really, but kinda. He invited our class to visit his beautiful house and the land that he owned. He is one of our landscape architecture professors. Anyway, his property is beautiful! And on top of touring the place, we were treated to a delicious lunch of chicken and rice, bread and cheese, apples, hot apple cider, and fresh chocolate chip cookies! I love my major! haha. But seriously, it was a beautiful day and it was really interesting to learn about the different nooks and crannies of their property. (And you couldn’t ask for a blue-er sky!)

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Potato Party

Half way through the semester and we finally got around to actually planning a get-together with our friends in the form of eating loaded baked potatoes and watching “The Incredibles” on DVD.

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My friends are so strange I mean cool

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If you are wondering what a potato party is, it is where everyone brings a potato and one potato topping to share so we end up with the right amount of potatoes AND a spectacular array of toppings.

Free Birds

I took my birds out of their cage for the first time! I think it scared them but I got Parsley to sit on my hand!!! They are so cute. But I think they still hate me. Please forgive this awkward photo of me and just look at the bird, thanks.

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Street Uking

My mom asked me to get a picture of myself playing ukulele downtown and I told her that I couldn’t because I was alone. Consequently, I had to ask someone else to take a picture for me. I had some interesting encounters that day. One man came up to me and said “I bought my ex-girlfriend a ukulele and she never learned to play it,” then he threw a dollar in my case. Another guy asked if I was “any good at anything.” I told him “No, I wasn’t’ and he said, ” so people are giving you money for doing nothing?”

“yep.” This was said very sarcastically as it was clear that people were giving me money for looking extremely cold, sitting on the ground, and strumming a ukulele with striking mediocrity.

He later came back, said he felt kinda bad, and gave me a dollar.

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Enjoy the rest of your day!