More often than not, my Facebook usually serves as inspiration for topics I write about. People want to read what they’re interested in rather than what I’m interested in, which can be difficult when common advice for a writer is “write what you know.” However, by sifting through posts on Facebook, I learn what topic is popular because of how often it’s posted.

Other times, I find a topic that strikes my fancy personally. It’s not too rare that both of these occur at the same time — public interest and self-interest on the same topic.

I’ve seen my Facebook feed blowing up with Amanda Gailey, an English professor at UNL. She’s currently the center of controversy, especially with “the right” (can we admit that identifying yourself as “right” or “left” is really quite ridiculous? Hence the quotation marks to imply sarcasm).

Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, and The Daily Nebraskan have all written about it. The professor was pictured with a poster that read, “Turning Point: Please add me to your watchlist. Prof. Amanda Gailey.”

While there are plenty of writers who are conservative, liberal, and moderate in their political views, lifestyle, and philosophy, writers teaching the language tend to be more “left-leaning” in my personal experience (I’m going to be throwing sarcastic shade a lot in this column, for those unprepared). At least, that’s how the “right,” the “conservatives,” the “Republicans,” would label her. I have a wider vocabulary to describe each “side” because I don’t view people as “left” or “right.” I view them as people with characteristics.

When writing, we develop personalities by developing characteristics. What characteristics makes up a villain and what characteristics makes up a hero? The two have a lot in common with each other, but there are some significant differences.

Both the hero and the villain are passionate people behind their beliefs. Both are willing to fight for those beliefs. Yet, individually and as a society, we have unwritten definitions as to what’s right and wrong, what’s moral and immoral. What makes the hero “a hero” and what makes the villain “a villain”?

Heroes (heroines included) tend to think of others before themselves. Heroes tend to be reliable, they show up when they’re needed. Heroes stick to their word; they’re honest and transparent, though that doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes — which means heroes also apologize when they are wrong. They’re open-minded problem solvers.

Villains are typically the exact opposite of a hero. While there are a lot of good characteristics within them (something the hero usually sees), their actions and behaviors reflect their decision to be bad. Villains tend to think of themselves before others, putting themselves first. Villains tend not to be reliable, though it’s not like you’ll ask them to help move your couch from the fifth floor. Villains never stick to their word when you make a deal with them, meaning they never tell the truth (so they’re liars), and they don’t apologize or have a very hard time admitting when they’re wrong. You could say that villains tend to be closed-minded hypocrites.

Think of all of the different comics, all of the different movie plots, T.V. plots, novels; think of all of the different writing available to us involving any kind of fight, physical or not, between a hero and villain. Just about every piece reflects their characteristics; heroes are good and villains are bad. Heroes are what people want to be while villains are what people try to avoid becoming.

Now, this isn’t me saying that the “left” are heroes nor is it me stating that the “right” are villains. What I’m saying is to stop labeling people this way and instead look at their characteristics. There are heroes and villains within each area, but who is fighting for the people and who are fighting for themselves? While the KKK and other hate groups typically identify as Republican, conservative, or “the right,” that doesn’t mean everyone Republican or conservative is, right?

That’s where it gets to be a little grey. What double-standard are you holding on to that you share with these extremist groups? It’s not anti-big government, because there are plenty on the “left” who feel that way too (Why do you think there was a movement for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election if that weren’t true?).

If you’re against gun control, yet fear your life every time you meet a person of color with a gun, then are you really against gun control or are you against anybody who isn’t white owning a gun? I use this as an example because I feel most Nebraskans stand against gun control. For the sake of transparency, I am for gun control, but that doesn’t mean I want to take guns away from responsible owners. It means I want to hold irresponsible owners accountable.

So what is it that keeps us all divided? Hypocrites, villains, liars, thieves, and the greedy. The people who seek to take advantage of other people for personal profit in one form or another. Yet, here we are feeding into each other like siblings, poking each other in sore spots to get a rise out of each other instead of focusing on the true villains.

I am a Democrat, along with others in Alliance. Some of you are Republicans, along with others in Alliance. We’re all voters, yet we find ourselves divided because of two parties? No, we’re divided because we’ve all tolerated double-standard, hypocritical, and immoral behavior from people who are supposed to be held to higher expectations from the rest of the public.

I’m not the type of person to change for the worst because of fame, money, or anything else. My integrity, my morals, my will is rock-steady. I am Evan, and you will always know me as Evan. Part of being me includes holding people accountable for their hypocrisy and wrongdoings, evidenced by my gratitude in others holding my feet to the fire when I don’t hold myself accountable.

It’s time you do the same. When was the last time we had a politician who wasn’t involved in some scandal cheating on their significant other or stealing money or taking advantage of people? You might think politics doesn’t matter … that is, until you’re affected by it, right?

That’s called privilege. It’s okay to have privilege unless you squander that opportunity, which is something you have that others don’t. Others dream of having the option to vote against communism (that’s something Americans hate, right?) yet we squander that opportunity every election with slightly over 40 percent of the (eligible) population not voting at all, according to the Washington Post’s article after the election.

Forty-percent of eligible voters didn’t vote, meaning about 60 percent of eligible voters actually voted. Other countries have a much higher turnout than that, which I feel proves our squandered privilege culturally. Isn’t the reason why we hold our troops in high regard because they fight for our right to vote for who we want, for our freedoms?

Who in their right mind idolizes a person so selfish and conceited? Who in their right mind supports the person that promotes violence during his campaign, who fails to condemn hate and promote love? Who in their right mind is still standing behind a person obviously taking advantage of you in every way?

Yet somehow I’m the crazy one. Somehow I’m the one with a “liberal agenda” regardless of how often my actions contradict any of those ridiculous claims. Informing everyone of their government and the issues facing them like property taxes is fine, but how dare I promote being a decent human being to each other, right?

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