Today’s society is struggling maintaining tradition. As we move forward as a whole, some people want to grasp onto traditions while others want to let go. While there will always be two side to every argument, over time, people will switch sides, shifting the balance to one side or another.


Michael: As time moves forward, it becomes more apparent the public is taking a more liberal view over its previous conservative outlook.  As the the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X get older, so does the Millennial generation.  If one looks at political candidates and their campaigning strategy in the past few elections, they are starting to notice a large portion of Millennials are starting to vote at a younger age.  Because of this, political candidates must not only focus on Generation X and the Baby Boomers, but now they must also appeal to Millennials.  The Millennial generation is taking a more liberal stance overall, which makes it hard for conservative candidates to get a leg up in the race unless they add semi-liberal ideas to their platforms.


Zane: As of 2013, 56% of American adults and 57% of registered voters support gay marriage. Only 36% of both groups opposed. When you look at the age of adults in the United States in 2013, you see that 65% of adults, 18-29, support same-sex marriage and out of adults ages 65 +, only 39% supported gay marriage. As a millennial, I support gay marriage and see the growing number of young individuals supporting gay marriage, as a sign towards a less traditional stance and more towards a liberal one. You can see that as the demographic gets younger, the number of individuals that support gay marriage increase.


Hannah: Tradition is a confusing concept; some people believe certain aspects of society are tradition, while others disagree. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, tradition is a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by people. The idea of tradition is a grey area. There is no specific fine line, such as something must have happened for five years to be classified as a tradition. This creates much conflict about the idea of tradition, because it is such a vague concept. This generates an issue when traditions become an argument or important topic in debates such as rights of citizens (which typically happens in such disputes). One tradition that has become the forefront of legal battle in the past few years is the topic of gay marriage. Traditionally, marriage was to be only between a man and a woman. This concept is based off biblical views, which in Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomination. This idea was and has been carried on through many generations, and is still present in the world today.  Many consider this a tradition and believe it to be an important part of today’s society. I think that with this topic, along with many others, it is important to understand the background and the past, whether it is considered tradition or not. Gay marriage is just one puzzling and complicated debate in which the world is moving away from traditions. Some push for this change in abandoning and moving away from tradition, while others hold on strong to the past and believe it should shape the present-day world.


Michael: A good point to touch on is how some conservative voters want the reform to be presented. Certain conservatives do want gay couples to have equal rights; they just do not want to use the two words “gay marriage.” Instead, they would like to opt for something along the lines of “civil union.” The reason this is being touched upon is because, going back to tradition and the bible, it states that, “marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman.” So, in essence, if you believe in the bible and nothing else, there can’t even be such a thing as gay marriage. This is why some people are pushing for the wording “civil union” instead. Honestly, in my opinion, I don’t see what the big deal is about calling it something different. As long as the civil unions have the same, equal, unaltered rights as marriages, I don’t see what the issue is. This equally satisfies both the gays’ requests for equal rights and the conservatives’ request to respect marriage as the covenant that it is. I think that people who wouldn’t be fine with this agreement and do want it to be titled gay marriage and not civil union are just stubborn and trying to step on people’s toes. They have equal rights across the board, they just aren’t named the same thing. Who cares?


Zane: Less conservative individuals would be happy if same sex marriage would just drop marriage and call it civil union or domestic partnership. More conservative people find the act of same-sex relationships as disgusting and unnatural. These people tend to be more stubborn and hate mongers all together. They believe that the traditions they were taught are the end all be all of the discussion. It is very hard, and in most cases impossible, to change the opinions of such people. Regardless of those who see gay marriage as “unnatural”, in my opinion, gay marriage is going to be allowed in all of the United States. It is also important to point out that those who are stubborn to be purely stubborn for all extensive purposes, won’t be swayed.


Hannah: It is also important to look at the people at the other end of the debate who are too stubborn to accept civil unions instead of marriages. Even if civil unions do exist as a compromise between those who agree with same sex marriage and those who do not, many people are not satisfied with this. People in support of gay rights may say that this is not completely fair. The idea of gay rights and of other people fighting for rights is that they are the same as other citizens. This is one of the main ideas that gay advocates fight for, to be considered the same even if they may be different. Creating civil unions instead of marriages gives homosexuals the ability to marry but does not make them the same as heterosexuals. Many advocates feel as though they are still being treated differently and that this is unjust. An example of this might be people going into a grocery store and getting a specific cereal. Every person who was a homosexual could only get the off-brand cereal when they came in. In contrast, every time a heterosexual came in, they would have to get the specific brand cereal, such as Rice Krispies. Assuming they both are exactly the same, this example is similar to civil unions and marriages. They are technically the same thing but are under another name. To many, it still may not seem fair that homosexuals have to have the off brand cereal, the civil union. I believe that these people have every reason to not be accepting of civil unions. It is not fair that gay people cannot be legally married and have to settle for some subpar form of a marriage. This discrimination is not only seen in prohibiting marriage, but also in other forms.


Zane: Since the formation of the Boy Scouts of America, there has been a ban on allowing homosexual scouts and scout leaders from joining the organization. On May 23, 2013, the national governing body of the BSA, voted to remove the ban on homosexual scouts from the organization. This will go into full effect January 1, 2014. Even though this is a step in the right direction, scout leaders are still denied membership from the organization. I believe that in due time the BSA will eventually allow all gay members into their ranks. For instances an Ohio mother Jennifer Tyrrell, was removed from being a Cub Scout leader because she was gay. She served as a den leader for her son for more than a year and was suddenly ousted because she was gay. It sounds a bit ridiculous to me, but cases like this have happened all over the United States. Scouts and parents from the troop are protesting against the BSA’s stance on homosexuals and protested outside of the local BSA chapter. A petition is being signed to allow Jennifer back into her son’s troop. Though action to try and stop discrimination within the BSA has been taken, nobody knows how long it will take the BSA to change their discriminative policies, but I believe change will come soon.


Michael: I think that’s absolutely insane to exclude someone from something like the Boy Scouts. That is something that every boy should have an opportunity to be involved in. Even scout leaders. What if a gay father wants to be a leader in his son’s pack? This is something that a straight father would have no problem doing, but because of the sexual  orientation of another boy’s father, he is not able. It blows my mind how prejudiced some organizations can be, especially one as big as the Boy Scouts of America.


Hannah: It is very interesting and somewhat alarming at how prejudice people are against homosexuals. This is very similar to women’s rights many years ago. This is another group fighting for their rights, and like any debate, there were and still are people very against this idea. It may seem unbelievable but yes, there still are people who opposes some of the rights women have been given. Traditionally, many people believed that men were superior and that they were supposed to run the government, work, and support their family. If we look into the past, most leaders have been males but as the years go on, more women have appeared in higher-ranking positions. We even had a woman attempt to run for president, the highest-ranking individual in the United States. Many years ago it seemed as though this would be impossible. In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John, who was attending the Continental Congress in Philadelphia asking that he and all the other men (who were at work on the Declaration of Independence) to “remember the ladies.” John found this humorous and referenced that the Declaration stated “all men are created equal.” This is an example of how far we have come in women’s rights and there are many other events on the women’s suffrage timeline. In today’s society women have many rights they did not have before, such as the right to vote. This involved much debate and many people fighting for the cause, similar to gay rights. But as with any argument and fight for rights, there were many people against the idea who sought the “traditions” of the past. I think that in today’s society many women are still discriminated against. There have been many great things that have happened for women this year, such as the Title IX games being aired on ESPN. Along with these great advances, comes downfalls.  Such as women still continually being exaggeratedly photoshopped and being used in sexy commercials to sell products. Although we have been continually moving forward, there are still setbacks and it is important to continually fight for this equality.


Zane: It is common in the media to portray men as super masculine, strong, and violent individuals. This macho man image has become a major reason why violence has become a prevalent part of American  society. The men are supposed to be the protectors of women. They are supposed to be the breadwinner in their home and the head of the family. These are all common traits that many males, not only the United States, but around the world think they should have in order to be considered a “real man.” If a man in seen as being flamboyant in anyway or takes on a role that is normally associated with females, he is called a fag, queer, etc. If a man is seen as weak and feeble , he is called a  bitch, pussy, etc. We live in a society where being a macho man is the end all be all of what an ideal man should be. The reality is that this concept has made many men a statistic of violence. It is true that a lot of this violence is aimed at women, be it domestic or even rape, but the overwhelming victim to this outcome is mostly other men. When males have the idea of masculinity that is often portrayed in the media and society in general, they feel like they have something to prove. This often results in an act of violence. This violence can take many different forms and affect many different people. This common identity of masculinity often makes men feel like they are the protectors of tradition and the “American way of life.” This often leads to a misguided hatred to anything alien to the United States be it beliefs or ideology; or people in general, such as illegal immigrants.


Michael: A big question that was on everyone’s mind while Barack Obama was campaigning was: “what will be  done about immigration?” This is a very shifty topic as people that are already citizens tend to change their minds often. Whereas non-citizens would like to gain citizenship or not be deported. “While key tactical decisions are still being made, President Obama wants a catch-all bill that would also bolster border security measures,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Cabinet secretaries are preparing to make the case for how changes in immigration laws could benefit businesses, education, healthcare and public safety.” I think even if Obama’s attempts at immigration reform don’t succeed they will help Democrats next time around because people will remember that they were the ones that sent the bill through and not the Republicans.


Michael: Another major issue involving traditional values that has plagued today’s society is the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. Marijuana was originally  made illegal for the first time in California because of it’s use by Mexican farm hands. Utah shortly followed after Mormons brought some back from Mexico. Soon, the whole nation outlawed marijuana. Today, it is becoming more widely accepted, both as a medical device as well as a recreational item. Twenty years ago, if you would’ve gone around saying marijuana was going to be legalized, I’m sure you would get some crazy looks and doubts. Who would’ve known it would ever be legalized, and for recreational use at that.


Zane: When thinking about the amount of people who have gone to jail for marijuana possession, it’s disgusting. I mean when arrests for marijuana possession exceeds violent crime arrests, you know something isn’t right. We are arresting people for
having weed on their person and we are taking up the time of law enforcement that
could be spending their time going after real criminals. We have offenders in
prison because they were selling marijuana. We neither have the resources,
time, and space to put these kind of people away. They aren’t criminals and I
think it is time for the federal government to understand that. We have real
criminals who deserve our full attention and resources so that we can put them
behind bars. I still believe there should be restrictions on when and where a
person can use marijuana. For instance, a person who is under the influence of
marijuana should not be allowed to drive a vehicle. Obviously combining a
hallucinogen with driving  is extremely dangerous and puts everyone at
risk. That being said, doing marijuana in the safety and comfort of your own home
should be allowed. As long as nobody is put in immediate danger then this
should be allowed. I think that it’s stupid that so many people are forced into
criminal activity just because they want to get high get high. I believe that one day all states
will recognize how stupid it is to make marijuana use against the law. Having to
enforce the law on marijuana is not only a hassle, but a waste of time for
police and users alike. We all have more important things to deal with.


Hannah: It is very obvious that as the world changes and evolves, some traditions must be left behind. It is a confusing line between what is tradition and what is not, which further complicates many debates. People will continually fight for their rights and in opposition, people will stand strong to what are assumed to be traditions. I believe that in order for the world to continually move forward and improve, traditions are going to have to be broken. Michelle Obama was quoted in 2008 saying “…we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history; we’re going to have to move to a different place as a nation.” This can be true of many aspects of our nation, but is very prevalent in all the topics we have covered. In order to progress our nation forward, traditions must be altered or changed. As more debates arise, there will continually be people standing behind what they believe to be tradition. It is important that when standing behind these traditions, we realize what traditions are truly important and which ones may not be able to withstand the test of time.


Michael: The world is changing every day as we know it, and politicians as well as everyone else in society is struggling to keep up. Unfortunately, some people aren’t as susceptible to change as others and wish to stick to their guns about their traditions, and not change their mind at all. These are the types of people slowing down progress in our nation and these are the types of people holding us back. Sure, not all change is good, but we can never know if a decision like the ones discussed in this article are good or bad unless we just go for it and try it. It’s not like we can’t just make it illegal again if things go south. Look at alcohol prohibition. It was legal, illegal, and then legal again. I think the nation as a whole needs to just have a more open mind towards new things so that everyone in the U.S. can experience what change is and how much of a positive outlook it can have.


Zane: As the world changes so do our traditions. We are constantly trying to revise those “old world” believes that we see as unfair, or just plain stupid. We try to reconstruct the beliefs and practices of our parents, and our children will do the same to us. Whether the change from tradition is good or bad, that’s a matter of opinion. I believe that the world is changing for the better, but the change is coming slow. People are reluctant to get rid of the old ways. Many people find comfort in their traditions and it makes the transaction much harder. Regardless of if you agree with the changes that are happening, they are happening. They will continue to happen and all we can do is try our best to do what we think is right. There may be many people who disagree with you, but when you see an injustice being done; you act by reform and hope that you truly are making the world a better place for everyone to live in.


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