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This has been a tough week for many of America's couples.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take over the White House, interracial couples are afraid to go out in public for fear of physical or verbal assault. Gay couples are afraid their marriages might soon be disqualified by the Supreme Court.


But there's another kind of couple also battling fear and resentment right now: Couples where the two partners voted differently. Perhaps it was one for Trump, one for Clinton. Perhaps one member of the partnership didn't vote at all.

Whatever the reason, this new hurdle is threatening to rip many relationships apart.

"I've never seen this before," said Susan Falcon, a couples counselor of 25 years based in New Orleans. "Every four years there's an election, and sometimes the spouses might bicker about it, but I've never seen anything like this."

Some couples are turning to therapy (Falcon said she did, in fact, take on a few new clients this week for this very reason). Some are trying to find their own way through. Others are throwing in the towel altogether.

The question is, how can couples like these put their political differences aside for the sake of their relationship? Or can they at all? Here's what Falcon is telling her clients.

1. First, remember the person you fell in love with.

Photo by Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images.

Falcon, who sees an extremely diverse set of clients, said the most common scenario she's faced is a husband who voted for Trump and a wife who voted for Clinton.

"What's happening now is the Hillary spouse is really grieving. And afraid. And angry," she said. "And the Trump spouse feels that that's ridiculous, that that's a huge overreaction."

This fundamental disagreement can lead to the "Hillary spouse" seeing their partner, for the first time, as a racist and a misogynist. They might be this way, but there's also a chance that they aren't. So Falcon says her first and most important job is to get the partners, both of them, to reflect on each other and what made them fall in love in the first place; whether that's taking turns telling the story of their first date or swapping genuine compliments.

"If [she] wants to think Trump is Satan, she can have that," Falcon said. "But I try to get her to remember who she married."

2. Hillary voters: Remind yourself that your spouse is not, in fact, Donald Trump.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Falcon doubled down on this point. She says it's the key to not just getting past these election results as a couple, but in maintaining a healthy bond throughout the Trump presidency.

"I try to nail that down so that, going forward, everything Trump does will not feel like their partner's responsibility," she said. In other words, despite this being hard to digest: Just because someone voted for Trump doesn't mean they've endorsed all of his future actions.

Election Day and the inauguration after that are only the beginning of a four-year conversation.

3. Trump voters: Now is not the time to gloat. It is the time to comfort your spouse because they are experiencing real grief.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

To those on the "victorious side," the response to this election may seem melodramatic. But Falcon reminds us that Clinton supporters are actually in a legitimate, and deep, state of mourning.

In fact, Falcon said she actually talks to her clients about the stages of grief. (You know: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.)

"I try to get the Trump spouse to understand the emotions of the Hillary spouse and to assume that she would have been loving and supportive toward them had Hillary won," she said.

4. But to both people, Falcon says listening is key. Really listening.

Here's an exercise you can try:

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

In order to civilly "agree to disagree," you have to properly understand each other's position. Falcon recommends an exercise in which each partner takes turns "interviewing" the other about their views or support for their candidate.

There's just one catch: No arguing.

"The spouse asking the questions, their job is only to listen, take notes, reflect on what they're saying," Falcon said. "I don't let them argue or try to convince their spouse otherwise. I just want them to listen quietly and just leave it at that."

She admits this is a little easier in the presence of a neutral third party, so enlist one if you can.

5. And in the end, remember that, even if it feels like it, this is probably not the actual end of the world.

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

A Trump presidency may mean really bad things for a lot of people. That much cannot be swept under the rug. But there will also be a lot of good people fighting for what's right. For that reason, at least, the world is not likely to come to an actual end.

"I'm older than a lot of my clients, so I try to give them some perspective," Falcon said. She talked about the first time she voted, when she was a 19-year-old student at Louisiana State University. She had friends who died in the Vietnam War, leading her to protest heavily. So when she watched Richard Nixon win the presidency on a small portable TV, she was devastated.

"I really believed, at 19, that it was the end of the world, but it wasn't," she said. "It wasn't the end of the world."

Getting through a major difference in world views, like the one Trump's election has presented, will take hard work from both partners.

It's not about the Clinton voter "getting over it" or the Trump voter constantly apologizing for the behavior of his candidate. It's about coming together and reuniting over common ground, over the things that made you fall in love in the first place.

And in the end, Falcon just wants couples to make one simple decision:

"Trump may damage our country," she says. "But it's up to you if you let him damage your marriage."

It was around 5 p.m. CST on Thursday, Feb. 25, when an employee at a Kansas lawn care factory opened fire on his colleagues.

As always, there has been plenty of speculation about this man's motives and the past indications of his violent potential. But none of those details change the fact that he used a semi-automatic rifle to murder four people and injure 14 more, 10 of whom were put in critical condition.

This was the 49th time in 54 days that an armed American citizen has shot four or more people in a single assault.


Less than three hours later, the 10th Republican presidential debate kicked off in Houston, Texas.

Gun control is clearly a hot-button topic in America. So what did the candidates have to say about this most recent tragedy?

Oh, whoops, sorry: That was Carson talking about how he would select a new Supreme Court justice. (Though I'm still not sure exactly what that means?)

Wait, I messed up. That was Rubio smack-talkin' Apple for refusing to comply the FBI. My bad.

And that was also about the standoff between Apple and the FBI. Or maybe about Kasich's bathroom habits, I'm not really sure.

Ah crap, I screwed up again! That was actually in response to the less-than-flattering polling numbers that the co-hosting network reported for Trump. (And that should not be confused with the time he said "I love them" when asked about Telemundo later in the debate.)

D'oh! That wasn't about gun control, either! That was ... y'know, I'm still not exactly sure what that was about, other than Trump talking over Cruz, as Trump is wont to do.

Huh. Apparently no one said anything about it. In fact, no one mentioned the word "gun" at any point at all. Weird, right?

In his defense, John Kasich did make a comment after a different mass shooting one week earlier, where he at least said, "We have to take this issue seriously" and ... not much else of substance.

Other than that, it's pretty much a non-issue in the GOP. Like once Obama's out of the way, he'll stop taking all our guns, and we can all go back to killing each other like good Americans.

Let's hope we see something different at the next Democratic debate on Sunday, March 6. If nothing else, well, there's always Judicial Fruit Salad. Maybe that'll save us from the wrong end of an AK.

Elections are getting weirder and weirder, and 2016 is no different. It's a doozy.

You probably already know why. You’ve seen it yourself. From Donald Trump's ... everything to the intense focus on Hillary's emails to Bernie Sanders' eternal sore throat and electro-shock hair, the 14 years this election's seemingly been dragging on for has been full of twists, turns, surprises and off-putting Jim Webb smiles (remember him?).

And like the radiator in an apartment owned by a stingy landlord, it's only barely started heating up.



The ska-band-sized republican field this year. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Just like in 2008, this race will be largely decided by young voters. Young voters who, as a new poll reveals, are pretty much done with the status quo.

A new poll conducted by Rock the Vote and USA Today reveals young voters (the millennial electorate if you will) as concerned, deeply unsatisfied, and detached.

"Millennials, like the general population, are not as enthusiastic about participating in 2016 as this country needs them to be," Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote says, speaking of the poll results showing that about 6 in 10 young people plan to vote in November.

"We as a country have work to do to restore this generation’s faith that not only is voting a way to make a difference, it is THE way and it really does matter."

What or who millennials want to vote for, however, is becoming uncertain and a lot less traditional and predictable.

1. The millennial voter is counterculture and looking to shake things up.

"Millennials, as has historically been the case, lean toward the candidates who have portrayed themselves as counterculture and outside the system," Spillane says.

This is certainly evident in the millennial support for both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Both candidates represent a strong pivot away from politics as usual ... in their own ways of course.

Bernie's support among young voters is huge. Rock the Vote's poll shows him leading Clinton 46% to 35%, and a Quinnipiac University poll shows him beating Trump by 13 points.

Not pictured: That third person. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

For millennial Republicans though, Trump is their guy. Rock the Vote's poll has him leading the Republican field at 26%, which is an easy lead but much lower than his support in the general electorate.

However, "Republican" and "Democrat" might be outdated terms when talking about the largest voting demographic in America.

Because...

2. Millennials do not reliably lean towards one party or the other.

Millennials are largely issues-based voters. They care about the things that directly affect them, and they're willing to cross supposed party lines to address their concerns.

"A huge portion of the millennial generation is not affiliated with either political party, and their attitudes about issues give candidates from all political parties the opportunity to create solutions that address the things millennials care about," Spillane explains.

One of the angry young voters you may see at the polls this November. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The issues in question are the same ones being discussed nationwide — things like gun control, refugees, and the economy.

But despite these issues being presented as hotly contentious to the general public, for millennials, their minds are pretty much made up:

Photo via Rock the Vote/USA Today. Used with permission.

Other issues that millennials are overwhelmingly concerned about include the legalization of marijuana, which Time reports has 71% support among millennials, and student loan debt, which was their second-ranked concern according to Rock the Vote's poll.

3. The #1 thing millennials are worried about is the economy.

While the presidential candidates and news outlets would have us believe that terrorism is the scariest thing Americans face daily, millennials are far more afraid that they'll be un- or underemployed for extended periods of time.

"The oldest millennials were only 27 years old when the recession began," Spillane explains.

"This means that they have experienced struggles in employment very early on in their careers and that they had to make important decisions about jobs and education during a time of economic uncertainty where opportunities seemed scarce."


Job seekers at a New York City career fair in 2012. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Indeed, a millennial facing the current job market doesn't have it easy.

Despite being the most educated and qualified generation in American history, and despite unemployment being at its lowest since the recession, most young adults struggle to make a paycheck that reflects that, if they have a job at all. That struggle is also multiplied by the most student loan debt in history.

So yeah. You can mark millennials down as "concerned."

4. Despite that economic concern, millennials actually remain pretty optimistic.

57% of the millennials who responded to the poll said they're optimistic about the future of the United States while 34% are not. The other 9% were probably too busy texting or Snapchatting or something.

Millennials recognize that they have the opportunity and responsibility to be the difference they want to see in the world. Despite their attitudes about voting, young people know they have more opportunities than ever to get involved in the issues they care about.

At least do it for the sticker. Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images.

"Young people volunteer at record levels, care deeply about issues, and take actions online and on social media," says Spillane. "Even though young people are frustrated with the state of politics today, we have tools at our disposal to make things better, and that is reason for optimism."

5. Even better — millennials' optimism is well-founded because there are a LOT of them.

As America's largest generation, their numbers alone mean that the issues they care about will be in the conversation. If every millennial voted for the same candidate, that candidate would win in a landslide.

Photo from Rock the Vote, used with permission.

That's why you see Hillary Clinton struggle to "dab" on Ellen. Or Marco Rubio call for a "new generation of leadership" in order to gain young pander-points.

Millennials are the party that will definitively decide the future of this country. So it's important that they, that we, get involved and stay involved.

"Our research shows that when a person votes, they begin to identify themselves as a voter — and that this is habit forming," says Spillane.

It's a good habit to have.

That and — you know — flossing.

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Vet Phil Klay quotes Ronald Reagan in defense of accepting refugees.

You should hear what Phil Klay has to say about refugees.

After Paris was rattled by terror attacks on Nov. 13, 2015, some have argued the U.S. should stop accepting Syrian refugees.

Believing some fleeing the war-torn region could be affiliated with ISIS, a majority of governors have spoken out against refugee resettlement in their states, and several presidential candidates have doubled down on that idea.

But if you ask author Phil Klay, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and author of "Redeployment," they've got it all wrong.


Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images.

On Nov. 19, 2015, Klay took to Twitter to explain why, exactly, accepting refugees is the right thing to do.

In 17 tweets, the author outlined how his experience as a Marine helped shape his view on the issue, and even quoted Ronald Reagan — a political icon often praised by many of the same presidential candidates who vehemently oppose accepting refugees — to help make his point.

















"I get that people are scared," Klay tweeted.

"But it's only during frightening times when you get to find out if your country really deserves to call itself the 'home of the brave.'"

Not only has his series of tweets been collectively retweeted and "liked" thousands and thousands of times, but several media outlets took note of the veteran's views, as well.

It's likely that the "attempt to effectively close our borders to Syrian refugees" Klay mentioned was in reference to the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act — a proposal that would essentially halt resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the U.S.

Despite the bill's popularity, however, several leaders are standing with Syria's refugees.

Many leaders are reminding the world that Syria's refugees are, in fact, the victims of violence.

Despite a rise in anti-refugee sentiment, several countries from around the globe, such as France and Scotland, are undoubtedly standing with those in dire need of assistance.

In the U.S., other presidential candidates have spoken out in defense of housing refugees from the region, claiming "we cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and our humanitarian obligations."

In a speech given at the the G-20 conference in Turkey earlier this week, Obama spelled out the need to separate religious extremists responsible for the Paris attacks with the victims of those very same extremists.

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images.

"We also have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves," Obama said. "That's what they're fleeing."

Klay's tweets prove that, regardless of what side of the political aisle you're on, compassion is a vital American value we all should remember.

We're not at war with Islam.We're at war with extremism.

And, as articulated so well by Klay, it's important to stay true to the values that make America great — especially when it means staying brave for the sake of those who need us during some frightening times.