DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents never really spoke to me about politics when I was growing up. They never stressed the importance of politics to me or expressed strong opinions.

Harriette Cole 

Now that I am in college, I am conflicted because I’m not sure which party my beliefs align with. How does one identify which political party they belong to?

Which Party

DEAR WHICH PARTY: Great question. Interestingly, we are living in such a polarized time that it can seem volatile to even choose a party or political affiliation, but you can do it.

Start by paying attention to the issues that matter to you. Look locally. Who is running for office where you live, and what do they say they value? Go to their websites, and read about their views on the issues. Rather than focusing on their political parties, evaluate what they are saying about the issues, and look for their track record on those topics. Take your time and do that for each candidate. Decide who you like for the job in question based upon who they say they are.

Now, in order to vote, you may have to declare a party affiliation. The two big ones are Republican and Democrat; there are a number of smaller parties as well. Read about each so that you can figure out where you best align. If you can’t figure it out, declaring independent — no affiliation — may be the path for you, at least initially.

Talk to your friends, and ask them to share their political beliefs. Listen carefully, but know that many people spout ideas without basis in fact or research.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I started taking CBD oil to help me sleep better. It is often confused with marijuana because of the way the packaging looks, but it has no THC and is completely legal. It’s so harmless that it’s allowed on my college campus — and I go to a private Christian school.

The problem is my old-fashioned dad doesn’t understand this. He is still judgmental about my CBD use and treats it as if it’s an actual drug. I have horrible anxiety, and the oil helps me sleep, so I plan on continuing to use it. He has written me off as a drug user. How can I get him to understand?

 CBD User

DEAR CBD USER: Talk to your primary care physician or even the doctor at your school. Ask your doctor to provide you with background research or other information that you can share with your father to help him understand the safety and efficacy of CBD oil.

Know that your father is trying to protect you. His sternness on this issue is based on the knowledge he has about CBD. CBD has been extracted and used medicinally in such a broad way only recently, so it’s natural that many people are still learning about its benefits. The reality is that CBD is not legal in every state. While you may not be a “drug user” as your father envisions, CBD is not yet legalized federally. So your father isn’t wrong to be concerned. To learn more, go to healthline.com/health/cbd-oil-benefits#is-it-legal.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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