A Letter to Past Generations

Dear people of the past,

I am one person out of millions. I may be small, but my voice will not be silenced. We will no longer be silenced by beliefs made centuries ago.

We will not be silenced by beliefs that are killing innocent lives, or by the beliefs that are discriminating against the people who are finally becoming proud of who they are.

We are the new generation. We are the millennials, the Gen. Z kids, and the generations to come, and we are proud of ourselves for the world we’re determined to create.

We may be young, and we may not know everything about the world, but we are still learning, still improving, and we are definitely still fighting.

We are strong

We are resilient.

And we are powerful.

But we aren’t defined by adjectives; we are the future. In just a few years, most of us will be given the power to vote, and we will remember when you ignored our pleas.

Photo Credit: ABC News.

You ignored our pleas for equal rights, our pleas to not feel afraid to walk into our schools, our pleas for an equal opportunity you pride your country over yet fail to fulfill.

We will remember what you refused to give us, and we will take it ourselves.

The years will come, and the world will become ours. Not just for one percent of us, but for everyone.

A world where students can walk into their schools without the fear that they’d never walk out.

A world where people are free to love who they wish to.

A world where people are judged by their personality or by what they bring to the world. Not by the color of their skin, or their preference of who they love.

So remember this

We may be young,

But we are angry.

And you can try silence us, but we will rise, and we will scream louder than ever.

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Opinions, likes, and school walkouts

To begin,
For all of my peers who participated in the national school walkout today, I want to thank you for standing up for what you believe in and being catalysts for the change that our country so desperately needs. We know what kind of world we deserve to live in, and we are making it a reality.

Credit: TruthRevolt.org

Growing up in an age of technology, social media and internet access can be a double-edged sword of sorts. We can use our technology as a platform for positive things, like spreading awareness and voicing our opinions on all sorts of matters. But, that can also result in a nearly obsessive need to receive validation for our experiences. This validation comes from documenting and posting about almost anything that occurs and is worthy of being noticed.

This dichotomy poses a question: If you don’t post about it does it even really matter?

I’m not trying to be cynical, I’m just genuinely curious if that is a justifiable way of life. I’m not saying I am immune to it, but I would also like to think that I’m not dependent on my social media, nor do I find validation solely through it.

Something I noticed throughout the protesting that took place today is a lot of people seemed to have no idea why they were a part of it. Sure, they knew that it was in honor of the seventeen victims of the Parkland shooting, but they were mostly participating just to follow along with everyone else.

Credit: Polkscan.com

I received several messages, posts, etc. talking about the protests and ways to be involved, which I appreciate, but in lots of ways they all seemed so disingenuous. I am fully supportive of young people’s activism. But when you send me snapchats of yourself wearing an orange t-shirt to “show ur support!” I can’t help but think that you really have no idea what you care about, you just want me to know that you “protested.”

When asked what you believe, you can give a coherent reply. But when asked why you believe it, you have no idea.

It’s almost as if you don’t even care about the victims of all of the past shootings, you don’t even know why people are fighting for stricter gun control/laws. You only care about how many likes you got or how many people viewed your story.

Being a part of a protest itself (actually being an active activist) should be validation enough, it shouldn’t need to be found on instagram. But maybe that’s just the way I look at it.

So, yes, I understand and agree with the fact that social media can be used to spread awareness and to generate change. I also realize that these walkouts were fueled by social media, and that without it we wouldn’t have accomplished such a large-scale and widespread protest. But when half of the people I see posting have no idea what the significance of it is, it just makes them seem ignorant and it takes away from the importance of today’s events.

It is inspiring to see so many young people who already have such strong opinions. But if you have no idea why you have certain beliefs, if your beliefs don’t have a purpose or a foundation, then you might as well not believe in anything.

In order to be effective you must first be informed.

 

 

An Agreement to Disagree

I think we can all agree that, for the most part, politics suck.

When I was younger, I think I just sort of fell into agreement with my family’s political views; one, because I didn’t pay any attention to what was happening, and two, because it didn’t matter to me at that point in my life anyway.

Now that I try my best to stay up-to-date with news, I can actually comprehend what it means, and I feel the effects of the things that are going on in the world around me. Now that I can form opinions for myself, they’ve begun to differ from what I grew up with.

For the most part my parents are very open to discussions and they do their best to give me unbiased responses, but some others in my family aren’t so supportive.

I try to stay away from discussing politics with these members of the family, but sometimes things come up unintentionally. For example: tonight at dinner, I began talking about hopes for my future, such as what I want to study and where I want to go to college, possible careers, where I want to travel, etc.

When I mentioned that one day I want to join the Peace Corps they sort of laughed at me. That’s when our conversation took a turn. Instead of discussing my hopes and dreams for my life ahead of me, I was bombarded with questions like, “Why do you want to join the Peace Corps? Why don’t you intern at Wall Street?” and “Don’t you care about money? Well you will once you have to provide for yourself.”

Image via Bubble-Jobs.co.uk

As a result of those responses, I have a message for the family members in question: Since I decided to keep my larger opinions to myself after the dinner incident, here are a few things that I hope you will someday understand.

First and foremost, I am fully aware that for my entire life I have been financially secure and I haven’t had to worry about anything involving money. I know that this is a result of a lifetime of your hard work, and I am incredibly thankful for that.

Although some of our opinions are quite different, I still respect yours; your opinions are valid.

I’m not sorry that my views differ from yours, but I’m sorry that you completely disregard them. It really doesn’t matter to me that you have different values, so long as you don’t tell me that my own are wrong.

While you are probably correct in that a lot of my opinions are somewhat influenced by my peers, that doesn’t mean that I can’t think for myself.

It’s fair for you to be disappointed that I don’t agree with you, but it’s not fair for you to be disappointed in me as a person. The way I vote does not determine who I am, nor does it determine my character.

Half of my relatives just give away their vote and let someone else decide their views for them. Shouldn’t you be happy that I can think for myself? Shouldn’t you be happy that I don’t believe everything I’m told and that I know what is important to me? Shouldn’t you at least be happy that I believe in something?

Please don’t disregard what I say to you. Please don’t blame my opinions on my age. Please don’t brush off my contradictions with “Oh, she’ll come around one of these days.”

Please don’t look at me differently because of what I think. Differences in opinions should be accepted, not criticized. If our minds were all the same, nothing would ever go anywhere.

Diversity, whether it be found in people, in life experience, or in beliefs, is a wonderful thing.

Late Night and politics

I feel like everything is about politics now. Suddenly, everything and everyone is political and very vocal about their beliefs. You can’t even turn on a Late Night Show without hearing something about Trump in the monologue. Are you still able to watch Late Night?

I used to be a huge Conan O’Brien fan, now I simply can’t watch him. I am usually able to separate the art from the artist, but it has become too hard to do that. I understand that all the hosts have a right to voice their opinion (most of which is from the left wing), but they weren’t given the platform of a Late Night show to cry out about current events. They were given this platform to create comedy, make people laugh and get their minds off all their problems. That should be their goal, as people need to laugh now more than ever.

 There are political Late Night shows designated to start the discussion on new bills and events happening daily. Personally, I don’t watch John Oliver, Trevor Noah or Bill Maher, and I absolutely cannot watch Samantha Bee. I understand that none of the above are Republicans, but all they do is talk about Republicans and how they are in the wrong. Their agenda is very clear and the propaganda is too obvious. Jon Stewart had a much broader view and gave wholesome commentary.

In my opinion, there needs to be more political diversity in Late Night shows (especially political shows), there has to be something center or right wing to balance out Late Night. Colbert’s Report was the closest thing, with Stephen Colbert’s satirical, conservative character.

I can’t wait for Late Night to go back to its roots and actually be funny again. Are Late Night shows getting too political or is it their hosts?

 

 

Photo Credit: ABC News

Late Night on CBS

Red, White, and…Orange?

Photo Credit: Philippine Star

Donald Trump is now our president. (I know, I wish it wasn’t true as well.) So far, both the climate change and LGBT rights pages have been taken off the official White House website, Trump has ended Obamacare, the Senate has officially elected a bunch of offensive, racist, and unqualified men to Trump’s cabinet, and it’s only Friday night! Oh, he also literally adopted a new slogan straight from “The Purge: Election Year” – the slogan “Keep America Great”. Yeah, I’m really wishing Trump actually took this “weekend off” like he said he would right about now.

First, let me touch on the whole Obamacare fiasco. Without Obamacare, we do not have an affordable health care plan in place. And, I really doubt Trump has been cultivating his own, considering that since November 7th, all he has been doing is hanging out with Kanye West, hate-tweeting, inciting the belief that racism, prejudice, and hate crimes are now “justified,” and, probably (definitely) getting spray tans.

I mean, should the first things Trump does in office be to terminate Obamacare and end awareness for climate change and LGBT rights on the White House page? We already had to listen to Three Doors Down and look at Trump’s orange pallor this morning. All of this in one day? It’s simply too much to handle for someone who isn’t the spawn of Satan.

But, just remember, we now have a President who is a “television personality” and an unofficial cast member of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”!

Women of Our Future

Following Trump’s win in last night’s presidential election, about half of the country is in complete distress. Now, most women, people of color, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, and other oppressed people are starting to fear for themselves and their futures with the reality of a completely Republican-controlled government. But, those minorities didn’t take a complete step back. Five strong, capable women were voted into various positions, all of whom are hopefully the first of many.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Photo Credit:  www.latimes.com

Kamala Harris was elected as California’s Senate representative. Along with that, she has been Attorney General of her state since 2011. She is the second black woman to ever be in the US Senate and the first ever woman to be California’s Attorney General. This comes as a huge accomplishment, especially because both her parents were immigrants – originally from Jamaica and India.

Cortez Masto Reid.jpg
Photo Credit: latino.foxnews.com

Former Attorney General of Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto became the United States’ first ever Latina Senator. She is representing Nevada in the Senate. This wasn’t a small feat: as the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, she had a tough battle defeating her opponent, Republican Joe Heck.

"Because I’m a mom, that makes me concerned for the future," Omar said. Photo by Conrad Zbikowski.
Photo Credit: http://www.tcdailyplanet.net

Ilhan Omar became the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker, when she was elected as a State Representative for Minnesota. She is a fantastic role model for young East African girls, who she actively empowers, working as the director of Women Organizing Women Network. Her win is a bright sign for all her fellow refugees as she symbolizes hope for women who want to be in politics.

Photo Credit: http://www.glaad.org

Kate Brown made a wave of change as the United States’ first openly LGBT governor, when she became Oregon’s 38th Governor. She is an activist not only for LGBT rights, but she also wants to see reform in gun control, women’s rights, and clean energy. In a speech she made about a month ago, she opened up about why she was running. “If I can be a role model for one young person that decides that their life is worth living because there’s someone like them in the world, it’s worth it,” she said.

Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs, at the World War II Memorial in Washington in 2010. Duckworth, now an Illinois congressional candidate, became a double amputee when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004.
Photo Credit: http://www.military.com

Last, but certainly not least, Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq war, became Illinois’s new Senator. Born in Bangkok, this former Hawaiian resident defeated Republican Mark Kirk. Her choice to join the army was probably influenced by her former marine father, Frank Duckworth. Her win marks almost the 12th year since she lost both her legs in a plane crash when fighting in the Iraq war.

So, no matter how you feel about the outcome of this election, I think these women deserve some recognition. Their successes show that even when women are put down, ridiculed, or deemed weak and undeserving, we still prevail. I’m glad that these women (and other women) will be representing who I could be, if I work hard and believe in my capabilities. These women are the future of our nation.

Inspiration from: https://www.good.is/articles/women-elected-across-america

Religion is a Diminishing Variable

Imagine a world with no religion, no set of laws and morals set by a religious sect, set in place to give people a path in life to help themselves or others, and to achieve happiness.

Would the world burn without this path?

Probably not. In fact, religious influence may be diminishing across the western world, including the surprisingly Christian United States.

Yet many fight this fall in religion, by stating rising statistics of incarceration due to the lack of Christian belief and a strong belief in the “rise of drug use.”

The evidence says otherwise – usage of drugs with the exception of marijuana (due to legalization) has steadily declined since the 1970s. However, the large jump of incarcerated people did have a major and steady increase between 1980s and 2000. That increase suddenly halted, remaining the same until 2010, and then slightly dropping the last six years.

So, is the drop in the number of believers due to the rise of criminals? In a graph, the conclusion would be most definitely not. Other variables had far more influence on the rise of incarceration, such as longer jail time, better criminal investigation, and stricter laws. The infamous drug war also had an effect on drug use, though only for a proportion of the population. Today it’s become a black hole of federal spending which will be touched on in another blog.

Photo Credit: prisonpolicy.org

Actually, it is just a coincidence – just because there’s a drop in religion doesn’t mean it’s directly affecting the safety of the world. Funny enough, nuclear weapons have a far larger statistical influence on world peace.

George Carlin famously said, “More people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason.” This popular quote used across the world is completely untrue, only 7% of all war has been caused by religion and only 2% of all casualties were because of religion. In fact, religion plays as big of a role in our lives as the average person or government. The lack or abundance of faith has little to no influence – bad people are still bad, and good people stay good, with or without religion.

Statistically, religion is an independent variable with little influence except to the ones who preserve it and try to broaden its influence. So whether god is real or not, should all people of the planet were to lose their faith, there’s little evidence of any possible retaliation from the big man himself. Instead, maybe a few more progressive laws could be passed and there will be a drop in hate crimes. Or maybe numbers be damned, and tomorrow the second coming will happen.