No Longer United But Divided

No Longer United But Divided

A look back to 9/11 and where we have gone in fifteen years.
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It's amazing how fifteen years changes a country. Fifteen years ago, America was under attack. Fifteen years ago, America lost so much and realized just how vulnerable she is. Fifteen years ago, America stood as one. Race, religion, social class, education - none of it mattered. We all hurt and held each other as family. Together we all moured in the months and years to come. Our sense of security was stolen right before our eyes. Through the unbearable pain, we managed to come together as the enemy had driven us apart and we rebuilt something even more powerful than before.

Now that united front we once had seems like a long lost memory of a different life, or a fairy tale that never existed. In 2016 we are about as divided as we could possibly get. We are not the same country that once stood together on broken ground. We are a country who has let everything turn into a race war. We have movie theater shootings on the news about every six months, or some other horrendous acts of violence. We have riots in the streets because a few people feel acting like an idiot will get America's attention. Cops have a target on their head. Some of those same cops are the cops that risked their lives to bring our family members out of the burning Twin Towers. And we have people stomping on the flag or burning the flag... the same flag that we proudly held and flew for months after the attacks.

Notice I said we? That's right, WE. We have let this country run to the ground. We have let idiots go too long, doing the wrong thing for this country. Not just people of power either, the general population have taken it into their own hands on who lives and who dies. We take to social media to shame and tear each other down. We have destroyed everything America once stood for. We have let the enemy win. However, this time the enemy isn't another country or across the world, it's not planes, bombs or explosives. It's our own people. Our own people are terrorizing our once great nation. We've been to war to protect other countries from being terrorized yet we're the ones being terrorized, from our own people. How does that even happen? When did we give up and thrown in the towel? How did we give up that easily?

Wake up, America. It's time we take our country off the back burner and make us a priority. It's time to educate our citizens and get back to being that great country again. It's time to get back to being United. It's time to get back to being the land of the free, not the land of me.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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