Yes, Americans DO Have An Empathy Gap

Yes, Americans DO Have An Empathy Gap

We provide much needed aid to fellow Westerners, while we leave victims in other countries out to dry.
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As harsh and divided as our country and our world can often seem, Hurricanes Irma and Harvey have brought forth some of the best humanity has to offer. These horrifying storms have terrorized communities and torn lives apart. Yet, our country has responded with an immense outpouring of aid and support and our politicians even took a rare bipartisan step.

Terrorist attacks often bring similar outpourings of love and support. There are those on both the Left and the Right who politicize these attacks--for better or for worse--but there is also undeniably an air of compassion and an extension of aid both monetary and emotional. Who could forget, after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, the 28,000+ blood donors or the $29.5+ million raised to support victims and their families?

But all of this empathy, compassion, support, and aid tends to be reserved for those who look and act like us, those from cultures similar to our own. It tends to be reserved for other Americans or, in the case of terrorist attacks, European victims.

How else could one explain the general apathy and lack of aid extension to those innocent victims of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean Islands who faced the worst of the storm? Or our collective complete lack of care for the countless victims of terror in the Middle East? How else could one explain our country's vast indifference to and ignorance of the literal ethnic cleansing occurring right now in Burma of the Rohingya?

We Americans often think of ourselves as caring and compassionate people, and, truthfully, we are. But that care and compassion need extend much further than it currently does. For a country who claims to want to be the world's "global policemen," we are failing to an alarming extent.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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10 Common Spelling And Grammar Mistakes You Need To Stop Making

Your a disappointment. *you're

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As a Professional Writing major, I am greatly disturbed by spelling and grammar mistakes. I admit I sometimes make them, but it's not because I'm too lazy to use the correct word or check my spelling. I do a lot of writing, so I'm bound to mess up when I'm rushed or otherwise distracted. I'd like to help you avoid making those mistakes. Trust me, you'll look, and feel, a lot smarter.

1. To try and go

https://giphy.com/gifs/brett-main-Rt1oTe6GlRAiI

The words 'try' and 'go' can be replaced with any verb. The point is that 'and' is not the correct word. 'To' is. Since 'to' is always followed by a verb, it should be an infinitive (to+verb). For example: I'm going to try to go to the store later.

2. To not go

https://giphy.com/gifs/bunny-grammar-St7UsUGuJU9RS

This is another example of an infinitive. 'To' always needs to come right before the verb. Instead of 'to not,' it should be 'not to.' For example: I don't know how not to think about you. (This is a line from the song How Not To by Dan + Shay, which is featured in another article of mine.)

3. I like it to

https://giphy.com/gifs/theoppositeofhate-sally-kohn-oppositeofhate-55offP4umeJUAvWwHP

If you're meaning to say 'also,' then the correct word is 'too.' When you use 'to,' it is usually followed by a verb. 'Too' is a stand-alone word that expresses agreement or addition. If someone says they like dogs, you could say, 'I like dogs, too.' It could also mean you're adding something. 'He is coming, too.' However, 'to' and 'too' are most often confused in the first case. Keep in mind that 'too' is always preceded by a comma.

4. Your pretty

https://giphy.com/gifs/hd-yLV9y5wb0Qb1m

Can we get this right, once and for all? This is the incorrect use of 'your.' 'Your' is possessive. It indicates that the following noun belongs to you. For example: Your dog; Your house; Your happiness. The correct word to precede 'pretty' is 'you're,' which is technically two words: You are. If you're trying to figure out when to use 'you're,' separate it out into its two words. If you can't use contractions properly, then don't use them.

5. Its a nice day

https://giphy.com/gifs/lz9lPkqddgoec

While it may be a nice day, that's not how you say it. 'Its,' like 'your' is possessive. The proper use would be: Every dog has its day. 'Its' is used when the gender of something is unknown or when referring to a group. In the sentence above, the correct word to use is 'it's,' which is a contraction that expands into 'it is.' Again, if it helps, don't use the contraction.

6. Their taking there vacation they're 

https://giphy.com/gifs/puppets-grammar-hGmKNYHathgJi

While this sentence may sound right, it's actually very wrong. Those three words are homonyms, which means they sound the same but have different meanings. They are not interchangeable. The proper order of the sentence above is 'They're (they are) taking their (belonging to them) vacation there (in that place).'

7. I could care less

https://giphy.com/gifs/weird-al-yankovic-word-crimes-iMrbBXl7F1HJ6

This is a pet peeve of mine. When people say this, they want to convey that they don't care at all. However, they are saying it is possible for them to care less, which means they care at least a little. The proper way to say this is 'I couldn't care less,' which means you care as little as possible.

8. I have less food then him

https://giphy.com/gifs/animography-animated-typography-font-gnDSYE7CLJDk4

'Then' is not the correct word. It should be 'than,' which is used in comparison with something else. Remember math? In x<y, x is less than y. 'Then' indicates time. 'I did this, then I did that,' or 'I was younger then.'

9. I have less than ten water bottles

https://giphy.com/gifs/english-weird-al-yankovic-supermarket-S7eS8P4HTX8K4

This may seem right because a lot of people forget about the other word that's used when 'less' doesn't work. It's 'fewer.' I admit that I, too, make this mistake from time to time. 'Less' is used when referring to mass objects such as water, food, or money. 'Fewer' is used with objects you can count, such as pillows, bottles, or tables.

10. To who

https://giphy.com/gifs/owl-grammar-family-guy-JEIRAmTTfUgYE

I bet you can guess what I'm going to say. It should be 'whom.' No, I'm not just being fancy. There are actually certain times when 'whom' should be used. You can think of 'whom' as going along with 'him' or 'them,' which also end with 'M.' It also goes with 'her.' 'To whom are you referring?' 'To him.'

Now that I've familiarized you with basic grammar and spelling, I'm going to give you a fun video to reference in case you forget. Weird Al Yankovic made a parody of Blurred Lines called Word Crimes. It's entertaining and educational.

Also, here's a moment from the show Psych that involves grammar:

Chief Vick: It goes without saying, Mr. Spencer, that your father is in no way to participate in this investigation. He's no longer on the force, and his meddling could compromise the case in court. Do I make myself clear?

Shawn: Yes, you do, Chief. What isn't clear is why people always say 'goes without saying,' yet still feel compelled to say the thing that was supposed to go without saying. Doesn't that bother you?

Chief Vick: No, and frankly, I could care less.

Gus: Now, that's the one that bothers me. Why do people say, 'I could care less' when they really mean, 'I couldn't care less?'

Chief Vick: Well, why don't you tell me how to properly say this? If you share any official information about this case with your father or let him anywhere near any new evidence, then the two of you will have to find another police department to work for, and I will personally see to it that each of you is charged with obstruction of justice.

Gus: You split an infinitive.

Shawn: Good catch, Gus!

Chief Vick: You two realize I carry a gun, right?

Gus: That was perfectly elocuted.

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