Americans Must Stop Being Offended By Protests

Americans Must Stop Being Offended By Protests

Protest. Talk. Improve. Repeat.
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Amendment I

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The rights granted by the first amendment have long been heralded as perhaps the most important keys to successful American Democracy. More specifically, the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. Being able to speak out and voice your concerns is imperative, especially in this politically disquietude time.

In the time during and since the 2016 election, there has been a vast increase in public protests and demonstrations; some viewed more favorably than others. Between former San- Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick starting the #TakeAKnee movement and the rise of the "alt-right" and their marches in Charlottesville, many Americans have been left wondering what is considered "free speech" and "peaceful assembly."

Recently, President Trump has unleashed a Twitter tirade against the NFL, calling those who choose to kneel, "Sons of bitches", as well as stating that the protests were "disrespectful" to the country, flag, and anthem. The result of these claims is a false narrative that the players are protesting the flag or anthem itself.

This protest is about race, period.

A protest, I will add, that is 100% protected under the first amendment as free speech.

As Americans, we protest when we see injustice or wish for change to take place. However, the way in which we protest is not always seen as appropriate. Some choose to link hands and block highways and are met with death threats and attempts to be run over. These are the protests that create unsafe conditions and should be stopped for the well-being of everyone.

However, some choose to gather and march for their cause. These protesters are met with, "there has to be a better way" by critics. Next, they choose to picket and chant, but are again met with, "there has to be a better way." Now, they choose to kneel or raise a fist peacefully and silently, and are once more met with "there has to be a better way."

At what point will a portion of Americans find protests to be acceptable? Just because you find it inconvenient, does not mean it is disrespectful or wrong.

Now, as for the "alt-right" and neo-Nazi marches, I am just as appalled and disgusted as most other Americans. That being said, if they have the necessary permission, then it is their full right to do so. The first amendment applies to everyone, even if we disagree with what they have to say. We do not need to retaliate with violence and taunting and anger. Instead, we can continue to promote peace, constructive dialogue, and a society that does not answer the calls of bigotry and hate.

For 226 years, Americans have enjoyed the right to speak, assemble, write, practice, and petition freely and peacefully. The day that we forgo those rights is the day that American Democracy dies. The purpose of protesting is to raise awareness of injustice and to eventually create a dialogue that facilitates the necessary changes. As the circumstances of society change, we must be willing to bridge the gaps where they appear.

Although hateful voices will always be given a platform, they can be overcome when we work together to drown them out and show our true America values. Protesting is not intended to divide one another, but to unify people to bring about change. Change that can only occur when you stop replying with scorn and start listening with an open mind.

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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Breaking, Raking, Shaking

A news-wire covering breaking news, financial news, and interesting stories too.
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School's out for summer, but not forever. Let's get caught up on some stories I found really fascinating this week.

Over 60 killed in protests near the Israel and Palestine border(developing):

The arrival of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has been debated for decades and now that it's officially there, (no less on the anniversary of Israel's independence) Palestinians have come out to protest. According to the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner among those killed were women, children, journalists, first responders, and bystanders. Israeli Defense Forces estimated 40,000 protestors were at the protest. Israel military forces air-dropped leaflets warning protestors to stay away from the eastern border of the Gaza strip near the security fence.

The use of live ammunition and force is being called into question as to whether or not that was the best course of action for the protest. I have a feeling this will continue to develop in the future weeks. Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the "appalling, and deadly violence".

Social Security Secrets: Some information on SS.

Although I'm quite far from being anywhere near retirement age I found this article on some basic information about Social Security to be very fascinating. This article covers topics like when you can receive your full benefit depending on the year you were born, what spousal benefits can tell you about your experience, and other curious odds and ends most people don't know about Social Security.

A new think-tank suggests combining Medicare and the ACA: a revolutionary idea on Healthcare?

The plan is called "The Healthy America" plan, and it's being lauded by those from the left-of-center think-tank "The Urban Institute". Their proposal doesn't suggest we change our market to a system focused on healthcare for all. Instead this plan suggests we offer public options with private plans by creating a new market. It would cover children, and the disabled the same, and it would provide more cost coverage for those on the Affordable Care Act. Among other policies on the plan, it would cover Low-income people if they were found to be uninsured, and also keep the pre-existing condition prohibition ban from the ACA.


Department of State lifts hiring freeze: A change in the air for foreign policy?

New Secretary of State, and former CIA director Mike Pompeo has lifted the hiring freeze at the State Department of the United States. This is a shift from the former policies of former Sec. of State Rex Tillerson. This shift may be a sign that the United States is making a change in how it approaches foreign policy, or it could signify Pompeo gaining favor with the President.


Supreme Court strikes down law banning gambling on Sports

The New Jersey law prohibiting gambling on sports has been struck down by the highest court in the United States. This could open up gambling on sports more throughout the nation, and will help increase growth in a burgeoning industry.

Africa's Free Trade Future: A story in the works

African nations have started signing a new free trade agreement in Africa aiming to eliminate 90% of tariffs within the continent for commercial trade.Talks started in 2015 to establish what the nations are attempting to call the "African Continental Free Trade Area". If successful in the negotiations, the continent could see its GDP grow to $3 Trillion making it one of the larger economies in the world, comparative to Germany.

In other news...

Elon Musk shares video of Tesla pulling Jet

This is pretty neat! Who says Electric cars don't have torque?

Tenacious D announce tour, and new album

Ever since the pick of destiny, many of our lives have felt the impact of Tenacious D. Their music serenades the heart, and solidifies the soul. With the recent announcement of a new tour, and a new album it's hard to contain the joy resonating from myself. With it being their first album in six years, i'm sure there are plenty of others prepared for the LP later this year.

Cover Image Credit: diggertomsen from flickr

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