A Brave New Era

A Brave New Era

"Are we a nation of states? What's the state of our nation?"
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On the drizzling afternoon of January 20, 2017 in Washington D.C., a New York City business tycoon was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Following one of the most controversial elections in American history, the drama continues even now that it’s over. But before we jump to conclusions, we have to give the man a chance. The American public elected him, and surely he’ll at least do something right in office. Lately, I constantly hear people making it sound like it's doomsday.

First things first, I feel that the protests are unnecessary at this point. 95 arrested? 4 police officers hurt? Clinton and Sanders supporters are still fighting to reject the fact that Trump is President. They praise the idea that America is already great, yet here they are hurting law enforcement and protesting the American government and the election system. They preach acceptance, yet are quick to rudely criticize anyone who remotely supports any aspect of Trump. It is simply very hypocritical.

Of course, the protestors are people too. People who live under the same democracy and deserve the same freedoms as everyone else. These are intelligent, educated people, I just happen to disagree with their approach. I feel that they should wait until specific disagreeable legislation is passed before one protests it. As shown by the inauguration day protests, what begins as a peaceful attempt, often resorts to violence. I have friends that are going to these protests, and I fear for their safety in the midst of senseless violence and destruction. I fear for the safety of American civilians, and the safety of American police officers. This is a two way street.

Naturally, as a young woman, I believe that women deserve gender equality, in the workforce, and in education (as well as other aspects). But to protest to such an extremity seems a bit of an exaggeration. As American women, throughout our country's existence we have gained a myriad of rights and abilities. There are countries where women still can't even vote. Our situation isn't perfect, especially in terms of equal pay, but it is definitely much better than some perceive it to be.

Do I agree with everything that Trump said during the election? Absolutely not. His comments about women were often beyond the point of condonable, and his mocking of a disabled reporter was downright disrespectful. However, he does seek to reduce crime and increase the job market. To aide in the college process and rid the education system of corrupt teachers and principals. Is America great? It has great aspects--the freedom of speech, religion, marriage equality, and (for the most part) quality education, but there are several areas that do indeed need improvement, and it is time that we stop masquerading around like everything is ideal and perfect. We are of course much better off than other restrictive nations in the world, but we have our hiccups.

At a glance, I at first thought Trump’s inauguration speech was a bit negative and abrasive. When giving it a second listen, however, I managed to find the positive aspects of his speech. The moments that gave me hope for the future of the American people:

“The forgotten will be forgotten no longer.”

“They’re pain is our pain. They’re dreams are our dreams.”

“America first.”

“We are rebuilding our country with American hands.”

“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone.”

“Always pursue solidarity.”

“When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

“Now arrives the hour of action.”

“We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper.”

“We all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”

“You will never be ignored again.”

It is too often assumed that the second you didn’t support Hillary, you love every aspect of Trump. I don’t. But regardless, he’s the president, and based on his speech, he truly seems to have American togetherness at heart. Obama was a wonderful president, although he did not accomplish everything at once (that would be impossible). It is not right to disrespect an American tradition through cursing and destroying businesses in protest. He hasn’t even done anything to affect the American people yet, and therefore there is nothing to actually protest.

The same people preaching unity in protest are the one’s dividing this country further. It makes me think of a song lyric from “My Shot” from Hamilton. Lin Manuel Miranda asked the right question: “Are we a nation of states, what’s the state of our nation?”

Whatever one may believe, it is time to accept the 45th President of the United States: Donald J. Trump. We may not know what the future holds, but as long as we stick together, there will always be hope. United we stand, and divided we fall.
Cover Image Credit: USA Today

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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