If Cardi B Can Is Qualified To Talk Politics, We All Are

If Cardi B Is Qualified Enough To Speak On The Government Shutdown, Then There's Nothing Stopping Me Either

I didn't think I was qualified, but I guess we're past that now.

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I'm just a teenager with minimal insight into the government and the shutdown. Like most people my age, I get the bulk of my news from Twitter, which is an echo chamber of funny people with views similar to mine. I am really in no position to talk about anything other than my opinion on the position we're in as Americans and how politics affect me personally.

For that reason, I was hesitant to write or say anything at all about this partial government shutdown.

Then I saw that Cardi B posted a video where she slammed the government and complained about federal workers not receiving pay for the work they've been doing. She said we should take action, but she doesn't know what kind of action because this isn't what she does.

So, I decided that if Cardi B can call this country a "hell hole" and spark up conversations between senators and gain attention and respect, then I can say what I think. I'm in college, so I've had intellectual discussions in classes with scholars and I'm learning how to decipher what is factual information.

Although most of my news does come from Twitter, that's where Trump makes most of his addresses, or rants, or tantrums, or whatever people are calling them now, so I think it's acceptable. Sometimes I don't give myself enough credit because of how people act toward people my age, but I have been paying attention. And like Cardi B, I don't love what I've seen. It's getting personal for so many Americans, as we watch our families work without pay and continue to see children separated at the border.

It's not a good look for us.

I'm not an expert, but this is what I know: President Trump has been demanding about $6 billion for the building of a wall at the border of Mexico as means of border security. To the president, the current border security and immigration policies aren't cutting it.

At the end of December, a new spending bill was passed by the House. It included the $5 billion Trump was seeking, which is more than what the Senate planned for. So, the senators unanimously approved a bill to let the government run until Feb. 3.

Trump said he wouldn't sign the spending bill unless it had money for a wall, and was prepared to partially shut down the government if he was denied it.

It sounds like the shutdown was anticipated in a way. Trump has to know he isn't taken very seriously and would thus be questioned and potentially denied. And he was.

So, Donald Trump is officially the first president to shut down his own government.

It was expected that the government would remain partially shut down through the holidays until the House of Representatives was flipped on Jan. 3, but it's been about a month and neither Democrats or Republicans are blinking.

Federal workers have to do their jobs without pay. Families are finding odd ways to make ends meet. Trump is proving his incompetence for the umpteenth time, which has got to be embarrassing, even for him. He's finding ways to punish Democrats, like taking away Nancy Pelosi's trip abroad. Even Clemson's championship-winning football team had to sit through a candlelit dinner of fast food because a better meal couldn't be provided. As funny as I think that is because Clemson is my rival school, it's pathetic and sad.

That's everything I've learned about the shutdown just in passing; since it isn't a lot, I have questions.

Why do we suddenly need a wall? Why are we supposed to feel threatened by immigrants? How many immigrants are actually illegal, and where do most illegal immigrants come from? Would an expensive and timely wall help the situation? And most importantly, do we just have an extra $5 billion lying around? If there is all that extra money, couldn't it go to something more positive than a wall?

Because I'm curious, I looked into finding answers. And about every answer or solution I found is intertwined in another.

First and foremost, people are threatened by immigrants for economic reasons. This is extremely paradoxical because a wall would put us in even more debt. Solving one problem would lead to another. We obviously don't have an extra $5 billion for a wall. In fact, the U.S. is $21 trillion in debt, and that number is constantly climbing. This is why senators of both parties didn't want to pass the original spending bill, but as they always do, they were willing to put some money toward some sort of border security.

Another reason people are threatened by immigrants is that they feel as though their jobs are in jeopardy. I hear this constantly in my day to day life. Not in so many words, because the people I know who say it aren't really the most intelligent and are certainly not very eloquent speakers.

Just based on what I personally have seen, immigrants who come here are usually desperate and seeking asylum because where they come from isn't safe. Meaning, they will take whatever jobs they can get and they work their asses off at them because they don't take an opportunity for granted.

Usually, they are the jobs few Americans want. And ironically, the government shutdown is probably hitting the pockets of families of federal workers way harder than a few jobs "taken" by immigrant workers.

As for statistics on immigration, it's hard to say how many immigrants cross the border from Mexico illegally. However, as of 2016, there were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. That is only 3.3% of the total population, which is a 13% decline from 2007. And of the 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants, only about half were from Mexico. Therefore, spending $5 billion on a wall that would take forever to build to solve a problem that is decreasing anyway seems insane to me.

I've never felt personally victimized by immigrants because I'm confident in my ability to work, and if somebody ever beats me out for a position it's probably because they're just better. That's why I work hard. I won't point fingers at anyone just trying to have the best life they can. I will, however, place blame when the president throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants, then handpicks who gets the short end of whatever stick he decides to pull so that it works for him and the people on his side.

I live in an America where qualifications don't matter anymore.

We have a president who had no experience in politics and arguably has no idea what he's doing.

A rapper can gain attention and respect for talking about politics in the most informal way. That's why I won't hesitate anymore to open myself up to politics and talking about it.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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