Coup d'éTrump?

Coup d'éTrump?

Opposition To Trump Is Not A "Soft Coup". Incoming Executive, Legislative, And Judicial Branches Are Themselves Ascending To Power In Manners Objectively Definable As A Coup.
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People are trying to make the claim that opposition groups will attempt a soft coup against Donald Trump. This is hypocritical and contradictory when one makes objective analysis of the manner in which a soft coup enabled Trump to ascend to power in the first place. The level of corruption, incompetency, and hostile ideology held by the Trump administration and his cabinet choices in and of itself warrants illegitimacy. Many of the president's picks have never even worked in the field they have been nominated to oversee or actively seek to destroy the institutions out of regressive ideological opposition. Many are self serving oligarchs who paid-to-play; earning their nominations solely due to monetary contributions. Most of the cabinet choices hold beliefs that have proven to harm the citizenry, risks the security of persons for the people of the nation, and risk national security; especially when it comes to climate change, something even the incoming president conspires to deny at the risk of civilian deaths and the breakdown of national security. It is purely objective to notice that the combined levels of corporate and political corruption, widespread voter suppression, and moneyed interests (both domestic and foreign) lead to Trump's electoral college victory. The popular vote was won by a candidate who colluded with the Democratic National Committee to subvert an objectively more successful candidate, delegitimizing the entire national election. Added to this the institutional corruption that further delegitimized the national election by excluding all other candidates from the presidential debates. There is barely any aspect of the incoming administration to hold legitimacy as an executive administration.

If we add to this also the delegitimate nature of the incoming Congress which has gerrymandered districts and utilized voter suppression, on top of moneyed influence. There is largely no legitimacy in the majority party as a national institutional organization merited with the ability to govern. Effectively resulting in no legitimacy in the legislative branch since both houses of Congress are dominated by the unmerited party. When we also place in retrospect the illegitimacy of the executive body which will be nominating a key vote in the judicial system. A position that has been vacant due to the deliberate stalling and obstruction by the incoming majority party; all in an effort to be able to prevent the minority outgoing party from preventing complete ideological disproportionality within the Supreme Court. By default, it can be objectively stated that the soon to be judicial branch will also be illegitimate since it was under the auspice of the 44th president during which the vacancy originally came to be.

One may have opinionated perspectives in both positive and negative light of the incoming president, Congress and soon to be Supreme Court judge. However, regardless of one's opinion, it can be objectively stated that there is a legitimate case to be made that the incoming executive, judicial, and legislative branches do not hold a legal validity as mechanisms of power within the apparatuses and institutions of the federal government of the United States. Similar objective analysis can also expose illegitimacies in the state and local levels of government as well. Many of whom are influenced by money interest, utilize voter suppression, gerrymandered their positions to retain influence and power; and the exclusion of alternative potential political and economic organizations.

The United States as a cultural entity and civilization exists in and of itself. The reality of an illegitimate incoming administration, illegitimate legislative and judicial branches, and illegitimate state governments and local administrations do not change the melting pot and union attitude of the United States. We have transcended far beyond a union of state apparatuses, and are actively becoming a union of peoples. The inevitability of this multicultural nature inherent in the United States civilization will continue forward, no matter how regressive these illegitimate systems may attempt to be.

Cover Image Credit: Trump Inauguration Protest - Kansas City

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.
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Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school.

I'll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted.

Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I'm 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?"

A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?", I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week." I let it roll off of my back, I've spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back"… but I think it's time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister.

She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn't have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her.

I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn't though. I didn't let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization.

Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn't directed to what we, in today's society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one's self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 'You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 'Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 'You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so.

This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God's creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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What The Trump-Kim Summit Means For The World

Are we headed towards world peace or World War III?

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On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in Singapore for a historic summit. North Korea agreed to destroy a nuclear engine testing site and eventually denuclearize completely, although it did not commit to anything specific. On the other hand, the US agreed to remove its military presence in the South and quit playing the "war games" that have angered the North for so many years. But how will the outcome of this summit affect our world as we know it?

What does this mean for China?

China has geopolitical, economic and security interests in the Korean peninsula. Xi's government has repeatedly shown its support for a denuclearized Korea, but the thing it fears most is a collapse of the North Korean regime, which would send millions of migrants into China.

One positive thing about the peace deal for the Chinese is that the US alliance with South Korea could be weakened in the coming years, as the US agreed to end its military presence in the South to allow Kim to denuclearize.

However, there are two other things China has to keep in mind. First is the prospect of a reunified Korea under a South Korean or Western-backed government. This would diminish China's influence in the area, especially considering many influential countries in the area, like Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia, are democratic. Second, China needs to keep its border with North Korea secure. President Trump has emphasized this in the past, and this would keep unwanted migrants from passing through to China. To keep the North Korean regime from collapsing, along with the border, economic sanctions on Kim's regime may need to be relaxed a little.

What does this mean for South Korea?

Many South Koreans remained optimistic about the summit, since approval for Trump and Kim is at an all-time high, but some are wary of Kim's intentions. Will he actually go through with denuclearization? Since the US is ending its military presence in the South, South Koreans may feel less secure, especially if they don't know if Kim will keep his promises. It only makes sense that after decades of being at war with their neighbors, South Koreans are extra cautious. In addition, both the South Korean government and US forces in the region were surprised by Trump's intention to demilitarize.

What about the United States?

While the plan is to denuclearize North Korea once the US pulls out of the Korean peninsula, things could change dramatically, considering that Trump has made plenty of inflammatory remarks towards Kim and his regime in the past, such as calling him "Little Rocket Man" and claiming he has a bigger nuclear button. We've seen how North Korea reacts to criticism (remember The Interview back in 2014?), and we know Trump has trouble controlling himself on Twitter. Without military presence in the South, the US could be in big trouble. If we wanted to keep a strong force in the region, we would really have to depend on Japan for military cooperation, but Japanese approval of the President has dropped in recent years. In 2017, 24 percent of those surveyed had confidence in the US President, down sharply from 78% in 2016 and 85% in 2009.

What about North Korea?

This could go either way for Kim's regime. It appears that the North is trying to aim for international cooperation after a unified Korean team competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Kim's meeting with South Korean president Moon Jae-in, and the summit with Trump. However, they could just be trying to make their international image look nicer while they continue to resist democracy and commit hundreds of human rights violations every day that nobody can see. We can't hold North Korea accountable for denuclearization, either; accountability is nearly impossible in a totalitarian communist dictatorship that brainwashes its people out of sheer fear and closes them off from the rest of the world. How will we know if Kim ditches the nukes? Our only way of knowing is through North Korean state media, and we can't verify their claims for ourselves. Anything said by the North's government should be taken with a grain (or a whole pinch) of salt. But maybe Kim is different from his father and grandfather. Maybe he'll try and change things for the better.

My takeaway (this is MY opinion, skip past if you don't want to hear it):

The intention of this summit is clearly positive, but how do we know if North Korea is going to denuclearize? It was great that the leaders of the two countries actually met and shook hands instead of directing threats and insults at each other through Twitter (Trump) and state television (Kim).

That doesn't mean Trump isn't a complete idiot, though. He was praising the genius, leadership and talent of Kim. "He's got a very good personality, he's funny, and he's very, very smart," Trump said in an interview Tuesday night after the summit.

Sure, Kim can crack a good joke and is a smart guy, but did our President forget that this is the same man that had some of his family members assassinated. His human rights record is astonishingly horrible. His government throws thousands of people in labor camps (some because their family members committed the crime), encourages state-sponsored rape and torture, allows their people to starve to death, and doesn't allow citizens to leave the country, have a dissenting opinion, or have any contact with the rest of the world. Nice guy, right? Forget his denial of basic human rights to his people and personality cult.

All in all, the summit was a positive step towards change and cooperation, which is much better than the two leaders with large egos throwing insults and threats of nuclear war at each other. Now the one thing we need to worry about: can we trust North Korea and hold them accountable for ending their nuclear proliferation?

Cover Image Credit:

instagram.com/realdonaldtrump

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