How Many Deaths Is Enough For You, Congress?

How Many Deaths Is Enough For You, Congress?

Any and all politicians funded by the NRA should be absolutely ashamed of themselves and should feel guilty once again.
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I remember the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, the total silence through the classrooms when we heard the news. The whispered discussions asking whether others had seen what happened. The usually rambunctious bus instead somber on the way home. It was almost winter break; we should have been rejoicing in our soon-to-be-had freedom.

But most of all, I remember my mom. As soon as I got home, she grabbed me and hugged me and didn't let go. She just kept saying how much she loved me and that she needed to hold me. And she cried.

She said she held me like that because she could, because I was okay. The Sandy Hook shooting instilled terror within parents across the country, or at least within mine. My mom had been an early childhood special education teacher; I imagine she was thinking about her students, too.

I don't know that I had ever seen my mom as torn, as broken, as helpless in my life before that day. And I was okay. I was okay, and everyone I, and we, knew was okay. I cannot even begin to imagine what it was like for the parents of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I don't want to try to imagine what it was like for the family and friends of those we lost.

This week, it happened again. A young man acquired a gun--which, I may remind you, was literally designed to kill other living things--and then he took that gun to a school and he shot it. He shot it seemingly indiscriminately and savagely.

It wasn't six and seven-year-olds this time; it happened at a high school. Which, I guess, is supposed to make it somehow better or, at least, less bad. But that's not how I feel.

There are still parents who sent their kids off to school--a place that is supposed to be safe, a place where kids are supposed to be built up, a place of life--and now will never see them again.

There is no amount of thoughts and prayers--or, for that matter, legislation--that will be able to alleviate their pain or let them see their kid smile or hear them laugh or listen to them complain about chores ever again.

And, everywhere, parents are going to be holding their kids and hoping, praying, wishing, begging that they never have to feel that unfathomable pain or experience that unbelievable grief, that it's not their kid next time. Because there will definitely be a next time.

There will always be a next time because, though those thoughts and prayers will come in droves, that legislation will never materialize; nothing will ever change. It has been like this for decades and there is no reason to believe this high school and these victims will mean anything different.

Politicians either don't care or are too worried about their precious careers, too worried they'll be voted out for trying to stop more people from being senselessly killed each year. They're too worried because the NRA is too big to fail.

There were seventeen innocent lives lost in this week's shooting in Florida. These are the 17 congresspeople who have received the most money from the NRA. Call them, write them, email them, overwhelm them until something changes. Please.

In the Senate:

1. John McCain (R), Arizona

2. Richard Burr (R), North Carolina

3. Roy Blunt (R), Missouri

4. Thom Tillis (R), North Carolina

5. Cory Gardner (R), Colorado

6. Marco Rubio (R), Florida

7. Joni Ernst (R), Iowa

8. Rob Portman (R), Ohio

9. Todd Young (R), Indiana

10. Bill Cassidy (R), Louisiana

In the House:

1. French Hill (R), Arkansas

2. Ken Buck (R), Colorado

3. David Young (R), Iowa

4. Mike Simpson (R), Idaho

5. Greg Gianforte (R), Montana

6. Don Young (R), Alaska

7. Lloyd Smucker (R), Pennsylvania

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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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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