You're Right, My Flag Means More

You're Right, My Flag Means More

Your article was a disgrace. Here's what's wrong.
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This article is a response to the article, "No, Your Flag Is Not Equal To The American Flag," written by Brian Teal. You can read that article here.

Brian,

You're livid? Yeah, so am I. I'm not livid about "the gays" "disrespecting" your flag though. I am livid that you had the audacity to write such an ignorant, disrespectful, uneducated, and presumptuous article. What. A. Disgrace. To say that not only is your article written in bad taste is not enough. It completely takes the goals and motivations of the LGBTQ+ community and twists them. What you said is a poor characterization of the community, and here's why.

To start, let's talk about our respective "communities." First of all, you're right; the LGBTQ+ community is not the entire country. We don't represent everyone, and we never could. But those soldiers don't represent all of the US either. Do I need to remind you of the riots against involvement in the Vietnam War? The Korean Conflict? Desert Storm? The War on Terror? Missions, "accomplishments" and (if we are calling it what it is) atrocious war crimes against peoples of other countries in the name of "our freedoms." Now, I know the US does a lot of good in the world, and our freedoms have been protected by military action, and by no means am I a pacifist. But, perhaps, we should take ourselves off this pedestal that blinds us to the crappy country we often look like and to the often criminal way we treat others.

Also, you talk of the "meaning of that photo." Do you know what I see when I look at that photo? Not a great country. Instead, I see a country that was willing to sacrifice the lives of over 25,000 people on that island, Japanese and American, and end up not succeeding in the first place. A country willing to turn them over to gruesome deaths and unsanitary conditions that left our troops to rot in bases on that god-forsaken island. I see a country that allowed those same veterans, and others after them, to come home and become homeless, begging on the street, with no access to appropriate healthcare and a quality of life that they deserve. Your flag? Your country? I see a country that stood by while we treated, and continue to treat, members of the LGBTQ+ community like the mentally ill and second-class citizens. That flag flew high while we locked up homosexuals, treated them with shock therapy, subjected them to violence at the hands of police and others, and oppressed them. Your flag. Your country. You know what, you're right. Those marines didn't fight for gay rights. They didn't hold the pride flag. We had to do that. We had to fight against oppression and for basic rights, while the United States dropped brutal atomic bombs on millions of unarmed civilians "just to prove a point."

Point taken.

Be proud that you have the freedoms you so audaciously strut. Meanwhile, I'll be over here, still working to make this country into something worthy of that pride. Fighting for the rights that everyone deserves, not just ignorant men like you. Congrats, you got one thing right: we have died, we have fought, we have rioted, we have protested, we have been activists, we have beat down courthouse doors, looked the government in the eye, stared down the homophobes and the racists, beat back oppression, and we will continue to do so. Like it or not, the LGBTQ+ community has every right to this country that you do. It's awfully hard for the community to disgrace that photo when the country it stands for deserves very little. Standing up for that flag, and this country, while there are still people out there trying to oppress your neighbors makes you a disgrace, not the LGBTQ+ community.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/07/01/iwo-jima-marines-gay-pride-and-a-photo-adaptation-that-spawns-fury/?utm_term=.bd3dfbb81879

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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