Heavy Questions. Weak Answers.

Heavy Questions. Weak Answers.

I think. Therefore, I shall question all that has been taught to be unquestionable. The surface of a lifelong argument, simple enough to create insignificant answers, hard enough to keep you thinking about your existence.

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I've been questioned many times about my religious beliefs.

About how it is I can call myself a Catholic and endorse the evolving products of science that clash with the idea of a deity. This is where I find the question useless. I would say science and religion's only common ground is the human itself. I've had professors disregard religion as a mere construct of human order, and others profess science as a result of religious matters.

The issue with both views is not so much that one believes its ultimate truth, but the imposition of the ideas upon developing minds. The result of such matters is confused people, and often the tendency to choose a side. You can choose to follow A or B on the argument or rather stand apart and really attempt to comprehend each in its own light. The problem with having a competition on who made what and the origins of such is the moral conflict in the scientist who holds beliefs on a deity and science. How do I know that? Because I fall into that category.

I often attempt to understand science on a molecular and evolutionary view. At the same time, I hold on to a life of ethics, and the idea of free will. Such ideologies could have co-existed in peace, had they not been disrupted by the voracious necessity to claim the one true truth. We have both sides of the argument attempting to sell the best explanation. Ironically, both have disregarded the possibility of tolerance among each other. You could argue on a nihilist view of the matter, where one could possibly say everything is only but a fictitious construct established by man. However, both themes have come to set a specific answer, perhaps, to the human mind.

On the one hand, any religion, at its core urges for a moral and just individual. Regardless of the title, you choose to call your practice. On the other, it is because of science that one is able to be diagnosed with schizophrenia instead of being called possessed. It's time for people to realize that the answer to their somewhat idiotic question is simple: humans' religious practices are based on the idea of the unexplained aspects of morality, life, and internal peace. Science, on the other hand, are the facts, what has been proven.

Regardless of your views, you cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that your bread will get moldy if you leave it to rot, the same way you cannot disregard the peace it gives someone to pray or meditate. It is time one stops comparing and arguing about one or the other's true existence. I have seen people at hospitals say religion is useless, yet falling on their knees when science can no longer offer a solution. The same way I have seen people who don't believe in science, desperately resort to it to save their loved one. The point is, you cannot stigmatize one or the other because it becomes hypocritical the moment you desperately search for both.

Instead of attempting to test the scientist or the religious individual, ask yourself, how it is that both can co-exist in peace, and not be used as an excuse for social atrocities. It is natural to question the root of our beliefs in whichever branch of thought we incline to. We may not find the answers we hope to find, but rather the process of questioning and attempting to understand will begin to formulate a thinker within.

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.

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When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

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