A Single Word Or A Single Action Can Change The world

A Single Word Or A Single Action Can Change The world

It starts with you.

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Single Words. They hold little to no substance when they stand alone. Think of a couple words that are commonly used throughout the day:

-Officer

-School

-Car

-House

-Child

Nothing odd about these words, they make you feel protected and safe in most cases. Now let's add only one word to make each of these actions.

-Officer "killed"

-School "shooting"

-Car "accident"

-House "robbery"

-Child "abduction"

Now how fast did your heart freeze while reading those…

The fact is that a single word can make a difference to your impression, your attitude, and your day. So can a single action. See we build our days up to consume ourselves in the negative. Negative news, negative emotions, negative scenery. We as a generation are so used to the media showing blood and gore, informing us about missile crisis and new raids of terrorism. What happened to showing off progressive achievement in youth and adults. The tabloids now are filled with cheating husbands and weight loss kits for women who are starving themselves to fit into a size 2. We anticipate seeing police officers swarming the streets, yet we still speed. We understand the danger in distracted driving, yet that text just can't wait. We see the homeless and hungry sitting in street corners, yet we throw away whatever is left on our plates.

We would like to think we are the exception.

But we are not.

We are the root of the problem which drives majority of the population on this planet. We do nothing to change the world around us, but we will still sit and complain that it needs to be fixed. It shows in our bodies, in our health as it deteriorates, in our work ethic to just be average. We shy away from the hard truth and accept whatever is told to us at face value. No one researches anymore or looks deeper into an issue unless it is assigned for a grade. Popular opinion is driving a millennium and that is a scary and dangerous game. It isn't pollution or stupidity that will kill off this generation. It is arrogance and self-entitlement.

I am no exception by any means.

I wish I were. But everyone is victim to this cycle because it is the easy way out and we as humans glorify attempts on finding the easy way out in difficult situations. Money is not the root to all problems, nor is it the solution. It just depends on the sticky fingers which control it because in this world and this decade it is no longer about what is right. It is about who has the most control.

A friend of mine named Jodie is going through a nasty divorce. When I say nasty, I mean it will make you sick to your stomach to hear what her ex has put her through. She has a spotless record, was always a success story, raised beautiful children, and came up from the ashes one time after another. She didn't always have the most money, but she made sure that her children never went without. There was always warm food, clean clothes, and smiles from ear to ear in their house. One man's greed and wealth led to this woman being stripped of her lifelines - her children - with absolutely no solid reason as to why. Lies have been filling the air as this so-called father-figure ex-husband peels back a sweet innocent woman's life layer by layer. She is up to her neck in charges, court fees and lawyer bills while all they tell her is that she is at a loss, not because of her status as a human being, but because of her income.

We actually live in a world where your children can be stripped from you, lied to, and manipulated to stay away from you… and the judicial system says nothing? Where lying is conceived as interpretation to the prosecutor and a lawyer can demise the worthiness of a mother by one selfish man's statement? This man is abusing this women's freedom and rights just to keep control. Because he knows she will never give up on her children no matter how tight he spins this coil. And he is correct. She is too great of a person to allow her children to fall into this whirlwind spiral of insanity and she will lose everything, including herself, to ensure their well-being and happiness. She is a mother. A true-hearted, will squeeze the life out of anyone who touches her cubs, mother. And she is losing every ounce of fight that she has left in her because of a system which plays in the hand of those who can afford it. Like I said. It is a story which makes you sick to your stomach. But it is the reality of the world we live in today.

Fairness and equality are not what we see on TV and the hero does not always get the outcome they deserve. And while I sit here writing about this woman's life, I can't help but think, if it can happen to her, it can happen to any one of us.

I hate to expand one situation to explain an epidemic, but I don't think I could find a better example. The self-entitlement in this generational movement shows kids trying to slide by doing less than the minimum and expect that someone else will pick up the pieces they have dropped. You see young adults working at minimalist jobs and using whatever money they have to buy drugs and alcohol. You see, tenants being removed from their apartments for missing payments, but they make sure that they never miss a high.

Of course, I am making a generalization when typing all of this out. There are families which are safe and stable and happy. There are teenagers working their way into adulthood with a successful mindset. There are millions and millions of faithful relationships. And while those are sprinkled throughout the earth, that one bad seed can kill the crop.

We are allowing our bodies and our minds to give up, thinking that someone else will fix the problems we have enclosed ourselves in. Yes, the world is giant, but our actions speak louder than anything. We have the power to stop the terror and misery that we surround ourselves in, but we choose not to.

Lily Tomlin said it best, "I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody."

We all are somebody. We can all help others. We all have a voice which can change the world we live in, if we just direct our energy to a purpose and a drive.

It is time to not only make a stance, but to follow through in what we believe. As that friend of mine, Jodie, says, "be the Rosa Parks of our generation and create a movement to change the world." We are so used to someone else figuring out the big problems and just taking care of ourselves, but the fact is we are avoiding that exactly. We are trying to build our lives on top of this big pile of garbage and just stand and stare as parts of us fall out of existence. If a single action can change someone's day, why don't we double that and make it two positive actions.

Then a week, from now, triple that and have six actions which will not only help others but help yourself in the process. Hold open a door, compliment someone, remind those around you that you are there and that you care. We think it is harder than it really is.

One word can stop a teenager from pulling a trigger.

One statement can end a divorce.

One action can change the world.

But that one thing begins with you. And your commitment to channeling your stress and discomfort which life throws at you and create a movement within yourself to be the change you want to see in the world one day at a time.

Cover Image Credit:

Tish Cama

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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