9/11 Will Never Be A Joke To Me

9/11 Will Never Be A Joke To Me

On a day that created so much noise for 16 years, I'll always remember the silence.
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It's been 16 years to the day since the world changed forever. The country erupted into chaos and panic amidst the cries of 3,000 people whose voices were forever silenced. They were parents, siblings, spouses of every race, of every religion, and they were buried under hell fire and rubble. For most people my age, it's a vague memory that most don't remember.

My parents have always joked that I can remember the finite details from something that happened when I was a toddler, yet I forget what I had for breakfast that same day. Unfortunately, this is something that I will never forget.

It started a few days before, I was sitting on my parent's bed, watching my dad pack. This wasn't anything new for me, my dad was always going on business trips. He worked in the stock market, so he was always traveling to New York for business meetings. He was always telling me about the big buildings he would go to. He told me how they were so tall, you could see Canada if the weather was just right. I always wondered how people could make a building so tall and magnificent. He was going to those big buildings again, same as he always did.

The morning of September 11th, 2001, started like any other day did. My sister and I were watching our cartoons, laughing at the flashing colors on the screen. My grandmother loved watching them with us, she became a little kid again when she was around us. The phone rang, and we didn't pay it any mind as she went to go answer it. Suddenly, Yiayia came in the room, panicked and frightened. She snatched the remote from my sister and turned the channel to Fox News, and that's when we saw it.

Fire. Just fire and smoke blacker than night. Those big buildings that my dad had just told me about a few days before were on fire. The smoke filled the atmosphere with chaos and terror as the world began to learn what was unfolding. Not long after that, my mom came in and moved my sister and I out of the room. We weren't able to see what was going on, but we could hear it all. We heard the screams coming from the other side of the wall as one tower fell, and then other. We heard the panic in my mother's voice as she tried again and again to call my father.

My father was in Chicago, at the top of another building, in a morning full of meetings. His bosses called him only a couple days before to let him know that he didn't have to come out to New York that week, and he stayed home. I've always wondered why he got that phone call, why him? Some call it divine intervention, some call it dumb luck, I just call it a miracle. Because of that stroke of luck, I grew up with a father that made me the man I am today. Dad, if you're reading this, I love you.

In the hours and days that followed, I saw the sons of our nation get called to fight this evil, the evil that robbed so many of their lives. I think about it sometimes; how much potential was lost that day. The worlds next great poet, a future doctor, or even a future president. So much potential for greatness and change wiped out in an instant. But what I think about the most is the silence. The silence of the tears rolling down my fathers face when he came home that day. The silence of his friends and coworkers who were at that meeting, trapped in their own casket. But I'll never forget the silence in the sky. My dad took my sister and I to the park the next day, and there was nothing but silence.No great airplanes roaring through the sky, just silence.

I'm telling you all this now, not because I want views or sympathy's, but because too many people have forgotten. When I scroll down my Twitter feed this time of year, I'm baffled and angered by a number of people that take this as a joke. Crying in laughter emoji's overtake the crying of grief from those who lost loved ones. And I understand that other people my age or younger don't remember it or weren't even alive for it. But that is why WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Cover Image Credit: NYC The Official Guide

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Beto O'Rourke Is The Future For The Democratic Party

Democrats need a new voice, and now they have him.

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As a self-professed progressive, the 2016 presidential election was one of the darkest days of my life. Every day I wish that the election had turned out differently. But if there's a silver lining, the Democratic Party has almost completely reinvented itself and has a chance to move forward.

Barack Obama was an amazing leader for the party for a decade. Hillary Clinton was arguably the most-flawed candidate the modern-day Democratic Party has ever nominated, and she lost to the most-flawed Republican ever nominated. So now the Democrats need someone to look up to and lead the way past the regressive presidency of Donald Trump. That man is Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke is a representative of Texas's 16th congressional district, which covers the city of El Paso. But right now people in the political world know him as the guy who is running against arguably the most-hated man in the Senate, Ted Cruz. Former House Speaker and fellow Republican John Boehner once said that Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh."

Cruz prides himself in being hated by Washington politicians, but hatred from his current colleagues could come back to bite him. "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you," said Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina.

If O'Rourke wins in November, he'll take down Cruz, who is one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in Washington despite being hated. And it could launch Beto to even higher office someday.

Even if he loses to Cruz, Beto has an extremely bright future ahead of him because he's just what the Democratic Party needs right now. He's young, passionate, communicates extremely well and is a perfect representation of what the face of the party should be.

This year, O'Rourke has been setting an example of how Democrats should run their campaigns. Beto has traveled to every single one of Texas's 254 counties. Ever since the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United v. FEC (2010), Democrats have pushed for campaign finance reform, and O'Rourke is leading by example with his campaign. Beto has taken $0 from Political Action Committees (PACs). All of his money comes from individual donors. Cruz has taken PAC money, but O'Rourke still holds a significant advantage in fundraising.

O'Rourke in his campaign emphasizes that Texas has among the highest immigration populations in the United States, but the senators from Texas, Cruz and John Cornyn, do not accurately represent the diversity of the state. O'Rourke has separated himself from Cruz by speaking out against the proposed border wall and the separation of immigrant children at the border.

I'm not from Texas, but I'm just as excited for this senate race as I was when Doug Jones won in my home state almost a year ago. Beto O'Rourke has an opportunity to make positive change in our country and actually bring people together. If he doesn't win in November, Beto should make plans for 2020 because he can become the face of the Democratic Party.

If you'd like to learn more about, join, or donate to the campaign, here is a link.

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