10 Things I've Learned About America In The Past Year

10 Things I've Learned About America In The Past Year

The good and the bad.
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America, I want to start off by saying that I love you. This country has given me endless opportunities and freedoms that I will never take for granted. Over the past year, I have learned several things about America, good and bad:

1. We come together in times of tragedy.

Through the level 5 hurricanes, the shootings, and all of the national tragedies, we come together in peace to show love and support for our fellow Americans. We make many generous donations and say many prayers to show our support for the victims and their families.

2. We're trying to taking God out of everything.

Although you have religious freedom and the right to believe in whatever you want, this country was in fact, built on Christianity. People who do not identify themselves as Christians are often offended by the use of God, such as the phrase "One nation, under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, which was written by a minister, or Christmas decorations in local malls or stores.

Our founding documents have God instated in them. In the Declaration of Independence, there are four references to God. "In God, We Trust" is even written on our dollar bill.

3. Today's generation is more encouraging than ever.

Millennials today stress the importance of creativity. We make time for brainstorming. We are supportive of one another. We tolerate mistakes, but also stress the importance of learning from them. We encourage one another to do better and to work harder. It's more about teamwork than it is the individual.

4. According to many, voting for Trump makes you a racist.

I cannot speak for every person who voted for Hillary Clinton, but I was shocked at the number of Facebook posts and tweets that said "unfriend me if you voted for Donald Trump because he is racist and full of hate" or "I have lost all respect for you if you voted for Trump" or "if you voted for Donald Trump you are either a racist or a racist in denial."

Wow, America. So, if you voted for Hilary that means you are a liar and a criminal? No, it doesn't work like that. We all have our reasons for voting one party or another, but to sit here and tell me that I am a racist because I voted for the Republican and conservative platform is insulting and flat out wrong.

5. We can't agree to disagree.

It makes me sad to see how rare it is to watch two people sit down and have a political conversation and simply agree to disagree and move on. Our political opinions are just that; opinions. We have turned into people that don't want to listen or try to understand the other side's point of view, and it becomes a matter of right or wrong rather than opinion.

6. Despite each others' differences, we are fortunate enough to have the freedom to disagree.

As frustrating as we can make each other, what a beautiful thing it is to have the freedom to disagree. Many countries face severe punishments for speaking out against their leader or disagreeing with the majority, but Americans have that privilege to say how they feel and to stand up for themselves.

7. Police officers are often perceived as evil.

The media has exploded over the past few years with stories of the police brutality against people of color. It is a fact that a small handful police officers have unfairly treated certain people, and you cannot deny this, as there are videos to prove it. But please, do not let the media manipulate you into thinking that all police officers are bad.

What the media shows you is an extremely small percentage of officers who act out of line. Hearing people of all races say "F*** the police" saddens me because imagine this country without law enforcement there to protect you. Imagine this country without someone there arrest the person who broke into your house, raped an innocent young girl, or robbed a bank. Who are you going to call without them?

8. We are the most diverse country in the world.

How amazing is it that you can walk into your school and see all different sorts of people? We are not only diverse in race and ethnic backgrounds, but there is diversity in our ideas as well. To me, this is one of the greatest things about America. Each individual has their own set of ideas that they bring to the table to better the nation.

9. We are easily offended.

Unfortunately, this country is turning into a nation that tries to please everyone. We always have to be politically correct so we do not hurt anyone's feeling. We want to take down statues of Robert E. Lee, we want to be paid $15 an hour for working at McDonald's, and we want to change the mascot for the NFL Washington Redskins. Everything hurts our feelings.

10. America is the greatest nation in the world.

Does our country have its flaws? Absolutely. But, we have the most advanced and strongest military in the world, we are free, we were the first to land on the moon, we have good food, good people, and accept everyone.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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