A Message Of Love In A Time Of Uncertainty And Fear

A Message Of Love In A Time Of Uncertainty And Fear

Love will prevail.
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In the wake of the presidential election last week, it’s safe to say that the nation was shaken to its very core on November 8th. A lot of people were left shocked and heartbroken by the results of Tuesday night. Uncertain of what Trump’s presidency might bring, many people were also left very, very scared.

Uncertainty - in a world of fear, it’s probably one of your worst enemies. People fear the unknown. Nobody likes the idea that something unexpected could happen - especially if the odds are that it’s something bad. And that is exactly where the nation was left after Tuesday night - in a world of uncertainty, with millions of Americans on edge. It’s hard to tell exactly how Trump’s presidency will play out, and which heinously racist, earth-deprecating, or misogynistic promises he’ll keep. People fear for their safety, for the protection of their rights, and for the Earth. I do too. The hate crimes that have taken place in the mere week since Trump’s election are not an encouraging start to this four year journey. And so - the nation is suspended in uncertainty, anxiously waiting to see what kind of damage the 45th president will inflict on the nation and its people.

But luckily, we do not live solely in a world of fear. We also live in a world full of love, and hope, and community. A world full of acceptance and appreciation. I don’t know what will happen in the next four years - nobody does. But that does not mean that you should spend those four years living in fear. For every person that may hate you, or belittle you, or bully you, there is at least one person that loves you. No matter what race you are, what gender you are, what religion you are, which people you love, you belong in this world. No one man, nor a hundred people, not even a million people, can tell you that you don’t belong. Despite what they may think, nobody owns the Earth that you walk on. And they definitely don't own you. Stand tall and be strong, because you are beautiful, you are important, and you are loved. Remember that. And in the wake of great uncertainty, have faith that love will always prevail, because love always trumps hate. Even if love has to fight a war against hate for the rest of time, hatred will never win.

I am scared. And every day, I question how much goodness is left in the world - how much goodness is left in its people. After last Tuesday, I felt heartbroken, certain that hatred had won. It was a devastating blow to millions. But as much hate as I have seen in this past week, I have seen even more love. And yes, now we live in a world of uncertainty. But here’s the thing - we always have, and we always will. And it’s okay to be a little scared. In fact, it’s okay to be very scared. But do not live in fear for these next four years, because in this world of uncertainty, the only thing that is certain, is that love will prevail.

Cover Image Credit: kzine

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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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