My Thoughts On The Women's March

My Thoughts On The Women's March

The Women's March is a cultural movement for equal treatment. I look into the events surrounding the March and if it is a good or bad thing.
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January twentieth was the inauguration day of the United State's forty-fifth president, Donald Trump. This event was well televised over many networks, and the coverage lasted all day. Many speakers presided over this event, and even Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton attended in a show of solidarity for the new president. Arguably the most common, shared feeling that the American people gained from this event was the process of a peaceful transition of power.

However, not everyone made the inauguration day a peaceful day. It seems that if any current event involves the peaceful, Democratic transition of power, individuals will cause destruction. The destruction that received the most airtime was the vandalism of a Starbucks and a Bank of America. An article from the Blaze states, "Rioters set fire to newsstands and trash cans in the middle of some D.C. streets, while others lit car fires, smashed business windows, and injured police officers." This article also states that 217 people were arrested on inauguration day and face charges for rioting.

I assume that in both parties, a majority of people view violent, destructive protesters as a nuisance to the democratic process. They accomplish nothing besides disrupting the lives of American people and earning themselves time in the back of a police car. I hope that the people who destroyed cars, burned trash cans, and looted stores earn themselves felony charges and spend time in jail. If their way of life was everyone's way of life, we would live in anarchy. Nobody would be safe, and an election would be the last thing on anybody's mind because people would be busy making sure nobody robbed or attacked them.

I have seen the mark that violence leaves on a community. A few years ago, I stayed in San Francisco and visited Berkeley by way of the BART with some friends. The time of our Berkeley visit coincided with the events of the 2014 riots. Being college students, my friends and I enjoyed the beautiful Berkeley campus, but we also saw the effects of riots that left a scar on the community. Windows of local shops were broken and boarded up due to the rioters. This left an eerie, dark feeling over the town.

I knew that the peaceful streets that I walked on were previously a crowded area of violence and mob mentality. Today, I could not remember why the riots occurred in the first place. After looking them up, I found that the 2014 Berkeley riots were apparently a response against police brutality and that mobs took over. The lasting effect that I feel by viewing their aftermath is not one of progressive change for the good of American people, but instead, I feel uneasy for the people living in the United States who would use a political movement to pursue their own malicious intent.

Here is a link to a video showing the Berkeley 2014 Riots that accurately depicts the frightening actions of rioters.

Looking back at my experience with protests has given me a perspective on the protest known as the Women's March that was conducted on the twenty-first of January and continues today. This march declares that it held for women's rights, the right for women's wage equality, women's safety, ethnic equality, feminism, and anti-police violence among a list of other issues they for which they are marching. Their list of issues listed on their website (link provided above) are:

  • Principle 1: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice and utilizes the righteous indignation and spiritual, emotional, and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation.
  • Principle 2: The Beloved Community is the framework for the future. The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential.
  • Principle 3: Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil. The nonviolent approach helps one analyze the fundamental conditions, policies, and practices of the conflict rather than reacting to one’s opponents or their personalities.
  • Principle 4: Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve our goal. Self-chosen suffering is redemptive and helps the movement grow in a spiritual as well as a humanitarian dimension. The moral authority of voluntary suffering for a goal communicates the concern to one’s own friends and community as well as to the opponent.
  • Principle 5: Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. The nonviolent attitude permeates all aspects of the campaign. It provides a mirror type reflection of the reality of the condition to one’s opponent and the community at large. Specific activities must be designed to maintain a high level of spirit and morale during a nonviolent campaign.

All of these principals listed seem like positive guidelines. However, it seems like what they are conducting a march for is something that a majority of Americans from all walks of life enjoy. As a matter of fact, the United States of America is governed by the Constitution. The Constitution declares under the Fourteenth Amendment that:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Citizens of the United States are all subject to and protected by the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment. Also, protesters partaking in the Women's March are advocating for equal rights. It seems redundant that people are fighting for change to promote equality, but the law for the country where they live already demands equality. It seems that the Women's March is not a protest, but instead, it is a celebration of the equality provided to citizens of the United States by the Constitution.

An internet search will not provide any reports of violence or riots resulting from the Women's March. This is evidence that the principals of their march are followed by the people participating in the event. Time will tell the impact of this monumental march.

As one who has witnessed the violence that all Americans viewing the news over the last several years can surmise, there is a high chance of violence during these protests. That is not because of the principals of the Women's March, but it is because there are criminals hiding behind the peaceful protesters who seek to rob, destroy, and deprive citizens of the United States of the rights the Constitution provides them. It is because I can see the danger in all protests that I do not partake in them and I do not advise partaking in them.

I often question people who picket to make a difference rather than put their time into something that makes an immediate difference. Hundreds of thousands of people picking up a piece of trash each would make the United States a much better place immediately than hundreds of thousands of people blocking public streets to protest rights they already possess. If people committed to passing out meals to the homeless, they would do better to provide peace to those who are less fortunate.

As far as women's rights is concerned, I am fully aware of organizations that protect women deprived of their rights. In Fresno, the Marjaree Mason Center and the Evangel Home are two safe havens provided to women and their children who are affected by homelessness, domestic violence, and substance abuse problems. Hundreds of thousands of people donating their time to charitable organizations like this would lave a more immediate and positive impact than the picketing is occurring today. Also, volunteering for charities like these ensures that those who seek violence cannot seek shelter among peaceful protesters in the streets.

I urge my readers to seek an endgame for any action they pursue. They must ask themselves how the world will change if they protest. Consider if holding a sign makes a bigger difference than donating a coat or passing out a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. We live in a society with more freedom than a vast majority of other individuals enjoy, and we must use our freedoms to make a better world today. Violence and destruction will not leave the world as a better place. Compassion in action will change the world.

Cover Image Credit: CNN

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.

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This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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