A Unionist Revival Is The Solution To Growing Secessionist Movements, Nationalism, and Isolationism

As the 2016 election drew to a closing with Donald Trump becomIng the victor of the Electoral College, with Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote. Many have lashed out in aggression towards this undemocratic manner of electing the most disliked and inexperienced candidate who has ever ran for president.

I reject any secessionist movement, be it Texas, California, or elsewhere. I reject it for the same reason I reject moving to a different country. I do not personally accept the philosophical dilemma that justifies leaving behind the less fortunate for one's own privileged luxury. I do not condone the idea of abandoning the entire population because of the disliking of a certain segment.

The problems that face our nation would've still existed with a Clinton victory. The so called "deplorables" within the Trump supporter camp would still exist even with a Clinton victory. All antithetical organizations who thrive off of the disenfranchisement of others have always employed a divide and conquer means of oppressing entire populations. Should the western states like California, Washington, and Oregon attempt to leave the Union, the symbolism that they represent as a refuge safe haven for progressive ideas would be lost to the United State. The disproportionality in the federal government that would result would devastate the remaining progressive forces in the US. The repercussions would be greater regression of US domestic rights, dangerous influxes of nationalist movements, and increasing isolationist mentalities.

We, the United States, are a Union of States, a collective of individuals. We look out for each other, for each other's wellbeing. Separatism and secessionism once brought the Union into a schizophrenic battle against itself when the Confederate State initiated the Civil War in 1861 in an effort to retain the despotic institutions of slavery. That war proved that Unionist mentalities triumph against the forces of separation. Let us reach back into our history to solve our collective mistakes and error. Together we can revive what it truly means to be a Union. Not just of arbitrary state apparatuses, but a true Union of Peoples; Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

Cover Image Credit: Lumen Platform

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Poetry On Odyssey: My Heart Stops When You Raise Your Gun

How many more of those we hold dear will be taken away by this rampant fear?

The recent school shooting in Parkland shocked me deeply and tremendously. I was someone who was naive and unaware of the reality of school shootings and these current events were a rude awakening. My heart goes out to all the families of the children who died in the Douglass High School shooting as well as to the families all over America who have lost their children to these devastating crimes. This are my heartfelt words to you, and to those all over America. You are not alone. We are standing by you. And we will make our voices heard.

On February 14, I was over the moon.

It was Valentine’s Day, and I was celebrating till afternoon.

Then I turned on the news, and my joy disappeared,

For in front of me, on the screen, lay my biggest fear.

Seventeen students in Parkland were killed and seventeen harmed

By 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was fully armed.

He marched into the school, pulled a fire alarm and got them

To race outside to safety, and ironically, he shot them.

His hatred razed the land on the day of love.

He chose his targets and sent them to the realm above.

Without even a second thought, he picked up the gun and fired,

Like countless other shooters, by whom perhaps he was inspired.

My heart shattered into pieces when I thought of the teens

And that by their parents, they would never again be seen.

Seated at the dining table, their dad and mum,

Were waiting for a child who would never come.

Waiting to shower their love on Valentine’s Day

On a child that had cruelly been taken away.

These shootings aren’t uncommon in a country such as mine.

They’ve happened at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Columbine.

But I thought shootings like these were only by the likes of the Taliban

Who would shoot young schoolgirls like Malala in Pakistan.

I didn’t think that terrorism in America would be my biggest fear.

That each day, I’d worry about losing those I held dear.

And what frightens me more isn’t that these murderers exist,

For deranged minds have been present and will always persist.

But letting madmen have guns is just not good sense.

Stronger gun laws are needed in all of our defense.

We have protested, pleaded, petitioned and signed

For better gun laws, yet each time, we’ve been denied.

Our government refuses to hear our voice,

And so a month later, I made a choice.

On March 14th, I walked outside

Alongside those who would not abide

To the careless gun laws, to the lack of change

By our government, which was truly strange.

I stood in the cold with a group of schoolmates,

Like others in high school all over the States.

We gave speeches, held up posters and stood in silence

For our rights, for change, for combating violence.

I looked at my friends and prayed in my heart

That we’d have time together before we were forced apart.

After all, with acts of terror like these, how long would it be

Before my loved ones were taken heartlessly from me?

I hoped that my love is enough to keep them from being shot

Because the gun laws in this country certainly will not.

Cover Image Credit: Meghna Kamath

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Feminism Is Not A Scary Word

"Our work should equip the next generation of women to outdo us in every field. This is the legacy we'll leave behind: progress." -Rupi Kaur

Feminism is defined in the English dictionary as “the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” It seems to have gotten off track and acquired a negative connotation. Some people view it as women wanting superiority over men, to stand on the higher ground, or to flip the hierarchy. My response to those remarks is: how can we wish stand on higher ground when we aren’t even on equal ground?

Women were granted the right to vote with the 19th Amendment’s ratification in 1920. Despite President Kennedy’s attempt to enforce equal pay in 1963, there is still a wage gap between men and women in modern day. As of this year, women make about 80 cents to every dollar a man makes. That means that a woman can do the same exact job as a man, both doing it to 100% of their ability, but the woman will only earn 4/5ths of what the man earns. Women have made major progress since the feminist movements have begun, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still countless things left to achieve. The gender gap exists all over the world. In Malta, a man can kidnap a woman and if he chooses to marry her, he is not subject to prosecution. Young girls are often forced into sex slavery or prostitution. In many countries, laws do not even exist to guard women from domestic violence. To less extremes, but just as important, two-thirds of illiterate people in the world are women; many girls are not only not allowed to finish school but often not even allowed to enroll in the first place; women are paid less worldwide than men – yes, still.

If those statistics don’t force you to think about the issue that is occurring right in front of our eyes, maybe a first hand experience will. Karla Jacinto, a Mexican native, told CNN her story. After experiencing an abusive childhood, she was lured into sex trafficking and was raped 43,200 times during her time as a victim. It’s impossible to read her terrible story, and many of the others just like hers, without cringing. We feel sad and uncomfortable just reading it, imagine how they feel. These women get no respect, they have no rights. These issues need to be properly addressed, all over the world.

In our own country, which is viewed as one of the more developed, progressive, and democratic countries in the world, gender inequality is very visible. As of 2017, women only took up about 1/5th of the United States Congress. Only 6 of the country’s 50 governors are female. A woman had never been nominated for Presidency by a major party until 2016 when Hillary Clinton tackled that milestone. The United States is the only country left in the developed world that does not guarantee women paid maternity leave. There are many instances of sexual assault against men and women every day. Of the instances where women are the victims and they choose to report it, they are often subject to unfair and invalid questions such as “What were you wearing?” and “How much had you had to drink?” The inequality that exists in government and in our legal system is unacceptable.

If all these numbers have been too much, I will make the concept of feminism more visual. In the beginning, women began at the bottom of the ladder while men began in the middle, halfway up. It seems unfair already, doesn’t it? Over time, as headway has been made, both women and men move up the ladder. Men got to the top. We can imagine they are standing on a glass sheet. To them, that sheet is the floor, but to all the women that are left on the ladder, it is the ceiling. It’s only a matter of time, while women continue to climb up the ladder, until that glass ceiling is shattered. That is the future. Men and women standing next to one another, equal. The future is female. The future is equality. The future is us.

Thank you to the women who took the first, and hardest, steps to begin major movements for feminism. Thank you to everyone who fight for women’s rights every single day. Thank you to the future generation who will not stop until there is gender equality worldwide. “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them” (Unknown).

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