Please, Save Your 'Thoughts And Prayers'

Please, Save Your 'Thoughts And Prayers'

Tragedy after tragedy, our politicians offer us their thoughts and prayers, how nice of them.
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It seems like almost every week here in America and abroad that we suffer some kind of tragedy. A shooting, a bomb attack, a high-rise fire, and countless events have taken so many innocent unknowing lives. In the face of adversity, we look to our leaders, those whom we elect with the power to change things, and we ask them to guide us to the path forward. Not only that, but we expect them to do something about it. We expect them to use this power to make it so that whatever tragedy took place can never happen again, or at least put forth effort in an attempt to prevent it. That would be the most logical consequence of an event in which people are killed in cold blood right?

Well you'd be wrong, well at least in America that is.

Instead of action, we get thoughts and prayers. Should the loss of life be met with delicate language that acknowledges the sensitivity of the situation? Surely. But you can still say that, and then actually do something about it. Here are some tweets following the shooting in San Bernardino:

Rep. Billy Long is a supporter of the NRA, continuing to donate money to them following this shooting, but at least he has the victims in his thoughts.


Sen. Ron Johnson just donated $7,450 to the NRA in 2016 (http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/recips.php?id=D000...), but at least he's praying for California right?

Here are some tweets following the massacre in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando this past summer.

Marco Rubio voted NO on a bill to ban high-capacity magazines holding over 10 bullets, donated the maximum $9,900 in 2016 to the NRA, and wants to protect gun shows. He says making new gun laws is "ineffective" in preventing gun violence. So Rubio generously gave his prayers instead.

Paul Ryan also donated to the NRA in 2016 to the tune of $5,950. He has also voted YES on a bill that prohibits the suing of gun makers and seller for gun misuse, YES on decreasing the gun waiting period, and co-sponsored bills that banned gun registration and trigger locks in Washington DC, and has an "A" rating from the NRA. But at least he's praying for the victims in Orlando, because he certainly wouldn't do anything else to help them.

Ah yes, Donald Trump. At least all the other tweets shown above have some sense of respect. Meanwhile, Trump insists on using this tragedy in which 50 people were shot dead, to congratulate himself, also calling for someone to be smart (something Trump is not familiar with). Trump has gone on record saying gun ownership makes the US safer, all gun violence is a result of mental health issues, gun-free zones are "target practice for sickos," there should be no limits on guns, and straight up "I am against gun control." President Trump has done little when it comes to gun control or showing any ounce of compassion toward anyone but himself, but at least he agrees we should be smart.


So as you can see, like always, politicians are all talk and no action. All of these people above pretend to care when mass shootings occur, yet they don't care enough to do anything about it. They may say "we need to have an open, honest discussion about guns in America" but they never have and never will do that. The truth is they don't care about the lives of you and me at all unless it's election season. All they care about is protecting their positions and making sure the other party doesn't gain an inch on any issue. So if they don't care about us, what would happen when one of their own came under attack?


Steve Scalise was shot and critically wounded by a shooter while practicing for the congressional baseball game. Now I do feel bad for Scalise and I do hope he makes it, but suddenly the tables have turned. The gun has literally been pointed at the men and women who have been sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims of so many shootings before. With the bullets on their front doorstep, perhaps they would finally think to do something?

Immediately Rep. Chris Collins blamed the shooting on the left with their "Anti-Trump" rhetoric, as if to justify the tragedy. Our lovely President said "We are strongest when we are unified and we work together for the common good" yet has done absolutely nothing to indicate he cares at all about working together with anyone that is a Democrat or doesn't like him in the slightest sense. Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi both gave speeches calling for "unity," but we all know the both of them do not agree on anything and they never will and no one in Congress is going to give an inch for the other person.

And so we'll see if Congress or the President will actually achieve anything at all in light of the most recent attack. But if the past is anything to go off of, I doubt we'll see anything more than bombastic talk with no true intentions behind it. So they'll keep giving their thoughts and prayers and keep pretending to care. But the truth is they're not going to do anything, and we are on our own in this respect. It's a result of the heated cutthroat political climate we live in, and perhaps our two-party system is so systemically flawed that we were always doomed to end up like this. The way I see it, nothing will ever change until Congress takes the first step, and I don't see that ever happening.

So finally I'll leave you with this, a short computer game that you should give a minute of your time to:

https://www.thoughtsandprayersthegame.com/

This was made shortly after the Pulse Club shooting in Orlando, and once you play it I think you will understand its message. If you don't, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Cover Image Credit: Ryan Taulbee

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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