Where Do We Go From Here

Where Do We Go From Here

Reflections on the elections.

The votes are in, and my dear America we have a new president. By the time you’re reading this article one of two things has happened: we have a career politician with a far from clean record and seriously questionable motives thriving under the title of first woman president or a man with absolutely no political background and sketchy business abilities who seriously believes erecting a concrete wall will solve the world’s problems as our commander in chief.

Currently, I sit here in the living room of my college home, watching uneasy as states of our great union slowly become colored in shades corresponding to the party with which the state voters favored. I am terrified. For in less than a few hours, our nation will have elected a new leader. One of two undesirable choices. Why all of this anxiety has postponed its appearance to tonight I’m not sure, for it has been one long year of campaigning and my heart has been aware of our options for quite some time, but nevertheless tonight I am at a loss for many things. For several hours now I have been pondering what our country’s next step is. Where exactly do we go from here? The possibilities are endless and overwhelming. Do we actually have mass evacuations of residents to more desirable countries? Do we have civil unrest in even more extremes than recently reported and noted? Are we hiring architectures to build a wall? Are immigrants flooding in? Are our second amendment rights at stake?

Then I began to petition the Lord, I started reading and googling devotionals on election days and bible verses on elections. I found my peace in Psalms 22:28, “For Kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.” Our ruler has already been decided, long before this election. So do you know where we go from here? We go back to living the same life we’ve been living the past eight months. We go to work and we go to school. Parents continue to take care of their children, college students work to secure a future of their own. Children continue laughing and playing and embracing their innocence. We go to church meetings and volunteer events. We watch football games and host parties. We continue doing the same things we have been doing the entire time these two candidates have been marching around the country creating a mess. See while they’ve been arguing, enticing hate, encouraging divide, and promoting false agendas we have still been functioning as citizens, as people.

That’s what we do. We be the people, because at the end of the day we are what make this nation. Not a woman in a pantsuit, not a guy with a bad spray tan. You and me. For “love to trump hate” we have to love more than we hate;not just smack it on a t-shirt. To protect our amendment rights we have to start drawing up solutions instead of plastering bumper stickers on our trucks. We have to get off Facebook with our political opinions and complaints and we have to demand change if we truly want it. So, where do we go from here? We go in the direction that we chose to walk, the direction that we decide. A path of what I hope is love and acceptance and hard work. A path that doesn’t involve violent protests, that doesn’t involve police brutality. A path that is for change and for equality, but also for honesty and unity. A better path, a path that the presidential election does not define for us.

Cover Image Credit: yimg.com

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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.

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.


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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