We, As Humans, Have A Choice

We, As Humans, Have A Choice

What would you do if you knew you had the power to either raise up or to destroy?
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They can bring to life, and they can destroy. They can triumph over the greatest barriers, and they can construct the tallest walls. They make an appearance at the birth of a child, and they somberly grieve at the passing of our beloved.

Words.

They have a power that nothing can surpass, a glory that nothing can take away. Many have tried to hinder intellectuals, oppress geniuses, and silence those that were born to be heard. History can tell us that at first, people might acquiesce to such subjugation. Because of race or class or gender, groups of people have been not just discouraged but brutally forced to remain silent by their oppressors throughout all of human history. These people, whether they were (or are) Christians in the face of religious persecution, women muffled by a society that deemed them unworthy, non-Europeans living in racial discrimination, or anyone else throughout history who had their rights stripped from them and their lives torn apart at the seams, these people have and continue to overcome.

Sometimes, humanity resorts to violence. Many would argue that in certain cases, brutality is necessary.

But other times, it is communication that prevails. The Edict of Milan, a proclamation consisting of words, allowed Christianity to be tolerated within the Roman Empire. The nineteenth amendment allowed for women to speak politically in America after being silenced for so long. The Emancipation Proclamation broke the resolve of the Confederation, the case of Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregation in America, and Martin Luther King Junior’s words of love and dreams brought the American public to tears, softening hearts of stone.

Many still live in a state of oppression today, and maybe no combination of letters and no declaration of words is going to change that. But communication is what has led people from darkness, and lack thereof is what has kept people from the light.

Words have power. Today in America, we are privileged to be able to speak them, for the most part, however we please. The Bill of Rights grants us a power to make words our own. No one can stop us from insulting that girl that we don’t like. We can’t be arrested for generalizing about a culture or saying hateful comments about an entire people. The police will not come after us for saying something erroneous or invalid. We can use words to hurt or to wrong.

But we can use words to raise up. We Americans will not be taken captive for evangelizing and spreading morals to those who have never before heard the Word of God. We will not serve a life sentence for writing a poem to the person we love. We cannot be placed in chains for giving a speech that invokes such emotion within our audience that they decide to go out into the world and be better people.

As members of the human race, we have a choice. We may take the words we have been given and run with them, changing the world and progressing thought, raising up the lowly and the oppressed, or we may not. We are privileged enough to have a freedom, given to us by God in our free will and established as a right under our United States Constitution. Words have a power, and we have a choice. It is our responsibility to take on this freedom, to accept this power, and to do right by those who do not have it.

Cover Image Credit: tumblr

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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

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

rahma
rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

rahma
rahma

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