Read This Now: Before It’s Too Late

Read This Now: Before It’s Too Late

How net neutrality will really impact us.
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Imagine a world like this: you have all of your decisions made for you. An institution sets norms and makes your life choices, and then you have to live with them — you have to live up to them. You go to grade school, graduate from high school, and then you go to college. Media has become an incredible outlet of spreading clarity — and sharing your thoughts is the only clarity you have, the only clarity anyone has. Your leader, who is supposed to remain calm and insist on peace, instead thrives on hate and obsesses over possibilities of war. Individuals are targeted because of their skin color. You live in a place where individuals call poor and homeless people lazy. People are murdered on the streets at night. Oh, and your President can easily get away with being a cold, selfish, homophobic racist.

This world is the world you live in right now. This very minute. Now, take a minute, because on December 14th, 2017 — something called net neutrality could be deleted.

Net neutrality is an Obama-administered regulation that deems the internet to be a space that is open and available to everyone equally. It also prohibits well-established companies and their specific internet providers from slowing down their competitor's websites for their own monetary gain.

The deletion of net neutrality will create a world where we have to pay to communicate, share ideas, send texts, and even read our emails. A world where those texts, ideas, and emails are sifted through and looked at. Where someone with a fat wallet is always watching. Where our ability to know that these events take place is completely cut off and altered. A world where we are brainwashed into believing only certain things about certain types of people in power.

Net neutrality enforces and enables our right to have equal and untarnished access to everything that is on the internet. Without this regulation, our ability to see everything in many different perspectives will be hindered. Instead, our information will be decided for us based on how much we are willing to pay our internet providers.

This will impact the online environment as we know it. The format will look different, we will only be able to use the sites we pay for, and our developing small online businesses and blogs will evaporate into thin air. I won’t have a voice. You won’t have a voice. But, the people who can afford it will.

Are you scared yet? You should be.

This will eventually allow for propaganda to get out of hand, allowing our not-so-great President to portray himself in ways only he deems fit. Larger corporations will finally have the power they have always wanted to control their consumers as they desire. We will live in a simulation. Our decisions on what sites to visit and where to purchase goods from will be decided for us by either larger corporations on the internet or political ideologues — or, likely, forces that represent both. Our perceptions will not be our own, and everything we think we know will most likely be fake and fed to us for a sole purpose.

So, let's step up. If we come together, we can make a change.

We can use the media to our advantage for as long as we have it. We can spread the word about net neutrality and help to educate others on what is truly at stake. Let’s spread our own voices. The internet is our sole way of sharing our thoughts and opinions on everyday topics, so let’s share. The internet is our main outlet for free speech and press, so we should be using it to our advantage.

It is time to start posting. It is time to be heard.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap.io

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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You Might Love Being A CNA, But That Compassion Won't Show Up In Your Paycheck

A big heart means nothing if you're struggling to make ends meet.

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To the ones who love their job and doing what they do but is on the fence about leaving their job, I was in your shoes, too.

I knew when I started my job as a CNA (certified nurse's assistant), it would be a hard one. If you know anything about the job duties of a CNA, you'll quickly understand that for all of the work that we do, we're ridiculously underpaid and overworked.

I'll start by saying I loved my job.

Though the days were long and I was on my feet more than I sat down during the day, I loved being able to help people. I loved being able to make people smile and hear a simple "Thank you" and sometimes, that's all I needed for my day to do a full 360. I could be having the worst day in the world and covered in random bodily fluids, but walking out of a resident's room and hearing them quietly tell you that they appreciate what you've done for them, that's truly the one thing that can change my entire day, knowing that my hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

But compassion doesn't pay mine or anyone else's bills.

Someone could love their job and be happy to be there every single shift, but when you're overworked but so underpaid, your compassion may not leave, but your bills begin to pile up and you're stuck with not knowing what to do. If you're anything like me, you'll be so conflicted about leaving your job to find something better financially, but you know that you're leaving a job you enjoy doing and you may not find that enjoyment elsewhere.

At the end of the day, you have to realize what would be best for you. You can be the most compassionate about your job, but that compassion means nothing if you're struggling to make ends meet. I know from experience that if you're in a field like mine, it's hard to leave because you know people will need you, but you have to do what's best for you and only you.

Compassion doesn't pay the bills.

You may have to leave a job that you love, but there are so many opportunities out there and, who knows, you might find one you enjoy just as equally.

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