Social Media Shapes The Standards Of Modern Political Involvement

Social Media Shapes The Standards Of Modern Political Involvement

"How can one be truly politically informed if their only exposure to politics exists virtually?"
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It is no longer a surprise to see self-proclaimed political enthusiasts—particularly those born in the new millennium—voicing their views on current issues over social media. Gone are the days when young adults would spend hours standing at street corners as they shout into megaphones to encourage resistance against governmental regulation.

While protests are undoubtedly as present as they always have been, it appears most prefer to sit and rant behind the screens of their smartphones, tablets, and computers. What little is achieved by this, one can only guess. How can one be truly politically informed if their only exposure to politics exists virtually? Without external involvement, there is no way to ensure the truth of what is published online.

There was once a time when movements strictly required supporters to attend in-person meetings and participate in events. Nowadays, petitions are signed online preventing individuals the opportunities to question petitioners about their initiatives. Of course, there are many clean-cut 'helpful' videos provided for those on the fence. However, society proves consistently guilty of belittling the basic human need for face-to-face communication such as, the opportunity to watch a petitioner's face falter when being questioned from a certain angle giving way to their doubts in the very cause they supposedly support.

The gradual fall of modern political involvement dates back to the early 90s, a time in which community service programs sprouted nationwide that required high school students to complete approximately 40-60 hours of volunteer work in order to graduate.

As with anything, once something becomes required, it tends to no longer be considered enjoyable. For example, academic institutions are notorious for their tedious reading assignments causing many former booklovers to burnout thus leading them to detest the idea of reading for leisure much less cracking open a textbook.

With this, it is not the government's responsibility to influence the interests of our youth. A teenager aspiring to become a veterinarian will certainly relish volunteering at their local humane society by viewing it as getting their foot in the door of the career they strive to obtain rather than shoveling animal feces every day in order to resentfully satisfy a high school requirement.

Perception has been proven to be the leading motivational factor in young adults. By requiring them to partake in community service, we rob them of their right to freedom of choice. Those with ambition will naturally act upon it of their own accord. Depriving them of this privilege may result in a lack of appetite for furthered participation in social concerns that once interested them.

At best, most of our youth are now lead to perform as virtual activists from afar rather than offer in-person contributions to a noble cause. If we seek change within society and the way our government is run, we must act upon it, become qualified, and use our platforms for the greater good. A legislator will not seriously take into consideration the views expressed in a sixteen-year-old's ill-informed outburst on social media. So why not become the legislator?

Cover Image Credit: The Woven Blog

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.
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Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school.

I'll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted.

Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I'm 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?"

A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?", I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week." I let it roll off of my back, I've spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back"… but I think it's time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister.

She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn't have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her.

I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn't though. I didn't let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization.

Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn't directed to what we, in today's society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one's self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 'You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 'Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 'You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so.

This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God's creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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