The Issue In Taking Both Sides

The Issue In Taking Both Sides

And why I am partly to blame.
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There is so much for me to say. There is so much I could say and should say and probably say, but at this point, what can I say sincerely? What can I say that will not sound like preaching to the choir? How do I make it clear what I believe in without upsetting anyone or look like I crave attention and validation for my stance?

I've learned something that may not answer these questions but guide me as I develop my writing. In the wake of recent events of Charlottesville and Donald Trump's response, being a moderate just is not an option, and that scares me.

After the election, I put out a piece asking what the country's next step should be, and like a mother, I gave some advice before her sons and daughters embarked on a journey into the latest presidential era. In that article, I told readers "It's justifiable to fight and protest against hateful and discriminatory rhetoric, but don't embody it." I did not take into account that the Ku Klux Klan or Neo-Nazis would be taking to the streets in overwhelming numbers (although even if it was just one white supremacist on the street I would still find that one too many). I did not expect our president to say “there is blame on both sides,” addressing not only the white nationalists marchers but its protesters as well.

How do I tell someone how to petition and assembly when one side is protesting against a group that has the most infamously discriminatory rhetoric of all? How do I tell someone there is aggression on both sides when one side is combatting the group that generations of Americans were taught in school to be the most immoral, the most evil people that ever lived? That is when I realized, being moderate will not solve the problem. It makes me a bystander that contributes to the problem.

Similarly, the country cannot afford to act moderate, let alone our president. In times of crisis, presidents are looked upon to be the leader, to sit in the captain's chair and guide its crew through rocky waters and violent whitecaps (or in this case white supremacists). Presidential crisis rhetoric calls for a reinstatement of communal values, rationalization, and a call to action. In a New York Times opinion piece, author Jeremy W. Peters talks to Noah Rothman, an editor for a conservative journal who states "We need to have a conversation about where we are as a country,” referring to how Republicans and Democrats create their own narratives on violence and terrorism in the United States. So to say there is blame on both sides tells me that Donald Trump believes white supremacy is a part of American values, something that I believed we were looking to diminish. To say there was aggression on both sides rationalizes nothing but the Charlottesville rally that only furthers the schism between liberals and conservatives. To blame both sides provides no call to action on how to address any of this violence.

Donald Trump's presidency has given me a lot to take in, and there are times when I feel as though I should say something and other times where it is best to keep my mouth shut. I do not want to feel like I am preaching to a choir that will pat me on the back or bashing somebody else's opinion or lecturing scholars who know and understand the situation with more depth and analysis than myself, but all of that is inevitable when you put your voice out there. I also cannot stay silent with news of this threatening magnitude.

If anything, this piece is more of a reflection of the past week than anything, trying to organize my thoughts and express my feelings. I can only hope this will help me be a little more proactive than our president.


Cover Image Credit: pexels.com

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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