United We Stand? Or Not

United We Stand? Or Not

Drunkenly waving the American flag at a frat party is not a real demonstration of love for country.
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During the Fourth of July, many in this generation show their patriotic spirit while posting on their favorite social media site. Young adults would post sayings like “back-to-back World War champs” or the typical “#Merica.” These trends through social media would suggest an increasing amount of patriotism in the younger generation, but is that entirely so? Patriotism and pride for America are steadily decreasing in the younger generation, and this attitude could eventually be the biggest challenge our generation will face. This generation’s attitude toward the government, the economy and the overall well-being of the country are declining, and this lack of nationalism could become a problem for our generation in the future.

People in this generation have grown up through many tough times. These people have seen a recession, the destruction of 9/11 and an overall decrease of world opinion on America as a country. Americans are finding it harder to be proud to be an American and become patriotic. The distaste for the government lies at the heart of our government. Some would use the word "corrupt," but most would say our government could use a reform. The younger generation has this view of the government. These people dealt with the consequences of actions a generation before committed. Neither the recession nor 9/11 was a direct result of the millennial generation's actions, hence why this generation is more distrustful of the American government than past generations. Voter turnout is usually low in the young adult age group, but lately this statistic has fallen even lower still. Fewer people are caring about their input in the government because they feel their opinions do not matter. The hatred toward the government could be a challenge to this generation because they will soon be running it, and if citizens cannot unify in the government, this country will not become better.

Trends show younger adults leaving the United States to study abroad or find work in other countries, and some young people don't believe America is the best place to live. Americans believe that the uneven wealth distribution, poor economy and high unemployment rates are enough to cause people to emigrate out of the United States.

Citizens are losing pride for this country, especially the millennial generation. With the loss of pride, the generation loses the faith they have in the country. They feel that this country has abandoned them and has failed as a government to help individuals prosper. The increasing economic gaps between the rich and the poor and increasing unemployment rates cause people to lose hope in this America. This feeling is a major challenge that we have to overcome. This generation has grown up seeing how not to run the country, and has only learned about the great achievements of America through a textbook. When this generation comes to power, I believe people will not know what to do, nor know how to fix or change our current government's state. This lack of knowledge coupled with the lack of patriotism could lead America into a further and faster down spiral.

The Pledge of Allegiance has been degraded since the beginning of this decade. Arguments that children's religious freedoms are violated by the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance is the main deterrent as to why this saying is rarely repeated anymore. This saying should be one of unification, no matter if the phrase "under God" is present. Citizens of the United States should be proud to pledge their allegiance to this country but through the younger generations many are not and find this saying to be a nuisance. The idea of unification and “united we stand” no longer holds importance to some of this generation.

I believe that the declining patriotism and lack of unity in the country, and specifically, in our generation, could potentially be a significant downfall to America. In order to grow as a nation, this generation needs to unify under the identity of Americans, though we're all different. We need to put aside common differences to make this nation better. Young adults need to look past political preference and economic status to see and do what could be best for this country and think about how to make this a country we can be proud of. We must strive to be part of a country with a solid government working for the betterment of the people so that we can become patriotic again. In doing this, when we Tweet and Instagram a picture and say #merica, we truly feel prideful.

Cover Image Credit: Shuttershock

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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