Unity in Crisis

Unity in Crisis

Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts have brought on some unity among Americans, but how can we keep it going after the relief?

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the state of Texas in a way unheard of since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thousands have been displaced, thousands have died or been injured in the storm, roads are under fifteen or more feet of water. Despite the damage, of course the people in the government and some alt-right supporters are pointing fingers, trying to find the blame for the destruction. Obama wasn't president during Katrina, Trump donating a million dollars means nothing. This is not the time to be trying to throw someone else under the bus or say “well if they had just done this” to find the ones responsible. Rather, we must become completely unified to help the people affected by the storm get their lives back to normal.

Look at the groups that are accepting donations and helping – especially those that started within moments of the first reports. The Red Cross is active and aiding in everything they can, while at the same time twenty-one Houston area mosques are acting as shelters. Meanwhile, Joel Osteen's megachurch has to be called out on being hypocritical and selfish for not allowing anybody in – and no, the building wasn't flooded, a nearby parking garage was. Unity will not be found if Osteen refuses to allow starving, homeless families into his multi-million dollar excuse for getting a tax exemption. Rather, the mosques and the churches and the synagogues must all accept anybody who is displaced, and work together to help separated families reunite. Charities are in danger of doing the same thing, being that they can easily fall to trying to one-up the “competiton”, only to further risk lives and cause more problems for innocent people. It doesn't matter how many people they help, what matters is if they can keep those people safe from the storm. Every single group down there must put aside the behind the scenes competition and focus on the real situation they have vowed to help victims through.

On that same note, people from all walks of life have stepped in to help. Natural citizens, immigrants, tourists, practically everybody in the area who is able to has jumped in to join the rescue parties, serving food at shelters, helping people find each other, anything they can do. This here is true American behavior. All races, religions, creeds, and backgrounds coming together in the name of helping their fellow man. No matter what people in the leadership say, nobody is any better than another because of who they are. The amount of money you donate means nothing, but whether you actually mean it or you're just doing it to look good. Going and volunteering to serve food to those in need can mean just as much as transferring a fraction of your fortune. For example, in the months after 9/11, voice actor Kevin Conroy decided to instead of donating some money he'd just make back later on, he went to help cook for the rescue and emergency teams at the site. And in Hurricane Harvey, many are doing just that. Regular people jumping into the water to save somebody's life, or checking people into a shelter – that is showing true patriotism.

If we want to help people, especially in times of crisis like this, we cannot let ourselves be petty and find someone to blame or just assume a couple of bucks is good enough to be considered a “charitable” person. We must come together and aid our fellow human beings, however we can. Obviously we can't all be down in Houston helping people out of the water or to a shelter, but we can at least stand together and work to making the country strong enough to support those who have lost everything. Patriotism isn't just waving a flag around and buying those yellow ribbon magnets for your car, it's also stepping up to help out your neighbor when they need it most. That's real unity, and if we can just get a little more of that, we might just end up being better off.

Cover Image Credit: Joe Raedle

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A Letter To The Tomboy I Used To Be

To that girl with the baseball hat, board shorts, and grass stains, thank you.

To the tomboy I used to be,

Thank you so much for making me the strong, beautiful, determined, and badass girl I am today. I am proud of who you've become. It is because of you that I can stand on my own two feet. It is because of you that I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

You were never easy to deal with. Mom and Dad had a lot to handle growing up. It was Dad who had to fight for you to be able to play boys' baseball. It was Mom who had to stand up to the boys that were mean to you for playing a boys' sport. It was both of them who had to cart you around to all of your games and practices, because playing one sport a season was just not enough. It was Mom who had to wash your clothes endless times, because the grass and dirt stains would never come out the first time. Don't ever forget who helped you become who you are.

Your attitude and thought process is very different from that of most girls. You grew up dealing with your problems through wrestling or fighting. Pettiness was not something you could deal with. Your anger came from losing a game, not drama with girls. You didn't understand why girls fought, or were so mean to each other, and to this day, you still don't understand it. You are different. You aren't like most girls by any means, which can be difficult for you, even now. You are so much tougher. You think differently. You are determined.

I love who you turned into. You are so strong; you handle everything with such passion and grit, that I can't help but thank you. Thank you for pushing yourself, and for not letting anything or anyone get in your way. The boys were mean sometimes, and the girls talked about you, but that never fazed you. That chip on your shoulder only made you strive even harder for greatness.

Thank you for making me unique. Thank you for making me extraordinary. Thank you for making me, me.



Cover Image Credit: tumblr

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If You're Against Abortion, Here's What You Should Do About It

There's more you can-- and should-- do than picket outside Planned Parenthood


Upon the recent passing of a law that permits late-term abortions, I have seen many of my friends cry out uproariously that our country is fallen and has forsaken God. While you could probably argue this point with other examples, I don't think that this particular one serves as proof of our current state. Let me first explain to you what this law really is about and then encourage you to take other actions to lower the abortion rate.

Now in case you're not familiar, New York recently passed a law allowing abortions during the third trimester of pregnancy. What I think a lot of people have still yet to realize is that this is only allowed in the case that the fetus is not likely to live once outside the womb or the birth will be of danger to the mother. So one more time for those who still might be confused, abortion doctors are not just taking babies out of the womb and killing them a day before birth because the mother decided she didn't want it anymore. This is to save lives and prevent pain and suffering.

I know many think that aborting a terminal fetus before birth still counts as murder, but let me equate it, instead, to ending life support for a loved one who is brain-dead. In many cases, these children are experiencing pain inside the womb only to be followed by more pain shortly before death once born. Parents that are choosing to abort their pregnancies in the third trimester for these reasons are devastated and only trying to end a child's suffering, often at the expense of their own.

Hopefully, I have convinced you that not all abortions are just being used as a form of contraception and that there are many painful stories about the necessity of abortion for a mother. What can you do to lower these rates though? Well, I might add that making abortion legal probably isn't going to do the trick. While you might want to close your ears to this information, women who want an abortion are probably going to get one whether it's legal or not. Many anti-abortion individuals happen to be the same individuals that are anti-gun control with the argument that illegal guns will be procured no matter the laws. Might I turn your eye than to the case of abortion and the fact that people will probably always do what they want to do. Anyhow, let me get off of my soapbox and actually provide some information.

If you're really in it to lower abortion rates, walking outside of Planned Parenthood with a sign, shaming the women who enter probably isn't going to do the trick. First of all, Planned Parenthood does more than just provide abortions, so you may be scaring/shaming a woman who just wants access to healthcare for her pregnancy out of seeking help at all. What you can do, however, is push for your local schools to teach real sex education and not abstinence-only contraception. Yeah, scary pictures of STD's might do the trick for a while, but as we've previously discussed, people are probably going to do what they want to do regardless of what you tell them. We need to be teaching our young people how to have safe sex, and just be teaching them about sex in general. I know that the thought of your teenager having sex probably scares the crap out of you but, if they're going to do it anyway, don't you want them to be safe?

Another thing that you can do to lower the rate of abortion is to call for easier access to birth control for women. When they can easily and affordably access safe methods of contraception, there are bound to be less unwanted pregnancies. The United States needs to not only be educating its youth about all aspects of sex, but it needs to be making it as easy as possible for them to be SAFE about it. It may not be your first preference for young people to be having sex, but if they're going to do it anyway, we need to ensure that they feel comfortable taking the countermeasures to be safe about it.

The last point I'd like to make before I finish up is that even if you think that abortion is morally wrong, it's not your choice to make whether or not another individual decides to get one. Many times this decision is going to be a painful one for the mother, especially if she knows that her child will not survive outside the womb. There is no reason to make this process more painful for her, or even dangerous by illegalizing it. We need to be supporting mothers and not shaming them for whatever decision they decide to make.

If you're anti-abortion, that doesn't mean you have to be anti-choice. If you would choose not to get one, that's totally fine and I understand that, but it's important to look at the bigger picture and ensure both the physical and mental health of our women who are probably already going through a lot. Now is not the time to tear others down for their choices. Now is the time for the human race to stand together and support each other and make sure that our country is a safe one to live in regardless of your beliefs.

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