Wake Up America

Wake Up America

Maybe the freedom we're all so proud of isn't what freedom really means.

Today, I actually decided to turn towards the recent happenings in the United States. I am not a fan of the news because it's usually all so negative, but as I was talking with a friend on the phone today, my heart just felt heavy for our country that we call home.

America is hurting. As a government. As a culture. As people. This is incredibly evident, even in small towns all the way up to the big cities. America is HURTING. Well, what's there to do about it? The problem with America is where our roots are. Well, from what our constitution says, what is said in (most) of our schools, and what is even printed on our currency, we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD.

But lately, we aren't acting like it. We live in a country where we are supposed to be ourselves, do whatever, and live out freedom. We are free to speak our minds, say whatever we want on our facebook page, and hold up signs in the street. We make demands. We criticize. We do all of these things that so evidently point to the fact that we have not been acting like one nation. One nation is people of different color, attitude, hobbies, income, and personality putting aside their differences for a greater purpose—for unity.

There are times that I feel as if we are the land of the free, home of the brave, and one nation under God until we decide that's too much to give up for our country. Freedom isn't fighting the government. Freedom isn't a double standard. Freedom isn't doing whatever you want because that's what your society stands for. Freedom isn't capable without some sort of unison. The idea that America has for freedom is selfish, but the freedom that God has intended for this country is not the freedom we've been living out. The freedom that our troops so valiantly fight for is not the freedom we display here.

The irony of the whole situation is that we are literally at war with another country, yet we seem to be fighting another war between ourselves. Yes, I am for world peace. Yes, I support the idea of a world that is perfect—the world God intended, but I think that all starts with America as a whole. How can we expect a whole world to come together if you're screaming at your neighbor every five seconds? What's it going to take for us to come together, America? Because we live in a country who remembers the darkest day a little over 15 years ago. We live in a country who was shaken and stirred and beautifully broken for one another that day. But that's not what it should take to get our country back together.

The simple truth of the matter is the White House isn't going to fix everything regardless of the person put in charge. Change starts with you. Change starts with the way you love people. Change starts with putting aside your social differences and loving people just because. I love this country. I love the people in it. I have faith that this country can get to a point where we truly are "One Nation Under God", but it's time for you to get out there and love people well. Do the best you can for our country. Do the best you can for the Kingdom of God. I think we owe it to the stars, stripes, and Savior to cherish our country and the people in it and to truly become who America can be.

Cover Image Credit: TravelwithVal.com

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Why You Shouldn’t Go To Coachella

Where is your money actually going?


Coachella weekend just passed, and as my Instagram flooded with pictures of celebrities, YouTubers, and influencers in eccentric outfits, I wondered where the money is actually going to?

This year, Ariana Grande headlined the festival grossing the festival over hundreds of millions of dollars. During her performance, she displayed the rainbow flag in support of the LGBTQ community. Doing this earned her praise from not only her fans but festival goers as well. However, some had to criticize Grande since she was still headlining at a festival owned by an anti-LGBTQ founder.

A few years ago, The Washington Post revealed in a 2016 report on America's "Enemies of Equality", secrets about the Coachella founder, Phillip Anschutz, who is also the owner of the entertainment conglomerate AEG. The Freedom for All Americans campaign reported that Anschutz, one of the richest people in America with a net worth of $12.9 billion, gave large sums of money to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation, and the Family Research Council.

The National Christian Foundation funds several groups who aggressively working to chip away at the equal rights of LGBT Americans. The Family Research Council explicitly states on its website that it "believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large". It has been deemed an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Ian Silverii, the executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, says that "Phil Anschutz's extensive influence in Colorado politics has been known for years, but the degree of his support for anti-LGBTQ groups that fund extremist hate groups like Gordon Kligenschmitt's 'Pray in Jesus Name' is shocking." He goes on to say that "Anschutz is on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history." Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental organization, notes that media companies owned by Anschutz are in the denial of climate science and the promotion of climate change skepticism.

Anschutz has released a statement addressing the claims against him insisting that the recent "claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news-it is all garbage." He continued to say that "I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation."

Fans are left in a moral grey area between choosing to boycott Coachella or go see performers like Ariana Grande, Tame Impala, and Billie Eilish. Even if the line-up is amazing, is it worth giving thousands to support a festival whose owner donates to anti-LGBTQ charities?

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