The #WalkAway LGBT Town Hall In NYC Was Productive, Not A Fascist Echo Chamber

The #WalkAway LGBT Town Hall In NYC Was Productive, Not A Fascist Echo Chamber

Even though protesters claimed otherwise, the #WalkAway LGBT Town Hall in NYC was anything but fascist.

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On Thursday, March 28, I walked down to West 51st Street and 12th Avenue for the first ever #WalkAway LGBT Town Hall. The road to this particular event was not without it's share of controversy and protests. The #WalkAway campaign was founded by Brandon Straka, a gay New Yorker who identified as Democrat his whole life. However, due to the actions of the left wing in the wake of the 2016 election, Straka decided to "walk away" and become a Republican.

When I turned eighteen, I registered to vote as an Independent. I'm still an Independent and never once decided to choose a side. I don't personally believe in labeling myself according to my beliefs. The only labels I wear are the ones that reflect aspects of myself that are beyond my control. I'm an Italian, Polish, gay man from Queens, NY. Those are the only labels I will wear and wear proudly.

So why would I want to go to such an event? After all, I'm not conservative. So what's the point? What would I get out of it? Well, I'm not a big fan of political extremism on any side. Even though I wasn't a fan of President Bush in high school, it still annoyed me when I would watch shows like "The View" and listen to those women insult him in incredibly childish and unfunny ways. The #WalkAway campaign is, in itself, a reaction to a kind of political extremism.

On one hand, it seems like Straka has gone from one extreme to the other. However, the one thing I admired about the event was the inclusivity. It wasn't just for conservatives, Republicans, or even members of the LGBT community. It was for everyone; especially those with opposing views. One of the panelists, Mike Harlow, also identifies as an Independent. I felt like this had the potential to be a productive event that would provoke positive dialogue.

I was also happy when I heard that it would be held at the LGBT Center in the West Village. The Center remains one of my favorite places in Manhattan. I thought it was great that they decided to host an event featuring political viewpoints we expect to be looked down upon. As a supporter of free speech, it made me proud The Center was being so open-minded.

Of course, they received threats and pressure from those who opposed the event. There was even a Google doc that was released trying to expose the panelists as bigots. Much of what was said in the doc was taken wildly out of context. It was clear that the end goal of these people was to have the event cancelled. The Center initially tweeted in defense of the event, saying they may not agree with certain views, but wouldn't oppose their right to say them. However, it was announced shortly afterwards the event was cancelled.

The Center says the panelists made past statements that went against their message of inclusivity. In addition to Straka, the other planned speakers were Harlow, Rob Smith, openly gay military veteran, and Blaire White, a transgender YouTuber. They all have made statements in the past that could be interpreted as not accepting the idea of identifying outside the gender binary. While I can understand how this could go against a message of inclusivity, I don't think cancelling the event was the way to go. A better method would've been to ask the panelists during the event why they felt that way and present the other side.

I believe merely cancelling people and events gets us nowhere. Ignorant people will remain ignorant and become even angrier at what they already don't understand. It also comes across as a form of censorship and that's something I'm wholeheartedly against. It didn't take long, however, before Straka found a new venue for the event. However, the exact location wasn't revealed until twenty four hours prior to the event.

Once I arrived, there was a small group of protesters across the street. They were chanting everything from "trans lives matter" to how everyone involved in the event was a fascist. The fact that Blaire White, a transgender woman, was one of the main speakers made the first chant seem incredibly ill-informed. The main part of the event was when the audience was allowed to ask the speakers questions or make comments. There were plenty of people who had disagreements with the speakers and they were allowed to speak just like everyone else. Everyone was allowed inside; whether you were LGBT, straight, liberal, conservative, etc. That doesn't sound like fascism to me.

Getting to meet Blaire White was such a cool moment.Instagram.com/theroccomichael

I was anxious to ask a question, because I wanted to be part of the discussion. I didn't want to just attend and observe. One of the things I've noticed about our discourse over the past few years is the allure of victimhood. Certain people seem to get off on the idea of being oppressed. It's appealing to them for some strange reason. We've seen it recently with the Jussie Smollett case. If you're struggling, wouldn't you want to get to a place where things are easier? It seems like some people don't want to admit to any sort of social progress being made.

My question to the speakers was why they felt people bought into this mentality. Blaire said it's because feeling sorry for yourself is easier. I can understand that. If something bad happens to you, it's oddly comforting to wallow in your misery. It takes a lot of strength to stand up, empower yourself, and move forward. Having been a fan of Blaire's channel for a while, it was great to have her answer my question. I thanked her on my way out, posed for a selfie, and told her I was a fan. She was very sweet.

All-in-all, I would say it was a very successful night. I thought the event was a great example of how every political conversation should be. Those who wanted to speak got a chance to do so. They weren't interrupted or disrespected. Everyone was civil to one another and differences of opinion weren't just welcomed, they were encouraged. Regardless of what your political views are, the #WalkAway LGBT Town Hall set an example we should all live by.

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As A Female Christian Millennial, I Fully Support Alabama's Abortion Ban Because I Know God Would, Too

A life always has worth, no matter the circumstances.

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Alabama's state legislature passed a bill on May 14, 2019 that makes it illegal for abortions to be performed past six weeks of pregnancy. Doctors who are caught violating the law could be sentenced up to 99 years in prison. The bill is the strictest anti-abortion bill to date this year as states try to pass laws to challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

While the law does allow an exception to women whose lives are at risks, it does not allow for abortions in the event of rape or incest. I support Alabama's new law, and I applaud them for their efforts to protect the rights of unborn children.

As a Christian, I believe that life is a precious gift from God and should be treated with care.

The sixth commandment is, "Thou shalt not kill," and Jesus said the second greatest rule was to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39-40). I believe this applies to every person born and unborn. But, even from a secular perspective, there are reasons that support an unborn child's right to life. Let's break down two of the most important components of the bill: abortion itself and the case of rape and incest.

A big argument in the debate is whether a baby is alive before it is born or only after it is born.

I believe can be explained and answered with simple medical science. In the medical profession, a person is pronounced dead when there is no more activity in the brain, known as brain-dead.

At that point, they consider there to be no more life in the body.

The opposite of death is life, so if you have electrical signals still coursing through your brain, then you are alive. A fetus begins to have electrical activity in its brain at six weeks. Most women do not find out they are pregnant until around that time, so by the time they decide to have an abortion, the baby, by all medical accounts, is alive.

Another indicator of whether a person is dead or dying is their pulse.

The pulse is how many times a person's heart beats per minute. If a person does not have a pulse, they will more than likely die if their heart cannot be resuscitated because no oxygen is getting to their brain.

Medical personnel does everything they can to start a person's heart back because they know that the heart is key to life.

A baby's heart begins to beat at five weeks old, again before the mother knows she is pregnant and can choose to have an abortion. Since the United States' justice system upholds that killing a person is wrong, then shouldn't killing a baby, who is alive, be wrong too? I think this is plenty of proof that aborting a baby is killing a living person and is therefore wrong.

Rape and incest are two horrible acts that should be punished. It is never the victim's or conceived a child's fault in the situation.

Given the reasons above for why abortion is wrong, I also believe, while both crimes are horrendous, that abortion is still not the answer to this problem. I do understand, however, that women, because of the traumatic experience or other reasons, may not be able to care for the child.

As such, I am an advocate for adoption.

There are many couples out there who cannot have children on their own who would love to adopt. In order, for this to be a viable option, though, Congress needs to make amendments to adoption laws.

Adoption is outrageously expensive, much more costly than an abortion, and is a long and tedious process.

Though the laws are in place so that not just anybody can adopt a child, the government still could stand to relax laws a little. Another option could be to offer aid to those who wish to adopt specifically to cover adoption expenses or to only those who meet certain requirements. If we want to protect unborn children, we must give women and families more viable options.

I know that my views are not popular, but God did not call us to be popular, He called us to be His disciples.

I will not compromise my convictions because I am in the minority. I support the women who have to face this dilemma, and I pray that they and our government officials make the right decisions and aid these women and families in need of help.

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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