What's "American?"

What's "American?"

I'm on the pursuit of happiness after this election.
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When I found out Donald Trump was running for president, I was sitting in the waiting room of a doctors office with my mom and brother. Everyone in the office was suddenly glued to the television; everyone was in disbelief—my brother and I thought it was a joke at first ourselves.

The vulgarity of his message, his demeaning vocabulary and his claims that a certain group of people are to blame for every little thing that is "wrong with America," made me want to gouge out my eyeballs. I would never have believed that a little over a year later he would win the election. I still cannot believe it. Why? Because this man is disrespectful, racist, sexist, Islamophobic, xenophobic and frankly, just not experienced enough to run this country.

After election night, my literature instructor actually scrapped her lesson plan for the next class. Instead, she spoke to us about how we felt and showed us a visual representation of Langston Hughes' poem "Theme for English B." The one quote from that poem I want Americans to listen to is this:

"You are white—

yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.

That’s American.

Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.

Nor do I often want to be a part of you.

But we are, that’s true!"

How can a poem from 1951 relate so well to what is happening now? The United States boasts about being a "melting pot" of diversity—we don't even have a national, official language. What makes this country so diverse is "the American Dream." When that term started floating around, it was non-exclusive. Anyone can seek the American Dream—as citizens it is our right to be able to pursue our happiness. So, why are we trying to take that dream away from people now? Why are we letting the two-party system tear us apart as a country?

Now, more than ever, we need to be united. We need to be able to stand up and preserve that dream—the dream of being successful one day. We have to look at ourselves and realize that even through all the violence and anger that is going on throughout the country, we are all the same. Regardless of race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, citizenship status and disability, we are all American.

We need to stand up for each other and recognize that everyone who lives in this country should feel safe no matter what they do. This means that you need to get over your white privilege and realize that the people you are "so terrified" of, are actually scared of you and are no threat to you. As citizens, we need to stop using race and religion as something negative to sway the public opinion. We cannot take the actions of some and attribute those traits to the whole community of people. As humans, we need to embrace one another and realize that we all just want to be equal. We all deserve to be equal. You may not like that, but it's true. That's American.

Cover Image Credit: UrbanMilwaukee

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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We Can't Get Rid Of All Our Guns, But We Can Regulate Bullets

We won't take away all your guns. We'll just make sure the things that do the killing - the bullets - won't get into the hands of the wrong people.

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Nearly 400 million civilian-owned firearms are in the United States, and the gun debate is more prevalent than ever.

The question we always hear is whether or not we should be further regulating our firearms. What is often left all too forgotten, is that it's the bullets that do the killing, not the guns.

Regulating the sales of guns themselves is, of course, very important. However, with so many guns already in the possession of Americans, regulating the sale of guns themselves can only do so much.

Bullets differ in weight and velocity, but many can shatter bones and leave gaping wounds. They are obviously extremely destructive, but they are as easy to purchase as a pack of gum in many states. In these states, large retailers are selling bullets, and bullets can also be bought online. No questions asked.

In 2013 it was reported that about 10 billion rounds are produced in the U.S. every year, however, there are far fewer producers of this ammunition than there are producers of firearms, making the ammunition industry easier to regulate.

The idea of regulating bullets is not only doable, but it is far more likely that it will gain support from Americans then would banning all guns. The Gun Control Act of 1968 required all retailers to log ammunition sales and prohibited all mail-order purchases, however, this was lifted by President Reagan.

Today, it would be very possible to implement similar regulations. Strict control of the production and sale of outwardly dangerous bullets would be simple with the use of technology and due to the fewer number of producers of bullets than of firearms.

In states like Massachusetts and New Jersey, it is required that you have a license or permit to purchase bullets. This is a common-sense law that should, and can, be enacted nationwide.

We have two extremes to this gun debate; banning all guns or keeping what people see as our Second Amendment right.

Debates, protests, and fighting over this topic has gotten us little to nowhere. Yet, what we keep forgetting is that we all can agree on something; we all just want to feel safe and protected.

Common sense control of bullets is a sort of middle ground that reminds us as Americans that what we need the most is safety in our country, while also feeling like our rights have not been infringed upon.

We won't take away all your guns. We'll just make sure the things that do the killing - the bullets - won't get into the hands of the wrong people.

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