What's On My Writing Desk?

What's On My Writing Desk?

There won't be any photos, because that would be a cop-out.

I sit at an antique, patinaed wood desk that my great-grandfather used once upon a time. It has served me well as a writing desk for the four or so years that I have had it in my room. There are many objects on my desk, but I don't think most would call it cluttered. Then again, the things on my desk mean more to me than to anyone who may see it. But speaking to that case, I won't be showing you what's on my desk in this article; I will be describing everything to you. Maybe it'll be fun.

My laptop rests slightly left and back from the center of my desk. It only leaves if I want to read something at my desk without my laptop being in the way, but that doesn't happen much. I read a good bit, just not at my desk.

To the left of my laptop, I keep four important "tools." These are all black, gray, and white, and the begin in the back-left corner of my desk and move rightward. They are: a dry-erase marker, a stapler, a tape dispenser, and a pencil sharpener. Toward the front of the desk a bit from the eraser and stapler is a ceramic figurine of Snoopy leaping off of his dog house at Charlie Brown. Even closer to the front along that plane, you'll find a hand-carved wooden sea turtle I bought in Jamaica. To the right of those items are, currently, two scraps of paper with some notes written on them, plus a bottle of Noodler's fountain pen ink, in its box. The color? General of the Armies. It's a three-ounce bottle, which will last me a very long time.

On the other side of my desk, I have a desk organizer in the back corner. In it are some markers, Wite-Out, a large eraser, some thumb tacks, small paper clips, pencil-top erasers, dry-erase markers, scissors, some pencils, and a couple of pens. Closer to the front, near the edge, I have a carved, lidded bowl from Kenya. It has some interesting patterns and an elephant decorating its surface. Inside I keep guitar picks, mandolin picks, and a tie pin. In front of the bowl I have a coaster from Disney, and beside the bowl I have a pen and a mechanical pencil with my graduation date engraved upon their metal bodies. Toward my laptop from there, there is a mouse sitting on its mousepad, which is actually just a piece of paper that I write notes on. I like hand-written notes. Above my mousepad/beside my desk organizer, from right to left are: a painted, carved wooden seahorse from Mexico, a ceramic dragon from China, a plastic Mickey Mouse from a keychain, and a pewter minute man from Massachusetts. Last but not least, back and to the left from my minute man is my latest addition to my typical desk adornments, a small ceramic vase with two different patterns split across the two pi radians of its surface. Its interior is unpatterned royal blue.

I imagine you can tell a lot about a person by what that person has on their desk. Then again, it's not nice to assume things. (Insert winky emoji here.) My desk is where I write from, the vast majority of the time, and I think it probably shapes my writing, if only in small ways. Of course, it has shaped the writing of this article in quite major ways. Quite.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Diplomacy and Revolution

Creating A Federation With The Nation’s 19,505 Cities, Towns, and Villages, And Dissolving The 50 States Of The Union; Will Prevent The United States Of America From Balkanizing As Its Empire Declines.

As it has become undeniable under the current administration of Donald Trump, the United States has entered its imperial decline as a global hegemonic force. The economic stability of the US dollar as a global currency is wavering and the military apparatus that spans the globe is starting to grind under its own contradictions as an occupying force. As these contradictions start to buckle under their own weight, the economic collapse and military retraction in the United States hegemony is an undeniable calculation. As this economic collapse occurs, the need to reorient economic priorities will be an imperative. As our global military network and apparatus starts to evolve and retract as an occupying force, it will require a new examination of what it means to provide the security of persons in the 21st-century. These questions will be placed in needed context, as external forces press the rapid advancement of these changes; as well as domestic forces trying to acclimate to this rapid transition. As we saw in the past with the Articles of Confederation in the late 18th century, the priorities of the states and their self interests and loyalty to wealth and power place the Federal Union of the United States under threat of internal instability and external pressures that will lead to an inevitable crisis unseen in the United States since the days of the Civil War. To avoid these destabilizing factors, the wise attempt to reconstruct the Federal structure of the United States must be applied.

To do this, we must recognize that our democracy is rooted in the diplomacy between various republics; forming the federation that established the Union of the United States of America under the pretext of the Constitution. Diplomacy must be re-oriented on the municipal level to deal with the shifts of modern communication and transportation advancement; so as to avoid Balkanization. We must keep in mind that Federalism, a federation, is a structure that offers the means of ensuring a formalized diplomatic structure between communities. The Iroquois Confederacy in which the United States Union was based off of focused on representation via tribes; this localized format must be present in any transitional new system. Coupled with a format of modern technological development, a federation of municipalities is perfectly plausible for the various communities throughout the entire United States thanks to current communication and transportation systems; with evolving transportation and communication systems increasing the feasibility and ease of such a networked systems.

We have (as of 2015 data) 19,505 cities, towns, and villages in the United States. As the American empire declines, the calculation that economic divisions will spark a disunity internally must be avoided at all cost via re-federalizing. It is perfectly plausible to create a federation out of the 19,505 communities using representation of each in a federal congress. We have sports stadiums that can house tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of spectators; it would be perfectly plausible create a federal congress using such scales of construction. It would also ensure management of sub regional, regional, and super-regional networks that are internal mechanisms used for unifying local and federal systems. Not only will this new federal system prevent Balkanization and disunity of the American people, it will also offer the potentiality for economic reconstruction with the emphasis on self sustainability and self-sufficiency for every community. Utilizing social contracts such as a Second Bill of Rights to provide things such as food, water, energy, infrastructure, knowledge, and productive abilities for every community and every individuals. Living up to the motto of the United States E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, One; as well as ensuring life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in the 21st-century.

Our present is not the first time that the United States has risked division, as already mentioned the Articles of Confederation brought us to the edge of a complete breakdown of the Union, which was operating as only a mere confederation at the time. The slave master rebellion of 1861 that ignited what became known as the Civil War brought the United States further to the precipice of disunity. But as the Union has shown to withstand not only internal strife and division brought on by economic stratification, we have developed a federal system that has expanded its influence around the globe. As we wise up to the foolishness of attempting to assert hegemony over the peoples of the world; we will start to recognize that the survivability of our own systems will rely on a new unifying effort. One that will require nothing less than the declaration of a new Federation of the Peoples of America; guaranteed under the Declaration of Independence and Constitution that set forth to lay the foundations of the United States today. With the same mentality of transition between the Articles of Confederation to the Federal Constitution, and with the pretext of legal declaration such as the Emancipation Proclamation; we can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the past through federalizing anew. And through a new Federation, finally creating the principles and ideals that we laid out in our past but have yet to live up to in the present; by becoming at true Union of Peoples.

Cover Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Why Journalism Matters, Now More Than Ever

In a world where "fake news" and "alternative facts" are dominating headlines, the truth can be difficult to find. It's time to fight the war on media.

Journalism used to be the public’s watchdog. In the 70’s, people were glued to the pages of The Washington Post as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate Scandal, effectively leading to President Nixon’s resignation. Hundreds of millions of people watched O.J. Simpson as he was declared not guilty of murder on live broadcast. Citizens trusted the media to be a fair, transparent entity that kept the world accountable- and most importantly, made reporting the truth the number one priority.

Now, however, the industry is a bit different. Newspapers are tossed in the trash, under the threat of “fake news.” Alternative facts are being presented as reality on broadcast television. President Donald Trump declared a war on the media, and yet in an interview with Times magazine, spoke a total of 10 falsehoods in his 30-minute interview.

It’s clear that the industry is struggling to stay afloat in the U.S., as trust levels continue to plummet. Columbia Journalism Review’s Kyle Pope wrote on the day after the 2016 election, the media’s failure to understand and accurately cover Trump’s rise to presidency was the “anti-Watergate” moment-and it shows. A poll by Gallup found that Americans’ trust in the media reached its lowest level in 2017: a dismal 32 percent.

But Americans can’t be blamed for feeling this way- as news sources become less objective and more skewed, it’s probably a good idea to take in everything you hear with a grain of salt-I know I do. Personally, it’s hard not to feel dejected and threatened, and not only as just a prospective journalist, but as a citizen of the U.S. As the war on truth goes nuclear, it seems easier to hold up a white flag in defeat and give up. However, it’s at times like these where charging on and fighting for accountability matters most. If the public can’t rely on the media to tell the truth, who can they rely on? Kellyanne Conway, with her “alternative facts?"

It's up to journalists, and all U.S. citizens, to battle “fake news”. As Lorraine E. Branham writes, truth is at war, but it’s also a journalists’ greatest ally. Truth-seeking it out, sharing it against propaganda and lies, demanding for it-is at the heart of fair reporting. It’s an integral puzzle piece of the democracy and freedom that makes America what it is today.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter in 1786, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without the danger of losing it.” When news is distorted and inaccurate, it hurts us all-not just journalists, but all Americans too, regardless of political affiliation.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to remind everyone why journalism matters; why truth matters. It’s time to stop letting misinformation shape public opinion and discourse.

So, support investigative journalism. Advocate for digital literacy. Get the news from different sources and research before forming an opinion. As for journalists, we need to further promote the basic tenants of the career: sourcing, fact checking, keeping agencies transparent and following the truth- it's more crucial than ever.

Let the president call the media “fake” and “the enemy of the people.” If being "the enemy of the people" is what it takes to keep transparency and accountability alive, then so be it. I will gladly take on that title.

So, the “war on truth" will wage on. But it’s not going down without a fight.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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