Why I Can't Stop Thinking About Obama's Farewell Address

Why I Can't Stop Thinking About Obama's Farewell Address

Pres. Obama shared some inspiring ideals about our country.

Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama delivered his final address to the nation as its leader. Now, I am not here to talk politics. There is plenty of that being done in the media nowadays, anyway. I am not here to argue for or against Obama's presidency either. I simply want to share my thoughts on the topics that he covered in that hour long speech that I watched and admired.

He began by talking about his search for purpose in life, which is something that we can all relate to. He then spoke about America as an experiment. This description is truer now than ever before. So many variables have changed, and so many people believe they have the best theory of how to deal with those changes. Sometimes those ideas work, and sometimes they don't. But it is the effort and actions taken by ordinary people who are trying to be the good that they want to see in the world that gives us a fighting chance even in the scariest of situations. President Obama then spoke about the very pressing topic of next week's transfer of power, saying that his administration is doing everything it can to keep it peaceful. No matter your opinion of the current of future president, I admire Obama for attempting to remind the citizens of this country to keep in mind one of it's most special qualities.

Solidarity, the President said, is necessary in a democracy. It calls the people to put some of their individual ideals and desires aside in order to help move things along and fight for a greater good. Reminding the nation of the necessary compromises that need to be made is pivotal, especially in this political climate. Anyone who watched this speech should take this fact to heart. We all take in the information that we have at the time and formulate a response that works best at the given moment, and should not be afraid to adjust that as times change. Most importantly, as President Obama said, "There are no quick fixes."

Of course, a speech on the state of the country would not be complete without addressing the differing views on racial diversity. While he did speak about affects on things such as the economy and education, the part that struck me the most was when he proceeded to quote one of my favorite literary characters, Atticus Finch. Laws will not be enough, as we have known for a long time. As Atticus said, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." Most importantly, our nation is made stronger by diversity, as I have come to know in the past few months. Having different perspectives and different beliefs surrounding you is so interesting because you learn to accept and empathize with other's positions and struggles, something I believe can make the world a better place.

The President ended his speech on a very optimistic note, something that has been uncommon in the world for a while. He spoke about the people that he has encountered who are unselfish. This was my favorite part because he was recognizing the good that is still in the world during a time in which most of the news that you see is so vicious and pessimistic. I hope that those who have seen this speech (if you haven't, seriously, it's worth watching just for when he talks about the Michelle) will take a moment to put political views aside and think about the openness and diversity that has always strengthened not only our characters, but our countries as well.

Cover Image Credit: UPI

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Massacre In Gaza As US Embassy Moves To Jerusalem

The Israeli Defense Force slaughtered more than 100, wounded more than 12,000 unarmed protesters at Gaza fence protest against the new and provocative US Embassy in Jerusalem.

In the most shocking and deadly escalation of violence since 2014, the Israeli Defense Force fired upon unarmed protesters at the razor wire fence dividing the Gaza Strip from Israel. More than 100 Palestinians were murdered in total during the weeks of protesting, with some 12,300 wounded. More than half of these deaths occurred on Monday, the 14th when a total of 58 Palestinians, including children and an eight-month-old baby, were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. Israeli officials claim that they were targeting Hamas; however, Israeli Brigadier-General Zvika Fogel confirmed that Israeli snipers were ordered to fire upon children.

Medics on the ground claim Israeli snipers are using butterfly bullets, an explosive round which causes major damage to tissue and born and results in severe internal bleeding. Many of the wounded protesters, mostly children, have had limbs amputated. Many have died after only a single shot. Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza's health ministry spokesman. said: "Normally, a regular bullet breaks the leg. But these bullets create massive wounds, indicating that an explosion happened inside the body. It's an expanding bullet. It pulverizes the leg, and the leg gets cut off." He went on to describe that, when victims are hit, "all of their internal organs were totally destroyed, pulverized."

Left: Butterfly bullet Right: Abdel Rahman Nawfal, 12 in a West Bank hospital after being struck by an Israeli sniper equipped with butterfly bullets | Photos: Jamal Naim

The protests are in response to the United States moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Both Palestinians and Israel claim Jerusalem as their rightful capital. The move was intentionally provocative. The day of the opening ceremony was on May 14, a day Palestinians know as Nakba (English: the Catastrophe). Nakba commemorates the beginning of an ethnic cleansing campaign against Palestinians when Israeli forces pushed over 700,000 Palestinians out of their homes on May 14, 1948. The ceremony could have easily been put off to May 18, Israeli Independence Day. However, the more insulting and provocative day was chosen seemingly for no other reason than to insult Palestinians and further deny and downplay the genocide perpetrated against them by the Zionist colonizers.

The opening ceremony was, essentially, an invitation-only Trump rally. Those in attendance included right-wing Israeli politicians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, and Orthodox Jews and Christian evangelicals who had previously compared Trump to Cyprus the Great. Even the banners were paid for by Friends of Zion, a far-right evangelical Zionist group.

Palestinians, Jews, and even some who have supported Israel in the past were united in their condemnation of the incredibly violence against unarmed protesters by Israel. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'd al-Hussein announced that he would be stepping down from his position due to what he called the "chilling indifference" from the European Union towards Palestine, as well as the Syria refugee crisis and has decried US foreign policy which he described as "grossly irresponsible", especially under President Trump. As the United Nations prepares to vote on whether or not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Netanyahu, apparently anticipating defeat, called the UN a "house of lies." Trump has been threatening to cut funding to members states which oppose the move and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has sent letters, warning that the US will be "taking names" of those who have and continue to oppose Zionist expansion and aggression in Palestine.

This bullying and name calling shows how desperate the US and Israel are. Clearly, they do not expect to win this one. Rather than attempting anything even resembling diplomatic normalcy, they will stick to their tried and true method of giving threats and throwing tantrums while committing genocide with impunity.

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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