Writing, The Web, And Me

Writing, The Web, And Me

How the internet has impacted my life--and how important it is to maintain it for the future.

I don’t remember exactly when I first put my hands on a book. Obviously, it was when I was a little girl, seeing that I now read today. My parents would frequently take me to the library, let me check out a few books, and then have me read them. Initially, I would read them out loud, before learning the skill of absorbing all the information silently, without taking two seconds to read two pages or two hours.

A few years later, I began to write. I started out with poetry, which got published in my elementary school magazine. It expanded more into a novel and a flood of poems, followed by short stories, drafts of a play, and articles. From when I was nine years old, I would keep a diary about my daily musings and try to incorporate creative aspects into it. Even when my writing is confined to writing research papers for class, I did continue to write, albeit as a way get high grades.

Combined, it forms a major part of my identity.

However, the internet also makes a major part of me.

My first computer ran on Windows 98—I don’t remember what brand it was, but it was one of the larger, beige computers with boxy monitors and keyboards with larger keys. I remember going to America Online to play makeover games, and having my parents tell me when to get off because they needed to talk to somebody on the phone. I also remember discovering YouTube for the first time—and opening a Pandora’s Box I have yet to completely close. And articles—I read them for research and to discuss in my politics classes, but now I read them for information and leave them for later…only to never read them.

For a while, I never learned about the concept of “net neutrality”—a pinpoint issue lost among other pinpoint issues. I do not know how I learned this term, but once I realized it’s meaning, in which cable companies couldn’t make people pay more to garner more access to certain websites, I knew it was serious.

I do not understand why the FCC would put this issue on the vote, and then eventually vote 3-2 on mostly partisan lines to repeal these rules. Assuming that corporations have taken the reign of policy, it may be to their benefit—and their benefit alone.

Yet on the day of the vote, I found a hope spot: if a simple minority in Congress turns against this ruling, they could nullify the FCC’s decision.

And that’s where I started calling.

The relevancy of both personal and political narratives intertwines here: one day, I would like to publish my works and share them across the world. Whether as a freelance poet or a journalist, a professional author or a researcher at a think tank, I want at least some of my writing to appear digitally. Without net neutrality, I may not be able to share as much as I would like.

The same could be said with almost everyone else who is at the mercy of the internet—while a good library is invaluable, one could have the entire contents of it in the palm of their hand. And that’s what’s important when going through this week.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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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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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.


Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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