she believes she can, so she will

To say that our country has been feeling some “mixed feelings” in the past couple of days would be a huge understatement, and I know most people just want to move on with their lives. But here’s an issue that’s been bothering me for the past couple of days, and really, the entire election cycle, that I feel like I should really talk about: women’s status in society.

First off, let me preface everything by saying that I voted for Hillary Clinton not because she is a female, but because she was the most qualified candidate — male or female — on that ballot.

Second, I will say this: Hillary Clinton undeniably suffered at the hand of the underlying, sometime-subtle-othertimes-very-explicit sexism of our nation.

Of course, there are people who will immediately tell me that it’s not because she’s a woman. That it’s because her platforms and ideals don’t align with them, or that they just can’t stand another career politician. Certainly, I get that  — I mean, that’s how politics works — but this election cycle saw a slew of outside and unnecessary factors and bias that haven’t contributed to any other previous election and would not have happened if Hillary Clinton was male. Here’s why:

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never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it

This election cycle is finally over, and though I thought I would be saying I was glad it was over, now I’m not sure I can’t even say that.

I’m incredibly disappointed in the results of this election, but maybe I’m more disappointed in the fact that our country chose to elect a man who in no way is qualified to run this nation, much less fix the current state of the government. Add to that the fact that this man has said so many degrading comments to minorities, women, LGBTQ+, immigrants, Muslims — just anyone who isn’t like him, yet half of our nation allowed that to slide by.

Really, I could go on and on and on about how I feel about this, and it would be a very sad and disappointed post about how this reflects the status of America and the people in it, what this means for women in our nation, the gap between the millennial vs the older vote, etc.

But what’s happened has happened. What this tells us is that America is a very divided nation, a desperate and angry nation who is willing to do anything in order to generate change to the current system.

Like Clinton said, it is going to be painful, but we should fight to protect America’s core values of the rule of law, equal rights and freedom of worship. We also must recognize that there’s a lot of work needed to address the problems of our government and the state of the nation.

Clinton did win the popular vote, and that means that the rest of us are NOT just going to sit back and watch passively. We will not allow America to lose all that it’s gained in the past decades, and we will fight and challenge any action that threatens the very ideals of our nation. We will be optimistic and keep our heads high, because it is in the moment we begin to fear — the moment we begin to hide away in our corners — that we truly lose.

This is most certainly not the end. We must continue fighting for our values, and we must continue fighting for what we believe is right. Just remember, we are all in this together: we want the best for our country, and we are always stronger together.

In Clinton’s own words, “This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

3-day Quote Challenge (day 3): stronger than a bullet

(REPOSTING BECAUSE TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE. PLEASE, GO VOTE BECAUSE YOU MATTER, AND YOUR VOTE MATTERS TOO.)

I’ve finally gotten around to the third and final quote for the challenge, and I’m going to use this last quote as an opportunity to reiterate how much this upcoming election  means to YOU and ME. Heck, the whole world is watching this election, so for those of us who can vote come November 8th, I present you with this quote:

Just because you do not take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean politics doesn’t take an interest in you. – Pericles 

Voter fatigue is real, and I entirely understand. When your entire news feed and sources for media are inundated with politics, and in particular, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, you get frustrated.

But, now is not the time to let the frustration and fatigue get to you. This election, as you’ve probably also heard countless times before, is incredibly important — it’s probably the most transformative, influential and important election since 1980. So many important issues, even the very identity of the American people, are at stake here.

At the end of the day, I won’t tell you who to vote for, and I don’t care who you vote for. But please don’t stay at home, thinking “My vote doesn’t matter,” or “I don’t like either of the candidates.”

Because, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

So on November 8, go out and vote. Go out and exercise your unique right as an American citizen. Go out and be proud to be a part of this wonderful democracy.

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3-day Quote Challenge (day 2): live your dreams

I’m taking this 3-day quote challenge one step further for this quote. As I’m thinking about quotes that truly mean something to me, I’ve realized that a lot of it has to do with my current environment and feelings. I figured, why not build upon these quotes and tell y’all what they mean to me? So here we go, with quote number 2.

This quote is by Pearl S. Buck, an American missionary who spent almost forty years of her life in China. She later won the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.”

Nothing and no one can destroy the Chinese people. They are relentless survivors. Pearl S. Buck 

Why this quote, you ask? Well, just last week, Fox News aired a segment of Watters’ World, where host Jesse Watters visits NYC’s Chinatown to ask how they feel about the upcoming election. This was an opportunity for Watters & Fox News to gauge how Asian-Americans view both the Republican nominee and the party itself, but what the segment turned into was a blatantly racist, stereotypical and downright rude and ignorant episode that should never had made its way to TV. Heck, it never should have even happened.  (You can watch it right here.)

reliving the silk road, with camels and all!

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the eye is the mirror of the soul

I’m a pretty big proponent of journalism, free press and media in general. But, as politics grows more divisive, I’m getting to be a little peeved by the same trend in news.

Today was just a normal day, with me checking my news from the Trending section of Facebook instead of doing my homework, when I see a topic called Washington State Capitol.  There’s a section called the live feed, where anyone who posts about that particular topic can have their two seconds of input before disappearing into who-knows-where. And looking at that feed for this particular section, I see two alternating headlines:

Tea Partiers Tear Down Chinese Flag At Washington State Capitol – Huffington Post

democrat flies communist flag AT washington-state-capitol until patriots come take it Down – foxnews

I get it. I’m a journalist too. Headlines sell, political propaganda to your fellow party members sells and money and pushing your political agenda is good. (No.) But the stark contrast in these headlines really makes me want to punch the computer.

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and the real loser of the 1st 2016 presidential debate is…

The American People…

Because at this point, I’d rather vote a cat for president (my vote goes to Grumpy Cat)…

Last night, the first presidential debate was held in Hofstra University. Moderated by NBC anchor Lester Holt, the debate was…well… it was definitely something…

I was going to approach this topic in a different way: political commentators have, for some time, been saying that this debate will be catered to the undecided voters or those who usually don’t pay much attention to the politics in general, so both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be trying to gain favor with that group of voters in particular.

So, I was going to focus solely on the debate, but that turned out to be essentially impossible: between the flying lies coming out of the screen and just the absolute chaos of everything, we’ll have to consult a few fact-checkers, go back through Donald Trump’s Twitter account and remind ourselves of everything that’s happened involving these two candidates for the past year or so.

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Photo from YouTube.

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for your (and our nation’s) sake, please don’t #bernieorbust

Today, the Associated Press announced that Hillary Clinton will be the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party. And today, the Democratic party became more divided than ever.

The #bernieorbust hashtag surfaced a while back, where voters vowed to never vote for Clinton even if she became the nominee. I came across an article recently explaining (or rather, attempting to explain) why the “Bernie or Bust” movement is not based on privilege, but I just cannot agree. It addressed concerns in a question-and-answer style, so I’ll respond to those below.

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Response: 2016 State of the Union

Last night, President Obama gave his final State of the Union address, which Washington Post helped fact-check right here.

2016 is going to be a big year. It’s President Obama’s final year in office; it’s the year of campaigning and promises from almost twenty candidates vying for the presidency. And for the first time in my life, I will be able to vote as a citizen of the United State.

Onto the SOTU address. Essentially a lame duck at this point, President Obama lacks momentum, and with a Republican-controlled Congress basically just waiting for him to leave office, it’s highly unlikely that too many of his proposals will get passed; he’s too busy stopping Congress from trying to overturn everything he’s accomplished this year. Additionally, to improve the association of the current Democratic candidates, Obama instead focuses on the government’s accomplishments during his seven years as president, such as cutting unemployment rates down to 5%.

As for his plans for the future, Obama proposes to offer two-years of community college for free, something he mentioned in his address last year. Sure, nothing’s ever “free,” as my economics teacher will tell us, but certainly, by improving education of our citizens, we do in fact increase our resources — smart and innovative citizens –that will give back immensely to the economy. We want to be “the country that cures cancer,” the country that will forever remain the leader of the world, the country who will fight for its beliefs, the country of citizens who will not be controlled by corporations and banks.

Now, it’s funny to watch some of the presidential candidates tweet their reactions during the speech. Here are couple from the most active tweeter last night, Ben Carson:

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Perhaps you haven’t seen this chart yet, Mr. Carson?141119-dataorders-graphicAnd then this one:

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 11.41.29 AMNo, he didn’t every say that. This is what President Obama says: “Climate change is just one of many issues where our security is linked to the rest of the world. And that’s why the third big question we have to answer is how to keep America safe and strong without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build everywhere there’s a problem.” Why is it that America is the only country where such a large proportion of its politicians don’t believe in a problem that WILL affect our future generations? And he does talk about ISIL later on for quite a while. America is the strongest nation, he says, and we will root out these terrorists, but we cannot let fear cloud our minds. We cannot be hypocrites, for carpet-bombing cities where innocent people live is absolutely atrocious: “The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.” We need an international coalition behind us, because this is an international problem that we cannot solve by ourselves. If we want to show leadership, we need support.

But more than ever, this address emphasizes our need for a better politics. Partisanship has caused our citizens to lose their trust in the government, one that they see constantly fighting and threatening to defund itself, one entangled within blue and red ropes. Obama looks to the people –both those who agree with his policies and those who don’t — to voice their opinions, because in this country, that’s what provides the fundamental basis for our democracy. His rhetoric echoes that of when he first took office in 2008 — hope and change, except not in the form of a new president, but rather from we the people. By acknowledging the Republican Congress’s “constructive approach” to passing the budget last December, Obama refuses to allow politics to be defined by party lines, to further create chaos by claiming that “the Republicans are at fault.” [Though it did make me kind of sad to see how clear party lines were just by who stood up to clap. C’mon Speaker Ryan (and a good portion of the Republican party), not clapping when Obama talked about some of America’s greatest achievements in the past decade is sort of rude. Just saying.]

Maybe finally we’ll see the respect resurge in politics, because no, we don’t all have to agree with each other, but at least we don’t have to attack each other so loudly that we refuse to hear the other side. And perhaps the Republicans are also changing their rhetoric, for in the response (given by South Carolina governor Nikki Haley), Haley leaves us with these words that everyone can agree upon:

“We need to be honest with each other, and with ourselves: while Democrats in Washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing America today, they do not bear it alone. There is more than enough blame to go around. We as Republicans need to own that truth. We need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America’s leadership. We need to accept that we’ve played a role in how and why our government is broken. And then we need to fix it.”

Tet Offensive: Media agenda or true victory?

One of the most unpopular wars in U.S. history, the Vietnam War lasted from 1955 to 1975. The Tet Offensive was a coordinated attack launched by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces on the lunar new year holiday (also known as Tet) in 1968.  They hoped to surprise American forces by choosing this specific date and to force the Americans into negotiations to end the war by attacking major cities. The attack occurred in three phases; during the first two, the Viet Cong directly attacked urban cities, where the U.S. forces were known to be placed. However, by the last phase, the U.S. and its allies managed to take back the territory lost, keeping them Viet Cong on the defense. The Tet Offensive saw the lost of thousands of lives from both sides, and became the turning point of the war — the beginning of the end.

Now, the nature of public response and opinion showcased the clear divide between the administration & the people, the talkers & the fighters, the warhawks & the antiwar movement. The Tet Offensive only served to deepen this divide, with the media playing a major role in instigating criticism of the Johnson administration. The controversy that arose largely came from the perception of the war itself — the administration saw it as a clear victory; the public, a total disaster. Despite the U.S. reclaiming all of its territory, it may have been because of the raw reporting & images transmitted to the public (as the attacks were on major cities, where many reporters stayed) that piqued public support of the anti-war movement. But most importantly, it was the White House’s recent announcement that “victory was in sight” and the administration’s launch of the “success campaign” to convince the media and public that we were winning in Vietnam that allowed the Tet Offensive to become a symbol of the inconclusiveness, futileness and drawn-out war.

Interestingly enough, 200 U.S. colonels went to party in downtown Saigon the night of the attack, despite receiving information of the attacks almost 3 months earlier. The U.S. failed to recognize the flow of intelligence, thinking that the body count was largely in their favor & never once expecting the uprising of over 80,000 troops. That one of the main factors of the U.S.’s failure in Vietnam was largely due to entrenched beliefs, incompetence and the rejection of intel counter to their beliefs is unbelievable; the continual insistence that we were winning, even more so. As the credibility gap grew larger & larger, it finally collapsed at Tet. Still, the role that the media played at Tet — providing momentum for the anti-war movement and forcing Johnson to begin plans for withdrawal — was significant & forced the administration and U.S. army to recognize that public support & expectations were a huge part of strategic thinking.

My birthday and its significance in history: September 13

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 12.19.37 PMHistory Channel’s This Day in History made a feel a little better knowing that my birthday (September 13) held some more historical significance than just also being that One Direction member’s birthday.

This was the day that the Star-Spangled Banner was penned by Francis Scott Key (1814), the day that the Israel-Palestine peace accords was signed in 1993 and the day that George Wallace died in 1998.

Of course, the Israel-Palestine peace accords holds significant value in that it symbolizes the first major step towards peace between Israel & Palestine, but I’d like to focus on the last event, George Wallace’s death.

Wallace was born in Clio, Alabama and served as Alabama’s assistant state attorney and a judge for his early political ventures. Today, we know Wallace as the extremely racist governor of Alabama, who promised his white followers “segregation now! segregation tomorrow! segregation forever!” and attempted to block the enrollment of African-American students at the University of Alabama. But interestingly enough, Wallace’s first bid for the gubernatorial seat was endorsed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He lost that bid by a wide margin, and four years later, returned again as an impassioned segregationist to win in a landslide.

To those who opposed segregation, and even to the general public today, Wallace was the embodiment of intolerance, racism and prejudice; to his supporters, a hero and protector. But  was it all a calculated move to cater towards the people of Alabama so that he could win their votes? And if so, why would he continue to later become the national spokesperson and advocate for segregation and resistance to the civil rights movement?

In 1972, Wallace was shot by Arthur Bremer while he was on his 3rd presidential campaign. Since that day, he became permanently paralyzed from the waist down and in another interesting turn of events, started contacting civil rights leaders he had so forcibly opposed in the past and asked for their forgiveness. Wallace later gained the political support of Alabama’s large African American electorate and once again was elected Alabama governor with their support. In the next four years, Wallace appointed more African American figures to political offices than any other person in Alabamian history. {I’m going off on a tangent here, since I may have been reading too many Foster chapters in one weekend, but Wallace’s life reminds me of the “Concerning Violence” chapter, in which the violence (Waller’s permanent paralysis after being shot)  symbolizes a psychological crisis and change in a person (almost like when the grandmother realizes her mistakes right before she is shot three times in the chest in O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”)}

On September 13, 1998 (I’ve always seen him as a distant figure of the past, but it’s interesting to realize that the Civil Rights movement has only been a few decades ago and that many of its figures are still alive or were alive when I was born…), Wallace passed away as a symbol for segregation after fading from the national stage. Before his death, he told the people of Alabama, “I’ve climbed my last political mountain, but there are still some personal hills I must climb. But for now, I must pass the rope and the pick to another climber and say climb on, climb on to higher heights. Climb on ’til you reach the very peak. Then look back and wave at me. I, too, will still be climbing.” I’m not at all condoning his ideas of segregation or his blatant racial prejudice during his time as governor or suggesting that he should be hailed as a hero of the Civil Rights movement, but I find it just a bit unfortunate that we were not able to learn about this during school, that Wallace — so stubborn, conservative and biased — later came to understand the importance of equality of all races, because we, as students, can certainly learn from that a few things about racism, human nature and of course, that nothing in history is ever just black or white.