Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Anxieties and Revelations

I have never truly discussed my personal feelings before especially about my anxiety. Every day of my life I would say I go through some form albeit minor form of social anxiety. It's strange. I will get up for school and feel nervous. I get butterflies in my stomach. But wait this isn't the first day of school. This is every day. Before I go into a grocery store I'm nervous. What's wrong with me? I always never could understand it. Is it some form of chemical imbalance? I try to think about it. I realize that I care too much about what people think about me, but at the same time I don't.

When I'm in class, I want to speak and participate in class so bad. However, my anxiety gets the better of me. If I do speak I make sure it's short, forgettable so no one notices. And if I begin to stutter or reveal my nervousness then forget about it. I will not speak for the rest of the semester. I can't help it. I've tried working on this and I will admit it as gotten much better. But this has been going on ever since I can first remember. Perhaps, ever since I started school. In middle school I was always the "quiet kid" then I remember in 8th grade I was the class clown. When I got to high school, I became the quiet and nerdy kid once again. I didn't mind that because I still had my friends. Although, I had very few friends who I actually hung out with outside of class. Today, I'm in college my anxiety is better and I don't think anyone even notices I'm nervous. But I am. My friends from high school all went off to college to other states and I don't really have any friends. I blame my awkwardness. I'll have acquaintances at school, but never someone to hang out with outside of class. I do have a boyfriend. Okay, lets move to the revelation part of this post.

I'm gay. I've been with two people in my whole life. Right now, I'm happy with my boyfriend. He's great. He makes me so happy. However, I can't help but wonder if I'm missing out on a life of friends. A college party or something. My boyfriend has a full-time job right now. We are both 21, but he decided to work and finish college next year. My parents are Muslim. They are good people. They used to be pretty liberal and they still are a little bit and I guess that's why I have so much free thought. I question everything. However, they are still religious. I have not told them I'm gay, but I know they would still love me if I told them. The reason I don't want to tell them is because I don't want to disappoint them. My sister got married last year and they were so happy. Hopefully, they'll get over the fact that I probably won't have the same experience. I mean I would love maybe someday getting married. Even though I hate society's idea of marriage and children, etc. I tend to wonder if my anxiety stems from me being gay and not being able to talk about it to anyone. Or is it because I live in Georgia and in most of my life I was pretty much the only non-white in the room. Well, my high school was pretty diverse and even college obviously. But I've noticed as I have gotten older that I see race more. I think because I care about what people think of me. I mean no one has treated me differently or said anything to my face. But I know what they're thinking. Sometimes I wish I could just be straight and maybe even be born in a typical American family. I feel like when I'm talking to anyone I just make sure to put a wall up to not continue the relationship because I'm afraid they don't want to be friends with me. Like I'm afraid of friend rejection. In high school I never joined a sports team or club and I wish I had. Even in college I never did, until now. I hoping things will get better.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why do we criticize the ones closest to us?

Have you ever wondered why we criticize our significant others, brothers, mothers, sons, or daughters? The main reason is that they're an extension of us. So when we see them in the real world doing something that we ourselves would not do then that automatically puts us into a scary position. 

It's almost as if anything that your loved ones do comes straight back to you. You're connected whether you want to be or not. So, it only makes sense to want to criticize these people and make them perfect in every single way just like you are right? That's where the problem lies. We become hypocritical. We focus on them more than we do ourselves. The next time you want to criticize any one just look in the mirror first.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Is patriotism wrong?



We all think that having pride for our nation and loving Americans is great. And it is too a certain degree. But when we start thinking that Americans are better then we lose credibility in terms of trustworthiness. People are people and humans are humans. It doesn’t matter if you’re American or Australian. American exceptionalism and patriotism is a problem when we forget that not everyone has the same luxuries as us. Not everyone lives like we do. 

We have to understand that America is great, but that doesn’t mean only we’re great. It doesn’t mean that we come first and everyone else comes second. I mean we should be united and work together to build a strong Pangea to thrive for years to come. Right? Am I living in some fantasy land when I say that? Not necessarily. Americans shouldn’t act like politicians and shouldn’t say America is great so screw everyone else. What everyone else does affects us. In other words, if something is happening in China or Russia directly and indirectly is affecting us whether we realize it or not.

I’m not saying our children shouldn’t take pride in their country, but they should be made aware how this nation came to be and where it came from. And how these other countries play a role in America’s existence and just cultural integration in general. Our children shouldn’t be mindlessly reciting the pledge of allegiance for America and studying American history without even thinking about it or without questioning it. 

Not saying we live in places like North Korea or a place like Nazi Germany, but that definitely doesn’t mean we don’t have propaganda. Just because our government doesn’t send us to concentration camps or enforce a totalitarian government does not mean we don’t have our fair share of propaganda and government surveillance. To think so is naïve, but some choose to remain ignorant and some are just ignorant. This is why we could have almost had Sarah Palin as vice president. We believe what we’re taught to believe unless we choose to question it and find our own answers. For that reason, I’m against patriotism, but I try not judge those who practice it because you’re just doing what you’ve been taught. My advice is to never trust anyone, but yourself which is easier said than done.

I don't mean we should take it too far though:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why being on our phones is really not a problem

No, look down.


We all know that being on our phones while driving is dangerous. So is eating while driving, changing the radio station, driving while sleep-deprived, and other non-drug/alcohol related things. We also know that using our phones while talking with others is rude, especially our children. Yet, we continue to do these things. So, I say, go ahead. Yes, I said it. It's not reverse psychology, I'm serious.

Let's get down to the basics: when we use our phones to connect with other people our brains immediately get a dose of dopamine thus controlling the pleasure centers of our brains. Each text we send, or status we post, or game we play releases a continuous amount of dopamine one small dose at a time. This isn't a bad thing per se. However, it's about moderation. The average person is not going to ignore their child for their phones or ignore their phones for their friends because it's not possible. Most of the time we use our phone because of these people. If we allow ourselves to embrace technology for what it is than we're not losing precious time with our loved ones, but we are merely amplifying. I hope you enjoyed my contradictory post, and just get the fuck off your phones.


Why parents are the ones too distracted by their devices



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Internet censorship and feminism quickie

"Dissident bloggers can be arrested, blogs can be shut down, but they are like wild grass with deep roots that can't be dug up," she wrote in a posting on the blog on Tuesday. "The government cannot control information on the Internet, because no one can control the thoughts of other people."

From: Al Jazeera Article

 

If the above quote isn't ironic then I don't know what the definition of ironic is. We all know I already contradict myself and I'm a hypocrite. What a coincidence. Or how ironic? I'm not sure, but you get the picture.



In other news, Shailene Woodley speaks about why she's not a feminist. I think I agree with her that we should have balance and neither have a patriarchy nor matriarchy. But can we really get there if we've never really had women at the top or equal like ever? Even to this day. We need to have a matriarchy first for a little while at least to make up for all the sexism in history. I mean that's just like the rules of feminism. I can't wait for the next lesbian Muslim Latino transgendered president of the United States because that would just solve all our problems.

TIME Article

Monday, May 5, 2014

Atlanta sex trafficking, Armenian genocide, and you.



20 voices the Turkish government could not silence

I live near Atlanta, Georgia. Certain problems that exist in this community are unspeakably horrible. There are sex trafficking victims and a high rate of crime that is rampant specifically in downtown Atlanta. I feel it is important to be aware of politics not just locally, but universally because in the long run it is bound to affect everyone. I wish for people to learn beyond school and college because learning is honestly about yourself. If you choose to understand what is going on in the world around you and how it affects you and how you can change it, then I feel that is much more beneficial for future generations. Speaking about this issue in my community about sex trafficking, most people do not know what is happening. Yet we have some volunteer services who educate people about the situation such as Innocence Atlanta. 

The people who participate in sex trafficking are our brothers, fathers, and coworkers. They are teachers, pastors, politicians, and artists. According to the Innocence Atlanta website, "Vulnerable individuals are coerced into sex slavery in trafficking rings throughout the Atlanta area and are forced on a daily basis to perform sexual acts. The harsh truth remains that every two minutes a child is sold as a sex slave. At young ages, children are victimized and exploited, sold into prostitution at the hands of ruthless pimps and traffickers." I feel it is important to to spread the word so more can be done to end this problem.
Before we look at the politics of foreign nations such as Syria and Afghanistan we should look in our own backyards as well. Not to say that these political issues do not involve us because they do. However, there are certain issues of today that could be simply resolved if people were not distorted by their own selfish ideologies. The stories which deserve to be shared are the ones from the people who struggle each and every day. 

The people who suffer from social anxiety, discrimination due to race, sexual orientation, and culture. People who are abused by their family members. The ones who are bullied in school. The underdogs.The stories that teach others the value and meaning of life. There is a specific story of a woman named Berjouhe Tutuian. People always assume things like genocide could never happen to them. 
That's what the survivors of genocide say as well. She was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. After the Ottoman empire sent Tutuian's family a letter that they will be deported to a much safer region due to the war, her life was never the same again. She remembers starving constantly. Because she was too young to understand what was happening Tutuian remembers the events as less threatening than they actually were. Her father was forced to join the Turkish army and was killed sometime in 1915. Unfortunately, there are worse stories than Tutuian's and they are similar to Holocaust stories.
I believe that listening to others speak about their philosophies, experiences, and skills are productive for yourself. As technology is increasing and improving, I hope to learn about how it is going to affect society in the future, positively and negatively. I am most passionate about contemporary political issues that are happening our world today and what we can do about those issues other than just spread the news. I enjoy writing about political issues that most people do not really like to discuss such as same-sex marriage, sex trafficking, pedophilia, and rape. Once again, I also like discussing how technology is improving medicines and surgical equipment, but also limiting us by making us lazy and destroying our natural hunter-gatherer lifestyle. It's fascinating to see how far society has grown just in terms of technology. 
People who talk to others without staring  at their computer or cell phone screens are what’s improving society. This leads to actually having engaging, intellectual conversations with others who share similar interests. Maybe one day, I’ll get maybe someone share my thoughts with and I look forwards to reading theirs.  

The Reality of Political Movements



            In the article titled, “Does the Tea Party movement represent another great awakening?” by Glenn Harlan Reynolds and Joseph Lowndes, both professors make several points regarding the reality of the Tea Party movement. Firstly, the Tea Party Movement is a political, religious, and racially motivated movement, despite the fact that Reynolds mentions the contrary. The Tea Party’s own website indicates their sole beliefs lie with Judeo-Christian values (Eichler 2014). They also believe gun ownership is sacred and that abortion should be outlawed. The Tea Party movement, named after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, was first created for people angered by government bailouts, increased deficits, and increased taxes. It was designed for people who did not like what the two major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, were doing about the federal budget and taxes. The Democrats believe the federal government should help with local issues such as initiate poverty programs and other forms of public assistance. However, the Republicans advocate less government involvement in local issues and want to lower taxes; their stances on policy are similar to the ideology of the Tea Party movement.
 Bipartisanship is not an answer for supporters of the Tea Party movement. However, individuals such as Christine O’Donnell and Glenn Beck strongly support the Tea Party movement and advocate certain social issues specifically on the Fox News Network, but the main purpose of the Tea Party movement is to focus on less government involvement in regards to businesses and less government spending. Political movements always create an ideology in order to get what they want and these can be good or bad and prominent political figures can have a vast influence on these ideologies. A political leader should use their ideology for the good of his or her people and when they don’t use it for good, a political movement is necessary in order to restore balance in government.
The Tea Party is mostly supported by conservative GOP politicians and apparently both parties have similar views in regards to social issues and foreign policy. According to Lowdnes, “a significant percentage of tea partiers appear to be in their 60s or older- placing them in the generation that expressed the most negative reaction to the advances of the civil rights movement.” The latest research also shows that most Fox News viewers are in their 60s (Thompson 2014). Although this fact doesn’t necessarily conclude correlation equals causation, many tea party advocates appear to have similar views as far right-winged Republicans. Former presidential candidates Michelle Bachmann, who has been dubbed the “Queen of the Tea Party” and Sarah Palin have had several interviews discussing their views on foreign affairs and other social issues. There are countless examples of blatant unawareness on foreign policy and on basic scientific common knowledge. Bachmann claimed HPV vaccines caused mental retardation (Weiner 2011). The Tea Party movement supposedly advocates for less government involvement and the reduction of the national debt, but most tea party politicians have a not so hidden bigoted agenda.
Modern political movements in the United States recently have been mostly about protests against economic inequality, specifically the Occupy Wall Street movement. Many protests have been similar in other countries like Turkey, Venezuela, and Spain. However, these protests involved standing against tyranny, protesting their right to free speech and standing up for their basic human rights.’ Some protests involved standing up against religious dominated oppression like in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and many other nations. The Arab Spring was a contributing force in ending civil war and authoritarianism in Middle Eastern nations. These protests have not ended to this day. In regards to Occupy Wall Street, after a while people in many states in America decided to follow suit and many citizens protested in their major cities. Some criticized the authenticity of the protests and if people knew what they were protesting about. Many young college students started protesting, but didn’t understand the consequences of their actions.
The New York City police brutality that took place during the Occupy Wall Street movement was not the only police department to have issues. Across the nation people were fed up with the one percent having control of the wealth and preventing money from being redistributed to them. The problem was the fact that many Congressmen and other influential politicians were part of the one percent. These politicians kept the one percent wealthy while the bottom 40% of Americans barely had any effect on where the money went. This resulted in policy being corrupted and the balance in government became corrupted and this made the public question the government’s validity which eventually resulted in political movements and in certain countries it called for regime change.
In Turkey, the President, Abdullah Gül has banned social media like YouTube and Twitter which has caused an immediate uproar. The internet censorship is the least of their concerns after Turkey’s involvement with the war in Syria and the police arresting thousands of protestors which involved excessive use of force and violence. These situations will result in negative consequences for the future of the country and it will inevitably fall. When political leaders use their power negatively, the people always want to protest in order to get resolve. In the most extreme cases like North Korea, the government has already taken over everything. The people in North Korea have been brainwashed over generations and most can never escape. There is no more humanity when it comes to that point. A political movement becomes difficult in a situation like this, but a possibility arises when other nations get involved. Although not ideal, a country can be overthrown through the use of force when the country is violating basic human rights. This conquer can only be accomplished through an ideological change or political movement.
Every regime which doesn’t help its people with the minimum of basic human rights has collapsed eventually. This collapse is due to political movements in the form of protests and war. In the article, “Occupy the World: The Emergence of an International Movement” it concludes, "Throughout history social movements have been the initiator of social change [whether good or bad]. What stemmed from a crisis, which started to make daily life unbearable [was] followed by a distrust against political institutions. The protestors of Tahrir, Barcelona or New York, went on 2011 to the streets to make their demands visible, to change the system or even change the ruler” (Akbaba 33).
During World War II, the United States had to go up against Adolf Hitler, but today we have to go up against Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, Hamid Karzai, and many others. However, the political leaders aren’t the only ones with power. When political movements get out of hand we get the terrorist movements or activities like the Ku Klux Klan, Timothy McVeigh, and Eric Rudolf. When does freedom of speech become irrelevant in regards to political movements? The Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations all started as political movements. And due to these “political movements” innocent people have perished, but their goal was made at times. They took over countries and had control until they too fell because most of the people understood their human rights were being violated. The United States had to step in and get involved. Although, these terrorist groups are still around tainting ideologies around the world, there are always people who stand against them.
Islamism and dominionism and other forms of religious control over social, political, and personal life have taken new forms in our day in age. Today, it’s Islam and in the next fifty years it could be a new organized religion corrupting and subconsciously controlling human beings. However, some would argue religion used by political figures is only corrupt in third world nations and the developed world could never use religion to violate human rights. Sociologist Sara Diamond “defined dominion theology [dominionism] as a term “used informally by politically-minded born-again Christians of a variety of ‘eschatological’ positions to add a biblical veneer to their quest to Christianize social institutions in the areas of politics, education, law, media, and entertainment, business and the military” (McVicar 22). These philosophies are not new, but even today, political figures use them to gain power and control. In Saudi Arabia, Islam is not just a religion, but it is a part of everyday life. Every law or social aspect of life is governed through this religion.
Political ideologies derive from different aspects of life. Religion can be a scape goat in order to pursue a political goal. The difficulty to identify where these ideologies arise from lies with the definitions of the words ideology and religion. Economist Meghnad Desai understands the peculiarity between religion and ideology and indicates that, “Religion and ideology share many aspects, and, as each mutates, it takes on the characteristics of the other. One can say that they are both attempts to make sense of the world around us and to offer a program[me] for human action” (59). Desai may be correct in saying that religion and ideology “mutate,” but in some countries ideology is used to govern, in others religion is used to govern and in some it’s both. The problem arises when political organizations take over the country in the name of their ideology and hurt its people at the same time.
Extreme nationalism and American exceptionalism has been a contributing factor in the growth of political ideological movements. In the 19th Century, Manifest Destiny was broadly believed in the United States. This belief was that Americans were destined by God to expand throughout North America. Although Manifest Destiny was not as sinister as Hitler’s Lebensraum, they had their similarities. Lebensraum meant that living space had to do with expansion of Nazi Germany for the sake of the German Aryan people because they were more superior to all the other races.
However, these xenophobic concepts can be dangerous. Republicans created a list of proposed legislative items which they called the Pledge to America. It included: a ban on federal funding for abortions, a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and a ban on trials for detainees currently held at Guantanamo bay. During the Bush Administration, the government enacted the Military Commissions Act (MCA) in 2006 in response to the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The Act has been described as an amnesty law because it gives CIA interrogators and U.S. soldiers the right to commit war crimes against detainees held at Guantanamo Bay legally. In 2008, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that the MCA was unconstitutional because of violations on detainee’s rights.
Thanks to Habeas Corpus, the detainees had rights to federal courts. Federal Judge Randolph in regards to this case stated, “George Orwell was right. “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past” (Randolph 96). Randolph continues, “It is easy to distort history. I agree with Judge Wilkinson that “w[hen] a constitutional question is so close, when conventional interpretive methods do not begin to resolve the issue decisively, the tie for many reasons should go to the side of deference to democratic processes” (Randolph 97). This returns to the main point that every governmental society involves democracy through political means; in this case the United States constitution was used as the basic ideology to restore balance in American government.
            Political protests and the influence of politicians can cause policy change. As well as the fact that the agendas created by the politicians can directly influence policy change. However, the Tea Party movement caused Democrats to retire, an increase in Republican votes, and more conservative beliefs. This was due to the power and influence of the movement due to major politician support (Madestam 39). In an Arizona bill titled, Arizona SB 1062, it allowed individuals to refuse service based on religion. The bill was allegedly targeted towards the LGBT community (McLaughlin 2014). This law was passed by a Republican dominated state legislature, but vetoed by Republican Jan Brewer, the Governor of Arizona. The bill would have been a travesty in regards to civil rights in the United States, but Republican advocates claimed they were merely exercising their First Amendment right for freedom of religion. The implication of this bill demonstrates the authority that political figures and people have in regards to changing policy and applying it to their legislation.
Applying specific ideologies or religion into law violates the United States Constitution. The Arizona bill was a response to New Mexico’s Supreme Court Ruling in Elane Photography v. Willock which was for not allowing same-sex weddings in businesses on religious grounds (Herrod 2014). Many civil rights activists opposed the bill and protests caused the influence to stop the bill from ultimately becoming law. Many other similar bills were proposed in states like Tennessee, Georgia, Utah, Kansas and Colorado. However, all those bills were unsuccessful.
Historian Marilyn B. Young argues in her book, “One Empire under God,” that the Iraq War amplified American nationalism and exceptionalism because America was advocating for a permanent supreme military rule and economic rule over every other country (Young 18). After 9/11 the United States used the fear of terrorism to enact policies within the country to limit the privacy and rights of American citizens without their knowledge. This view was amplified when Edward Snowden leaked National Security Agency (NSA) documents, which revealed that the government was indeed invading the privacy of American citizens through the PATRIOT Act, but this was much more volatile than one would assume. The PATRIOT Act allows the NSA to tap phone calls, but the NSA could also see anything from Facebook posts to text messages on a cell phone. The Snowden documents also revealed that the United States could not only invade the privacy of American citizens, but citizens from other countries as well (Murphy 2014). This was all in the name of safety and security from terrorist activity within the United States. The Iraq War was a response to 9/11, but the government took advantage of the situation over the years. The innocent human beings who lost their lives on 9/11 should be taken into consideration and always remembered in order for the evolution of society to take place and create a better and honest government.
According to a recent survey Tea Party supporters are more likely to have the opinion that “the Obama Administration favors blacks over whites” and also that “too much has been made of the problems facing black people” (Zernike 2014). This reveals the intent of the Tea Party movement which is not so subtle. However, even certain conservative individuals see the danger with the Tea Party movement and object to their views. The Tea Party ideology comes down to outright bigotry and not even an average conservative or any political ideology stands for this type of thought. This is when political figures become weak when likeminded American citizens come together putting their political views together or aside and conforming into one, to come against something whether it be a faulty policy or politician. A government will have order otherwise; it will experience protest and abandonment when its people do not support its values. There has been no society that lives eternally. The political views of every citizen in every government are the core values and ideologies and if these values are not upheld then protests will form in every way until the citizens or political figures bring stability to their governments.




Works cited
Akbaba, Ceren. "Occupy the World: The Emergence of an International Movement." Middle Eastern Analysis: 28-34. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
Desai, Meghnad. Rethinking Islamism: The Ideology Of The New Terror, London; New York
Eichler, Steve. "About Us." Teaparty.org. N.p., 2014. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <http://www.teaparty.org/about-us/>.
Herrod, Cathi. "Religious Freedom Restoration Act: SB 1062." Center for Arizona Policy. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr 2014. <http://www.azpolicy.org/bill-tracker/religious-freedom-restoration-act-sb-1062>.
Randolph, A. Raymond. "Originalism And History: The Case Of Boumediene V. Bush." Harvard Journal Of Law & Public Policy 34.1 (2011): 89-97. Business Source Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
Thompson, Derek. "Half of Fox News' Viewers Are 68 and Older." The Atlantic. N.p., 27 Jan 2014. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/01/half-of-fox-news-viewers-are-68-and-older/283385/>.
Madestam, Andreas, et al. "Do Political Protests Matter? Evidence from the Tea Party Movement." Quarterly Journal Of Economics 128.4 (2013): 1633-1685. Business Source Complete. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
McLaughlin, Eliott C. "Freedom or oppression? That's the question for Arizona's SB1062." CNN. N.p., 26 Feb 2014. Web. 12 Apr 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/25/us/arizona-brewer-sb1062/>.
McVicar, Michael J. "'Let Them Have Dominion': 'Dominion Theology' And The Construction Of Religious Extremism In The US Media." Journal of Religion & Popular Culture 25.1 (2013): 120-145. Humanities International Index. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
Murphy, Dan. "More Snowden leaks - and this time Al Qaeda is the surveillance target." The Christian Science Monitor. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr 2014. <http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/Backchannels/2014/0130/More-Snowden-leaks-and-this-time-Al-Qaeda-is-the-surveillance-target-video>.
Weiner, Rachel. "Bachmann claims HPV vaccine might cause ‘mental retardation.’" Washington Post. N.p., 13 Sep 2011. Web. 9 Apr 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/michele-bachmann-continues-perry-attack-claims-hpv-vaccine-might-cause-mental-retardation/2011/09/13/gIQAbJBcPK_blog.html>.
Young, Marilyn B., "One Empire under God", European Contributions to American Studies, May 2004, Vol. 55, p8-18
Zernike , Kate. "Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated." NY Times. N.p. Web. 12 Apr 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html?_r=0>.