The Lifestyle

Your Excuses Are Just That… Five Reasons to Vote This Election Day

Being a citizen of the United States and having this platform, I feel it’s my duty to remind you all the importance of voting in these midterm elections. If you are like me and were crushed by the abysmal turn the 2016 Presidential Election took, and loath the actions of Trump and the current political leadership, then this election cycle is not one to ignore. It simply isn’t the time not to exercise your right to vote.

Look, I’ve heard a ton of excuses as to why people don’t vote and don’t plan to do so this November. And no excuse (with the exception of death, being in a comatose state, or felony disenfranchisement) has ever been a valid reason not to vote. If you say you can’t vote because you are busy on Election Day, get an absentee ballot or vote early on a day where you have free time. If you’re a person that doesn’t vote because you don’t want to be called for jury duty, know that a survey taken states only 27% of the entire U.S. population has ever served on a jury. (If you’re a person of color and feel this way about jury duty, think about the innocent black and brown folks who go to jail because they were convicted by people that don’t look like them. Or think about individuals who get off for taking black and brown lives because black and brown folks like you won’t serve.)

The worst excuse I hear when it comes to why people don’t vote is, “my vote won’t matter” or “my vote won’t change anything.” This excuse annoys me because millions of people use it, equating to millions of non-votes. For those using this excuse, allow me to present five things currently at stake, and why voting is important this go around.

The Lifestyle

Slavery Is Bigger than Libya… What You Can Do to Help Stop It

By now, most of you have been caught up to speed on the human rights violations occurring in Libya.  If you were anything like me, you found yourself confused by the reporting.  First, you couldn’t quite comprehend how slavery is an ongoing issue in 2017.  Second, you are in sheer disbelief that such a crime against humanity could have gone unreported for such a long time.  Especially, when you have news alerts going off on your phone multiple times a day and most of those alerts are related to Trump’s Twitter fingers. (Seriously, it’s gotten to the point where I get an alert from CNN and I’m like “what did he say now?”)

Again, if you were like me, once you moved past your state of confusion and frustration, you wanted answers on how to stop the problem. You wanted to know what organizations to call and donate money to.  You wanted to bombard Capitol Hill to force congressmen and women to stop talking about tax codes and loopholes, and start talking about American intervention.  Heck, some of you with a deep pocket and time to spare may have wanted to hop on the next flight abroad and be your own Batman-esque vigilante. The bottom line, some of you like me wanted to do more than hashtag activism.

The Lifestyle

Resisting Trump is a Very American Thing to Do

Hello folks!  As tensions continue to build between Trump and pretty much the rest of the country outside the confines of Capitol Hill, there has been a sentiment among some notable figures in America that people should get in line and support 45 in his presidency. That the American people should overlook his unapologetic insults toward nearly every demographic in the U.S.  And in case you’ve forgotten, allow me to remind you.

The Lifestyle

Top 5 Reasons Millennials Must Vote

Folks we’ve got less than two weeks until Election Day, and I’ve got one word for you.  VOTE! I know PSAs and the media describe every election as extremely important, but this one truly is.  There is a lot at stake with this election cycle, and if you don’t exercise your right and duty as an American citizen, you’ll be doing this country, and more importantly yourself, a real disservice.  Don’t believe me, well let’s look at some of the things at stake here.

 

  1. Post Obama Race Relations

It should be no secret to anyone that since the election of President Obama, race relations in this country have taken some unfortunate steps back.  The fact people must chant “Black lives matter” in 2016 is just sad.  I for one don’t want to let my vote go uncast knowing politicians hold a lot of power in making sure this country is truly dedicated to seeing that there is real “justice and liberty for all.”  Marching in the streets and posting named hashtags is symbolic and sentimental; but, if you want to make a real difference, you’ll show up to the polls.

 

  1. Potential for War Deployment of Troops

With the looming threat of Russia, the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Syria, and the infamous ISIS still present, matters of national security will be increasingly more important during the next presidential term. You’ll want to vote for someone you believe can keep the country safe and out of wars.  Someone that is of sound mind and temperament to engage with other international powers.  I for one don’t want someone that will be like a “bull in a china shop.” (Old country saying for you. LOL)

 

  1. Higher Education Costs

If you are reading this and you’ve never heard of Sallie Mae or Navient, consider yourself blessed. There are those like myself that are very familiar with the two.  College is expensive and is not getting cheaper.  There are many in this country that hail education as being the great equalizer, and the major key needed to get ahead and reach the American dream.  However, for millions of millennials it’s becoming harder to reach that dream because they are drowning in student loan debt trying to pay for a degree (or two) they were told they had to have in order to even pursue the dream in the first place.  Where is the fairness in that?  It’s important you go out and vote to stop the increasing price of degrees, and to help alleviate some of the financial burden on countless college graduates.

 

  1. The Supreme Court

The right for members of the LGBT community to get married just became nationally legal and recognized a little over a year ago. I want you think about that when you say you won’t vote, because that is what’s at stake.  The highest bench in the land has an opening, and possibly a few more openings in the next four years to come.  Do you want to risk having the wrong person elected as president, or people elected to the senate, that could possibly shape a court that overturns the rights of millions of gay couples?

Besides gay marriage, the future makeup of the Supreme Court will also be deciding on some cases involving voting rights, women’s rights, and affirmative action.  These are things that impact your everyday life.  And if not directly, these issues impact someone you know. Trust me.

 

  1. Empowerment of the Average Man

I may not agree with most of the things Trump says, but he and Bernie were right about the corruption in DC.  Too many companies and special interest groups have their hands in politics.  These groups use money to persuade politicians into making horrendous policy decisions that often disenfranchise the average man.  Take for example the criminal justice system and the private prison industry.  When politicians voted to impose mandatory sentencing, they often did so knowing they would be directly benefiting the private prison industry, but disguised their decision as voting to protect public safety. (Check out 13th on Netflix.)

Heck, you can look at the gun lobbying groups such as the NRA.  The NRA has pretty much immobilized many politicians from voting on simple common sense gun reform policies. Politicians claim they don’t want to pass anything that limits the Second Amendment, but you would think they would pass something that makes it more difficult for the wrong people to get weapons.  But again, many politicians are more loyal to the money getting them elected than the average people they swore to serve.  And you can apply a similar argument to failed banking reform and failed checks on Wall Street.  (It’s understandable why so many people felt the Bern.)

 

So in short, VOTE!  If you can vote early, go.  If you are sending an absentee ballot, send it.  And if you are voting on Election Day, get to the polls before they close.  We’ve got to take this seriously people. Remember, if you don’t vote, then don’t complain.

 

The Lifestyle

“I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”

It’s been a few days now since the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five police officers in Dallas, and I haven’t posted anything on the site partially in an attempt to gather my thoughts.  If you stroll through my social media pages, you’ll will see short blurbs and videos expressing my outrage over what has happened within the last week.  However, I’ve yet to publicly state my peace on the matter.  And so here I am today.  Saddened by the state of this country, angered by moral hypocrisy and ignorance, and humbled to be among the living of an endangered people.

The Lifestyle

Why History Has Shown Us to Expect the Rise of Anti-Gay Laws

With the rash of state legislatures eager to pass bills that clearly disenfranchise members of the LGBT community, I thought I’d take the opportunity to call BS.  While I’m disgusted by the legislative actions of states like North Carolina, Mississippi, and almost Georgia, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. History in the U.S. has countless examples of what happens when this country finally takes steps toward equality for all.