Back when the country was founded, leaders like George Washington and John Adams warned us of the “Great Political Evil” that was our two-party system. They recognized that a binary system would divide the country and pit people against each other. It allows citizens to label themselves as Democrat or Republican without understanding the difference between the two. These labels create a dystopian society where there are two distinct sides of every issue, when in reality, it’s more of a spectrum.
It is very rare for a citizen's views to perfectly line up with one candidate. In a multiparty system there would be enough candidates to more closely match everyone’s opinions. For example, I supported Joe Biden in the last election, but he was certainly not my first choice for president, just the lesser of two evils.
My views are more closely aligned with those of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Howie Hawkins. Hawkins was the candidate for the Green party in the previous election, but with our current system, it is impossible for a third party to win the presidency.
Biden is portrayed as the “radical left” when in reality, he isn’t left at all. He is still on the right side of the political compass, just slightly less than Donald Trump. As someone who is actually fairly far left on the political compass, Biden does not match my views at all.
The January 7, 2021 riots at the capitol are a perfect example of the consequences of a two-party system. People have been brainwashed into believing that the world will fall apart if their candidate doesn't win, and that the other party is their enemy. In a multiparty system, everything wouldn’t be so black and white. People could explore their differences without labeling each other as enemies.
It is certainly time to ditch the two-party system that is tearing us apart and not bringing us together. After all, it is UNITED we stand. Divided is when we will fall.
During quarantine, I’ve come to realize that most of my favorite activities involve being in public and being with friends. Now that I’m unable to do those things, I have to find things around my house that I enjoy. It’s very tempting to stay in bed on my phone all day, and I will admit my screen time has gotten up to 13 hours in a day.
In order to prevent losing my eyesight from extensive blue light, I’ve been trying to motivate myself to do something more productive. I cleaned my room and tried moving my furniture around, which eventually led to redecorating my entire room. I realized a lot of things I would usually pay people to do, can be done myself with only a minimal amount of misery.
Take painting, for example. I painted my room by myself. It was terrible. I did not think about how difficult it would be to paint around the five doors and one window (yes, five doors) in my room.
Painting was the hardest part of redoing my room. My birthday was at the end of March, and I got a lot of room decor as gifts. So I was able to easily plan out the setup of my room. I also got a window planter for my birthday, so I’ve been planting a lot as well. But, there was only so much work I could do to my room and my garden.
So I tried to find a new fulfilling hobby. I’ve loved nature for a long time, especially my grandparent’s property. It backs up to railroad tracks and it’s great to hike on. There's a tunnel under the hill the tracks are on that a creek runs through. The creek runs into a pond, which is the home to lots of fish and geese.
I don’t consider myself good at photography, but I’ve really been enjoying taking pictures on my phone of wildlife. It’s so nice to get away from everything, and spend time by myself outside. While I can’t wait for quarantine to be over, I hope I can still find the time to enjoy activities other than watching TV and scrolling through social media!
Growing up, I stayed with my grandma every day while my parents were at work. She had many hobbies, including basket making and gardening, but the one I latched onto was cooking.
We would make dinner together almost every night, but as I grew older, I distanced myself from cooking. However, with my grandma’s help, I developed a love for baking. I made cakes and cupcakes for birthdays, baby showers, and even a wedding. I still love baking, but I don’t have as much free time as I used to.
Recently, I’ve been trying to find the time to cook dinner for my family after school and play rehearsal. Though my real passion is baking, it’s still fulfilling to be able to help around the house by doing something I actually enjoy.
I encourage everyone to try their hand at cooking, and even if it’s not your thing, at least you tried something new!
White privilege is looked at as a debate and it shouldn’t be.
White privilege does not mean that your life isn’t hard, and it does not mean that you’re racist. It’s the idea that your life isn’t harder because of the color of your skin.
One thing that needs to be understood is that being called privileged isn’t an insult, it’s a fact. Everyone is privileged in one way or another. Whether it be race, sexuality, gender, or financial stability, everyone has some level of privilege and that’s not a bad thing.
The issue is denying your privilege, or not using it to stand up for others. We are all given a platform from birth, the more privileged you are, the bigger your platform. If you do not use this platform to speak up for others who don’t have the same opportunities as you, you are abusing that privilege.
For example, if you have the privilege of being male, you still need to fight for women’s rights. If you have the privilege of being straight and cisgender, you need to fight for LGBT+ rights. Just because injustice isn’t affecting you personally, does not mean you can sit idly by and let it continue.
This is exactly the same for white privilege. Denying it doesn't help, and ignoring it doesn’t help. We all have the ability to use our privilege for good.
In the words of Emma Lazarus, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”
The fight is far from over, and we can not stop standing up for others’ rights.
Around this time a year ago, I wrote a blog post about a charity that I do not support: The Salvation Army. This year, I would rather talk about a cause that I think is incredibly beneficial to our society.
If you live in Franklin County, you might have noticed “Little Free Food Pantries” around town. These are simple boxes or cupboards that individuals can fill with canned goods, hygiene products, and non-perishable food items. Those in need can visit the Little Free Food Pantries and take whatever they need.
While there are other places to get help in Franklin County, Little Free Food Pantries give citizens a place that they don’t have to interact with others. When I was in Colombia, MO for a journalism conference, I had the opportunity to interview people who were living on the street. One common theme among the interviews I got was that when people are struggling financially, they can be embarrassed to ask for help. Little Free Food Pantries can help with this embarrassment by providing a place where individuals can get aid without having to answer questions about their situation.
A few days ago, I gathered canned goods from my kitchen, and made my way to the Little Free Food Pantry near the YMCA. Upon arriving, I was pleased to see that the pantry was quite full. In the past, I have reported on the Little Free Food Pantries for Blue Jay Journal TV, and I noticed there usually wasn’t much in them. This time I was extremely proud to see that my community has been keeping up with this wonderful cause.
In Franklin County, the majority of citizens are fairly financially comfortable, so we tend to forget that there are people among us who may need our help. If you are looking for a way to give back this holiday season, I encourage you to visit a Little Free Food Pantry, and give what you can.
Until next time gang,
Growing up, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do when I was older. I had ideas, but my dream job changed every few months. One thing I did know was that I loved to write. Every future profession I considered centered around writing. I also knew that I loved to read. When I was younger, I spent hours at a time reading.
As I grew into my teenage years, my love for reading took a back burner, as my free time was taken up by school, work, and extra-curricular activities. I try to read and write when I get a chance, but it feels as though I don't even have time to think.
I try to read as often as I can because reading simply makes me happy. Reading fiction transports me to another world and life, without even taking me out of my bedroom. I love reading fiction works, but in terms of writing, I like to focus on nonfiction, or opinion articles. I've always been opinionated and headstrong, and this shows in my writing.
Even now that I'm over halfway through my time in high school, I'm not totally positive what career I want. I'm certain it will center around writing, and I've narrowed it down to something in the journalism field. I'm mostly torn between a career in broadcast journalism, or culinary and travel blogging.
I'm currently on both Blue Jay Journal TV and The Advocate Newspaper Staff at Washington High School. I love having these as opportunities to write more often and with more freedom that I would in a traditional English class.
I also hope I can continue to feed into my passion for literature, and I hope you all will get to read my memoir one day.
Until next time gang,
Denying Climate Change Doesn't Make it Less Real & Insulting Greta Thunberg Doesn't Make her Less Right
Sixteen-year-old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, has raised quite the international political storm. Right-wing Twitter users appear to be enraged and intimidated by her, yet simultaneously questioning if she is mature enough to speak her opinion on this issue. In my opinion, there is more maturity in a teenager speaking her mind than adults cyberbullying said teenager.
Adults also need to decide whether or not they define sixteen-year-olds as adults or not. Baby Boomers like to claim that all teenagers are self absorbed and only care about cell phones and Netflix, but when a teenager speaks out on important issues, they say we need to leave it to the adults.
So, you mean to tell me that when a sixteen-year-old girl gets pregnant, ¨She's an adult and needs to take responsibility for her actions.¨ Yet, when a sixteen-year-old speaks out about climate change, she's just a misinformed child that needs to stay in her lane.
Let me tell you folks, this is our lane. Our generation is the future, and all we are trying to do is make sure there will be an earth left for us.
In the words of Thunberg herself, ¨You say that you love your children above everything else. And yet you are stealing their future.¨
People like to ignore the climate change issue because it scares them to think about, but they should be scared. We should all be scared.
But the way to deal with that fear is not to repress it and continue living life as you have all your life left to not face the problem. If you're scared, make a change. Go to a rally, plant a tree, write a letter to your congressman, anything! No matter how small or big the act is, as long as you're not ignoring the problem, you are making a difference.
There are tons of little things you can do to help the climate crisis that won't affect your day-to-day life in the slightest. For example, use bamboo or metal straws, don't drink from single-use plastic bottles, use a bamboo toothbrush, or reusable shopping bags. The ways you can help us protect the planet are so simple when you think about it.
No act or person is too small to make a difference. Denying climate change doesn't make it less real, and insulting Greta Thunberg doesn't make her less right.
Until next time gang,
After I graduate from college, I want to live in a van. That's right. You read that correctly. I want to live in a van.
I think this idea was born at the Modern Auto Car Show of 2013. Ten-year-old me was strolling through the thousandth row of cars, while my dad spent thirty minutes analyzing another Shelby Mustang. I was bored out of my mind and thought I would vomit if I saw one more Corvette. But then, amid the hundreds of candy-apple-red convertibles, was something glorious: a massive, rust-colored van with a mural on the side of wolves howling at the moon. The inside of the van was even better. Orange shag carpet adorned the floor, matching the faux brick on the walls. The van was equipped with a bed, a stove, and a refrigerator.
That van was the height of luxury in my eyes. From that moment, I knew I wanted a van of my own. As I grew older, my obsession with van-living grew as well. I started looking on eBay for vans, school busses, etc. I also started watching YouTube channels of people who lived in vans.
However, the more I told people about my aspirations to live in a van, the more I was judged for it. More and more people told me that it was unrealistic and a pointless thing to strive for. I've never been someone with standard goals for the future. My family has never been too enthused about that, especially since most of my aspirations include leaving Washington or moving far away. For example, I've thought about going into the Peace Corps after high school, or working for a cruise line, but the wild dream I've stuck to most is living in a van and traveling around the country while working as a culinary and travel journalist.
As much as people tell me I should focus on more realistic goals, I could never see my future self having a typical job. The moral of the story is two-fold: I want to live in a van, and don't let people tell you that your dreams are unrealistic just because they're not traditional.
Until next time,
WHS senior, activist, writer, & actor. Learning to love myself, the world, and everyone in it.