If it was not obvious before, it definitely is now. America is the reality television show for the rest of the world. Did this start at the very beginning, during the presidential inauguration or just as recently when President Donald J. Trump decides to comment on the sports world and the current status of Puerto Rico?
Let’s start from the beginning, Act One: when Donald Trump decided to run for office. Most Americans did not view him as a serious candidate. In fact, most of the American population assumed President Trump would use this platform to strengthen and solidify his business plans throughout the rest of the world. As a result, because we didn’t take him seriously, it gave him liberty to say ridiculous things because we didn’t consider him a politician and didn’t hold him to the same standards.
Act Two: the master of disillusion. On January 20th, 2017, President Trump was sworn into Presidency and yet the victory was not enough to satisfy him. After a photo of the size of his inauguration surfaced on the internet he seemed to be fixated on that for the first week of his presidency. Even revisiting the topic while giving a speech at the CIA headquarters the next day. This needs to be highlighted because it shows that no matter what our eyes see, our ears hear, our tongue tastes, our hands feel, and our nose smell, President Trump will always tell us what we think is going on is false.
Act Three: the master of disassociation. Prior to President Trump uninviting Stephen Curry, point guard of the Golden State Warriors to the White House, he insulted the NFL players who kneeled for the national anthem by calling them “SOBS”. In reaction to this, on September 24, 2017, NFL teams united and protested against the President. Not only did President Trump become public enemy number one in the NFL, many NBA clubs and players have also spoken up against him.“By acting and not going, hopefully, that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to,” said Curry. He addresses the reason why he chose not to go to the White House to celebrate the Warriors victory of the NBA finals.
The Warriors organization said instead of going the White House they decided to still go to Washington D.C. and “celebrate equality, diversity, and inclusion the values that we embrace as an organization.”
Act four: the master of insensitivity. Puerto Rico is not an American state, but it is an American territory.
The President’s comments toward the Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz are insensitive. He said, “such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico.”
The homeland has much political control of Puerto Rico and yet the residents there do not vote for the President of the United States.
During the time of crisis when Puerto Rico has gone through the attach of Hurricane Irma and Maria, he denies them relief efforts and tells them they should work together to fix their problem.
America is one of the most polarizing reality television shows in the world. The main character everyone pays attention to is President Trump.
The problem with reality television is that we forget that it is reality. Real lives are affected and changed drastically. While we see it as entertainment, a lot of people are truly suffering and being disenfranchised. While these ratings may be high humanity in politics sure is low.
Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem. He used a peaceful method to bring attention to the injustices minority groups face in the United States of America. Yet, his action was met with disapproval and has caused controversy across the nation. He did not infringe on the rights of others nor did he encourage others to kneel, however, some saw the truth through his action and understood the message he is trying to send. Every citizen in the United States has the right to exercise freedom of speech. This right is protected under the first amendment in the constitution. However, in the United States, the first amendment is reserved for certain individuals and is prioritized for specific topics. Americans pride themselves with being from a democratic country that grants equal rights for all, but what America needs is fairness because not everything equal is just. If we explored deeper into the meaning of the national anthem, you will realize that it in fact goes against the values Americans represent now and what our veterans are continuing to fight for. Towards the end of the third verse in the national anthem it states: no refuge could save the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, and the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave. The star-spangled banner celebrates the murder of African Americans. So, this suggests, that every person who stands for the national anthem is in fact in favor of excluding African Americans in granting them their rights and in preserving inequality in the United States of America. We must recognize America’s failure to reach racial justice and equity in order to make change happen and move forward as a country. We respect our veterans not by singing along to a song that is filled with racism and elitism but by respecting the values they fight for, what America truly stands for. Be like Kaepernick and stand up for what you believe in.
Phil Murphy has a vision for New Jersey and he makes it clear in his slogan: A stronger fairer economy that works for all New Jersey families. What makes his words appealing is that at every hall meeting he holds, he opens with it. By doing so, he recognizes and brings together people regardless of gender, nationality, and disability in a safe and accepting atmosphere. He is a strong advocate for granting everyone just rights. As a person who grew up in a middle class family, he can relate to the struggles and the experiences of New Jersey families. He is committed to bring tuition free community college to New Jersey, which provides newly graduated high school students with the comfort of taking their first step into adult life. He believes in equal pay for equal work. Phil Murphy’s optimism in making New Jersey become a better state will not only affect New Jersey but its impact will expand outward. I remember attending a protest at Rutgers University Newark early february and Phil Murphy was present there. It meant not only to me but to all the students there to have an elected official stand out in the cold to assert us that we are stronger together and America is for everyone. New Jerseyans want someone who is able to relate to them and address their questions and concerns when needed. I support Phil Murphy because I believe New Jersey will become better under his leadership. So, join me in electing our next Governor on November 7,2017 and in taking part in making change in the history of New Jersey.
People judge based on appearances, but they don’t know what goes on internally. You could be literally dying on the inside, but you manage to pull a smile on your face and people automatically assume that you are doing great. However, there is more to a story than its cover. At the age of seven, my parents divorced. Any young kid at my age wouldn’t quite understand what was going on. Some might remember what happened, but I cannot recall anything at that age. My life from that point on turned into a never ending roller coaster. There are ups and downs. When my father left the United States, my mother was forced to sell our house because of the expenses that began to accumulate. She was now left to take responsibility of two young girls, and a boy that was on the way. On her own. As I begin to grow up, moving from one apartment to the next, one school to the next, I began to become overwhelmed and upset. When I was in fourth grade, I attended school 25, and I loved my school and teachers. My mother however said to wave good bye because I wouldn’t be attending that school anymore. I remember going to Mcdonald’s afterward, and my mother bought me ice cream to try to calm me down but I kept on crying. At one point I asked her why are we constantly moving? why can’t we just stay here? Her response was that it was better for us. It then occurred to me that we weren’t just moving to a new apartment, we were moving to another country, Palestine. Being a young Muslim American girl born in the United States, raised there, and attended its schools, the shift from one country to the other was not only hard but devastating. When everyone around you speaks a language you don’t understand, you feel like you are trapped in a bubble. While my mother did put my siblings and I in private schools to help ease our transition, I believe it only complicated it. Even though I did learn some Arabic, every test I took was translated into English. The expenses of attending a private school started to become a burden for my mother, so she put my siblings and I in public schools. My mother on my first day of school walked with me to school. As she proceeded to walk forward while holding my hand, I pulled back to try to stop her. When I entered the all girls school, and was escorted to my class, I remember everyone staring at me and whispering, “ that’s the American girl.” Wherever you go you arenconstantly labeled by society. I wasn’t ever considered a Palestinian Muslim American but only as a Muslim American. I felt like that created a wall between me and others. As I sat down in my seat, I put my head down on and closed my eyes. I wanted this to be a bad dream that I would finally wake up from, but as I open my eyes again, and pick up my head, I knew this was far from being a dream. So, the only way to survive, is to try to adapt to the environment. As I entered 7th grade, I became more aware of my surroundings and what was happening, I noticed that my mom who worked as a project coordinator on a project left from sunrise to sunset just to make ends meet. Food was extremely expenses there. Everything was expensive. With everything my mother had to worry about, I admired her strength and determination. She always had a smile on her beautiful face, and tried to give us what we desired with what little she had. She always remained hopeful even in the darkest situations. There came a time where the project asked her to not work for two weeks because of some complications in the budget. Those two weeks felt like a year. For the first time, I could hear my mother crying in her room as I place my head against the door being the curious young girl that I was. I remember entering the room and comforting my mother that everything would be okay and proceeded to hug her. A person can be strong for so long, but breaks down in the end. The only thing my mother could make us for dinner that day was soup with a couple loaves of bread. It was winter at the time, no source of heat available because of how expensive it was, so holding the hot bowl of soup in my shivering hands were a source of heat, and it made me feel warm. Fast forward a couple years later, we came back to the United States. Things became much clearer and better. What I experienced as a young child made me a stronger person. I knew what it feels like to struggle. I began to feel responsible to help my mother. I wanted to make her always proud of me. Ever since I came back, I did what I can to leave a mark in the lives of others. From bringing awareness about the poor through the Elizabethan Poor Project of 1601 to making Eid Al-Adha an official holiday in my city to interning for an Assemblyman to helping address and solve the problems Muslim Americans face. If my story teaches one thing, it is to never give up. Everything happens for a reason, and this is just the beginning of my journey.
If there is one thing the Rohingya and Palestinian Syrians have in common, it's that they are not granted citizenship. The Rohingya in Myanmar are viewed mainly as Muslim, and in Bangladesh as aliens. Neither country wants to claim them as their own. The situation of Palestinian Syrians isn’t any different. After the 1948 Palestinian catastrophe, Palestinians were displaced and forced to leave their country for a better, safer life in hopes to return back to Palestine one day. However, that dream becomes much more complicated and far from reality. The establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948 restricted Palestinians from the right to return to Palestine. According to the American Friends Service Committee, when an AFSC employee, Don Stevenson asked Eliahu Elath, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States if Israel would accept the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes, Eliahu Elath said, “ Israel would commit suicide if it took back all refugees.” Palestinian Syrians are considered refugees twice. They are not allowed to return to their own country Palestine. Also, because they were not born in Syria or because they are Palestinian but born in Syria, they are not given a Syrian passport. As mentioned by Al-Jazeera News, when Rami Al-Hasan, a Palestinian Syrian was asked about how he felt about the situation he is put in, he said, “ I would like to have any passport. I only have a travel document. I don’t want to talk about it because it makes me sad.” In Myanmar, although the Rohingya have lived there for centuries, they are not treated the same as the other groups living there. To not be able to have a citizenship is daunting. As Mohammed Soye from Myanmar explains to Al-Jazeera News, “ I do not have the right to work or the right to an education. I survived even though I do not have any freedom.” In international law, it protects the right of refugees and grants them the right to return to their country. When will countries and their governments be held accountable for their actions and breaking international law? No human is illegal. Humans are all the same, and should be treated with dignity and respect. Granting citizenship is a basic right for all humans; including refugees.
Being Muslim, visibly Muslim or presumably Muslim is considered a “threat” in the United States of America. There has always been a phobia against those who are different. One group that stands out quite clearly is Muslims. A visibly Muslim woman with a scarf on. A Muslim man with a beard. A Muslim woman with a Muslim name. A Christian woman with middle eastern features. The list goes on. Once the word Muslim flashes across any T.V. network, it is immediately associated with terrorism. ISIS is not Islam and Islam is not ISIS. In fact, Muslims are the largest victims of ISIS. According to the Counter Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point, ISIS kills over seven times more Muslims than non-Muslims. Muslims are just as afraid of ISIS as any other religious group. Yet, Muslims are always required to apologize for the actions of criminals that identify with their group. ISIS’ goal is to keep the raging war between Islam and the West that was initially built on false accusations. The actions of a terrorist group that portrays itself to represent a particular religion simply acts on behalf of itself. So, it begs the question, why are Muslims the only group that is expected to condemn the actions that ISIS commits? Recently in Charlottesville, Virginia during a rally, a white supremacist drove his vehicle into a group of protesters killing Heather Heyer and injuring nineteen others. When someone drives through a crowd intentionally, it is considered murder and terrorism. White supremacist terrorists have carried out more violent attacks on U.S. soil other than any other domestic group, according to data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. However, the media simply portrayed the incident as an accident and debated what it should be titled as. If the white supremacists does not represent the white majority, then ISIS does not represent Islam. Muslims are continuously on the front lines of making a difference. Just recently, a group of Muslims including Muslim teens have volunteered to assist and provide water and food to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Not to mention, one of the charities that had a tremendous impact during Hurricane Harvey was an Islamic charity called, Islamic Relief USA. It is listed among the best charities to give in the wake of Hurricane Harvey as stated by Business Insider. Obtaining our news shouldn’t be mainly from the media. The best way to seek answers to any questions about Muslims is by asking them directly. Let us not allow fear bound us from engag- ing in meaningful conversations. Let us not allow hate blind us from seeking the truth.
It is officially back to school time for all students- even for college students. As much as I’m excited for the Fall 2017 semester at Rutgers, I’m also looking forward to dorming! This semester I got a single room to myself along with 3 suitemates. There are pros and cons to dorming but today I’m going to speak about the pros because positivity is the route to take.
1) Dorming enables you to never be late to class! No joke, dorming actually ensures that you are never going to be late due to traffic. Living on campus is extremely convenient in the sense that you can wake up 30 mins before a morning class and just get there in less than 5 mins. This is what I do for my morning classes and it feels tremendously great to not have to wake up 2 hours in advance just to get to class on time.
2) Avoid Terrible Traffic and No Parking Signs! Unfortunately, parking lots on college campuses are insanely packed and parking is a scarce resource. If you dorm, you can constantly rescue yourself from all the mental paranoia associated with parking and roam around campus like a free bird without having to worry about your parking pass and meter. In addition, arriving to college as an early bird is not quite an easy task. You will have to face the evil terror of intense traffic just to navigate your way to college.
3) Experience more on campus! Being on campus allows you to experience what college is all about and it builds levels of independence all around you. Ideally, the best 4 years of your life after High School is college! You should all strive to embrace this thought and make your undergrad years the best that it can be!
4) Convenient Place to Study! Since I’m an only child, I have constantly been with my parents and it is quite difficult for me to study at home when they are around. For me, studying on campus and utilizing campus resources such as the library, Starbucks, and Computer Labs enables me to study more efficiently as opposed to studying at home. In essence, dorming is more of a study haven for me and it may prove to be a haven for others as well!
5) Interact with Professors and Utilize Academic Resources
a) Commuters seldom get to take advantage of all the office hours and extra help sessions offered by Professors and the campus because they are almost always on the rush. Living on campus is the direct opposite because you are able to interact with Professors more and be able to
attend their office hours more frequently.
As a campus resident, you are able to utilize the academic resources available for you more often compared to commuters. In reality, you become a pivotal component of the University’s pride and glory by partaking in extracurricular collegiate events and
activities. I have learned so much about life and how there are various types of people in the world through dorming. Life is not always easy, and being able to adjust to new people living with you is a challenge by itself. As a matter of fact, living on campus prepares you for life after college when you have to start working professionally in the real world. This fall will be my third year dorming on campus, and I'm super excited for the prospect of gaining new experiences!
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