Lessons on Perspective

News flash: terrorists can enter the United States as refugees, immigrants, and tourists. But here’s the shocker: United States citizens can wake up one day and become terrorists too. And they have.

I’m talking, white as a piece of paper, devout Christian, 5th generation Americans.

So what are we to do? Close our borders, unless we’re waging war on other countries? Allow suspicion of our fellow country men to grow until we encounter more than 1 or 2 shootings a day? (This year, we have had more mass shootings than amount of days we’ve gone through on the calendar. Does that not worry you?)

Americans aren’t saints simply because they’re Americans. Muslims aren’t terrorists simply because they’re Muslim. Middle Easterners aren’t Muslim simply because they’re Middle Easterners. Refugees are none of this, simply because they are refugees. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge based off stereotypes. Don’t judge at all. It seems I’m always spouting common sense lessons we learn when we’re toddlers…you’d think they would stick.

News flash: it is not possible to protect your country from terrorists. They’ll do as they please. 

After 9/11, we smacked the Middle East with horrible casualties for over a decade trying to eradicate the terrorists in charge. In the end we didn’t eradicate Al Queda. They live on to wreak havoc another day. All we did was send millions of troops to ransack villages and bomb Iraq to pieces. Now we have millions of dead men, leaving their families to try to survive without them, millions of veterans we can’t seem to take care of after they sacrificed so much, and countless broken families on the other side. Broken families who mirror us in pain and sorrow, if not more. But we’ve forgotten them. We hate them. We hate them because of where they live. Did you ever stop to think they might hate us for the same reason? They have even more reason to hate us. We tore their lives apart.

Yeah, we got Saddam Hussein. Yay. I’ll admit, the world is a better place without him. But that doesn’t put a stop to the terror, obviously. He’s a player in a larger game than any of us can comprehend. All he did was hold a place that will be taken over and over again, no matter how many secret assassin missions our government sends out.

That anger you feel over 9/11 and the Boston Bombing and Paris and every other tragic act of terrorism? That horrible, tear filled, scream inducing, object throwing, burning rage that builds every time you remember the innocent deaths? That occurs daily in the hearts of citizens across the ocean. All it takes is one man to say “enough” and you have another to take Hussein’s place.

Revenge is empty. Suicide bombers die with their detonations, yet we scream for more blood. More heads on sticks to dance around. We all do, not just Americans. We’ve all lost too many in our efforts to avenge. It’s a never ending circle of death and destruction, and I simply do not understand the point.

Those posters say “Fighting for Freedom”…but honestly, I think you’re about 240 years late. They can bomb us all they want, but they can’t take over our country like they do elsewhere. Our freedom remains. Well….to an extent. That’s politics for another post. Point is; we fought for our freedom. We don’t need to defend it. As long as we are Americans to the truest sense of the word (not the crappy Americans we are today), Freedom will never leave. We’re not defending the people who died…that would be revenge. If we are attacked, as we have been, we should follow France and our previous actions; a swift attack to send a message of strength. A calculated strike to hit the core of the tree of evil. Japan destroyed Pearl Harbor. We dropped 2 bombs on them in a swift, clean, counter attack. They stopped. (let it be known that those bombs had after effects that will run on for many generations. let’s not do that again. But message received!) France ordered a counter strike on ISIS capital to show they will not be beat. Any other tragic events afterwards? no. Did they start a war to “defend their country”? no. Did they continue to welcome refugees afterwards? absolutely. Is America still having trouble grasping the notion of kindness? In the most shameful display of cowardice and everything-phobia.

I’ve already pleaded for us to see the difference between needy and malevolent. We cry out for war, for more strict immigration/refugee laws, for the ability to wear guns every day….all in an effort to protect ourselves…but what we don’t see is that none of these things protect us. We already have some of the most strict laws to filter incoming citizens. (look it up, you’d be surprised.) Our wars only breed more hate filled terrorists and kill our beloved soldiers. Citizens with guns haven’t stopped the 353 mass shootings this year, or the countless murders popping up on social media daily. I’ve actually only head of a handful of situations where armed vigilante efforts derailed a disaster. Now it’s time to plead for a change in perspective.

We all have our families. Most cherish their families.

We all have our homes. We’ve been nurturing said homes for years. We stock our homes with memories and precious keepsakes.

We all try to live our religious/non-religious lives. Each religion is important and valuable to the World Culture. None can and should be discredited, because in the end we’re all talking to an invisible man in the sky somehow, whether it’s through a cross, a green statue, or a tree. Some have more than one invisible man, some broaden him to the Universe, some just see it as fate. We all have our legitimate beliefs.

We’ve all suffered loss, through war, age, tragedy, and sickness.

We’re all humans.

The end of suffering is the beginning of perspective, tolerance, and generosity.

 

 

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Why Is There So Much Hatred?

My Facebook feed is filled with such animosity these days. Did you know we’ve been living among Syrian refugees these past months? I sure didn’t. I mean, I’d heard the words uttered on various outlets, but I wasn’t aware it was actually happening. This is my point. They came, they settled, they lived. And then 1% of the world committed an act of terror and suddenly it’s out with the innocents! If you feel my disdain for America and don’t feel like reading further, this is your exit point. If you disagree with me and think they should “stay in their country and deal with it”, you sit your butt in that dang chair and read every dang word I’m about to type because I’m going to make your inhumane stupidity very damn clear. This is my animosity.

  1. From the Christian point of view, refusing hospitality to those in need is a HUGE NO NO. This is crap we are taught from the moment we step through those church doors, people! Not to mention our dear Jesus was a refugee himself, or have you forgotten when Mary and Joseph fled Bethlehem to save Jesus? If there was a book on how to be a Christian, these concepts would be on the first page, right next to “love thy neighbor as thy self” and “LEAVE THE JUDGEMENT TO GOD”. All of those who claim religion on issues such as same sex marriage and abortion turn around and abandon the doctrine when it doesn’t suit their purposes. I’m tired of the Non-Christian-Christians. You either jump in or you don’t. Yes, I’m talking to you, Ben Carson, mister “I’m a Christian, but refugees are the devil!”
  2. While we’re on the subject of hypocrisy, let’s point out the fact that America came about because of immigration. The idea of migration, immigration, and movement away from conflict has been around since the beginning of time. The Pilgrims didn’t come here just because Europe was too crowded..religious persecution. Remember? Or do you need to go sit in a history class?  This very country was founded on the concept of freedom to live and practice faith without fear. We are supposed to be unique and diverse, but now we’re being snobs in front of those who don’t have the same freedoms as us. Everything suddenly has to be complicated because we have political borders.
  3. If you actually read into the crisis in Syria, the border countries are constantly getting thrown into the cross hairs of the conflict, but they still accept refugees. Refugee situations are never pretty. If we let Syrians in, it’s not going to be fine and dandy. It’s going to be a struggle on both ends to get acquainted with the idea. This shouldn’t deter us…we aren’t fit for America if we lock out the needy because we’re afraid to get our hands dirty. Risk it for the biscuit. In this case the biscuit is thousands of innocent lives, but potato/potato right? (doesn’t work so well in writing…)
  4. Our lovely Texas Governor, Greg Abbott wrote this thoughtful letter to President Obama earlier this week. In it, he complained that Texas has already been threatened by ISIS. All this sounds like is reinforcement that our national security is perfectly capable of handling any threats. By complaining about all of the infractions he’s witnessed, Abbott is only bringing to light all of the reasons we can and should make this work. Besides, clearly refugees won’t change the fact that terror already resides in our nation.
  5. Now. I’m gonna need you to think reaaaaaaal hard for a second. ISIS is a terror group, right? Their purpose is to spread terror and hate. Start wars. Maybe in the name of Islam or pure chaos, who knows? Instead of jumping to conclusions, maybe some of the protesters should think critically about what we’re dealing with. We are so easily manipulated every day, ISIS would be juvenile not to take advantage of that. They want us to hate the refugees. Their power comes from fear and population. If Syria empties itself, they are severely weakened. We close our doors? Problem solved. Refugees will have to stay in Europe and the Middle East, unable to run from the horrors within one of the most violent countries in the world.

It’s easy to oppose when you’re sitting on your leather couches watching your reality TV with only the roar of the city to bother your concentration. Bombs aren’t constantly going off around us. We don’t fall asleep to sirens warning of danger. I can’t even properly describe what we don’t experience, because we have no idea what happens in a war zone! Yet the ignorance still rears its ugly head.

This is 2015. Racism should be a thing of the past. I don’t want to scroll down my Facebook and see negative comments towards “rag heads”, because that’s just ridiculous. I may be a Christian, but I can appreciate the beauty of other faiths. Islam teaches peace instead of violence, just like Christianity. Or at least these religions are supposed to. (hint hint wink wink DO IT) The extremist, unethical 1% that can’t seem to grasp the true meaning of these faiths should be separated from the innocent 99%. They are not all the same. Many Muslims are condemning the acts of terror occurring across the world, trying to voice their beliefs among the screams of hate. We should listen. We should help.We are all humans and all human life is precious (if you need help learning that, watch Walking Dead season 6 episode 4). Love thy neighbor, do unto others as you would have done to you, and all of those other phrases we learned as kids. It is extremely unattractive to be hateful and judgmental when you will not/refuse to see all sides of the story.

You want to beat ISIS? Cut the racist conclusions and welcome their victims with open arms. Your misplaced hatred is only fueling the fire.

There’s Nothing Wrong With the Millennial Agenda – A Political Review

I followed The Hill on Facebook because at this point in my life, my interests have turned to all things political. It’s my very first election! Of course I’m going to be in the know! However, I’ve begun to only read the titles of the articles dominating my news feed (there are so many. Why are there so many.), because when I decide to read further, I see bias smeared all over the page. I mean…I guess it’s a media source, so I can’t judge it too harshly, but why can’t a girl just get straight facts about the people she’s about to vote for? Is it really so hard to type an article saying “This week Donald Trump said this outrageous fact, Hillary Clinton is still getting heat for her scandalous emails, and Bernie Sanders is winning”. That might have been a little biased….you get my point though, right? K good.

Here’s my problem. Today was one of those days I went against my better judgement and opened an article about how my beloved Bernie Sanders is rightfully kicking Clinton’s butt. (Mrs. Clinton, I pray to God every day that you do not represent my people as the first woman president. No hard feelings.) Let it be known, this article is the opinion of Eddy Zipperer, a contributor to the news site. However, in typical Shelby fashion, I now feel the need to point out everything I see wrong with his opinion. Like I told Mrs. Clinton, no hard feelings, Zipperer. Let’s begin shall we?  The first few paragraphs were interesting and informative, with a good amount of voice in snide comments that I can respect from writer to writer. He even had a very nice explanation of the differences between capitalism and socialism, as sarcastic as it may be. “Capitalism is insensitive, and the free market is a bully designed to rob people of their uniqueness. If you want to be an actor, your bank account might quickly inform you that you are no Brad Pitt. If you feel destined to be a great American novelist, the power company has no qualms about turning the lights out on your dreams. Socialism loves you and thinks you’re talented.” For obvious reasons, this quote hits home. I’ve officially changed my major from theatre to communication studies, and it seems I’m still doomed because I refuse to settle and take a boring, well-paying job in this damned economy. Forgive me for valuing my mental health and happiness and wanting to follow my dreams. Why is that so wrong, and why are we taught to think this way?

Then Mr. Zipperer goes on to crush my hope in his article by stating “Millennial culture is all about big rewards for minimal effort: participation trophies of the mind.” Wait….excuse me? Minimal effort my ass! We’re drowning in debt, dragging our butts through school, getting shot up every freaking week, learning concepts we don’t even need in life just because they’re in our degree plans, and you think we’re all about minimal effort? How is that ok? We’re getting a college education, because that’s what we’re told to do. That’s what we’re told we have to do in order to get by in life. In order to get money in this capitalist system everybody seems to love so much. In order to not die of starvation and the elements, because the cost of living, higher education, and requirements for a career are rising faster than we can make it through semesters. Because we’re having to make difficult choices between following our dreams or making a decent amount of money at age 18. We’re barely adults at age 18! If you think we’re just trying to do the bare minimum in life, you’re sadly mistaken. We millennials were handed a crappy economy, a corrupted political system, and an impossible “life-start-up plan”, and you think we’re slacking. I’m gonna need you to back up.

Then he goes on to attack superheroes, because apparently that’s all Millennial Culture is about. They’re just stories, but to say superheroes are only famous because they “have some genetic mutation” is preposterous. They’re famous because they put their lives on the line to save entire cities of ungrateful people. They’re famous because they take their gifts and use them for the greater good, instead of personal gain. They’re famous because they are heroes who expect nothing in return. I will be the first to admit I’m not a huge fan of DC or Marvel, but you can’t hate on their inspiring stories. (Except Superman, I am a fan of him….that boy can fly me anywhere, any day. Mmm.) Somehow he planned to tie this into the minimal effort argument, which I honestly don’t understand. Every comic and movie involves superheroes ending up in epic battles with evil that destroy large parts of the city. Batman spent his entire life training and what not to avenge his parents deaths and save Gotham. Superman isn’t even from here (enter Mean Girls reference here, if you please) and he still works tirelessly to defend Earth! Any man I know would not degrade the superhero image like Mr. Zipperer has.

I’ll admit video games are nearly worthless, and reality tv has become quite ridiculous as I’ve grown up. You win there, Zipperer. However, the real world is full of hard work and doesn’t involve joysticks (thank God), but it is so not boring! It’s so beautiful and worth seeing, and you simply can not do that if you’re sitting behind a desk staring at a computer screen your whole life. I consider that a waste. Life is not boring beyond the television screen, especially when one is doing what they love instead of just getting by.

Now that we’ve got that cleared up, we can finally start into what this has to do with Bernie Sanders kicking Clinton’s butt in the polls. Zipperer thinks Sanders and the millennial generation’s agenda is focused on “transforming America to reward apathy” when in reality, all we want is a fair playing field. We’re not trying to make it easier to slack off, we want to leave college debt free like our counterparts in other countries. We want the wealthiest of America to quit screwing us over. We want a fair chance at happiness in life.

With all due respect, Mr. Zipperer, we don’t have endless opportunities. It really takes being a millennial to know that. Our country has failed us. Our country is not the same as when you were in our position. I switched my major, and I’m more content with life than I have been in a long time, but unfortunately I have 2 more years to be incredibly happy, because I have no idea what will happen when I leave college. I just want to write, Mr. Zipperer. You of all people should know how doomed I am in that dream. I follow Bernie because he gives me hope that I can hold on to my passions and not end up taking 5 types of pills because I’m so unhappy with life. I follow Bernie because he upholds my rights as a woman, and he’s been consistent throughout his career. Clinton has not. I follow Bernie, not because I want life handed to me with a red bow, but because I want to work my ass off in my favorite career. I follow Bernie because I shouldn’t be afraid of my future. My friends and I are not slackers in any way, but we faithfully follow Bernie because we believe in the future he promises. His promises mean something to us because he hasn’t failed us like every other politician running.

Thoughts on the subject? Questions? Arguments? Feel free to comment….I’m open for friendly debates. Want to read the article? Click here. Eddy Zipperer, if you ever read this, I hope you understand that as a Millennial, I have to defend myself and justify my standing. Thank you for your article.