Ignorance and Apathy: A Destructive Sanctuary​ from Politics

First and foremost, I wanna get this straight; I’m not here to tell you what to believe in or who to vote for. I’m simply here to tell you to find something to believe in and someone to vote for. Thus, I have tried my best to communicate this information in an unbiased and objective voice. Therefore, I invite you to this very much necessary discussion.

In many cases, ignorance is our Sanctuary from the ugly, yet very much real and influential world of politics. Although as I will discuss below, there are a lot of factors that lead people to want to disengage from politics, I believe that the apparent “safety” of ignorance is one of the key ones. If we don’t know, we can pretend that it is not happening; however, this is a dysfunctional and unhealthy method of coping with the reality. Ignorance simply means that you’re unaware of what’s happening, it doesn’t change the influence that your surrounding events can have on your daily life. Thus the only way through which you can ensure a permanent solution to the current horrific political situation is by letting go of the comfort of ignorance’s sanctuary, and getting active.

Given the significance of this issue, I truly wanted to open up a comprehensive discussion, but I know that many of you aren’t fond of long articles, I’m usually not either, and if you’re that person, you can read the summary that I have provided right down below; however, if you have a little bit of time on your hand, feel free to scroll down to the long version and dig deep into this issue with me.

Short Version

1. Recognize that it’s a problem.

In 2012, only 53.6% of the US’s voting age population voted in the presidential elections, leaving the US to be the 4th to last developed nation in terms of voter turnout.

With such a ridiculously low turnout, we mostly have ourselves to blame for the current dysfunctional and corrupt state of the government, because a democracy cannot function without the consistent participation of its citizens.

2. Admit that it matters.

Let’s get to everyone’s #1 worry first. The Electoral College! Although, not a big fan myself, I have to admit that it doesn’t make your vote meaningless and worthless.

This is how it functions in a nutshell.

So basically, by voting for your candidate of choice, you’re at least trying your best to ensure that your chosen candidate gets all of the electoral votes from your state.

A) Taxes

It is only through voting that you can ensure the taxes that you must pay are being used towards causes that you care about. You might be a person who is for large military spendings, or you might support lower military expenses and free education. Voting for candidates who share the same ideals as you or ones who are the closest reflection of your beliefs is the only way that you can have a say in where your money is going.

B) Moral Issues

Do I even need to name them?

For the sake of a reminder, I will name a few.

  • LGBTQ rights
  • Abortion
  • Marijuana legalization
  • Gun-control
  • Implementation of religious and biblical studies in public school education
  • Sex-ed & chastity

3. Ensuring Representation

When you don’t vote, your ethnicity, gender, age group, or whatever group that you identify with will show a lower turnout, so during the next round of elections, when the candidates are looking at the demographics, they will mostly focus on issues that appeal to the groups that participated the most in voting, this way they attract a larger population. Makes sense, right?

So, vote in order for your people to be represented.

Long Version

Just so that you get a sense of how sad the situation of the United States’ voter turnout is, let’s take a quick look at this chart that shows the voter turnout in developed nations.

Untitled picture.png

That’s right!! We are 4th to last.

Barely over half of the eligible voters actually cared enough to vote in the previous presidential elections, but their apathy didn’t stop them from complaining about Obama’s policies or having the audacity to say that Obama is ruining the US. If you truly believed in Obama’s incompetency, for you had seen in his performance as a president in the previous 4 years, then why didn’t you vote?

I’m not planning on sugarcoating this; if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain; you don’t get to have a say in laws that directly and dramatically influence your day-to-day life. Simple as that!

If this isn’t reason enough to get you to vote, then I really do hope that you really listen to me for the rest of this article, and hopefully, change your mind.

Why I care about politics, and why you should too!

Note: If you’re dubious of the significance of your vote due to the role of the electoral college, please refer to the “Admit that it matters” section in the short version.

1. Why is it a problem?

A democracy is defined as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state.” That means you. You are Democarcy! You are what makes a democracy happen. Otherwise, it will be the dysfunctional, corrupt, and inefficient system that it has turned to.

In an article published by the Huffington Post, Karen Gross reflected upon Pr. Obama’s final State of the Union as such: “First, for our Democracy to work, we need people to work together to solve problems and address social issues. We can’t all be shouting at each other, calling each other names and refusing to cooperate with those with whom we have disagreements.” The second leading factor of the current dysfunctional state of our Democracy was identified as low voter turnout, for “the President spoke to the need to improve voting, both by increasing the number of people who vote and ensuring that gerrymandering and money do not diminish these votes.”

At 2007 prices, 1998 military spending was $364.35bn. 2008’s is approximately $643.9bn2. Wars, Expenses, and Taxes

Whether you’re a pro-big military or against it, it doesn’t matter, because when we’re involved in wars, we are all equally affected. It is our own family members, our own friends, and maybe even us ourselves who go to those wars, and possibly lose our lives in the process. And let’s not forget about the insane expenses of holding military bases all over the world and financing a war.

According to globalreasearch.ca, currently, there are “325,000 US military personnel in foreign countries.” As a result, military expenses have been experiencing an insane upsurge. These are the very expenses that you have to pay for through your taxes.

Although it is the Congress that ultimately declares war, the president is the only one who can have some influence on their decision, and even if you believe that this is not true, you are the one who can elect members of Congress as well. It is you who decides whether you would want to decrease, maintain, or increase military expenditure depending on the candidate that you vote for.

I find it hard to believe that one might not care for where his or her tax fees are being invested in. You have no say in that source of “investment” other than voting, so if you’re unhappy with the current sources of “investment”, or would like to maintain them, you need to get out there and vote to make sure this opinion of yours will be reflected in the real world.

 

Still not convinced? That’s okay. I know that a lot of you probably believe that these are all not effective for the government is corrupt, and you’re right. There are many sources of corruption in our federal government, but there still are some purities left, and it is your job to find them and elect them.

 

3. Stuff that we all care about

A) College Education

When it comes to the public’s stance on paying for college education, they’re divided into 4 different groups: one group are those who are attending college themselves; the other are those whose children or family members are attending college; another group are those who believe that college education must not be free, and there’s one last, tiny group that are not concerned with this topic.

Every election, more than the previous one, this topic becomes more and more highlighted by candidates, and the only way you can get that free college education, or avoid having your taxes being spent on a free college education is through your vote.

B) Moral Issues

Elections, whether local or national, affect your daily life. One of their greatest impacts can be seen in the laws that are passed on moral issues.

Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Are you for or against the LGBTQ community? Do you support religious and biblical studies in public schools? Do you enjoy marijuana or do you view it as a dangerous drug that must be illegal? Do you feel safer with a gun in your pocket or are you afraid of going to the movies knowing that there might be a shooting?

If you care even one bit about any of these, then VOTE! Allow yourself the privilege of being represented.

4. Voicing your choice.

I completely understand if you are frustrated because you believe that none of the candidates represent you. Trust me; I get that, but whining about it doesn’t change anything. You know what does? Finding a candidate that is the closest representation of your beliefs, voting for him/her, and campaigning for the policies/ideas that you would like the candidate of your choice to adopt.

One of the factors that keep a lot of citizens, but mostly millennials and the younger generation from voting is the candidates’ failure to address issues that appeal to them and concern them. Besides college education and maybe a few of the moral issues, the younger generations’ lack of first-hand experiences with the influence of other discussed policies leads to their loss of interest in politics. BUT, have you ever wondered why that is? Why is that the elders’ concerns are constantly addressed by politicians, while those of the youth are often overlooked?

You need to keep in mind that there’s only so much that politicians can focus on during their campaigns, so they look at the demographics to analyze the population that has the highest voter turnout in order to concentrate on issues that appeal to a larger population, and what they observe over and over is a continuous low participation of younger generations in elections. So you gotta get out there and vote, so that next time around, the running candidates will recognize the influence that you can have, and they will invest in addressing your concerns.

I can go on and on about the million reasons why you should vote and you should be informed about and care about politics, but to sum it all up, I want to leave you with this. Get out there and vote, because whether you like it not, someone is going to get elected. Someone is going to be in charge of making decisions for the country that you live in, so even if you don’t believe that your vote counts or you think that its influence is insignificant, you might as well take a chance and vote. You are definitely more likely to be heard when you actually talk!

 

Let’s open up a discussion.

Are you voting this year? Why or why not? Do you believe that we should advocate for a higher voter turnout? If so, how?

Sources:

Is America Addicted to War?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-gross/what-makes-a-democracy-wo_b_8992632.html

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/06/u-s-voter-turnout-trails-most-developed-countries/

 

 

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Depression or whatever the hell it’s called when you feel like you cannot breathe any longer

Slowly but Surely

S

Small steps.

I nervously moved towards the classroom. Once again, I was the new girl, but this time, I was the new girl who had barely moved to the US. I was the new girl who spoke with a funny accent, and the one who tried to avoid eye contact at all costs. I was the awkward, insecure, lonely new girl.

L

Lonely. Lost. In need of Love.

What hurt the most wasn’t the fact that I was unable to establish a real connection with anyone for over a year, but it was how much I missed feeling loved. See, your family is one thing. You know that they love you (hopefully) and you are so grateful for that, but it is almost as if it’s their job to love you. It feels like they were born to love you. They don’t love you because you’re funny or talented or smart. They simply love you because you’re you. Friends on the other hand, you have to earn their love. They’re not supposed to love you, so when they do it’s special. I missed feeling that someone who wasn’t “genetically” programmed to love me, to do so anyways.

O

Odd. 

Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of who I am, and even I forgot how to love myself. I was convinced that I was unworthy of love. I was always the odd one out. I spent lunchtime in the restrooms so that no one would know how lonely I am. I always tried to look busy. During class, when frustration, sadness, loneliness, discomfort, and a million other negative feelings began to build up in me, right when I absolutely couldn’t take it anymore, I would ask to use the restroom just so that I could ball my eyes out. You know there’s something wrong when your diary is the only “person” you talk to.

W

Wake up call.

One day, I had an appointment with my new physician. I don’t quite remember the details, but when my mom left the room for a few seconds, I asked her if I could possibly be referred to a therapist without my mom finding out. She asked me what was wrong and I reluctantly began talking about the painful struggle that was my every day life. At first, I could barely get the words out of my mouth, but once they started rolling I couldn’t stop myself. It was impossible to understand what I was saying because I was sobbing so hard. I was sobbing like I have never sobbed before.

I never went to a therapist. I didn’t want my mom to have any more things to worry about; her plate was already full, but that day, when I got home and when I felt the emptiness inside me that was consuming my whole life, I decided, with no medical credentials whatsoever, that it was official. I was depressed.

L

Leave. Live.

I don’t know how it all happened, but finally after an uncountable number of mental breakdowns, an oceans of shed tears, a couple of self-help books, and perhaps even a miracle – if you believe in that sorta thing – I began to gradually leave that stage of my life behind. I began to come out of my shell. The more I came out, the more I realized how much I have missed living, the more my hunger for life would grow. I had decided that life was hard, but going through it rather than truly living it made it even harder. I was determined to change. I was determined to feel happy. I was determined to live.

 

Y

Yesterday. Youth.

Things were starting to change for the better. My brother finally found a job and for the first time in years, we had a source of income, but what that meant for me was moving again. More than anything else in the world, I wanted to let go of all the bitter, terrible events of the past. I wanted to forget about the unbearable yesterdays. I wanted to start fresh, and this time I wanted to truly feel like a teenager. I wanted to be stupid and care about small things like a typical teenager. I wanted to flirt with boys and worry about make up like a regular teenager. I wanted to feel young and Carefree.

Slowly

Slowly, things began to change. Slowly, I started laughing more often. You cannot believe how strange it felt to laugh. At times, it felt like I have never done it before. It was so unnatural!

Slowly, I built up my confidence. Slowly, I found people to talk to besides my diary. Slowly, I felt less lost and more in place.

Don’t get me wrong, even to this day I still spend some lunchtimes all by myself because I feel unwanted. Even to this day, I struggle to feel confident and to love myself, but I’ll be ungrateful, nay, blind to say that things aren’t getting better. Life is getting brighter and happier. It is all happening. Slowly, but it sure is all happening.

 

PC: http://chaoscake.deviantart.com/art/depression-493118218

Carefree 101

Carefree

If you consider yourself a grown-up or a mature person, it doesn’t matter what age you are, at some point in your life you have wished that you could be a kid again, a carefree, bubbly kid. You long for that feeling. It’s kinda like flying, being weightless, or floating.

Call me crazy, but I really do believe that you can feel that way even as an adult. You don’t need to time travel; you just need to find that one thing that gives you that sensation, that one thing that gets you high on being carefree. It can be anything – bicycling, dancing, drawing, meditation, spending time in nature. It really can be anything.

Whatever your thing is, find it and let it take you to places you’ve never been before, to places where time is indefinite or even meaningless, to places where your mind is clear of any thoughts whatsoever. Once you have that one thing, even the moments when you deeply care about something will become valuable. You will be able to endorse and appreciate the things that make your heart beat faster and the ones that you are so passionate about that you cannot help but to care. After all, just as good would be meaningless without bad, happiness without sadness, and laughter without tears, being carefree would mean nothing if you hadn’t known how to care.

Picture Time!!

The one and only carefree queen, Phoebe Buffay!

Favorite #carefree quote

man-m_3427313b

Here’s a picture of carefree-baby-me, because why not! 😛

baby pic.jpg

 

The Unfathomable Depth of Life

Depth

emerson

Imagine that there are no scientific methods through which you can measure the depth of oceans. For all you know, oceans are infinity-deep-long. The more you go down, the more depth you discover. It is a beautiful, terrifying thing. There may be sharks there or animals so dangerous that they are unheard of for anyone who has ever seen them has been killed.

cave-diver-ocean-sunlight-underwater

On the other hand, there may also be heavenly sceneries, ones so aesthetic that you cannot possibly grasp their beauty. The water may fade into a celestial violet. The seaweed may be a magical sparkly pink. The possibilities are endless and predicting them is impossible. The thought of exploring the untouched and the unseen tickles you with thrill down to your very soul. Warm and fuzzy feelings spread all over your body once you try to imagine all the beauty that you are to discover if you dare to explore; however, the thought of possible danger, the fear of the unknown, failure and disappointment hold you back. They make you want to scratch all those jubilant, mesmerizing possibilities out of your head. They make you want to forget all about the neverending depth of the ocean and its mystery so that you can settle for an easy, predictable, risk-free life in the safety of the shore. The final decision is up to you. Who do you want to be? The one who takes a chance against all odds, or the one who never takes any risks and is always left wondering “what if…”

pinkish purple ocean

Who do you want to be?? Answering this question doesn’t have to be so complicated. You don’t need to calculate all the odds. You don’t need to plan out your whole journey. After all, the whole point of the first option is for you to open yourself to an ocean of possibilities and welcome every single one of them with hope and joy.

Life's a storyAbout a  year ago, I was looking for a new journal. There were plenty of them with gorgeous designs and wonderful colors – and as you will soon find out, I am a sucker for colorful things. Suddenly, I came across this one that was really plain compared to the other ones. There was nothing extraordinary or eye-catching about its design, but the quote sold it to me. “Life is a story. Make yours a best seller.” This is the very same approach that you should use to address that question with. What if your life was a book? Who do you want your character to be? What do you want your character to be like? Just like an author to a book, you are in absolute and complete control of your life and the direction that it will go in. So take charge, take chances, because just like an ocean, life has an unfathomable depth with endless possibilities. You make what you want out of it.

Dare to explore life to a depth that no one has every experienced before for it is depth that gives your life meaning. Everyone can experience the same unordinary things. What sets you apart and what makes your journey special is the depth to which you dare to explore. As our dear friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson would say, “It is not the length of life, but depth of life.”

How deep is your life?

(Is it like the ocean? What devotion…are you? 😛 😀 )

I challenge you, as I am challenging myself, to try to travel a little deeper every day. Try something new even if it’s small. Little by little, you will explore every cubic inch of the ocean of life as you possibly can, and you will write the most beautiful, best-selling story of your life, one that everyone wants to read, one that everyone wants to live, and most importantly one that you are proud of and has left you with no regrets whatsoever.

Here’s to our best-seller books of life and to the unfathomable depths that we are going to explore.

Warmest of wishes,

Kimia

Finding Your Path

 Picture1

And then there was a blog…

Although I will get into the topics of positivity and taking chances in detail, later on, this is all about how they inspired me and led me to begin this blog in a not-so-small nutshell!

Childhood

When I was 4 or 5, no one had to ask me what I want to be in the future in order for me to willingly share my career plans with them. It didn’t matter that my answer changed every one or two months. The important thing was, whether I wanted to become a writer, an astronaut or a scientist, I was always happy and satisfied with my answer. Worries, doubts, insecurities, none of these meant anything to me; however, somewhere along the way, school happened and I lost that certainty. Why I believe school is mostly responsible for this huge unclarity in my life is another story for another time. For now, all you need to know is that I was-still kinda am- lost. Really, desperately, hopelessly lost.

High School

Everyone promised me that I’m going to “find my path” in high school. Those liars. Freshman year, I fell in love with dance, but I knew that I would never follow it as a career. I was too short, too inexperienced and too old-fashioned to rely on something so unpredictable as my career. Sophomore year came along, and I fell in love with writing all over again, but the riskiness of it automatically eliminated this option. After all being risky and unreliable were the only reasons why I never seriously considered following the one steady interest that I have always had: art. Then came along junior year… Even though it just ended, the insanity of it makes it all look like a blur. I worked hard. I worked insanely hard without a purpose, and that was what made all the hard work even more painful. Despite all those poignant moments, there were some pleasant ones. I got to discover a few more of my interests. I realized my love and passion for international service. I realized my interest in politics, but once again, none of these answered the question mark that is my career. I kept telling myself over and over again that no one can make a living off of service, well maybe a few can but what are the chances that I’m going to be one of those lucky few? I kept telling myself that I could never become a politician or anything in that field because who would trust an Iranian refugee to be a part of the government? Thus the everlasting obscurity of my future remained the same.

A Senior’s Contemplation

Although late, I finally realized that all this time, it wasn’t my parents or lack of interests that were holding me back. In fact, my parents-or my dad at least- have always been supportive of my decisions, and my interests were plenty-which is somewhat troublesome itself, I know, but the point is- it has always been me who was holding me back. It has always been my fears.

In everyone’s life, there comes a point, a revolutionary point, when you have to decide whether you want to live the rest of your life the same way you have, in fear without any interest in taking risks, or you want to finally be adventurous, courageous, and daring, and I am so glad to announce that I chose the latter. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, you REALLY REALLY have no idea how things can turn out, and you never will if you don’t dare to try. What if all this time, the only thing that has kept you from fulfilling your dreams has been your negative mindset? Wouldn’t you want to change that right at this moment? Wouldn’t you feel guilty if you didn’t even try to do so? If you believe you can; if you trust yourself, and if you face everything day in and day out with such positivity, your possibilities will be endless, and your regrets will be nonexistent. Even if something doesn’t turn out as planned, you will be left with a bedtime story for your grandkids which in my book is a win.

So hey, I might not quite know where I’m headed now, but you better be dang sure that I am excited for my life to take me to where I’m meant to be as I welcome every opportunity, as I say yes to every challenge, and as I stop questioning the destination, and begin loving the journey. So if you’re looking at my menu and wondering what Health and Wellness have to do with Bullet Journals, then I’m here to tell you that yup, you got that right, absolutely nothing, but this is where I will share all of my scattered, totally unrelated interests as I follow each of them passionately. So I hope that you won’t mind the lack of theme, or rather accept me as the theme of this blog. I hope that you will follow my journey, and I wish that it will inspire you to take the dare of being daring with me.

Warm wishes,

Kimia