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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Government in upheaval after shutdown ends

As I mentioned in my last article, the recently abated government shutdown has caused a stir of embarrassment for Americans abroad, but this week I write about something much, much closer to home as far as the shutdown is concerned.

There’s an old Welsh saying that tells us, “It’s easy to be brave behind castle walls.” Let us imagine that Congress is literally, physically at war with itself [what a stretch, I know] on a battlefield, and that we the people are within a castle not too far off, looking on in abhorrence of what our ‘civilized’ democracy has become.

I’m sure that we’d all be abuzz with our own opinions and that we’d be arguing fervently about the best way to restore the sanity and at least a measure of functionality of our political system. We’d all take sides, certainly, but it seems more and more there is, in reality as well as there would have been in this allegorical castle, a popular trend of taking no side at all.

Don’t misunderstand me; I completely understand looking at both political parties and feeling at a loss for words when I watch how wasteful Congress is on the House and Senate floors. I too have felt a great deal of anger toward both parties at times for various reasons, but when push comes to shove, I’m proud to call myself a liberal and a humanist, among other things. And in this battle, I supported the president.

As such, I feel that I have the right to criticize our political system since I am an agent within it. I vote, I am an activist and I regularly take part in political discourse.

But what I have noticed, and what I disapprove of the most are those who loudly criticize both parties without ever having voted; without ever supporting either side whether verbally, intellectually or even in spirit; without ever having had any real political opinion of any kind before it became popular to bash Congress. I reiterate, “It is easy to be brave behind castle walls.” The individuals who do this are guilty of political cowardice. It is easy to cast blame, but does anyone want to take responsibility?

No. In fact, these individuals ironically are partaking in the same childish, unproductive blame-game politics that they claim to hate so much in our senators and representatives.

Let’s not forget that we the people decide who makes it into Congress and who doesn’t. I don’t support Bob Latta in any way, shape or form, but I accept that he is my representative as a result of the democratic process. I can at least say that I voted for Angela Zimmann, and that my voice was heard.

But for people to come out and criticize congress when they willfully neglected their duty to vote, which, I might add, is a privilege denied to many, is despicable. To say that Congress should all be fired as it if it’s as easy as flipping a switch is the solution of a simpleton, and I’d expect nothing less from our culture of instant gratification. If those who so ardently criticize the government wish to enact change in the political system, then they should get out and vote or otherwise remain silent.

We have just emerged from a quagmire of political upheaval, and we’ve only crudely staved off the real problem a while longer. So, to all those who wish to make homogenous, superfluous statements such as “Let’s just impeach Obama” or “It’s all congress’s fault, why don’t they work for the good of the people?” I’d like to say simply that what you’re doing isn’t useful, and while you have a right to your opinion, it accomplishes nothing to merely criticize the government and then stay home on Election Day. Let your voices be heard in the ballot box, and then maybe we can really forge a democracy that will live up the greatness of its past.

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