Is the Pro Life Label Apt for the Movement

To me, the pro life label seems a little hypocritical. If you care so much about life, then you would recognize the need to make abortion legal, safe, and accessible to everyone.

Hundreds of women die because they cannot access abortion facilities and are this forced to use back alley abortions or self induced abortions which can be very detrimental to the health, if not lethal.

Even women who don’t want an abortion but need it due to medical reasons, like the pregnancy being harmful to their health or that they might be giving birth to a still born child or a child with a terminal disease, are sometimes denied abortions because of the doctors being “pro life.” This happens in many countries and even in the United States. How can you call yourself pro “life” when you can’t even attend to someone who is already sentient?

Also, many pro life proponents are also against comprehensive sex education and birth control, mostly because of their religious or ethical beliefs. Contraception and compressive sexual education plays a heavy role in decreasing unwanted pregananies and abortion rates. So if you really wanted to lower the rate of this medical procedure, you should be supporting the aforementioned causes.

I have increasingly come to realize the pro life is just a propaganda to uphold the beliefs of a particular section of the society and integrate it into politics.

I think the most apt choice to decribe pro life proponents is anti choice, because that is what they are. They are against giving people a right to choose what they want to do with their bodies.

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What The Handmaid’s Tale Really Teaches Us

Recently, I had an online conversation with a particularly conservative young woman who was enthusiastically boasting about how her favorite Netflix series, “The Handmaid’s Tale” was inherently pro-life.

I am not exactly unaccustomed to hearing the pro-life proponents dictate their agenda through completely irrational and illogical reasons like, “the Bible says so,” or “but it’s a woman’s duty to give birth,” and even “the baby has feelings.” But this particular woman had absolutely misunderstood an entire series and was using it to advocate for taking away women’s right to chose.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a lot of things, but it is definitely not pro-life.And you don’t need to take my word for it, even the author of the book, Margaret Atwood who is very pro choice, has declared that this story was written as a warning sign for a word in which pro-life and anti-women policies were actually implemented. If you are using this series to propagate your pro life beliefs, your argument is already too flawed to even be an argument. Because then you are saying that the future you believe in is one in which the women are stripped away from any rights at all and are completely and unwillingly controlled by a dominating religious institution. And even the most conservative of people wouldn’t dare advocate publicly for a future as drear and inhuman as that.

In fact, this popular series is actually pro choice and goes to show that taking away women’s reproductive rights goes hand in hand with taking away their fundamental rights. You cannot tell someone what they can and cannot do with their bodies without indirectly treating them as lesser than human. The pro life sentiment promotes nothing else except slavery, because that is what the movement is – women being forced into carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term, their bodies being treated like it is not their own.

Straw Ban and the Real Perpetrators of the Ocean

Unless you have completely shielded yourself from environmental news or news of any kind, you would know that the #StrawBan is a sentiment that is not only forming itself into a possible policy advocation, but also as an initiation to hold individuals more responsible for the environment.

This new movement advocates for individuals to minimize waste, especially plastic waste. It raises awareness that most, if not all, the plastic that we use goes into the ocean as waste. It is not biodegradable and just floats around like debris in the ocean, poisoning the very thing that gives us life. Many sea creatures as well as birds have been fatally harmed due to the inordinate amount of plastic in our oceans.

But while this trend of using reusable items like metal straws is definitely worth following, it does retract the blame from the real perpetrators who have polluted our oceans.

Big corporations, like the fishing industry or chemical industries, discharge large amounts of waste which is only very minimally treated and this waste almost always ends up in the ocean.

Over forty percent of the plastic content in the ocean comes from fishing nets left by the big fishing corporations. Deformed or malfunctioning plastic paraphernalia is also discarded into the ocean by industries. And even though everyone knows this truth, it has failed to leave a prominent stand on media.

Individuals should definitely leave behind eco friendly footprints and lead a more sustainable lifestyle, but multinational corporations shouldn’t be held any less accountable for the amount of waste that they generate and the method in which they discard it. We need to put more pressure on CEOs and for-profit institutions to follow an eco friendly and less wasteful method of production.

What Diplomacy is Really About

Diplomacy is the general interaction between two or more beings, be it states, individuals, or organizations, that represent a cause bigger than itself.

It is an amalgamation of negotiation and advocacy paralleled with representing the interests of a specific public or agenda. Diplomacy is characterized by the act of representation – where representatives of an interest or a state advocate for their cause and then negotiate in order to realize their plans or expectations.

While the word “diplomacy” has been around since the premature governments of early years, it’s meaning has since changed. It has taken on definitions that fit the political scenarios on the present day. This goes to show that diplomacy, just like the act of governing, is a dynamic concept and changes with the change in the mindset of the public as well as the resources available to them.

Presently, diplomacy encompasses discussions that strive for implementing national interests. But primordially, diplomacy has been cast in vastly two groups that are not that hard to fathom: failed diplomacy and successful diplomacy.

The most important elements of success in a diplomacy are that all the negotiating parties walk away with at least a part of their expectations met and that neither of the parties are completely satisfied with the solution that has been reached upon. It is essential in a successful diplomacy that after discussions, all members involved still have the will and resources to continue these discussions and perhaps even branch out to cover even broader topics. In consequence, a successful diplomacy is one which paves ways for more agendas to be discussed later on and that harnesses a civil relationship between those involved.

A failed diplomacy is that in which either one or few parties gain all the benefits while the remaining walk away with little success. A failed diplomacy is also one in which the relations between the parties involved, instead of getting strengthened, become more hostile. In other words, if the parties are walking away from the negotiations with less optimism than what they came with, the diplomacy has failed.

the perks of being a wallflower

This has got to be my favorite book. Ever.

I have always loved epistolary novels, I’m not sure why, but the book seems so much more real that way. The reason why I love this book is not simply because of it’s writing style, but because everything that it encompasses. I love this book for how swiftly it moves through one beautifully traumatic year of a beautifully traumatized teenager.

My perception of this book might be slightly biased though, because I read it at a time when I was going through something difficult and it was becoming hard to comprehend the reasons for moving forward. But I think this book is especially good for that. It narrates, in this addictive way, how important it is to move forward – from the bad things as well as the good. And we all need to be reminded of that sometimes because it is so easy to forget.

I will not talk about the characters or the plot or the diction because then this will become something like an AP lit essay, which quite frankly, I am getting very tired of. Instead, I will write about how this book made me feel – how it made me think.

Sad. The book makes you feel very sad but in a very good way and I think most people with agree with me in this. I have never felt better after feeling sad, and while that might sound a little obvious, but there is something absolutely thrilling in creating art from feeling sad. And this book makes you feel how you would feel after you have created that art. This is probably the only analogy (perhaps too vague to be called an analogy) that I can create to help you see what I need you to see.

In between the story of a young boy and bunch of other young people, there are nuances of everything. This book has everything.

Interpretive Courts

As someone who ardently identifies as a liberal, I always thought that having a Supreme Court with mostly (if not all) liberal judges would be the most ideal situation in a democracy.

It is for this reason that I found myself a little anxious about the retirement of the Supreme Court Judge, Anothony Kennedy, and the subsequent need for Trump to elect another judge to the court. Quite obviously, Trump will choose a judge who identifies as a conservative and naturally I was worried that most liberal laws that have been enacted would be in danger of being overturned.

The most obvious law that could be jeopardized is the one that came about through the Roe vs Wade case. Access to reproductive health care as well as abortion have been at the forefront of the liberal- conservative debate for decades and it wouldn’t be entirely wrong to think that this issue will be brought up to the court again. Even the Casey vs Planned Parenthood case, which framed equal and easier access to abortion nationwide, has a great probability to be jeopardized especially since Kennedy had been the key fifth vote in this case.

But I have since realized that the court is not a place to advocate for ideals. It is a place to advocate for the constitution. The Supreme Court judges are exceptionally brilliant students of the law who know that their work is not to make laws according to their beliefs, but according to what the constitution states.

As Chief Justice Roberts said, “judges do not seek to impose their own views into laws, but only seek to make laws under the indifferent guidance of the constitution.”

While there are many grey areas in the constitution that can leave judges to interpret the text on their own which could be tainted with their personal beliefs, largely the constitution makes it very difficult for the judges to make laws that aren’t adherent to the ideals already imposed within the text. Leaving social progress in the hands of the court would become extremely dangerous and could hinder the federal system in the democracy.

Courts aren’t a platform for advocating revolutionary changes, they are a platform for merely implementing them into law.

The Core of the Abortion Debate

During a friendly discussion about politics, I encountered a question, “what are your views on abortion and how do you think about it from the point of view of the baby.” While the question in itself was kind of ignorant, I knew that this person was genuinely curious and wanted to learn more about the topic.

I am pro choice.

That being said, even if you are pro life or you don’t really have a stand on this topic, you must know that there is no “point of view of the baby” because technically, it is an underdeveloped fetus. It has no sentience, thoughts, or feelings. A beating heart does not equate feelings. Breathing does not equate sentience. And that’s just a fact, it is not an opinion.

So really, there is only the point of view of the mother/pregnant person. And it is because of this fact that I choose to be pro choice. There is only the point of view of the pregnant person and that is why the decision to have an abortion should be left to the pregnant person.

The very idea that the government needs to be involved in such a personal decision, that the decision of the person carrying the pregnancy should be overlooked by those just because of differing ethical beliefs, is absolutely nonsensical to me.

The core of the abortion debate falls back into the infamous question, whether the fetus is alive or not or whether the rights of the fetus can be terminated by the pregnant person.

Personally, I feel like that question has a very obvious answer that some people just don’t want to look at – their vision being tainted by religious or antiquated beliefs and all.

Even though the fetus is “alive” it is not living. It’s brain is so underdeveloped that it cannot even form a shadow of thought, it cannot feel anything, it cannot survive outside the womb – or in other words, it is simply not a human being.

So how can we talk about abortion in terms of the fetus? We cannot. And that is an incredibly simple idea to understand, but just like most simple ideas go (ending racism, sexism, homophobia) the human race takes an inordinately long time to understand them.

The decision to not carry the pregnancy to full term lies solely with the pregnant person and I look forward to the time when this simple fact is more easily understood by more people.

Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a classic, read by most in high school for English class. It is a book that, according to me, if both over-hyped and overlooked. It is over-hyped amongst literary critics – this book was beautifully, painfully written but is definitely not a cup of tea to digest. It is overlooked by students who read it scornfully and not bat an eye at the powerful diction it encompasses in order to pain a true picture.

I will not give a summary of the book, that is available at a finger’s click almost everywhere on the internet, but I will tell you why I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

I am not going to lie, when I picked this book up at my local Borders, I did it to have some diversity on my AP English Literature reading list – but just like most classics and socially eccentric books do, it has made it’s way into my “favorites” list.

There are many reasons to like this book – the vernacular employed in it is real and powerful, the juxtaposition of the scenery, the ambiance, and the progress of the characters is breathtaking (especially in the last couple of chapters), the characters are painted vividly – their flaws just as bright as their strengths, and I could go on but the list would soon become tiresome to read and would reduce this piece of literature to merely a mediocre masterpiece.

What struck me most about this book is how Lee wrote it from the point of view of a young girl, barely in middle school, and still managed to make it sound more mature than any young literature novel out there. The characters and the way they unfold the story of the trial, the story of a town blinded by omnipresent racism, the story of classicism, and overall the story of the people stuck in the middle of it all.

This book is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to witness the slow filter of oppression and hope in the early nineties in the remote farms of Alabama.

The Country of Dying Dreams

While Trump has made many bad decisions during his almost two years as President of the United States, one of the most notorious and controversial of these is Trump’s initiative to negate the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) act and introduce a Republican immigration bill. This new bill, if and when introduced, would be highly prejudiced and restrictive in terms of giving visas to “dreamers” especially those hailing from South America and Asia.

The thing that gets me really riled is the blatant hypocrisy that forms the bases of any immigration act in the USA – the fact that US in itself was founded by immigrants from the Great Britain after a subsequent massacre of the Native American population. How can people who thrived from liquid migration turn their back so severely on those who are trying to do the same thing – only this time without a blood-curdling genocide?

In so many ways, the history of US immigration – right from the arrival of Columbus to the forceful evacuation and tearing apart of innocent, hardworking families – has reminded me of the Holocaust. Christopher Columbus waged a war against the Native population, destroying their lives, their culture, and their history to the point that our only reliable source left for learning about the lives of the Natives are the few remaining Natives themselves.

Fast forward two hundred years to today and now we have the Trump administration tearing away children from the families of undocumented immigrants and putting them in “camps” not much unlike the concentration camps on Nazi Germany. There are children going missing under the administration of  the POTUS, children who are sick, whose educations have come to a sudden standstill, who are go to bed at night not knowing when or if they will ever get to see their parents again.

I cannot think of a better definition of the violation of basic human rights. There was a time, a brief passing time, when US was considered the land where dreams come true. But if it’s political agenda keeps going in this same direction, I am afraid that this same country will become the land of dying dreams.

A Generation Of Radicals

The “millennials” or the “new generation” is often regarded as the generation of radicals, mostly radicalism on the left side. I have always been apprehensive of the term “radical,” because historically it was used almost parallel to fascism. But recently I have started to realize that perhaps just like the change in political and social views with the change in the generation, there has also been a change in the general verbatim.

When I read articles about pressing political issues I rarely come across any that give an unbiased view of the matter at hand – and it is something that I, too, am “guilty” of. As a liberal, I do tend to read, hear, and dwell more into liberal opinions. It has become increasingly hard to look at issues with omniscience – it’s almost as if the world today has acquired a black and white form. It has been divided into liberal and republican, leftist or rightist, those who voted for Trump and those who did not.

And while I agree that there are nuances within every political or social movement, that there are differences in the views of two people who may identify as liberals – but when we view the larger picture we ignore those nuances. Perhaps that helps us feign a stronger unity, to do away with those slight differences that might set us apart. But I can’t help but wonder if ignoring these ridges of differing opinions is creating a cloud of ignorance. Are we ignoring matters that could be settled with careful negotiations only to help us feel like we have stayed true to what we believe in? And is what we believe in as uncomplicated as two political parties that have made their way into our vernacular due to western hegemony?

I have always felt strongly opposed to anyone who would say they support right wing politics, but I am beginning to expand my views in order to believe in not a particular side, but a movement that can encompass what benefits every human being and every ecosystem alike.