My Voice: Let them Serve

Well, I’m sure by now you’ve heard the announcement from Trump about trans troops. Well, if not, here it is.

Where do I start with this bullcrap? Thousands of transgender individuals already serve in our armed forces! What are we going to do with them, discharge them? Not even to mention the absolutely horrible irony of this being announced the same day, 69 years after President Truman signed the executive order that desegregated the armed forces. Now, we’re taking a step backward. Instead of letting all those who have the capability and willingness to serve our country have an opportunity to do so, Trump (and maybe some other officials) has decided that if you are trans, that opportunity should be closed to you. Odd, coming from a draft dodger.

The argument of trans soldiers bring a financial burden is just bunk. According to one study (here’s an article on this entire story, the study is referenced a few paragraphs in), trans soldiers make up a fraction of a percent of all soldiers and their care costs would also only be a fraction of a percent of the whole military healthcare budget. As to why he did this charade, I think this is a huge distraction from the fact that he’s politically useless and under investigation. But that my friends, is a whole other story.

To conclude, this sudden proclamation was a terrible and bigoted move. There’s no rational, factual, non-political reason to ban trans troops. Let them serve.

My Voice: Freedom

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

                The Declaration of Independence

That sentence above, from the Declaration of Independence (signed 241 years ago today) basically summed up the dream and hope of the United States of America. There are many horrific chapters in our story as a country (slavery, genocide, segregation, et cetera), but the tide has always moved towards ensuring all Americans are guaranteed their inalienable, God-given rights. Today, let’s just talk about freedom, and how some give up the familiar just to seek it.

About Freedom

Freedom. Such a powerful word when you when think of it. The simple way of letting people choose their own destiny within all their means, is how I would look at it. It’s the cornerstone of the American dream. It’s one of the reasons my parents left behind everything they knew to start a new life here.

What Brought My Parents Here?

Let me tell you a little about my parents. They both were born in Kenya, and both of them basically started from scratch when they came. You know what drove them here? Freedom did. When they came over (my dad in the 80s, my mom in the 90s), Kenya was a dictatorship ran under the brutal Daniel arap Moi (side note: he’s still alive, but he retired from the presidency in 2002 due to high public pressure for him to do so). I’m not going to go into Moi’s human rights record in this piece, I’m not writing a novel here (just search his name and add “human rights” if you’re curious). My parents knew America would give them a chance to make something of themselves and their children one day, a chance that they couldn’t see happening back home at the time. They’re still working so hard, and sacrificing so much to ensure my siblings and I can have a good head start in life. I wish I could adequately express just how much I look up them.

Conclusion

Let’s also take this time to remember the heroic veterans among us who have gone off to places most of us have only heard of, just to defend freedom. Also, remember the millions of immigrants who moved here in search of freedom. This Independence Day, let’s remember this one universal value, freedom. People fight for it, people defend it and people strive for it always.

The above image is courtesy of techavy.com

June 2017 Update- Stepping Back

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Hello again, readers! It’s been a while and I haven’t written much lately. For that, I’m sorry. This update is going to quite brief. Right now, I’m working on a play (not divluging any details here, for now), that will not published on this blog. Also, my posting on here is already infrequent and will defintely become more so from August onwards (I’ve got a lot commitments next school year, so this will have to take a backseat). Hopefully I’ll have more for you soon. Stay hydrated this summer folks! See y’all around.

Above photo: A panorama of the port area in Westport, WA, taken last summer by me (visible as sillouette in bottom left corner)

My Voice: For Goodness Sake, Be a Good Friend!

Let’s talk about what it means to be a true friend… (I’m trying something new with this, bear with me)

Friendship. According to the Oxford Dictionary, that is the state of being friends. Oftentimes, we make mistakes that could hurt others unintentionally, which can lead to trouble with a friendship. Other times, we turn off our conscience just to spite a friend for one reason or other.

Trampled on by the world,

Betrayed by her own friends

And left feeling alone,

Sat my dear friend Blondie

 

Blondie was hilarious

She was outgoing and kind,

But the world wanted her for lunch,

To consume her inner beauty,

To crush what made her so great

 

Blondie felt discouraged and down

Feeling alone can make one so

Bitter and angry at the world,

Blondie was no exception

 

But that’s when Blondie found out the

Simple truth about all people:

We can not shut the door to all

Without shutting the door

To even ourselves;

No man can be an island, ever

 

As for those mean people, they had

No achievements to speak of,

Because they tore down instead of

Building and growing everyone

Like Blondie did and will always do.

Why do we do and say such malicious things to our own friends? I don’t know and I can confess to doing that to some of my friends. But what I do know is that we have to step up to the plate and confess what we had done wrong, even if we as the wrongdoer feel justified (99% of the time that is just ego talking). Because if we don’t, not only will guilt eventually catch up to us, but we could escalate the problem. I assure you that nothing good comes from fights with friends. In the future, let’s all think about what we say about or to our friends and make the right choice the first time. Stop creating unessessary drama because of a loose tongue. Let’s choose to put a friendly touch back in our friendships, because what is an unfriendly friend? Not a friend at all, that’s what an unfriendly friend is.

My Voice: Yes, dear friends, the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and treason

For many of you who know me personally, you may know that I’ve had the experience of living in an another country (Kenya, if you’re curious). While living there, I figured out that little truth that most Americans don’t realize: most of the world loves America, but everyone hates Americans. If you’re American, and you don’t understand why people think that way, well here goes. We Americans tend to be ignorant. Most of the world that interacts with American tourists in their countries tend not give them points for knowledge (I’m not generalizing here, just using an average, there are smart American tourists for sure).

One anecdote I was told by one of my cousins who lives in Kenya, puts this in perspective. Once she met with an American for a work project and takes her out to the mall for lunch. The American lady was shocked at how the mall was there. She told my cousin, “I never imagined that there are malls here!” How does this relate in any way, shape or form to the Confederate flag? It’s a really simple extension, we Americans tend to be ignorant- of our own history, especially about the truth behind the Confederate flag and why it truly is such a racist and treasonous symbol.

Why the Civil War was Fought
Let’s work our way forward in this timeline, beginning from 1860. Abraham Lincoln was just elected as president and many Southerners were alarmed. This was because he was known to have an anti-slavery stance, which they thought could lead to slavery being abolished nationwide. Lincoln on the other hand, did not actually want to abolish slavery where it already existed. All the same, Southern slave-owning states decided that slavery was worth breaking up the Union for, so they seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. (Fun fact, the so-called “Confederate flag” was not the Confederacy’s actual flag. That flag we refer to as the Confederate flag is actually the battle flag for the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.) That’s the treasonous part, but unfortunately is only the beginning of the racist part.

All this does affirm, very negatively, claims of Confederate flag sympathizers: that the Civil War was fought over “states’ rights”. Yes, “states’ rights” to allow people to own slaves. If all that didn’t make it clear, South Carolina’s Articles of Secession will definitely do that (FYI: South Carolina was the first state to secede) I searched the word “slave” in that page, and it pops up 18 times, most referring to anger at Northern states for not returning runaway slaves and for many in those states wanting to end slavery. Yes, the Confederacy definitely fought “Northern tyranny”. The “Northern tyranny” of not getting their slaves back if they stepped foot in a free state.

The Resurgence of the Confederate Flag
The Confederate flag begins to fully take on it’s racist attributes in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. It wasn’t much of a popular symbol in the South before then. It became popular due to the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Many Southerners used it as a symbol of Southern defiance against attempts to have the federal government abolish Jim Crow laws (for those who slept in their history classes, that was the common name for the racial segregation laws in Southern states). The flag went from a little presence, to flying on state flags, over state capitols, in Ku Klux Klan rallies and as the primary symbol of the Dixiecrats. I’m not going to into detail about the State’s Rights Party (aka the Dixiecrat Party, I’ll leave you a link to read further), but their main platform idea was opposition to desegregation. This isn’t looking great, is it?

Conclusion
Why does it seem that so many unsavory characters and ideals lie at the feet of the Confederate flag? That’s a simple question to answer, it’s an unsavory symbol and does represent ideals like racism and treason. I am in no way stating that all people who fly the Confederate flag are KKK members, promote rebellion or are even racist at all. I am simply letting the facts and history of the matter shine for themselves. If it is such a terrible symbol, why fly it? My simple advice for Southerners who see it as a symbol of Southern pride: please, for the sake of progress and reason, put that flag away. I’m sure a less problematic symbol could be found for the South. Until then, all of us will always have the American flag, which does represent something good to all Americans, things like one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.

(The above photo is courtesy of Snopes.com)

My sources

Spring Bimonthly Update- Shifting Seasons, Shifting Gears

Easter has just passed us, it’s getting hotter (especially in the Southwest) and the flowers and trees are in bloom. Spring is here, here for sure. And with the change in seasons, comes a change in some plans I previously announced and some new ones too. Let’s get started!

General Updates

  • I have decided to shut down this blog’s Instagram page quietly, due to it never catching on (even with myself, to be honest).
  • I have separated my personal Twitter account from the blog’s today.
  • If you are a photographer or someone who does some graphic design and want any of your images featured on any blog post, please contact me at gideonsnook@outlook.com or DM me on my Twitter account (this blog doesn’t bring me a cent, so I can not pay for anything, this is just for free promotion of your work).
  • Feedback is always encouraged, please always feel free to leave constructive criticism in the comments section (note that it is moderated and your comment will be blocked if it’s irrelevant or rude) or contacting me through the contact sheet, email or social media.

Creative Updates

  • So, probably the biggest announcement I have here is that I’m shelving my short stories until the summer. This is because of my incredibly busy schedule during this time of year especially. I’m thankful for your patience, good writing takes time, doesn’t it?
  • Poetry still has a front seat, I’ve really been working on some good ones for a new collection coming soon (I’ve already wrote the poems and they have a theme, I just have to edit some).

Commentary Updates

  • What topic do you want me to talk about head on and with full facts and honesty? Let me know, I’m always up for starting a constructive conversation about almost anything.

Well, that’s been your Spring Update. I’ll be back with an update in June. Until then, keep a close eye on great pieces to come on Gideon’s Nook! Hope you had a blessed Easter, enjoy your Spring.

(The photo above is a picture of a park in Anthem, taken by a friend, used with permission)

With well wishes always,

Gideon

A Taste of Odd

So, in the process of writing (especially for my English class), I end up creating some interesting things. Special thanks to Josh and Mackenzie for the 2nd one. Here’s just A Taste of Odd (see what I did there)…

Mustard

Mustard, you are yellow

Bright as a tulip,

Tangy as its flavor twists,

A unique flavor.

Mustard.

 

Not an Idea

I am not reading mine

But I will read Mackenzie’s

Mine is terrible.