Promoting the Dictatorship

Today, I was told in school that “if an argument has 90% of people who think one way and 10% who think the other way, the 10% is most certainly wrong and it is not a debatable argument”.

What?

What?

I don’t even understand how someone– especially a teacher– could possibly believe that and promote that.

That teacher (whom I despise and so will never name) is literally promoting a totalitarian mob mentality wherein whoever has the most numbers always wins.  And that’s wrong.

At one point, the majority of Germans thought that Hitler was a good leader.

In the 20th century, the majority of Americans thought that homosexuality is a crime.OVM Featured Quotes

If students are told to never think outside the box, to just assume that the 90% is always right, then where in the world is this country going.  There will be no forward progress, no sense of direction, no nothing.

We will be forever stuck where just because you aren’t in the 90% you are wrong, and we will be leaving it up to this majority to determine what happens to the rest of us.  I can’t even explain to you how shocked I still am.

Not that long ago, 90%– over that– believed that being black meant you didn’t deserve a real life.

If we don’t promote that 10%… If we don’t explore our options and become educated no matter what everyone around us is saying… if we don’t at least TRY to stretch boundaries and find the truth amid a world of lies and deception… then why should we even have a voice.  What is the point.

We NEED VOICES.  We need to FIGHT.  This is not an option.  And a teacher telling students that just because they are in the minority they are WRONG.  That’s wrong.  That’s harmful to everyone who’s ever felt less than, ostracized, ignored.  That’s telling an entire RACE of people that if they’re not white they still shouldn’t matter.  That’s telling an entire SEXUALITY that they should be murdered for who they love.  And that’s telling every single human being who enjoys living in a democracy that HITLER WAS RIGHT.

No.

I cannot accept that.

We, as human beings, can think, and can promote change.  And to do that, you have to embrace the 10%, the 5%, even the 1% if that what it takes.

So no, teacher, I won’t only argue the 90%.  I’ll find where the world is wrong and I’ll do everything in my power to change that.  OVM Signoff


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March Wrap-Up

Hi everyone!! I’m so excited to be writing the wrapup for our first official month of running this blog.  It’s amazing to see how far it has gotten in such a short amount of time, and I’m sure that we’ll be able to make it even bigger in the next month.  So, without further ado, here’s what you may have missed in the past 31 days.

Top Posts

Author of the Month

Every month, I plan on highlighting one of the authors on this site who I think have done a great job in the past month in order to get more publicity for their private blogs, businesses, or anything else which they what to highlight!! This month, the lucky winner is Matt.

Matt joined OVM at the beginning of this month, and since then he has been loyally publishing once a week.  All of his content is well written, and you can see the passion in everything which he publishes.  Read all of his posts to date here.

Besides just being on the OVM team, Matt has his own blog: Bulanchuk’s Blog.  If you enjoy Matt’s writing style, you’ll love to see all of his self-help, ideal teenager, and humorous satire posts that he puts on the blog.

Congratulations Matt for getting author of the month!!

Our Blogging Growth

I’m excited that we now have 4 contributors on the OVM blog.  Ideally, we are looking for about 2 more people to join the team, but everyone we have on the team is dedicated and looking to help share their opinions with you.  If you’re interested in being on the team, head over and fill out the application now!

Our follower count has hit 14.  Thank you to everyone who has followed us, and please share this blog with anyone you think may be interested.

That’s all for this month.  Keep reading and make sure you check up on any posts you may have missed.

 

The World is Slowly Dying

I’m not being dramatic in the title.  It’s true.  The world is dying, and that is a direct result of human beings thinking that they can do whatever they want whenever they want with no real consequences.  We have become an entitled race full of people who would rather throw out a plastic water bottle rather than buy a reusable one and wash it.

Our society, most especially the US, has become a society of waste, of disuse, of garbage.  And nobody is innocent.  Not the wasteful neighbor, not the recycling addict– they are all guilty of contributing to the homosapien plague that is destroying our world.

Nothing is ever going to be able to stop the impending fate of destruction and death upon the world, so why try, right?  Use that extra electricity, buy that plot of land and have the forest torn down, because it’ll happen sooner or later.  Right? Right?  No.  We can’t have that thought process.  It is that exact thinking which WILL get this universe destroyed long before the sun explodes and kills us all.

The world is dying.  But we can help slow it down.

Sure, one person isn’t going to make much of an impact, but if many people change just themselves, the world will be changed.  Saved, even.

So, recycle.  Or better yet, try not to use resources which need to be thrown out/recycled in the first place.  Buy reusable containers.  Don’t take bags at the grocery store, carry it.

Cut down on electricity usage.  Turn off lights when you leave the room, and don’t turn them on at all if possible.  Never leave the water running for longer than absolutely necessary.  Take a shorter shower.

Eat less meat.  Stop getting food that is shipped halfway across the world to get to your plate.  Buy non GMO.  Buy local.  Buy organic.  Or better yet, make your own food by starting a garden in your backyard.

Make your voice heard.  Protest anti-sustainability projects.  Protest deforestation in the rainforest, and in the soon-to-be new housing development in the patch of trees across the street.  Plant a new tree, demand a say in what happens, because no matter how old you are, it’s your world too.

Drive less.  Bike more.  Take a walk.  Appreciate the world we live in.

Use less. Love more.  Stop wasting.  Save the world we live in.

Sit less.  Talk more.  Share opinions.  Unite the world we live in.

It may not be up to only you, but it certainly starts there.  You can’t complain about the world degrading– or claim to care– if you aren’t doing everything you can to save it.

It starts today.  What will your choice be?

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My Journey as a Vegetarian

It has been 6 FULL YEARS since I’ve last eaten a piece of meat, and my 7th anniversary is coming up in just a few months.  I could not be more happy with where I am in life now, and I would never go back to eating meat, as long as I have any choice in the matter (I hopefully always will, I don’t plan on being force fed).  Now, I know the decision to be vegetarian or vegan is difficult for many people, but I’m here today to share my journey and hopefully help some people who are having trouble deciding whether they should give up meat.

First off, I don’t think you ever need to make a permanent decision about anything, especially before you’re ready to do so.  Saying “I won’t eat meat” can be scary, and might make you feel trapped.  I was a 10 year old when I made the decision, and so for me nothing was scary.  If you are an adult who actually has to cook their own food, that might not be the case.  While you read this, keep that fact in mind.

  1. The First Steps

In one of the classes I was in, we had to do a project on either a future career choice, or an issue in the world.  Being 10, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up, so I decided to research animal cruelty.  I don’t know why.  I had 2 dogs, but I wasn’t particularly affectionate towards them, nor could I be described as an animal person.  But I did it.  I found out about puppy mills, factory farms, tortured cows, caged chickens, branded and broken pigs (who are just as smart as dogs), and so much more that most little kids would never even think about.  The next week, I stopped eating meat for good.  I only looked back twice– I accidentally ate a bite of a rib at a summer party (then dropped it under the table because I felt guilty and wanted to hide the evidence), and at a family party where the pepperoni looked too good to pass up.  The second time, I held strong.

2. Sticking with it

It was hard.  Really hard.  Sometimes, I would only have eggs for dinner because my parents made meat and I couldn’t eat it.  (and yes I see the irony in that but I was little).  At restaurants, I could only eat salads or pasta at many places.  I was lucky enough to have supportive parents who made my job way easier than it could have been otherwise.  I started reading books such as “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and watching all of those movies, and I was even more adamant to stick with my decision.  When I was 12, my parents decided to go vegetarian as well, and not just that, vegan.  I converted them.  Life was great.  In honor of their change, I also gave up fish, changing my pescetarian status to genuine veggie.

3. An Even Harder Change

Come my sophomore year of high school, I started learning about the health and environmental impacts of eating animal products as well.  Now, I’m a convenience vegan because of my beliefs.  What this means? At home I’m vegan because my parents are and that’s what they buy.  I get to eat the most delicious meals in existence, mostly ethnic (which is so much more available to vegs) because my mom is a great cook, and we rarely eat the same meal twice, aside from a few staple pieces.  I won’t eat eggs plain, because I do recognize the torture those female chickens are put through.  I won’t drink milk plan because of the cows and the cancer.  I try to keep to this as much as possible, and those two are a hard and fast rule.  But I still sometimes eat cheese pizza, I never pass up a dessert, and at restaurants I’m sure that they use dairy products in much of what I eat.  But I’m trying, and that’s what counts.

4. Today

Today, my hard and fast vegetarian rule no longer feels like a rule, it’s just common sense.  I never feel like I’m missing out on anything, and actually the smell of meat I associate with the smell of burning flesh.  It has become easy to not eat meat because I’m not missing out at all.  I have so many better, healthier options in front of me.  When I consume dairy, I feel sluggish and gross, when I’m not, I feel 100x healthier.  Meat, although it doesn’t disgust me as much as it should, doesn’t tempt me at all.  And I’m happy.

I realize that not everyone will have such a supportive family, or the means for cooking on their own.  But nowadays, there ARE options.  And everyone has the responsibility to educate themselves.  Do that, and the decision will be made for you.

Do you have any questions about my journey?  Do you need advice on being vegetarian or vegan? Need support?  Comment below, I’d love to talk and hear your stories!

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How to Be an Ally

I know I’m not the most *qualified* to speak on this subject, but maybe that makes it better.  Maybe the problem is that only the people who are most *knowledgeable* about a subject speak up, and then we lose 90% of the world’s opinions… anyways, enough about my lack of expertise, it’s time to get to the point of this article.

Now, more than ever, the LGBTQ+ community needs allies.  As straight individuals, especially straight, white, individuals, a lot of us need to take the time right now to pick a side.  And I don’t mean that gut reaction, “oh of course I stand for ____ “, but I mean actually think about what you are planning on doing in order to PROVE your beliefs.  I mean, seriously, you’re not an ally just because you have gay friends, just like you’re not not-racist just because you have black friends.  You can be homophobic and know gay people, the two are not mutually exclusive.  And you can be completely NOT homophobic, and still not be an ally.  For the most part, that’s what I see Every. Single.  Day.  And as a straight female, I am equally as guilty of participating in this type of sideline behavior.

Well, it has to stop.  So today, I’m going to share a few simple tips and tricks for being more than just a spectator, and help you become a cheerleader (or, better yet, the defensive lineman who doesn’t let any of those damn homophobes from hurting your quarterback… but, one step at at time)

  1. Go to rallies and protests

This is perhaps one of the least utilized ways of getting involved.  “It’s too far” or “I don’t have the time” are common excuses, but girls, we showed out in force for the Women’s March, we can’t just ignore the fact that there are other oppressed groups who need our support as well.  Make a sign, walk up and down the street, be active in helping the LGBTQ+ community’s voice be heard.  The more people there are, the more the politicians will realize they are forced to listen.  And that brings me to my next point…

  1. Call your representative

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering who your rep even is.  Well, Google your senators and house reps, or even local government.  It’s not hard I promise.  Then, write them, email them, make your voice heard.  This is especially important if you live in an area where you fear that human rights will be taken away if Trump passes an anti-LGBTQ+ bill.  Oh, wait. He already got rid of transgender rights.  So IT’S IMPORTANT EVERYWHERE.  TELL YOUR CONGRESSMEN AND WOMEN THAT YOU WILL NOT VOTE FOR A HOMOPHOBIC BIGOT.  If enough people call, it will make an impact.

  1. Engage in ruthless social media battles

Yeah yeah I get it this isn’t the best way to do anything, but I had to come up with something for the couch potato who can’t be bothered to actually hit the “call” button on the phone in their hands.  There are always homophobic people attacking gay or transgender individuals, and it’s your job to go out of your way to protect them, and let them know what an idiot they are.  Will this change their opinion? No.  But it will probably help overwhelm their mentions and crash their phone, and then who’s the real winner?  (hint: the answer is you)  

  1. Write about it

This one is something that really hits home for me, and I’m sure it will for a lot of other bloggers out there.  If you are a blogger, an author, or someone with a half decent social media following, you need to use your platform to make a difference.  That’s half the reason I started this blog.  I want to write something to help raise awareness for issues.  It does no good if you support gay rights secretly in the little internal hole of your body.  You need to vocalize the issue.  If you don’t have a platform right now, you can make one really easily.  Setting up a Twitter or WordPress blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, or any other social media, only takes a few clicks and an email address.  And BOOM.  You can share your support online.

  1. Read about it

Even if the above is realllyyyyy not for you, it’s important to stay educated by reading stuff related to the topic (blogs, newspapers, or fiction novels) and making sure that you know what is going on.  You’re not genuinely supportive if you didn’t even realize that Trump revoked the transgender rights law, because there’s no way you COULD be supportive about something you didn’t know.  And that’s bad.  Educate yourself.  That goes for all topics, not just this one.

Hopefully, you decide to go out and do one of the things I mentioned above.  Everything makes a difference, and with our current political climate minority groups need all the help they can get.  So step out of your comfort zone, because some people are being forced to live oppressed every day.

Do you have any other tips for supporting LGBTQ+ individuals?  Were any of my above suggestions helpful and/or absolutely terrible? Comment below and share your experiences.signoff


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I Love Standardized Testing so Much it Should Probably be Abolished

If you read the title of this post, you probably then clicked the link because you were genuinely confused and wanted to know what the heck I was thinking when I wrote this post.  Well, I have some good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) news for you.  I’m completely serious.  I love that we have standardized tests.  But I don’t think they’re beneficial, and getting rid of them might do a whole ton of good.

Let’s start with me: I do really, really well on standardized tests.  I always have, I just naturally guess well and respond well to bubble sheets.  It might be because I’m so competitive, or maybe I’m just really freakin’ lucky all the time.  The point is, I do so well on SATs and the like that I was recently named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist– all because of my PSAT scores.  Now, I’m not saying I’m not deserving of this award, at all.  I’m smart (I say so without bragging) and work in school, taking 4 AP classes this year (okay maybe I’m bragging a little bit).  Basically, I’m one of those nerds.  So yeah, I should have been an NMS finalist.

But there’s the rub.  One of my nearest and dearest friends, whom I would consider infinitely smarter than anyone in our entire school– she’s gifted and all she does is school all the time– didn’t even become a semifinalist.  And she’s a genius.  But she’s not on the award list, and doesn’t have the opportunity to win money that she is likely overqualified for.

On the same token, I was getting a 5 on my AP English Lang exam from day one of the school year.  A different friend worked hard, studied, got an A in the class, and only managed a 3 on the exam (it’s out of 5).  And she knew her English language let me tell you.  The reason?  She’s incredibly slow.  It’s like when she’s pressured to write something or think, it just doesn’t work and her brain stops moving.  So a clever girl who knows more than just “average” is only barely passing, despite all of the work that she’s put in.

Standardized testing inherently favors those who work fast, guess well, and have a logical brain formation.  For the people who are more creative thinkers, take their time, or allow their mind to wander (or in the case of my friend, who won’t stop trying to think of big words to use in her essays when the small one would suffice) don’t do well, even when they fully understand the material.

More and more often, colleges are not requiring SATs or ACTs to get into the school, but the competitive ones still do.  And by segmenting it like that, it will be impossible for the creative geniuses– and the ones who are great at math but only if they do lattice rather than the easy multiplication– are going to be left behind, rejected from colleges which they could  enrich with their new perspective on education.

Yeah, I benefitted from the standardized testing procedure, but other people are being left behind, and that’s not fair.  We need a better way to make sure the students in Arkansas are as smart as the ones in New York, and that the inner city students and country folk aren’t struggling in comparison with the rich suburban children.  There needs to be some level of comparison, and I understand that.  But having kids sit down for 3 hours straight to decide their future is a terrible way to do it.  America, we need to think this through.  Perhaps nationalized projects once a year, or compiling a yearly portfolio would be a more fair way of collecting data.  Yes, it would be more time consuming for the “graders”, but at least it would give everyone a fair chance, and there wouldn’t be the 5th grader who goes home crying because the day he took STAR Reading he was sick and now he’s stuck reading picture books for the year.

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It Happened Once Already: On Russia, China, the US, and Why History Matters

Before I start this, I think it’s probably smart to point out that this is all purely speculative, and I’m not even sure if I believe what I’m writing.  That being said, I am basing what say off of facts and history, so I suppose you could reasonably jump to conclusions….

It happened once already.

Russia.  China.  A leader nobody really wanted.

In the years before 1949, before Mao Zedong conquered China and declared it a communist nation, Russia and China didn’t get along.  In the 20s, the two nations ended their relationship, and existed separately.  The majority of China was anti-communist.  In the 30s and 40s, when Russia and Germany were alternately attempting to conquer the world, the Chinese were actually afraid of the Russian army, unsure of what it would do.

But one man wasn’t.

This man would later be known as Mao, founder of Communist China.  Mao was shunned by his own country, unable to rise to success in any major political party, despite how badly he wanted it.  Mao was essentially a political failure– the people despised him, the politicians despised him, and it seemed as though all hope was lost for this man.  But he was ambitious.  More ambitious than anyone had ever known.

So, in the decades before WWII began, he raised an army and began taking over parts of China, starting a civil war.  But he wasn’t alone.  Mao had the help of Stalin, the Russian leader, who supplied him with information and some funding (well, not much information or funding, he mainly led Mao on and kept him on a string like a lost puppy) and in return Stalin received crucial information about China, the internal politics, and succeeded in weakening the structure of China immensely.

Now, Russia was able to invade a much weaker China, something that the main political party did not want, and that Mao desperately did.  Russia interfered so much so with Chinese politics and their civil war that (with the help of WWII, Japan, and German threats) a much weaker, unwanted leader was able to rise to power and turn the whole country communist.

That brings me to the title of this piece.

Russia interfered with internal politics once, and there is a lot of evidence that suggests they did so again, when they rigged the US election.  What did they want last time? Another communist superpower.  If Stalin hadn’t died in the early 50s, perhaps they would have eventually claimed China for themselves, we’ll never know.  But this time, what does Russia want?  Something tells me they’re not after just another trading partner.  Something tells me that this could mean war.  And oh gods that’s a scary thought.

A few weeks ago, a Russian spy ship was seen loitering around the US.  Logically, that could have happened with Obama as president.  But it didn’t–at least not that we know of.  Even if Trump is anti-russian invasion, his mostly positive view towards Putin is giving them confidence that they haven’t had since the Cold War.

Keep in mind I said above that I’m not sure if this is really happening, or if I’m being a tad dramatic.  But, I’d rather overreact than do nothing while Russia takes over, and I think most people would feel the same way.

So keep this in mind next time you’re watching the news or listening to propaganda.  Russia took over a country using a political figure the vast majority of the country despised once, and they can do it again.

Sources:

Mao: The Unknown Story, by Jon Halliday and Jung Chang (Buy on Amazon*)

Timelines of History

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Our Voices Matter Contributor Application

Hey!

In order to make this site work, I want to have as many people’s opinions as possible here on the blog.  You can have posts about politics, lifestyle, or anything else you can possibly think of.  Interested in joining?  Fill out the form below.  All information will be kept private, and you can expect a response within a week.  We are ALWAYS accepting new members.

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