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First, He Came for the Muslims

“If you force Muslims to register, we will all register as Muslims” said Feminist icon Gloria Steinem.
 
I stand ready to register as Muslim in  said the Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
 
“I stand ready to register as a Muslim in solidarity if it comes to that” said actress Mayim Bialik.
 
I don’t know if it is, somehow, suppose to bring comfort or relief to Muslims in this nation for the support. And perhaps, on the surface, it may very well seem to be.
 
But it’s not.
 
It’s not because this isn’t the first time this has happened in our nation. No I’m not talking about the Japanese internment.
 
The year was 2002. The program was called NSEERS. National Security Entry-Exit Registration System
 
What was it, you ask? Essentially, it required non-citizens, non-residents in the US already and those entering the United States from certain countries, predominantly Muslim countries of course, to register in the U.S., undergo more thorough interrogation and be fingerprinted. The only country on that list that wasn’t predominantly Muslim was North Korea.
 
Who stood up for Muslims then? Which non-Muslims signed up as Muslims then as an act of defiance? And even if they did, what difference would it have made?
 
We don’t need just words of solidarity. We need action. Otherwise, just as we passively let him become POTUS, we will start to face deplorable consequences such as this Muslim registry.
 
What’s next? Segregated water fountains?  Separate seating on public transit for people of color?
 
First, he is coming for the Muslims. But the question is, will it end there? Who will be next? 
 
We must stand up and act. Contact your congress member. Call your senator. 

#NotMyPresident… but wait? He is.

I didn’t watch the inauguration. If you know what a news and political junkies we are in this house, this was big.

News are big in our house. Domestic and international. Politics are discussed profusely.

Throughout the day, there are texts, news alerts and tweets sent among our household group text. We watch the news together nightly.

The first inauguration I can remember watching with full memory is of George Bush. I have watched every one since. I know little tidbits like the oath is always at noon and other things that do nothing for my personal gain.

But I couldn’t watch today.

This whole election cycle, I feel we sat around passively thinking it was not possible to elect such a candidate and *news flash alert* he now holds the office. I don’t know if it says more about the type of people who support him or more about the type of people who passively allowed this to happen.

A man who lashes out on twitter over minute things. Doesn’t he, or should he, have better things to do? You know… like trying to figure out what this presidency entails exactly??

A man who probably has a contradictory statement for each one he has made. Probably on his own Twitter account nonetheless.

A man who is equal about discrimination against all. A racist, sexist, ableist, a bigot.

A man who lacks the basic understanding of what this position requires suddenly holds the power and control over so many things. Let’s not even start with the nuclear codes.

His own campaign staff didn’t/couldn’t trust him with his own twitter handle leading up to the election, need I remind you, but we are suppose to trust him as the POTUS?

Where do we stand, as a nation, now?

How much weaker are we as a nation in the eyes of countries around the globe?

Was it a publicity stunt for him? Perhaps. Are we suppose to wait around holding our breaths what’s to come in the next four years? No. Way.

Popular hashtags trending on twitter include #NotMyPresident and #OptOut. But you know what? Whether we like it or not, the reality is that he is now our president. And we certainly can’t just opt out.

I tried to convince myself post-election that we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. That rooting for his failure is essentially rooting for our own demise. But you know what? No. No we don’t have to. And we certainly shouldn’t.

Enough of the “how bad can it get?” and “what worse could happen?”. All logic and common sense has gone out the window. Anything and everything is suddenly fair game and quite the possibility.

As a matter of fact, it suddenly got just that more important to be proactive and speak up for what is right and what we believe in and make our voices be heard and be heard and hold those in office accountable. Not be silenced or sit passively any longer.

One of my biggest regrets will be that I wasn’t active in the election campaign this go around like I was during the Obama campaigns.

It starts small. It starts local. I urge everyone to become more involved in their own communities.

We can’t change what happened, but we certainly can have a lot to say about what is happening and what happens in the next four years.

His slogan may be “Make America Great Again”, and we certainly need to… but he certainly isn’t the one to lead our nation to do so.

Update: This can also be found here.

Why Do We Fall?

As a nation, we failed.

And we failed our children the most. They are the ones to suffer the most. They will see the aftermath the most and be effected the most.

No, we didn’t fail because we failed to elect Hillary Clinton. In fact, it was never about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump the people themselves.

It wasn’t ever about them. It was about everything we stand for as individuals and as a collective society and what candidate aligns closely with that sentiment.

We, as a country, elected a racist, a sexist, a bigot, an ableist all in one who openly discriminates against all, … and all those that were at least embarrassed and ashamed and as a result hid their hate for all? Now, its socially acceptable to display freely.

The polls weren’t wrong. What happened was the closet haters didn’t express themselves openly until they could cast their votes in anonymity.

It wasn’t about the lesser of two evils. Rather, it became that evil [and hate] won.

We try and teach our children basic differences between what is right and wrong. We teach them that innately each person is equal and the same and no one deserves to think they are entitled or put anyone else down for any reason.

How do we teach our child(ren) it’s wrong, when we didn’t stand up for what is wrong? How do we teach our child(ren) to do the right thing, when we didn’t do the right thing? How do we teach our child(ren) to stick up for what is right no matter how hard it is or how unpopular it is, when we failed to do that?

How does one teach their child(ren) its wrong to discriminate, disrespect women or put others down when as a nation we said it’s totally acceptable? Let’s be clear: there was a choice and we chose this as a union.

Today, as a nation, we moved backwards. And to reverse this? Not as easy as changing the clock for daylight savings. We took a huge step backwards in the wrong direction. We have a lot of work to do and its going to be rigorous, but more important than ever to stick up for what is right. Now it’s more important than ever to have these honest hard conversations.

All the closet haters that were built in these past eight years since we elected Barack Obama came out in full force yesterday and spoke volumes. For anyone who naively thought we were making progress in terms of discrimination of any sorts? Our eyes were, unfortunately, opened to reality today.

Elections have consequences. Actions have consequences.

How can SO many people be … so far off from reality?

It’s easy to play the what if game. What if more people had voted. What if more people hadn’t wasted their votes. What if the media hadn’t created this monster. What if the voters turnout was greater in the primaries – would the candidate be different? Who knows. What if’s never become what is. And what is? Is an unfortunate reality that we now have to deal with.

It doesn’t just go away in four years. In reality, today, we opened way to create this as a new norm. We said, wrongly, that this is okay. That it’s okay to hate. And that isn’t okay ever.

I always send reminders to those closest to me to vote always — not just in the general presidential election, but all types of elections. It’s not just your right but your civil duty. In the aftermath, it’s each to say or think things in hindsight. But it’s too late by then.

It wasn’t a typical election with two qualified candidates with different views. We had a clear choice last night, but somehow made the wrong decision. I knew the American electorate is ignorant, but perhaps I underestimated just how ignorant they truly are.

I read something last night which was all true — last night’s election was like working with a dysfunctional group for a school project. You do your part, but can only hope that the others don’t screw it up. Unfortunately, more than half of the nation screwed up big time. A project grade didn’t depend on it though, our future did.

I have never been more scared, or more unsure of the uncertain future than I am at this moment. Not for me, but for my young thirteen month old son. He is my life. What kind of tomorrow are we choosing for him today?

We are suppose to be the role models for our children. For the future generations. As parents, we are suppose to be unselfish and make decisions to create good futures for our children. Each thing we do daily, is about our kids. And today, we didn’t just disappoint them – we failed them.

In some ways I am glad my son is to young to realize or even ask questions. It doesn’t stop my worries or lessen what is. But because I can’t imagine what it was like to be one of the many parents, and teachers, across this nation who had to deal with tough questions and have some serious discussions with the young children in their lives.

As I was discussing with Faraz about my sentiments and thinking of what to title this post, he quoted to me the following from Batman:

Alfred: “Why do we fall sir?”

Bruce: “So we can pick ourselves up again.”

As a nation, we fell deep. Picking ourselves up won’t be easy, but it needs to be done.

As I close off my thought for now, something I wanted to share — I am a US citizen, but I am also a Canadian citizen. And the biggest difference? The day we had our naturalization ceremony in Canada many many years back, we were reminded to never forget who we are and where we came from: that Canada is so great because it’s so diverse. Here in the US? It’s about assimilating. It’s about being all the same. We don’t celebrate differences, we try to blend in and not stand out or be seen as different.

And today? It’s now socially acceptable to hate what is different.

Update: This can also be found hereMy first time on The Huffington Post.

Why I’m With Her

Not feasible, but by the off chance someone isn’t aware that Tuesday is election day– don’t forget to vote.

As FDR said: “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves”.

It doesn’t matter what excuse you are thinking of, exercise your right to vote. I urge everyone I know to vote not just in presidential elections [primary or general], but every election… but this presidential election there is a lot at stake.

The usual expected reasons for why I hear someone isn’t voting has taken a further step this year… because let’s face with it: not everyone may be tossing around a #ImWithHer freely, but the opposing candidate is an unconventional, [not to mention a very questionable] candidate.

Like I posted some time back — we have taken the notion to teach our kids that “anyone can grow up to be a president” a step way too far. There needs to be some sort of prerequisites and qualifications. As the many funny jokes say, and rightfully so, I can’t find an entry-level job without them all requiring 5-7 years of experience [how is that entry level then anyways??] along with other requirements… but he can run for president??

Why vote, you ask, when neither candidate stands out to you? Why vote at all? Whatever excuse you are thinking in your head as justifying why you won’t vote please remember that at the end of the day, any vote against [or not made for Hillary Clinton] is a vote FOR Trump. Which isn’t acceptable. This time, things are different. There’s just too much at stake. This isn’t some reality TV that will just go away if the ratings drop too low. This isn’t one of his business projects that he can claim bankruptcy the moment he fails.

Trump’s slogan may be “Make America Great Again”, but he isn’t the person. The only thing he is consistent about is the fact that he equally discriminates against everyone. What group of people, if any exist, are out there that Trump hasn’t discriminated and/or insulted?

The people who don’t vote are typically the first people to be listing their endless complaints. Even if you don’t complain, voting is not just your civic duty but also your right.

Why am I with her? No, not just because she’s a woman. That’s just one of the perks. As a new mom, I can say honestly everything takes on a new perspective and everything means that much more and there is much more at stake– the future for our children. Trump isn’t qualified and he doesn’t have the temperament. It’s the most clear-cut decision. And I’m typically a pretty indecisive person.

As a nation we may be moving our clocks back an hour tonight, but let’s make sure we move our country forward on Tuesday.

An Evening with Cory Booker [at Rutgers]

I was at the event when Bill Clinton came to Rutgers at the height of Barack Obama’s election campaign [when I was still a Rutgers student]. I met/shook hands with Barack Obama when he came to FDU. Not to mention I met Nelson Mandela as an elementary school student in Canada when he visited Toronto, Ontario. Rutgers has hosted others that I attended as well including Rachel Maddow and Nicole Wallace.

a blurry picture, but whatever.

Last night, Rutgers hosted Cory Booker (newly elected to the US Senate). Not only did I get to hear him speak in person [like with the others], but this time there was an added benefit: I got to interact directly with him. An amazing opportunity for someone like me who is so into politics.

It started off as a simple tweet expressing my disappointment that questions would supposedly be limited to students from a certain American government class at Rutgers. Booker addressed it on twitter, asked about/for me [by name] right when he walked in to the room and later addressed the question. Which I appreciated very much so.

It’s just something else when you get the opportunity to interact with someone in public office that genuinely wants to make a difference in the community. And let me tell you: his personality shines even more in person. If you follow him on Twitter or follow the news, you already have an idea of how “hands-on” involved he is in his community. How many politicians actually do that? Not many. And when they do, they need to be recognized, appreciated, and used as examples as for what the constituents deserve.

For all that he has done for Newark, I look forward to him extending that and applying it to New Jersey as a whole. It’s not just Newark he represents now, but like he said himself several times last night: he now “represents the entire state” of New Jersey.

Newtown, Connecticut School Massacre

Another horrific massacre.

My heart aches for the family and friends of the 27 deceased that were viciously murdered this morning. Especially the innocent 20 children who suffered and endured what no one should have to go through. Let alone at a school!

It sickens me how evil some people can be. The ache I feel inside of me is indescribable. I can’t even imagine what the families of the victims are feeling.

Theaters, malls, schools. Is any place considered a safe haven anymore? What kind of a society are we leaving for the children of the next generation?

Massacres like today’s are occurring not only more frequently, but they are also becoming more widespread. Tragedies like today are becoming way too common in our society, and it needs to change. It needs to change NOW!

There are too many evil people in this world. How many more innocent people must die at the hands of a tragedy like this before we stand up as a society and say enough is enough?! It seems like the only time we move one step forward in discussing gun control laws is in the aftermath of a situation like this when we are all emotionally charged. Days later, however, we seem to take two steps back as it seems to go right back to the back burner. The end result being yet another statistic and the tragedy forgotten until another disastrous event strikes.

It must not be forgotten because THEY the VICTIMS must not be forgotten. Don’t we owe them that much? We must stop making it about the perpetrator, and instead focus on the victims.

We need better gun control laws and we need them now. Why is it so damn easy to have access to guns in this country? Why in the world are people legally allowed to have access to guns? The murderer in this situation had easy access to FOUR guns because his mother legally owned them.

People always argue “guns don’t kill people, people kill people“. Well, you know what? Guns sure as hell make it a lot easier.

Those that make ridiculous arguments like “cars kill people so let’s ban cars too then“: cars are not designed/made to cause harm… or the purpose of a car is not to inflict harm upon others.

For those who say it’s too early to talk about gun control laws in the aftermath of a tragedy like this? I beg to differ. I think those directly effected by today’s massacre would say it’s actually too late.

Will better gun control laws solve everything? No. Will people still find loopholes? Don’t they always? Will it make a difference? Hell, yes it will.

We can’t feasibly stop everyone. Sick and evil people will always find a way, but we sure as hell shouldn’t make it easy for them. People will always find a way around it, but that doesn’t mean that as a society we stand by and let things happen. We’re better than that and we deserve better than that!

You know what else we need to do? We need to stop playing the blame game and making excuses. Every time something like this happens, we need to stop simply blaming it on a “mental health” issue. Sure, one must be mentally disturbed to do something so atrocious because no one in their right mind can do something so horrendous, but simply pinning the blame on a mental health disease isn’t getting us anywhere! It makes me cringe every time I hear “he committed [so and so crime] because he had [insert mental health disease of your choice here]”. Whether it is the institution that has failed them, or whatever it is… we can’t make excuses anymore. We need to work on solutions, not excuses. Better gun control laws are a part of that solution. Better screenings is a part of that. Changing the connotation of mental health disease and help for them is a part of that.

We need to stand up for what’s right. Stand up for each other. Our loved ones. The kids of the next generation. We need to stand up for what’s right so what happened today and what has happened way too many times lately doesn’t happen again. We need to stand up so another innocent life isn’t taken away prematurely.

Call your local politician. Make your voice be heard. Make a difference. Stand up for what’s right. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to the future.

VOTE Tomorrow!

As always, this is a friendly reminder for you all to go vote tomorrow in the United States as it is finally Election Day 2012!

At the end of the day, I don’t care who you vote for, just don’t forget to vote and remind your friends and family to do the same. Side note: I actually do care who you vote for, but it’s not my opinion, it’s yours that matters.

I want to remind you all how important it is that you cast a vote tomorrow, even though you may think your state is “strongly democrat” or “strongly republican” and your vote does not even matter…exercise your right to vote! Not only is the presidency at stake, but local competitions as well.

It always irks me that the ones who don’t vote are usually the first ones to complain about everything and when I ask them why they didn’t vote – they don’t usually have a reasonable answer. Have your opinion be counted tomorrow.

For those of you on the east coast and directly effected by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy: don’t let Sandy be an excuse for you not to vote. Instead, it should actually be yet another reason for you to vote! As it turns out, funding for FEMA is one of the topics the two major candidates differ vastly on (Romney said in a debate in June 2011 that he’d cut funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and send its power to the states and the private sector). Tell me how a state that is hit and devastated as badly as NJ is currently by Hurricane Sandy is supposed to get by without federal help?

While it may be a bit more challenging than normal for you to vote this year (lack of power, voting locations changed, etc.), take the extra effort and make your voice count. The three hours you stood in line to fill up gas in your car? The time you took driving around to find a place to charge your electronic device because you don’t have power at home? Set aside similar time to go and vote tomorrow!

Detrimental issues like healthcare are at stake!!

Not only does your future depend on it, but those of the future generations.

Presidential Debates

With today being the start of the presidential debates for this election cycle, their validity and importance has been discussed recently.

I have heard, today in particular, that it’s nothing but a show of who can best present their prepared lines. [Aside: although I have to admit, that the Onion‘s article on it is hilarious.]

But you know what? These prepared lines HAVE to include their vision, their stances, and what sets them apart from the opposing candidate in some way or form.

And that’s what the undecided voters who are tuning in are looking for, aren’t they? The democrats are more likely than not going to vote democrat and likewise for the republicans. It’s the undecided voters that will ultimately decide the election.

It’s not like the rest of the campaign season where the candidates can just bash their opponent, or sideline from the questions asked about the real issues. I’d like to think that the moderator will hold them accountable during these debates.

Because you know what? The American public deserves answers.

Not just the undecided voters. I am know who I am voting for, but that doesn’t mean I know what the next four years will hold or that I don’t have questions.

Oh, one last thing. If this election really is going to be based off of the question “are you better off than you were four years ago?” as these news journalists keep emphasizing from the Romney campaign… then, I don’t even know what to say. I don’t think it takes much more than common sense to realize that four years ago we were dealing with the aftermath of a presidency that left the country in turmoil financially and otherwise. It’s not like Day 1 of the Barack Obama presidency is where all the issues started. They have built up over time.

And you what, I AM better off than I was four years ago.

I am still covered under my dad’s healthcare plan. Four years ago, without Obama’s healthcare plan, that wouldn’t be the case. And if it wasn’t, I can’t even imagine how much in debt I’d be because of the curve balls life has thrown my way this past year.

Now off to watch the first debate, one dealing with domestic issues. As you can imagine, healthcare and employment is on the top of my list of issues I care about.

Iowa Caucus & New Hampshire Primary

Being the political junkie that I am, I stayed up until 2:30 AM the night of the Iowa caucus until we FINALLY found out who the winner was after all of the confusion and back and forth… and probably one of the closest elections ever.

Eight votes separated the first (Romney) and second (Santorum) place last week, yet people still argue that they don’t bother voting because their ONE vote doesn’t count? Really? If I could earn a dollar for every time I hear that… I wouldn’t need to be looking for a job.

Here’s to hoping that the New Hampshire primary tonight is as exciting as the Iowa caucus was. I LOVE election season!

SOTU 2011

I’ve embedded the speech below:


P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.