Author Archives: showmejusticefilmfestival

Guest Blogger: The Debate over Race and Guns

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Quashaun Logan-Wilkins is a senior attending the University of Central Missouri studying Digital Media Production with a minor in Sports Communication. He love to play sports, play video games, hang out with friends and write poems. He will be graduating in Summer of 2019 with his Bachelor’s degree.

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In today’s American society, the Second Amendment has been one of the controversial amendments under the U.S. Consitution. Today, citizens are losing loved ones to the acts of gun control and who can obtain a weapon with this amendment being their protection. From mass shootings to self protection, many are lost and the gun control in this world seems to not apply as every situation becomes more severe.

More recently an incident in a Alabama suburban mall occured which leaves the town of Hoover, Alabama questionable. After gunshots were fired in the shopping mall during Thanksgiving night, a man directed frantic shoppers to safety with his hand on his gun to defend against a looming threat. But when law enforcement had arrived to the scene, this African American was not seen as a hero in action, yet “a suspect brandishing a pistol” according to a police account. The officer decided to fire at him and the man, Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., died later from the scene.

Although Bradford was armed with a weapons at the scene of the crime, he was not the suspect the police has been searching for. The suspect that was actually taken into custody was 20 year old Erron Martez Dequan Brown in which he was charged with attempted murder on a 18 year old male who was shot during the melee. By the time the police have found the actually suspect, it was too late to make the correction to the mistake that was made. Bradford had not shot anyone at the scene of the crime but was a licensed gun owner in the crowded area of the mall.

There are two ways the situation was saw out for the 21 year old Bradford: Trying to protect and defend for those in danger or pose as a serious threat by wielding a gun during a moment of chaos. These two views on the scene were in the center of controversy over race, gun rights, and bias that had escalated in the predominantly white suburbs of the town and led to protest. This incident left a question on the table of a very popular slogan from Second Amendment enthusiast: ” The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” As the African American race tries to protect themselves or others with a gun may not have so many benefits when in doubt of being in a heated situation.

This is a situation that is starting to become an uproar to the safety of those with color even when they have a licensed weapon in their possesion. This is becoming an issue as the world can seem to mishandle some of these situations. Lets compare this to the two most recent mass shooting of Las Vegas and at the High School in Florida. In both of those cases, neither suspect were in the right for what had happened and yet one killed themselves with another one walking away in handcuffs, but what about the man that was trying to protect other people and their lives that were at risk? With us being spectators, we will not be able to know what happened, but we can speak out on the epidemic of how debatable this controversy is becoming a huge problem to out society and can be handled in such a matter, yet nothing is to be change. What are you thoughts on this topic?

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Guest Blogger: Addressing the Issues in the film, “The Hate U Give”.

Quashaun Logan-Wilkins is a senior attending the University of Central Missouri studying Digital Media Production with a minor in Sports Communication. He love to play sports, play video games, hang out with friends and write poems. He will be graduating in Summer of 2019 with his Bachelor’s degree.

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In the film, “The Hate U Give” directed by George Tillman Jr, we get to explore the issues of racism and social injustice in America such as police brutality, the drug trade, gang violence and the Black Lives Matter movement. Based off the novel by Angie Thomas, who is New York Times best-selling author, the title was influenced by rapper Tupac Shakur, a East Harlem native. Shakur is credited with his saying “Thug Life” which stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Messes With Everybody,” in which he addresses the systemic racism and oppression.

We meet the main character, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who is an African-American teenage girl that struggles with racial identity and tensions throughout the film. She lives with her father, Mavrick, her mother, Lisa, her half brother, Seven, and her biological little brother Sekani. As we follow Starr throughout her teenager years, she is faced with addressing both coming-of-age and current racial issues in which becomes a challenge for her to embrace who she is and balancing her two worlds.  Starr tries to separate her home life from her school life. She lives in Garden Heights which is a Black neighborhood that struggles with poverty and violence while attending Williamson Prep which is the wealthy, pro-dominantly Caucasian school.

The film itself balances the portrayal of social and racial issues with the family’s loving, playful relationship. Light-hearted jokes that are made throughout the movie bring humor to the dark and heavy situations that are faced in today’s society. Jokes such as in the film when an argument between Seven and Starr’s white boyfriend, Chris, over whether or not mac and cheese would be considered a meal or a side dish. This would be consider how differently races or cultures are from each other. Moments like this add to the genuineness and honesty of the film.

During the film, one night Starr reconnects with a childhood friend Khalil Harris at a party. After the party which led to a heap of violence, the two flee together in Khalil’s car. On their way home, the pair suddenly get pulled over by the police and Khalil, an unarmed black teen, is fatally shot by a white police officer.

After the death of her once childhood friend, Starr has difficulty on deciding to speak out about the situation, due to her being afraid for her safety and jeopardizing her reputation at school. As she learns how to deal and cope with the tragedy, she also learns how to use her voice as a way to help her community.

Instead of making the individual police officers the antagonist of this film, “The Hate U Give” draws the audience attention to the problems within the law enforcement system as a whole. Starr’s uncle Carlos is a cop and tries to provide a police officer’s perspective on the situation with Khalil. But during one of the protests in the film, Starr says that the problem itself lies within the societies inability to listen to African-American people. Even when Starr talks to Chris telling him that ” Who says he doesn’t see color– if he doesn’t see her blackness, he doesn’t see her”. This was a powerful quote from the film.

Overall this was a great film and I would suggest to anyone to take look at this on the big screen. It does a great representation of exploring such issues that are faced in today’s society in America and can bring a visual aspect to few.

Gun Liability

Trayner Wilson is a senior at the University of Central Missouri in the Digital Media Production program. He enjoys movies, music, playing pool, and hanging with his dog Scooby-Doo. He will be guest blogging for this week.

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Gun liability is something that has come to light more recently since there seems to be a lot more shootings happening. There are people out there that believe gun manufacturers and gun sellers should be held accountable after a school shooting/ mass shooting occurs. Now there is also a lot of problems with our gun control laws in the United States however, I do not think a lot of that can be controlled by the government.

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There is a massive underground black market for weapons that goes on regardless of how the government is trying to stop it or not. There will always be a way for people to get their hands on a firearm if they really want to. There will have to be a lot of policies and laws put into effect before there is any control on guns in the US. I personally own several guns and use them for hunting and even some recreational shooting so I support being able to own guns as long as you don’t have any convictions dealing with firearms.

I hate the fact that there are people out there that use guns for the wrong reasons and it is something that is important in my mind to figure out more effective ways to regulate guns and how people can get access to them. When it comes to the gun liability I think it is important for manufacturers and sellers to have insurance and coverage to protect them in the case of people trying to sue these companies when crimes are committed with their products. I think it is useless to try and sue the companies that produce these weapons because they do not intend their customers to have these dark intentions.

That seems that it would be a losing battle most of the time in court against bigger gun manufacturing companies who can get really good lawyers. As far as the individuals that own guns, most insurance companies won’t give coverage for such small claims. Naturally there is some sorts of liability coverage that cover some accidental shootings and self-defense but obviously they do not cover any sort of criminal activity. This is something I like that can protect the people that get into certain situations and are only acting to save their lives or others.

There is a huge problem with gun violence in our country, I do not think it will be easy to control if we can ever control it at all.  I do not think that it is necessarily just in our gun laws, but also there needs to be attention to the areas with the most gun violence. If there is something done about the areas where this violence is happening then I think we could solve a lot of issues we have with people getting a hold of guns that would have criminal intent. I know there is a lot that goes into helping out areas with more violence but I believe it would help to control some of the incidents we have with guns in this country.

Injustice of Deporting Children

Trayner Wilson is a senior at the University of Central Missouri in the Digital Media Production program. He enjoys movies, music, playing pool, and hanging with his dog Scooby-Doo. He will be guest blogging for this week.

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There has been a lot of issues with deportation lately under the Trump administration. There has been a lot of talk around social media about the problems that surround kicking people out of the country. There are valid points to both sides in support of and not in support of deportation. There are some aspects of it that make sense in my mind, such as having more jobs and cutting back on supporting immigrants and being able to focus on the American citizens. Although I think it is wrong the way they are dealing with deporting people and families. It is tearing families apart and I believe there are ways to deal with it to where our government could at least set the families up with a start to a new life back in their own country.Z5VZRQBJOVEOFIDL5QTKXGA6TI

However, I do think there is things our country will start to lose if we continue to deport families and other people like we have been in recent years. If we send all of the immigrants out of the US, then we would lose a lot of culture from other places in the world. I believe it is important to have a lot of exposure as a nation to other countries around the world so we can have a diverse and experienced culture. If we have a sense of other cultures around the world and understand them, I think it will help us to have better relations around the world as well as expanding our own culture.

Now I am also strongly against deporting children, especially if they are being deported without any of their family. There has been a lot of articles popping up that discuss some of the aspects of deporting children. One that I found particularly interesting was from the LA Times that discusses deporting children without any representation. A department of Justice Judge testified about teaching young children immigration laws and allowing them to testify in court. I don’t remember much of when I was 3-4 but I know for a fact I would not have known what was going on if I had to be in a court case. I do not think this is something that we should allow our country to do. It is very off putting that someone would think a young child at such an age would be able to testify on their behalf when it comes to them getting deported. I am sure that poor child would be confused at the fact they have to leave their life behind that they have started in the US and move to a different country.

This article showed me a lot that I had not known about child deportation and some of the laws around it. I am now a little more worried about what we are doing to these families and why we have to disrupt a young child’s life just to benefit ourselves.

Guest Blogger: How to Save a Life

Jeremy is The Spider-Pan, host of The Neverland Podcast. He enjoys comics, Disney, video games, Disney, movies, and Disney. He also likes long walks on the beach in the rain while dancing around light poles.

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Life is important, in fact it’s sacred. We all want to preserve life, no matter which side we sit on the the question of when it begins. We could go in circles discussing that issue, and that’s not what I’m here to do.

Over the course of my time as a guest Tweeter, Facebook Editor, and guest blogger, I’ve tried to share some ways that you yourself can do a small thing that makes a big difference in the life of another. Today I want to show you how you can save a life. It may even help you with a difficult decision you may be facing or might face in the future.

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I want to tell you about an organization and place that’s called Rachel House. Here is a place that wants to help women make informed decisions, and even get the father’s involved. They provide free clinical services like pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. They offer mentoring and counseling to those making a decision and also to those that choose life.

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They offer a 20 week education to both the mother and father with holistic care and preparing the couple to become parents. After the class, they connect the parents with a mentor to help through that first year with their child.

They encourage men to step up as fathers.

The Rachel House Fatherhood program began in January of 2018. After conducting a 6-month pilot program late in 2017, it was discovered that the fathers of babies were very open to having someone to talk with. They too are impacted by the pregnancy of their girlfriends. Volunteer male advocates meet individually with each man that accompanies the woman when she comes in for the pregnancy test. Couples are reunited in the ultrasound room and the men are encourage to voice their support of the pregnancy. The program is growing rapidly. Curriculum is currently being reviewed to begin a male education program for dads.

If the parents are leaning toward abortion, they will take the time to talk to you about the procedure options, the costs, and even the risk factors involved. They recognize the choice that’s involved and they want women to know everything they can before deciding on a path. They’ll even assist with adoption with a representative.

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All of these services are offered with no charge. In order to offer such services, however, they rely on donations.

If you can’t fit a donation into your budget, they also thrive on volunteers willing to give a little of their time to help be advocates, mentors, and educators.

There any many ways that you can get involved in making difference in people’s lives. Do something positive and constructive and see the world change. You can be a hero to someone you may never meet. The choice is yours.

Guest Blogger: One Way You Can Make a Difference

Jeremy is The Spider-Pan, host of The Neverland Podcast. He enjoys comics, Disney, video games, Disney, movies, and Disney. He also likes long walks on the beach in the rain while dancing around light poles.

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Imagine a young girl, perhaps someone you know.  She’s young, pure, innocent, and perhaps a bit trusting.  She’s living with her family in poverty, though she still has hopes and dreams of a future.  She wants to love and be loved, treated like a princess, respected and honored in a life of her own making.

One day a stranger comes along and offers her work and a way to support her family.  The stranger offers to take her somewhere that she can make all of her dreams come true.  She’s excited and trusts this stranger completely.  Her family sees a way to combat the poverty that they live in and so they permit the stranger to take her away.

They cross the border into a new country and she’s excited about what her new future will bring.  She journeys through a nice community as she thinks all her dreams are coming true.

And then she is brought inside a decrepit ruin of a house.  She’s shoved into a room with a mattress on the floor.  The stranger she has trusted takes money from another man, breathes a sigh of relief and quickly leaves, abandoning her to her new master.  She’s just been trafficked, and has become a slave.

She is beaten, drugged, and forced to do unspeakable things.  Her will is broken, her dreams die, and she learns that resistance only brings more pain.

All this can be changed when the right person is there at the right time to intercept her and save her from this horrid crime.

Love Justice international is a non-profit organization that began as Tiny Hands International in 2004 when they opened up an orphanage in Nepal.  In just two years they began rescuing children on the borders of India and Nepal, and begin work in Bangladesh.  Since then they have grown to reach Africa and other places in impoverished countries where children are trafficked, and they’ve helped bring these criminals to justice.

The human trafficking industry is one of the greatest injustices in the world today—and it continues to grow at a devastating pace. Women and children are either kidnapped or lured by false offers of marriage or employment, and then they are sold into human trafficking.

They are smuggled to another country where they are forced to work as prostitutes, laborers, or similar roles. Our primary strategy for fighting the human trafficking industry is to monitor national borders and transit hubs, intercepting the victims before they are lost to the dark world of modern slavery. –https://www.lovejustice.ngo/our-heartbeat

They currently call this work, Project Beautiful.

We believe every life is beautiful.
She is a child of God, and He knows her by name.
She is worth everything to Him.
She is not just a victim.
She is human. She is precious.
She deserves to be free.
Because every life is beautiful. – https://www.lovejustice.ngo/projectbeautiful

For just $30 a month you can be a part of their efforts as they continue to help orphaned or abandoned children, and rescue women from their would-be slavers.  It is estimated that 21-45 million slaves are imprisoned globally, and so far they rescued over 15,000.  There’s a lot of work to be done, but they need funding.  This is just a small way that you can make a huge difference in the life of someone that you may never meet.

 

Same Sex Marriage Studies

Wyatt Craven is a guest blogger this week for the Show Me Justice Film Festival blog. Wyatt is a senior at the University of Central Missouri and is majoring in Digital media Production with an emphasis in sports broadcasting.

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Depending on the type of person, same sex marriage can be a very touchy subject in today’s society. While every person is entitled to their own opinion we can actually categorize people, and biased on their class, gender, and race we can determine how many people agree with the idea of same sex marriage and how many oppose it.

When questioning which social class is most likely to disagree with the idea of same sex marriage, it is a close race. The working, middle, and upper class each ranged within half a percent of each other, but when it comes down to it, the upper class has the highest amount of people who disagree. A possible answer to why this is, could be money. Not that every person with money is extremely conceded, however there is a stereotype that very wealthy people do slightly look down on those whom they feel are lesser than them.

Now if we take a look at those who were neutral on same sex marriage, lower class ranks the lowest with 12.9% and upper class ranks the highest with 16.9%. The second lowest was the middle class with 13.4% while the middle class comes next to the upper class with 14.6%. If we bring gender into the mix we can determine that 24% of upper class females agree with same sex marriage. There are a couple of factors that could explain why this is. It could either be the way that they were raised, such as their religious beliefs, or the idea that a cultured and mixed society is more progressive, and more progression means more business opportunity.

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While upper class women have the highest rate of agreement with same sex marriage, the combination of male and females create the highest disagreement of all of the classes. Nearly 42% of the upper class disagree with the idea. Males are the primary reason this percentage is so high. Over 25% disagreed, and the reason may be explained by environment. When saying that environment is the cause, it may not necessarily be the environment that they reside in at the moment, but rather the environment in which they were raised in. Things such as their family’s religious views or geographical location may play a big part. Although they have grown and become their own person, those beliefs and values may have stayed with them.

When race is brought into the equation, the number of people opposed can be broken down. White males in the upper class had the lowest number of people opposed, with 41.5%. Following this are the white females in the lower class with 51%. Next are African American females in the working class at 64%. Finally, with 68.8% of their population, African American males in the middle class show the highest amount of disagreement.

When studying the trends of agreement and disagreement, it is clear that the disagreement is higher. It also appears that more males are on the side of disagreement, therefore more females are on the side of agreement. All together it appears that the upper class was more in favor of the idea of same sex marriage while the lower class was more opposed.

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There were a couple terms that were used in earlier paragraphs that talked about people’s values and classes, however there were a couple major terms that were not ready to be brought up at that point. These terms are conservative and liberal. It is important to know who out of the people surveyed were conservative and who were liberals. The reason this is important is because it can help us better understand which group as a whole seemed to lean more against same sex marriage. It could be the majority of people were conservative and therefor disagreed with same sex marriage because they feared that it would take away from the cultural values that they have built. On the other hand, those who agreed with same sex marriage may be on the liberal side believing that it would make the country more progressive.

All in all, I would suggest researching this topic on your own to find out even more information that was not provided here. It was a very interesting study and although we don’t have all of the information, such as the political standpoint of every person who was involved with these surveys, we can make pretty good judgements as to who was who.

Child Labor in China

Wyatt Craven is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. Wyatt is in his 3rd year studying Digital Media Production. This week he will be guest blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival blog.

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Child Labor

Around the year 2000, there were more than 11 million children in China that were put to work. These children were all under the age of 16 which means this work violated their constitutional rights in China. The millions of children were forced to work in dangerous conditions and had to set their education aside in order to work. China is one of the most known country for child labor. Although this statistic is from 17 years ago, the problem is still prevalent today, and is continuing to grow in China.

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Many children begin work at a young age because of poverty. Along with poverty, many children also begin work to help support their families, and attempt to make their living conditions better. Another reason that child labor may occur is school fees. Many children feel that it is their responsibility to get themselves an education, so if they cannot afford schooling, they must find a way to pay for it. Children in China strive to get an education so they can move on and get a better job when they are older. Many schools suggest a work and study program in which children will work in order to gain money for their tuition. However, many schools do take advantage of the children and their work. According to the Human Rights Watch, “In 2004, Work and Study programs scheme for 12-16 year olds profited of more than $1.25 billion in a year.” It also seems that when children are in desperate need of money, they will work for less. Large companies and factories understand this so they target these children. After the children are hired, the companies can pay them less money and make a large profit for themselves.

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  Because these children are paid so little, many people compare child labor to slavery. These children are payed small wages, forced to work for long hours in dangerous environments, and are even had harsh punishments for small errors in their work. These children also are not provided healthcare of any kind. Children are also seen as small, weak, and helpless therefore they are taken advantage of through child labor. This can also lead to children being abused because of child labor.

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Despite all of the help from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), children all over China are still being abused through child labor. There are multiple ways that the Chinese Government can begin to take a stand on child labor. One example is to make elementary education free. This would allow children to not worry about having to work for the money to get their education. Let’s hope that the Chinese government will recognize how horrible this issue is and take a stand.

Student Athletes: “Amateurs” in a Professional Business

Brian Bestgen is a student at the University of Central Missouri majoring in Digital Media Production.  He is guest blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival as a part of a project for his Media Promotions course.

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The debate over whether or not to pay college athletes has been long been in the public discourse.  Officials in the NCAA and supporters of the idea that student athletes are amateurs say that college athletes are getting paid with an education.  Others say that the college athletes are not being compensated enough while the NCAA and the universities and the coaches make more and more money.

New Revenue Streams

It is strange that college athletes do not receive more compensation considering the increase in money being brought into the NCAA.  March Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament, brings in over 1 billion dollars a year from advertisements.  Also the ESPN deal to broadcast the NCAA college football playoffs is worth 5.64 billion dollars for 12 years (roughly 470 million dollars annually).  On top of these tournaments, individual schools have deals with brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.  These contracts are worth millions of dollars.  With all these new revenue streams entering college sports, why do college athletes receive the same compensation as before these lucrative revenue streams brought billions of dollars to the NCAA?

Ed O’bannon Lawsuit

Another crazy part about the NCAA is that the students cannot make any money off their

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likeness or celebrity.  It wasn’t until 2014 when former UCLA basketball player Ed O’bannon sued the NCAA for using his likeness in a video game in which they were making money while the students didn’t make any money.  It is pretty weird that some college athletes may not make enough money to play a game that their likeness is being used.

Student Athlete

Like I said earlier, a common defense of the current system is that the college athletes are getting paid with a scholarship and an education.  However, considering how much time college athletes spend practicing, staying in shape and getting stronger, and studying film, they don’t have a lot of time to spend on their classes.  The priorities of these college athletes seem to stay more towards the athletic side rather than the educational side.  This can be seen from the scandal from North Carolina when it was discovered that some of the football players were taking fake classes and given A’s and B’s but were not really doing any work.  Part of the educational experience is doing an internship.  This gives college students practical experience in their field and looks good on a resume.  College athletes are forbidden from doing internships.

With former college athletes continuing to speak out against the current NCAA system, along with voices from the media and current coaches, it does seem possible that there could eventually be a change in college sports.  This will be especially true if the NCAA and the universities continue to make more and more money.  Until then, we will continue to watch these “amateur” athletes competing in a professional business.

 

 

Guest Blogger: Justin Dean – Justice, Not Oppression

Justin Dean is a student blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival. Justin is a senior studying Digital Media production at UCM. He is not a fan of mainstream hyper-partisan narratives, but enjoys nuanced conversations and coming to understand both sides of any debate.

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Last night before bed I saw a harrowing video showing a hateful, twisted man harassing Senator Mitch McConnell at a diner when the senator went home to Kentucky. This is not the first time an outraged buffoon has harassed a public employee over a political disagreement. In June White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked by the owner of a restaurant to leave because she is a public employee. Representative Maxine Waters, in a now infamous speech after that last incident, called upon her entire base to confront and harass public employees for daring to work within the Trump administration.

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Let’s set one thing straight right off the bat: we are not a nation of cavemen. We are a nation of Americans. Let’s start acting like it.

The First Amendment guarantees our right to say whatever we want about anybody we want, and that’s a good thing. The First Amendment is why you can openly and baselessly call Donald Trump a Nazi, and it’s also why I can call Maxine Waters a domestic terrorist for inciting the harassment of public employees because their political views are different than her own (the dictionary definition of terrorism). If you have ever had a conservative tell call you the “regressive left,” this is exactly why.

Activism does NOT mean terrorism.

<> on November 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Photo: CNN.com

You can’t change someone’s opinion on a political subject by name-calling, threatening, or harassing them. Change comes through an honest, two-way conversation. If your opinion is right, use facts and research to prove it. If your opinion is wrong then someone else will show you facts and research to correct you, and that’s NOT a bad thing. Being wrong is nothing to be ashamed of or too prideful to do, it is an opportunity to grow into a better and more intelligent person.

If a climate skeptic comes up to you and calls you a sheep or an NPC for believing in the research that you have done into the subject, would you even think twice about blowing them off? Would you listen to them explain why they believe that? No. You wouldn’t. 90% of people won’t pay any attention to someone who comes up to them and calls them names for their political beliefs. In the same way, that climate skeptic won’t give your ideas a second thought if you start the conversation by calling them a Nazi or a racist.

Let’s not forget the man who opened fire on the Republicans’ baseball practice last June. I can’t even fathom how he thought going that far would change public support of his positions. In America, we don’t settle our differences with bullets and censorship, with terrorism, we settle our differences with a ballot box, with town halls, with republicanism and democracy.

Side note, please stop calling America a “democracy.” We have a constitutional democratic republic.