Bernie is Out, Hillary is In: Now What?

If you have been following the presidential race at all, you will know that Hillary Clinton recently accepted the Democratic Party Nomination.

The deal was more or less decided months ago, when California completed their primaries on June 7th. They were one of the last six states to vote, and one of the most influential. California has an enormous electoral college, making it one of the most desired states for any national-level candidate. Clinton took a lead in the state with 55.8% of the popular vote over Bernie, giving her over half of the delegates from California. This brings Clinton to 2,777 delegates over Sanders’ 1,828.

Anyone who has been following my social media for the past year will have seen my huge rants and intense love for Bernie Sanders. I am a huge supporter of the things he has been campaigning for and the ideas he has brought to the presidential race, and I am incredibly proud and pleased with how far he has gotten. That alone says a lot about our country’s readiness for change. He’s done some amazing things over his campaign, opening up new ideas and influencing the Democratic Party’s platform (in my opinion) in a positive direction.

Anyone who’s been paying attention to my (frequent) political rants will also have seen my strong dislike for Hillary Clinton. I feel that in many instances her platform has been all-too fluid and her changing opinions strike me as largely hypocritical. I once heard it put: “Bernie wants change. Hillary wants the presidency.”

This being said, now that Bernie is out of the race, Hillary will have my (grudging) support and my vote in the 2016 presidential race.

Among Bernie supporters, there is a movement called Bernie or Bust, in which those following this movement have pledged that if Bernie is not in the race they will not be voting at all. This is the most irresponsible decision that an individual can make.

Bernie has already said that if he is not chosen as the democratic candidate, he will not be running third-party. With Hillary nominee, a huge portion of the Bernie supporters are threatening to deny her support.

This is massively problematic. According to a number of polls, Donald Trump is only a few points behind Hillary Clinton, and in a few polls he has even surpassed her. Unfortunately, this means that Trump has a very real chance at taking the presidential office.

Hillary may be bad. I dislike her enormously. However, she is infinitely more favorable than Donald Trump. She may be hypocritical. She may be flimsy. She may be run by big money. But she is not a tyrant. Donald Trump has issued so many racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, and otherwise insulting comments that he has been compared to Hitler. Whether or not you find these comparisons to be apt there is no denying that if there is a parallel being drawn at all, that is not a good thing for a potential president. He’s threatened to kick muslims out of the country, force them to carry identification cards, or ban them from entry. He’s made derogatory comments about women, implying that they are only good sexually and lack any form of intelligence. He’s put out his denial for LGBT+ rights. His ideals for this country go far against anything that the United States stands for.

Furthermore, Donald Trump has no practical experience in running a country. He claims that his time as a CEO will be helpful, but you simply can’t run the USA like a business. Our system won’t allow it. Not to mention, Trump has faced failed business after failed business, and multiple bankruptcies. With the United States’ already massive debt, having someone with such poor economic knowledge would be catastrophic.

Trump is a nightmare. As bad as Hillary is, she is nowhere near as horrible for the United States as Trump would be. At very least, she has political experience. She will be able to handle foreign diplomacy, and will be able to work with congress to (hopefully) begin some process of improvement. I don’t love her, but she will make a comprehensive and reasonably successful president.

Whether or not you like Clinton is irrelevant, truly. Any vote that’s not for Hillary will be for Trump and that’s a fact. Even if you are upset about Bernie’s loss, just as I am, Hillary needs our support. For the sake of our nation and our people, vote.

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Small Luxuries

This Summer, I’ve been working three jobs while I’m home.One of them is a small nursery at the church I attend, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, every Sunday. It’s one of my absolute favorite places to be. I love the chance to let my inner child out. I love being an influence (hopefully a good one) in the lives of the children I take care of. I love watching them learn and grow as people.

We do a lot of things together: build train tracks, color pictures, play with dolls, put on puppet shows, build block towers, read books… A favorite, strangely enough, is the field trip to the drinking fountain. Who knows? Maybe it’s the magic of the water appearing, maybe it’s an excuse to get outside the tiny room, or maybe it’s something else entirely.

This last Sunday, a little bit of reality hit me.

I just returned from a month-long trip to Southeast Asia. For about two weeks of the trip I participated in a service trip working with a village in Cambodia’s region of Pursat, mainly at their primary and secondary school. I got the opportunity to spend these weeks connecting with the children and their families, building friendships with mothers and teachers, and learning about their lives. I was able to visit houses and talk about what it is like there, and tell them about my life too. We brought toys and markers, and played with the children every break we got.

However, during my two weeks there I saw a total of one toy that we had not brought with us: a small and clearly well-used deck of cards. A single deck of cards. Most games were played with the children’s shoes, and not every child had a pair to play. This school has no drinking fountains. Any water came from home either before school, during their lunch break, or after school. Some children lived too far away from school to go home during the lunch break. These kids went from 8 o’clock in the morning to 4 o’clock in the afternoon without water, a total of eight hours. The bathroom consisted of two squatter toilets and one sitter, and they would only flush if you poured water in by hand. The doors wouldn’t close.

A stark contrast, the nursery is filled with toys. Almost everything that a child could want to play with is there. They’re stashed in every corner of the room, overflowing from their containers and out onto the floor. The drinking fountain supplies unending water any time the kids want to drink. There is a flushing toilet right next to us, just one door away.

We take these things for granted. Every child here has something to play with, has food and water, and most have quality shelter from the elements. I’m so grateful for the gifts we have in this country, and the luck we have that allows us to have so many luxuries. The large differences are evident, but the small ones (like toys) are incredibly important as well. Every year, these trips open my eyes further to the privilege we Americans have. You don’t know how fortunate you are until you’ve seen the opposite end of the spectrum.

 

For more information on the group that I do service with, check out http://www.youthlinc.org

Love, Shaepable

Hello everyone!

I’m back from my trip and had an absolutely wonderful time. I have a lot of posts coming to talk about my experiences, so stay tuned!

Although I didn’t post much over my trip (mainly because of problems with internet connectivity) I really enjoyed the free schedule that I used over the duration of my trip. After some consideration, I’ve decided to stay on this free schedule instead of my previous Blog Tuesdays.

While Blog Tuesdays have kept me posting regularly and frequently, they were also very constrictive and a bit stressful. With an irregular schedule I felt much more free, it increased my creativity, and made me want to write more.

Of course, I want to make sure that I continue writing on here so if my activity level goes down I will switch back to my regular Tuesdays. For now, I’m very excited about this change!

Much love,

Shaepable

Procession of the Monks


This morning we took a hike up Phousi Hill at 4:00am in order to watch the sunrise. After enjoying the view for a while, we stumbled back down the mountain in our exhaustion, just happening to land in the middle of the street where I he Buddhist monks were walking in their morning procession. Every day, the monks leave the monastery around 5:30 to 6:00 and walk through the streets in a straight line. Buddhist civilians wait by the side of the road with containers of sticky rice, giving each monk a handful as they silently pass by. This is the source of the monks’ food for the day, as they spend the rest in chores around the temple and monastery, and in devotion to their religion.

As an outsider with next to no exposure to something like this, it was beautiful and I was very touched. I have so much admiration for the monks and the people. The Buddhist citizen share their food despite the fact that many live in economically strained conditions. They share a love and respect for each other like none I have ever seen. 

Motorcycles Everywhere

In Vietnam, motorcycles are everywhere and used for everything. Here is a list of the things we have seen so far on the motorcycles:

1. A desk chair

2. Five people at once

3. Two cows, pulled in a cart

4. A mattress

5. A desk

6. Three 50 gallon water jugs

7. A tree and a flowering bush

8. Children sitting on chairs

9. A pig with the largest testicles I have ever seen, pulled on a cart

10. Eight bird cages with birds

11. A full-sized refrigerator 

9 Differences Between Vietnam and the USA

Traveling through Vietnam, there are some extremely noticeable differences. I expected some culture shock, but there was not a lot I could do to prepare for everything I’m experiencing. Granted, of course, I could never list all of the differences between the two countries, here are a few things from every day life that especially stand out to me.
1. Traffic rules are more like suggestions. Motorcycles weaving in and out, cars down the wrong side of the road, passing other vehicles with only about 3 inches to spare. Anything goes.
2. The bathrooms. Toilet paper is seriously lacking. The great part, though, is the sprayers installed to clean your privates. When I was in Thailand someone explained it to me like this: after smearing chocolate cake all over his face, he said he would much rather rinse it off first than just spread it around with a napkin. When I can afford my own home, I’m getting these.
3. Poverty is everywhere you look. Many people have businesses, but compared to our houses their tiny apartments are in shambles. Most people live above their shops, just managing to eye out enough money to support themselves.
4. The humidity is insane, like damp wall of muggy air every time you step outside. Along with the humidity comes vegetation: everywhere you look there are plants in every imaginable shade of green.
5. Noodles for breakfast is actually one of the best things to happen to me.
6. Customer service is AMAZING. They work so hard to help you out, make you comfortable, and leave you satisfies. America, take notes!
7. There are cows everywhere. In the city, in the fields, in the middle of the road.
8. Visiting historical sites, you see huts and televisions in side rooms. People live within history. When I was talking to one of our bus drivers, he told me that he lived inside of the famous citadel in Hue.
9. Everywhere you go, there is a barrage of salespeople trying to get you to eat at their restaurants, take their taxi, buy their wares. It is endless and relentless, and you are asked multiple times by each person before they finally give up.
It is all so different, yet so wonderful. It is truly amazing to be exposed to all these different things. Everything reminds me how lucky I am to have this opportunity, and to see so much.