The following is a poem I wrote a few years ago. It was my way of trying to understand why people are collectivists and why so many of my peers don’t stand up for what they believe in.

A beckoning hand leads me through a narrow path into a valley with others as foolish as me.

We follow the crowd not one of us leading but all willing to do as the leader who isn’t there says.

Stumbling, splashing, falling in  a stream, it’s a wonder I didn’t drown someone says this is the Mainstream the stream where everyone is safe as long as they do as they’re told but no one seems to know who’s in charge.

Years of doing what everyone around me does from some secret command I can’t hear it’s true I’m safe and everything perfect until…

They say that the one’s at the edge were hungry and wouldn’t be satisfied ‘til the dam that was their prison was unleashed how they did it no one knows and no one could correct it we were set free and stumbled back to where we first fell asleep.



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Imagine your life as it is now. You may work. You may be a student. You may have a family. Some may live close by, others may live far away. You have hopes and dreams for the future as well as fears. You may not be sure what the future will be like, but you go about your day-to-day life, hoping for the best.
Now imagine everything you know, all your friends, your family, the park you walk your dog in, the street you grew up on, the school you graduated from, the spot where you had your first kiss, the place where you broke up with your first boyfriend or girlfriend, your favorite ice cream shop… imagine all of that. Now imagine everything is gone. Your home. Your family. Your friends. Imagine all that you once knew is now dust and flames. Your childhood toys…gone. Your car… gone. Your entire life…gone. All that remains is the dust and flames, the screams of people dying, and an unquenching burning of your flesh.
This was the reality of August 6th, 1945 for the residents of Hiroshima, Japan.
This was the result of the A-bomb.
“Little Boy” was one of two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Shortly after, Japan surrendered, bringing World War Two to an end. Dropping the bombs is to this day considered one of the most difficult decisions ever faced by a presidential cabinet. Tension was strong, both sides engaging in atrocious crimes against each other. As President Truman wrote in a private letter, “Nobody is more disturbed over the use of atomic bombs than I am but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. The only language they seem to understand is the one that we have been using to bombard them.When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true.”
Yet questions about that catastrophic day remain.
How can Americans justify the killing of innocent civilians? Were the bombings necessary?
In an excerpt from the 2003 documentary, The Fog of War, former U.S. Secretary of State Robert S. McNamara questioned the proportionality of the bombs in relation to the war being fought. McNamara argued that the bombing of Hiroshima was unnecessary. Prior to the bombings, he claimed, we had already destroyed many Japanese cities. He claimed that if America had not won the war, we would have been tried as war criminals. He stated, “What one can criticize is that the human race prior to that time-and today- had not really grappled with what are I call the rules of war.”
Hiroshima survivor Akihiro Takahashi told the New York Times in 1995 that “even after two bombs, a surrender was just barely achieved. The Japanese Army resisted to the end, there was a coup attempt, and then a mutiny even after the peace was announced.” In Takahashi’s opinion, the bombs were dropped because the U.S. wanted to test them, not because they wanted to save lives.
“I think the argument that the bomb was necessary to save lives came afterward, and the real reason was the American nuclear strategy against the Soviet Union.”
Indeed, the threat of nuclear weapons did not end at Hiroshima. It continued with Soviet Union and the Cold War. It continues to this day with the threat of Iran.
Imagine the world as it is now. Wars being fought across the globe; poverty in our own backyard; corruption in almost every level of government. Now imagine what the world would be like if all of this was gone. If all humans were respected for who they are. If there were no wars. If instead of distrust and chaos, we all got along. Yes, as humans we are flawed and we will make mistakes. We will never have a true utopia. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek a better world. That we shouldn’t want a peace. Because if we all imagine enough, our imagination may one day become reality.
And maybe in the future we can imagine a world where Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have been bombed.

All (Wo)men Created Equal


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This post was written in response to International Women’s Day on 3/8/12.

Feminism. This word, like many words, holds with it a certain schema. Protests, crazy, pants, strong, arrogant, independent… these all fit into the word feminism. Yet this is not what feminism is. It is an idea. An idea that women can be free. An idea that women don’t have to be told how to live or how to act. This may seem like a simple thought; why can’t women be free to make their own choices? In my experience however, many libertarian men and women are opposed to feminism. They claim that feminists want special privileges. They seem to believe that feminism is about women being better than men, that there are differences between men and women which makes it impossible for the two sexes to be equal.

As a feminist, I embrace the differences between men and women, between all people. The uniqueness of individuals is what makes life interesting. No two individuals are the same. Yet, we are all equal. By equality I do not mean equality of outcome. Rather, I mean the equality of rights. I should not be treated as inferior because of my sex or gender. Nor should I be treated as superior as a women. All I ask is to be treated as a human being; an individual.

And so I wish you a (late) happy International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate not just women, but all of humanity.  

I, a singular pronoun

In the new technology obsessed world, I is a word that comes before every new invention. Iphone, itouch, igoogle, ipod, even ireporter. It’s the first letter of the word ‘internet’ (why didn’t they spell it with an e?). It’s a place where everything serves me. I. Not you. Not he. Not she. And definitely not we.

I have a phone, catered to fit me. I have my own music, catered to fit me. I have my own computer, catered to fit me. I go about my life, from school to work to home. What interest have I in those who live on the same block as me? They have nothing to do with me. What interest have they? I have nothing to do with them.

My neighbor has a dog… or two… I really can’t remember. I saw her walk across the street to check the mail. When was that? Two years ago?

I have my friends. They’re mine and mine alone. They’re somewhere on facebook. What a shame Brittany doesn’t have one. It’s almost like she’s not there; just a shadow I see passing by, between glances of the latest text message on my phone.

My history teacher mentions the word “community.” I think it was an ancient practice of living in a group and interacting face to face. What a strange concept; I’ll just google it later.

You. He. She. We. What does it all mean? Why bother pondering, when all I have to do is click… and it’s there.

I ordered a mocha latte the other day at Starbucks and they gave me a latte instead. I thought the world was coming to an end.

‘What about the people who haven’t eaten in three days?’ A voice whispers through my head. It must be a virus or something. Why don’t they just order taco bell?

‘What about the girl who was taken from her home and  sold?’

‘What about the millions of people who must pay for others mistakes?’

Alright, now that you mention it, I might have seen something like that on youtube.

‘What about the people of Russia, who stand up against corruption?’

‘What about the people of Syria, who fight against tyranny?’

‘Can you hear their cries for help, as they are bombed in their own homes?’

Why should I care? After all, I have my own life and it doesn’t concern me. And besides, what can can one person do?

‘A lot,’ the voice whispers.

‘Fine, I’ll do something.” I reply. ‘But later, first I have to send out a tweet. And besides, someone else can take care of it.’

‘They could. But the pronoun I is singular and ‘I’ can do a lot. Just look at Rosa Parks.’

I think about that. The power of the individual. The power of influence.

Maybe I can give voice to the voiceless.

Maybe I can give power to the powerless.

Maybe I can spread the voice of reason.

Maybe I, a singular pronoun, can change the world.