My new personal blog!

Dear followers,

I have decided to open up a seconde, more personal blog.
Hopefully you’ll be interested in following my personal posts, since I have decided to put my story out there in the hopes that someone might take something from my experiences.
Reading other people’s personal blogs or articles has always been very helpful and inspiring to me, so I will give it a shot!

Here the link to my personal blog:
http://aboutmyjourneyoflife.wordpress.com/

 

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Quick update!! And new article!

Hello dear followers!
I am still on my break from my personal blog due to stressful exam times, but as a contributor to The Progressive Press, I’m still writing the occasional article for publication. Here is my lastest and newly published article about whistleblowing:
http://www.progressivepress.net/when-the-whistle-blows-whistleblowers-face-scourge/
I hope you enjoy this one!

Update on myself! I will be back very soon!

Hello dear followers!
I’ve been forced to take a break for about a month from blogging due to a very stressful exam session.
I have, in the meantime, become a contributor for a new news website called The Progressive Press. Here is the link to the article I wrote about the second amendment: http://www.progressivepress.net/the-second-amendment-history-distorted/
I hope you enjoy reading it!
So long for now. I will be back for good after February the 8th! Might post something short next week! So keep checking in!
Stay informed and dare to care!
Much Love,
Clarissa

What is America, if it’s not a democracy?

Most people, when they think of America, they think of a democracy. While this is not entirely correct, it is also not entirely wrong. Many people have tried before me to point out, that the use of the term democracy, when speaking about America, is misguiding. Here is my take on it!

Pure democracy is a political system in which the majority enjoys absolute power by means of democratic elections. In a democracy, the individual and any group of individuals composing any minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of the majority. This is true for the direct and the representative democracy.

The Pledge of Allegiance refers to America as a Republic and does not once mention the word democracy. The word democracy also doesn’t get mentioned in the Declaration of Independence or in the Constitution. This isn’t anything I want to put too much weight on, but only something to point out that the Founding Fathers possibly didn’t intend for America to ever be a democracy.
Democracy means “rule by the people” and Republic means “rule by elected officials”.

What form of Government does America have, if Democracy is not it?
It has some similarities in that it uses democratic processes to elect representatives and pass new laws. It’s called a Constitutional Republic. It is a political structure under which the government is bound by a written constitution to the task of protecting individual imagesrights. What prevents tyrannical majorities from taking away the rights of minorities or individuals, is a constitution. In the term “constitutional republic” it is the word constitutional that prevents abuse of individual right and not republic.

A republic has an entirely different purpose. Its purpose is to strictly control the majority, primarily to protect the individual’s rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of the minority. It is a constitutionally limited, representative government. The one aspect that sets a republic apart from a democracy is that in a republic the sovereignty is in each individual person. In a democracy the sovereignty is in the group.

The mind-set of most Americans is not in accordance with a democracy. The most important example being, that most Americans believe that the constitution should never be changed or updated and that no one has the authority to “touch” the constitution. In a democracy the constitution can be changed and updated at any given time as long as the majority votes to do so.

What would happen in America if the people got to speak up and vote on everything the Washington elite votes on everyday in the name of the people? Would things be any different, or do we have a fair representation of the people in Congress?

The amount of money that flows into elections is amazing, when we consider the fact, that the majority in America doesn’t enjoy absolute power by means of democratic elections. The political minority in America has less to lose compared to a political minority in a democracy, due to the strict control of the majority and the strong protection of the minority. The major problem that money poses in America is, that while the people elect their representatives to represent their interests in Washington, money does the actual talking. And since money talks very loudly on both political sides, what the people get is a disabled government.

When we look at the organisation of the American Government, it is very clear, that the Founding Fathers purposely avoided founding a democracy. The three branches of government in America were founded on the idea, that compromise with the other side would be the only way to get things done. This was in part a great idea and in part plain wishful thinking. Idealy, this is what government should be all about. Realistically, it is exactly that kind of thinking that is hurting the american government and disabling it completely. Realistically speaking, when money talks and ideologies couldn’t be further apart from each other, compromise is the one thing I would dare to call impossible. With this in mind, I would say the Founding Fathers set America up for a true challenge!

One word that comes to mind every time I think about how money influences politics in America, is Oligarchy. Has America become an oligarchy, a power structure in which a few people have the power over everyone? Harvard and Yale have been attended by all of the current supreme court judges. The last judge that didn’t attend one of those two law schools was elected in 1981. Since Ronald Reagan, every President has either attended Harvard or Yale. Even America’s political and finance industry leadership has recently been dominated by people associated with Harvard or Yale.This is something that we should keep in mind when we think about the future of America. We certainly can’t dismiss it as being a conspiracy or something of that sort, because even the probability of it is too serious of a matter, for us to just ignore it. But for now it is safe to say, that America has not yet reached the state of an oligarchy.

Mass murder. And what now?

newtown-shooting-victims1Another tragic and heartbreaking shooting happened on saturday. Innocent kids and heroic adults were killed. And to imagine what the kids had to go through that lived and how this moment changed their lives for ever, breaks my heart irreparably.

Naturally, after hearing about a heartbreaking story like this, people will ask themselves questions about how this could have happened and how this could have been prevented. Gun control is quite obviously one of the discussion topics that will follow, but it isn’t and shouldn’t be the only one. For example the U.S. mental health system being a topic that can’t be left out. Then there are those people who say, that talking about these topics right after an event such as a mass-shooting is not the right time to have these discussions.
When is the time to talk about gun control and the mental health system, if right after a tragic event involving multiple guns, it isn’t?

Research has shown that firearms violence is directly related to firearms availability. What separates America from other Western, industrialized nations is not the overall rate of violence, but the rates of lethal violence–which can be directly traced to gun availability. Gun deaths in the United States average at about 30,288 per year, a shocking number compared to any other developed country.

It was extremely disturbing to hear one guest say in an interview with Piers Morgan on the 15th of December, only one day after the mass-killing of 26 lives: “The only way to stop an evil person is to shoot him”. This implies that everyone carry a weapon so that wherever an “evil” person may appear, he can be shot immediately. This, however, totally disregards the idea of prevention. In this case, prevention being the tool to not even let an “evil” person get hold of a gun or an assault-rifle. An other guest said: “I worry, that the gun control laws that you (Piers Morgan) are pushing, have killed people.” This man decided to ignore the examples of countries where after mass-shootings, gun and assault-rifle controls and bans were introduced and no mass-shooting had occurred since. Two examples being Australia and Scotland, both in 1996.
Both of these statements sound completely irrational. Where do they come from?

Only very few of my friends in America actually own a gun and are against gun regulations or bans. Everything I am about to write, I write with all due respect to my dear friends.
The second amendment of the Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. What it doesn’t say is, what kind of arms one can keep and bear. It also doesn’t say, that everyone, unconditionally has this right. It is normal for constitutional rights to be lacking any kind of detail in its wording. Exactly because a constitution only makes up the base of a judicial system and leaves all the room imaginable for laws to be passed by the government, but also for laws to be adjusted to changes in society. To then argue, that prohibitions and restrictions on firearms possession are unconstitutional holds absolutely no basis in law.

Constitutional rights can only be granted, as long as they don’t hurt someone else in their constitutional right. Constitutional rights are not absolute rights. The limit of these rights is, where someone elses right begins. Not being able to accept this as a given, means you haven’t fully understood what it means to have rights in a civilized society, what freedom is and how far it goes and what it means to make a sacrifice for a greater good.

Ask yourselves what it would take for you to give up your gun, or even only to be for gun control, which wouldn’t even prohibit the average sane person from owning a gun!
Imagine if “more guns” were really the answer! More and more fear in the population would be a by-product of this scenario. And a look around the world would prove to you that “more guns” has never been the answer when the goal was to stop mass-killings by people with personal or mental problems. Living with even more fear couldn’t possibly be the answer either. The severe stress of living with constant fear of others would slowly but surely break everyone.
candle_wallpaper_candle_2018
With a broken heart I am thinking of all the 26 souls that were murdered on the 14th of December. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that parents and siblings are going through right now. But I know that if it was possible, I would gladly share their pain, if only it would make this unbearable horror just one bit more bearable for them.

38 Republicans did it again! When does it end?

A U.N. treaty that calls upon countries to ensure disabled citizens receive the same rights and freedoms as their able-bodied peers, needed 66 votes in the Senate in order to be ratified. This treaty, that calls on nations to live up to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has been ratified by 126 countries. Some 38 Republicans voted in opposition to this treaty.

americans-wih-disabilities-actHere is what I can’t wrap my head around: The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the right and freedoms of disabled people. It’s the law of the land in America. Why would so many Republicans then vote against this very same idea that is supposed to give this protection to disabled people all around the world?

Here are a few things that were mentioned as reasons for voting down the treaty: It would enable the U.N to interfere with parenting decisions for parents with disabled children, it would threaten the right of parents to raise their children, with the constant looming threat of state interference, some warned that the treaty poses a threat to America’s national sovereignty and would lead to more abortions etc.

These Republicans evidently lack basic human knowledge and also lack any knowledge at all of how the U.N works. Here we have a U.N. treaty that asks the whole world to follow America’s lead when it comes to not allowing discrimination against disabled people and it doesn’t even pass the US Senate? This is probably as close to ridiculousness as it gets! It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me, that these Republicans are so paranoid over this. The irony of it all is, that all their excuses can be debunked with just one argument. The treaty requires no change in U.S. law, cannot change U.S. law, or serve as a basis for lawsuits in U.S. courts. So the treaty doesn’t pose a threat to America’s national sovereignty, doesn’t tell parents what to do with their disabled children, wouldn’t lead to more abortions etc. Why not, you ask? Because the treaty is based on The Americans with Disabilities Act, which is already law in America!!! And the U.N would like for it to be the law of the world!

Once again, some politicians just couldn’t put politics aside for something that actually matters in this world. It is disturbing right down to the core.

American politicians always talk about how the world should follow America, because America always gets it right. They think their job is to dictate the world and tell everyone what to do and what not to do. Well, America was given the chance to lead by example and actually help others to follow their lead by ratifying this treaty. They chose not to use that chance. I guess it just isn’t America’s way of leading, when there is no violence involved and the opportunity isn’t given to forcefully impose one’s own believes on others.

I care about America. I care more about America than I care about Switzerland, my country of origin. It’s because I care, that I am so critical. And yes, I realize that 38 Republicans voted in opposition of the treaty and Democrats might think they’ll get a free pass, because they voted for the ratification of the treaty. If only life was that simple! Well guess what! At the end of the day, you are all in the same boat whether you like it or not!

The rest of the world doesn’t care about your political differences. The rest of the world wants you, America, to be a positiv part of this world. Walking alone has never gotten anyone very far.

Dare to care about Wal-mart employees!!!

When I lived in America as a teenager, I probably knew half or even less of what I know now. I went almost regularly to Wal-Mart for a shopping spree. Being the unknowing teenager I was, I simply saw Wal-Mart as the place where I could get the most for my money. I was earning my own money babysitting and regularly went and bought clothes, CDs and really just a lot of unnecessary stuff there.

walmartKnowing what I know now about Wal-Mart, its terrible wages for ordinary employees, very poor working conditions, their labor union opposition and the situation for employees concerning health insurance, having spent so much of my money in that store might just be my one and only real regret thus far! Yes, I was young and didn’t know much and when you don’t have a whole lot of money, one tends to take advantage of stores like Wal-Mart. But somehow that isn’t good enough for me. I have this unrealistic desire to change something about the past while realizing at the same time, that the past can’t be changed.

So here I am, writing this post, trying to hopefully convince some people to think twice or three times before taking a trip to Wal-Mart the next time. And here’s why:

Some of the wages that Wal-Mart pays its employees is below the federal poverty line. Because Wal-Mart employs part-time and relatively low paid workers, some workers may partially qualify for state welfare programs. A 2004 study at the University of California, Berkeley charges that Wal-Mart’s low wages and benefits are insufficient, and although decreasing the burden on the social safety net to some extent, California taxpayers still pay $86 million a year to Wal-Mart employees. In fact, in many states Wal-Mart employees represent the largest group of medicare recipients and the largest group of food stamp recipients. And you all know, that this burden is carried by the taxpayers.

Wal-Mart has been faced with multiple class action lawsuits. In just one of the cases that lawsuits asserted approximately 200,000 people who were forced to work off-the-clock, were denied overtime pay, or were not allowed to take rest and lunch breaks. Wal-Mart ended up settling for 50 million.

As of October 2005, Wal-Mart’s health insurance covered 44% or approximately 572,000 of its 1.3 million U.S. workers. In comparison, Wal-Mart rival and wholesaler Costco insures approximately 96% of its eligible workers.

Wal-Mart has been criticized for its policies against labor unions. It states that it is not anti-union but, “pro-associate”, arguing that its employees do not need to pay third parties to discuss problems with management as the company’s open-door policy enables employees to lodge complaints and submit suggestions all the way up the corporate ladder. To name just one example. In 2000, meat cutters in Jacksonville, Texas voted to unionize and Wal-Mart subsequently eliminated in-house meat-cutting jobs in favor of prepackaged meats on the claims that it cut costs and was a preventive measure to lawsuits.

I could go on with this list, but that’s not necessary, because most of you will have heard about these stories in the news.

Wal-Mart is not the only store where you can find everything for very cheap. There are a few stores that you could go to instead and not pay more for your things and at the same time you wouldn’t have to worry about the mistreatment of employees, as is the case at Wal-Mart. It is a matter of principle to not go shopping at Wal-Mart! This is a situation where it’ll pay off for you to care just a tiny bit more about someone else than yourself. The pay off wouldn’t be in the form of money, no. But better and more gratifying than money. You would stand for something! You would be someone who cares and acts upon the right principles. And, at least in my eyes, you would be a very respectable human being for standing up for others!

As so often in our lives, we have a choice here. Choose what you want to stand for. Choose who you want to support. Choose the principles that you want to live by and then choose to act according to those principles.

Choose to care or not to care!!!