Author Archives: Annelise

Boston Bombings and Stigmas

These last two weeks have been some of the most intense weeks in America since 9/11. The Boston bombings have taken over all media outlets. The loss of life is horrendous and the aftermath and emotional damage is worse. Watching these events take place as a high school student concerned me. When will this terrorism end? I feel as if my generation is growing up with a stigma of the Islamic culture. Yes, we are all aware of the fact that there is a bias towards anyone of Middle Eastern descent or the Muslim faith. I was in Barcelona, Spain recently and saw a group of traditionally dressed Muslim women walking. After they walked away, I realized that I had taken displeasure in seeing them. This seriously bothered me. Subconsciously, I was somewhat biased! If we all have these biases, then when will America’s relationship with the Muslim culture change? It is not okay that we are letting days pass by without learning that jihad and other types of radical ideas of the Islamic culture necessarily mean terrorism. I, in school, have studied the Islamic culture. I attend a Catholic school, and let me just address the fact that if Islam is such a violent religion, full of hatred and discrimination, I would definitely not be learning anything about it in Catholic School. Acceptance is what we all need to learn in order for this epidemic of discrimination to end.


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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Default


Media Bias

This past week, while speaking at a democratic convention in California, President Obama commented upon the   physical appearance of California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, stating “She also happens to be, by far, the best-looking attorney general… It’s true! C’mon!”

While scrolling through different news sources today, I found this story. What struck me about it was, was the purpose of these news articles. Each news source I read containing this story, I felt that the writer had a somewhat different take on the event. We all are aware of biases in the media, however, I feel that this bias is starting to grow stronger and stronger, and different sources have a different purpose in writing their piece.

For instance, on Huffington Post, I saw an article about the Tea Party’s new “Boogie Man”. Now, I am sure each one of us is aware that Huffington Post is a liberal news outlet, especially in comparison to fox news, one of the major supporters of the Tea Party. That caused me to compare the Politics sections of both news outlets.

On each news page, I found articles criticizing politicians of the opposing party. Huffington Post was criticizing Mike Huckabee and Glen Beck, where as Fox News was criticizing Obama and Harry Reid. Seeing this I cam to a conclusion.

If all news outlets determine what “news” is by their own opinions and potentially twist the facts around to suit their own likes, no wonder it is so hard for this nation to agree and accomplish many political tasks! If we are all misinformed, it is hard to use our logic to come to the same opinion on a certain issue. Maybe it is not that we are all of a different mindset then. Therefore, with this said, I rest my case that we could accomplish a lot more as a country if we were all well-informed.

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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Default


The Pine Ridge Reserve: America’s Own Third World Country

In 1889, the Pine Ridge Native American Reserve was established for the preservation of the Lakota nation within South Dakota. However, little is ever heard about this reserve, and many citizens of the United States are unaware of its existence. You may think, “What does it matter if I know about the Pine Ridge Reservation or any other Indian reservation?” Well, hopefully the information I am about to disclose to you will change your mind.

In 1889, the Pine Ridge Reservation was allocated for the Lakota Nation. This was after the Lakota Nation had unjustly loss the Black Hills to the United States Government without receiving any compensation. This was just the beginning of a whirlwind of unjust actions directed to the Great Sioux Nation and the Lakota tribe. Since this, the people of the Pine Ridge Reservation have experienced consistent violence with US government, despite their own abilities to govern themselves. The most recent documented violence occurred in the 1970s. This event was known as the Pine Ridge Shootout between FBI agents and Indian officials.

Why am I telling you, the reader, all this history? I am telling you this in order to lead up to the shocking statistics of the present day situation within the Pine Ridge Reserve. When I heard these numbers, I cried.

    • 97% of Pine Ridge residents live below the federal poverty line.
    • The unemployment rate is between 85% to 95%.
    • Death due to Heart Disease is twice the National Average.
    • 60% of homes lack electricity, are infested with Black Mold, or do not have running water.
    • The infant mortality rate is the highest on the continent, and 300% higher than the national average.
    • The average income per household is between $2,600 to $3,500.
    • The life expectancy is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.
    • High school dropout rate is above 70%.
    • The Pine Ridge Reservation Schools are in the bottom 10% of the Government’s education funding.

When I read these statistics, it shocked me. The idea that a group of people in America are living under these conditions, and no one has done anything to help it is upsetting to me. The fact that I was not even aware of these statistics until recently shocked me again. As Americans, it is our duty to help those in need, especially our citizens. I personally believe that this has not been accomplished in the case of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Something must be done.


Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Rights and Liberties


AP Government Ruling My Daily Thoughts

Since AP US Government has begun, the information that I have learned has spilled over into my daily life. From classes at school, to watching the news, to hearing my family’s conversations, AP US Government has begun to influence the way I view my everyday surroundings.

At St. Cecilia Academy, the school I attend, it is normal to discuss politics as it relates to our everyday lives. St. Cecilia is a Catholic school, so one can imagine that in the last year how the topic of politics has come up more often in theology classes with the new health care mandate. AP US Government has given me the knowledge to filter through what is told to me by my religion teachers and understand what is constitutional and what is not. St. Cecilia is located on what is known as the Dominican Campus in Nashville. On the Dominican Campus, Aquinas College, a catholic college, is also located along with Overbrook School, a Catholic grade school.  Recently, Aquinas College along with six other Middle Tennessee Catholic institutions filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the mandate within the Affordable Care Act requiring that businesses provide their employees with contraceptives and other sterilization processes. If one has any notion about the Catholic faith, he or she would understand how these medical treatments are not in agreement centuries of teachings within Catholicism. (If you want to read more about it, here is a good link:  Knowing of this and the Catholic faith along with having the intelligence that I have gained from AP Government, I am able to make what I believe is a just decision in what to believe is right or wrong about this situation.

Today, the US government is in constant turmoil over national debt and the consistent threat of the government being shut down due to unpassed budgets or bills. When I hear this on the news (which I happened to a few days ago) I no longer have to turn to my dad and ask him why this could happen. AP Government has enlightened my mind on the workings of our government and how/why things occur. Also, during this election, I have become aware through AP Government of how the United States was not originally intended to only be a two-party system. As my AP US History teacher describes it, the founding fathers would be “rolling over in their graves” if they knew the United States had become a two-party system. By primary documents I have read in AP Government, I know that the electoral college was invented with the intention that no single person would win by majority because there would be multiple parties running. Today, this is obviously not the case.

My family is very wide on the political spectrum. I have family members whose political beliefs range from liberal to conservative. One can imagine that when the topic of politics comes up at family gatherings, tensions rise substantially because of this wide spectrum of beliefs. However, when this does occur now, I feel much more confident in my political beliefs and that my beliefs make sense with the constitution. AP Government has also made me feel as if I am “freer” of the typical stigma that children only follow their parents political beliefs. It is amazing what an understanding of the constitution and inner workings of the government can do for you.