End of the Song… thank goodness

This poem actually wasn’t too bad. The meaning behind it wasn’t too abstract and was rather easy to comprehend after going through it a little more in depth., especially after listening to each presentation. I found the first stanza most interesting because I liked the symbolism of grass. Grass is society and a spear of grass is an individual. It is a rather simple symbol to understand, as well as the biblical allusion to Adam is. Whitman states “for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…” which refers to Adam as in Adam and Eve from the bible and shows that everyone is connected and made up of the same things.  I think the first line “I celebrate myself, and sing myself…” plays a big part in our society today. I took the meaning of the first line to be “I celebrate who I am and what I do and believe in. I am proud of myself and I am not afraid of people knowing how great I think I am”. The first part is more important to how it affects society. Society today is starting to voice more opinions and be more open about beliefs. For example, the walkout that is occurring today nationwide. Students have been threatened with suspensions for walking out of the classroom to protest gun control and taking 17 minutes to honor the 17 students who passed in the Florida shooting. Even though they have been threatened, there are still students who are walking out of classes to protest this because they are proud of of what they believe in and they want to stand up for it. If I’m being honest I’m still a little confused as to what this poem means. I understand that he’s telling people to get up and do something with their lives when ironically he isn’t following his own words. Couldn’t this just lead people to thinking “well if he didn’t do it, why should I?”. I would probably rate this poem a four out of five because it was a pretty basic story I thought and it wasn’t too hard to understand.

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Civil Disobedience

I am very fifty-fifty when it comes to my opinion on  “that government is best which governs least?”. You definitely need to have semi-strict rules because without them, everybody will run rampant. However, if you makes rules that are too strict, it will make people feel as if they are being restricted from many things, possibly causing them to rebel, almost like the Prohibition when they took the alcohol from the people. They rebelled by opening speakeasies and made and distributed illegal alcohol. So, learning from the past, it is obvious having too strict of a government is not the way to go. I think the government should obviously govern strongly but not to the point where citizens feel suffocated by the rules. A dictatorship  is one example of a government that commands respect because in order to maintain a strong and powerful government, they need to have the citizens listening to them, and if you don’t you will be punished. By enforcing punishments, this shows the other citizens that are part of that society/government they need to listen and respect the government.

Civil disobedience plays a very vast role in our society today. There are so many people peacefully protesting for things that they believe in such as the Women’s March, Gay Rights, Gun Control protests, and many more. It gives the people a voice and lets them be heard. As we have talked about in class, there is going to be a big walk out to peacefully protest school shootings and stricter gun laws. There are some schools that are threatening to suspend students if they walk out. This is an example of why it would be effective. We don’t know for sure if it is effective yet, but considering that it is on a national level of publicity, it is most likely going to be all over the news. It will gain an enormous amount of publicity as I had just said, which in turn will lead to many people hearing about it and spreading the word, which is part of what the protesters are trying to achieve. Image result for peaceful protest

Time to be done with Transcendentalism

You can tell just by reading a few lines of the excerpt from Thoreau’s “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” that he was greatly influenced by Emerson’s work. In the excerpt we read from Emerson’s “Nature” you put together that he comes up with the idea that Nature is bigger than we are and we need it to survive. Also that when he was immersed in Nature his “mean egotism vanishes”; the world exists and we are apart of it. In “Self Reliance” he talks about how every time you take credit for something that isn’t yours or every time you try to be somebody else you lose a part of yourself. This ties into the excerpt from Thoreau because he talks about trying to figure out the meaning of life. By being in nature you lose yourself, and you can think deeply about what the true meaning of life is. The meaning of the conclusion is that we all need to start living our lives differently and doing different things to be unique. Without difference and uniqueness we won’t be able to function as a society to the best of our ability. Leaving society in the woods might be beneficial to our society and the way it is right now because with the way we are going, we are eventually all going to start following the exact same routines and doing the exact same things and everything will become too normal and repetitious. We need some variety in our lives. I think I could do it to be completely honest however it would definitely be a big change that would take some time to get used to. I would miss the predictability of my everyday schedule. I think everybody should take out of transcendentalism that we need to be unique. I’ve mentioned that multiple times throughout this blog but it is extremely important to maintaining a successful society. Also that we take adavantage of Nature. We have a beautiful planet and we’re so focused on jobs and everyday tasks we do yet we don’t take enough time to just step outside and enjoy the beautiful planet we have been given a chance to explore. We are a part of nature, and we survive because of it.

The Sun Is Also a Star

I think the purpose of independent reading is to gain a bigger and better vocabulary. By reading you learn many new words per book. I have been trying to read more because I had some trouble during my writing portion of the SAT this past fall. I asked what would help me become a better writer and the response I got was to read more. You can also get more of a feeling for how different authors write and how to get better at grabbing the attention of the reader. I think we can encourage students to read by making reading a more important than it is right now. In schools, at least at Bloomsburg High, independent reading is like something we do on our own and by the fourth week of a new quarter most students forget about it and don’t remember that they have to read two books until the last week of the quarter. I think we should have designated reading times, even if it is just 20 minutes per week. This is because every student then has to have a book out and all students have to be reading and if the students don’t read points could be taken off. This way students have been forced to read something meaning they wouldn’t forget about independent reading completely.

I selected the book “The Sun Is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon as my first book for the third quarter. I have read her other book “Everything, Everything” and it was one of the best books I have ever read. It really struck my interest and the way she wrote kept me interested the entire book. She writes with extremely short chapters, some just one page. It almost makes me feel more accomplished even if I only read a page. The first chapter of my book was only a page so I can’t really give you a good idea of how I think the book is going to be. However, I read the first 20 pages and it has already really struck my interest and I am carrying it around with me reading a few pages every chance I get. I am honestly not too thrilled about making a trailer because I don’t really like being in front of the camera.

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Transcendental what?

My thoughts on Transcendentalism are that firstly the word “Transcendentalism” should be a little bit easier to spell. However, all jokes aside I actually like this topic. I thought the nature excerpt was pretty neat because I never thought about it in the way Emerson did. When you sit down and think about it, nature will always come back and it will always be here. The human race however, won’t be. Nature is much more important than we are but being the selfish humans we are we don’t realize that the earth isn’t just here so we can live. It just so happens that we can live here because of nature. We rely on it. We need it to survive.

The excerpt from Self Reliance is a completely different topic. In this excerpt, he is trying to get you to embrace who you are and be your own person because imitating somebody is suicide. Every time you try to imitate somebody else you lose a little part of yourself. If you speak your own voice, people might not agree with you or like you, but is it so bad to be understood? In order to do something to change the world, you have to break out and be different. You have to rely on yourself. Overall, the concept of Transcendentalism is something we should all be familiar with. At some point or another we should all step back and try to realize that we aren’t as much of a necessity as we think we are. We also need to take a step back sometimes and just try to be ourselves without worrying what others might think. 

I certainly think man needs rules in society to keep us controlled. There are so many little rules that we abide so we can live just day-to-day. There are rules about when cars should stop and go. Without stop signs and traffic lights that we follow, there would be multiple car accidents. For an extreme example, there are rules about killing other people. We can’t just go killing anybody we feel like. Could you even imagine the chaos? It is unthinkable what we would do without rules, which is how I would argue for my side.

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Arguing 24/7

Learning how to argue was surprisingly helpful. I never realized how many different fallacies I used in just a couple sentences. Like today, I tried to listen to myself and count how many times I used fallacies and I found myself using Ad Hominem on multiple occasions. On the other hand, my debate was very hard to construct. Every time I would have an idea that I thought I could use, I realized I started out with a fallacy or turned good evidence into a fallacy even when I wasn’t trying to. That is the main thing that made the debate so hard. Sure finding the evidence was a lot of work and a pain but it was harder not changing that evidence into a fallacy. Many of my peers construct arguments based off of Ad Hominem as well because we say things just to insult or hurt the other person. Bandwagon, also known as peer pressure, is also very commonly used in conversations I have with peers. Even something as simple as “I’m not going to do that homework assignment so you shouldn’t either”. To be completely honest, it is very hard to just argue right off the top of your head and have multiple facts to back up your point. I think Emaley had the best constructed argument in our class because she knew her topic inside and out and she had an answer to every question Emily asked (at least that I can remember).

To be honest, at the beginning of the chapter before learning about arguing I pretty much just assumed it was two different people thinking they are right and attacking the other side so much that one finally gave up. For example, my friend Ashley get in arguments all the time and pretty much just say the other person is wrong with no evidence that they actually are. I am definitely going to think differently about arguing now and I am not going to get into arguments unless I know I can win the argument. As I had mentioned earlier, it was definitely tough for me to write a persuasive speech because you had to back everything up with facts. You couldn’t say anything that didn’t have evidence to support it.

Are illegal immigrants as big of a problem as they are perceived to be? Now I’m not so sure…

Originally when this topic came up my stance on this topic was definitely against illegal immigrants being in our country. However, after researching the topic a little bit more I am not sure I knew everything there was to know about illegal immigrants being in our country. My topic has gone from being very against illegal immigrants being in our country to very neutral about them being in the United States.

The most interesting piece of factual evidence is how much illegal immigrants pay in taxes and how much our economy would struggle without them paying them. The Forbes article (written by a data journalist” states that “Out of that $11.64 billion total, undocumented immigrants pay $6.9 billion in sales and excise taxes, $3.6 billion in property taxes and about $1.1 billion in personal income taxes.” It was very interesting because I had always assumed illegal immigrants were here to just mooch off of other people when the majority of them are here to work and eventually hope to gain citizenship. Other people would find this compelling because I am assuming most of the teenagers my age and especially in our school do not research really anything like this. They just assume as I had. I had not heard about this before learning about it, as goes for just about everything else I had found out about over the course of this process.

Some of my emotional aspects that I used were about how if people were to get deported they would be splitting up families. This would cause an emotional trigger because, well, could you imagine being separated from your family? I definitely couldn’t. I think mine is 50/50 when it comes to triggering emotional appeal because i had to depict certain things about that topic that trigger the emotional aspect but it wasn’t hard to do.

Ethically was the same as the emotional for mine. Meaning it is unethical to break apart families. The government should not have the right to break up families or send the children born here back to their parents home country, which to them is foreign. That is the ethical argument for my side. However, one for my opposing side would most likely be that illegal immigrants being here is (obviously) illegal, and this goes into problems with the legality aspect of things.

I think logical is definitely the most important to my topic. Logical appeal is the easiest one to persuade people with because as long as you back it up with facts from reliable resources, they can’t argue with you, making it easier to win your argument. If you give them nothing to argue, it’ll make it tougher to ask questions in the cross-examination which in turn makes it tougher to have a strong rebuttal. Also, using the statistics for how much the illegal immigrants contribute to social security and taxes backs up most of my argument. Logical is definitely the one most commonly used in my viewpoint which is that illegal immigrants are not a problem because as I mentioned I back up all my thoughts with statistics. I think my opponents side uses emotional because they are trying to get people to believe that the illegal immigrants are a problem and by using emotional appeal they can try to make them sound like bad people without statistics backing it up.

I have learned from this debate that if you are going to argue something, you better know what you’re talking about and you better be able to back it up. At the end of the day, that facts are what matter and the facts are what is going to make the biggest differences in any argument you have.  Now I certainly will not argue something I know I can’t back up, because in the end you may just end up looking foolish.

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Immigration? I think not!

My assigned topic for the debate is Immigration. I received the con side of this debate, which is also my personal view, making it easier to argue against the issue. Before researching this subject, I know that immigration was a highly debated matter in the last presidential election. Now just so you know, I didn’t watch every debate for the 2016 election. I also knew that President Trump had a plan to build a wall on the border of the United States and Mexico, which ended up being a very controversial subject. The wall has yet to become a reality, and there are those who doubt it ever will. This was one topic that was hard not to hear about. Searching the word “Immigration” on google resulted in multiple articles from notable and reliable sources such as The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times, and more.  Many of these articles contain sections mentioning our current president, Donald Trump. Another topic from the google search that came up is illegal immigration, where people enter the United States without proper documentation or approval. Thus, making it unfair to the immigrants going through the proper procedure to gain entry legal entry into our country.

While we would like to preserve the intent of the founding fathers and our Constitution and allow people to immigrate freely, it also presents us with many problems such as, overpopulation,  a strain on social services (welfare and healthcare), employment, etc. If we don’t allow everyone to immigrate, then how to we choose who we’ll allow into the country? One person while trying to get into the country may seem like the best candidate, but we’re really never sure what kind of contribution any one person would make. Anger would be an initial reaction to immigrants taking jobs away from other Americans.

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Self-driving cars? Yes x1000!

Why would you not want a self-driving car? Having a self-driving car will eliminate a large number of accidents that happen per year. 93% to 95% of these accidents occurred due to human error. By taking humans out of the driving equation and putting in a computer in the place of them, that will eliminate human error. By eliminating human error, the number of accidents per year would dramatically decrease, therefore saving many lives. Approximately over 2.5 million people (if they all had the self-driving cars) wouldn’t be injured in car accidents.

Another positive about having self-driving cars is you won’t have to worry about the driver texting. According to USA Today, about 1 in 4 car accidents occur due to people texting or playing on there phone while driving. Having a computer driving your car would eliminate the possibility of getting in accidents due to cell phones being used while the driver is at the wheel because, obviously, a computer can’t text. It is almost crazy considering how many lives that can be saved simply by taking the human out of the drivers seat and letting a computer drive the car.

Another great thing about self-driving cars is if you are going for a long road trip, your whole family can spend quality time together without worrying about distracting the driver by playing a road game. This would also most likely make the time pass quicker on your long trip. Staying on an emotional note, as you know self-driving cars will prevent lots of deaths that happen due to car accidents, By eliminating that many deaths, you will also be helping out the loved ones of the victims of the car accident. It is emotionally scarring to have a loved one get in a car accident, and then to have them die because of it is devastating. It can put people through you know what and back. This could cause people to spend money on psychology appointments (if it is that bad) resulting in lots of money they wouldn’t have to spend if the car accidents were avoided by using self-driving cars.

This would also help with limiting the worries of the people due to new drivers being on the road. If everybody eventually had self-driving cars, even teenagers, that would eliminate the worries of those who fear new drivers being in the drivers seat, providing a safer environment for everybody on the roads.


Could’ve been worse… right?

So I tested out Ben Franklin’s little experiment this weekend, and I did better than I thought. I went through the virtues at around 3:30 Sunday evening to see which ones I “passed” and which ones I “failed” at. I failed at four of them, which I was pretty proud of. I failed at Industry, Sincerity, Justice, and Silence. This is how.

Alright I am obviously an imperfect person. We all are. The first virtue I failed at was Industry. Industry means to keep busy and do the things that matter the most. Well, homework was one thing that was pretty important to get done this weekend and writing my Christmas List while watching Grey’s Anatomy was probably less important than that. But guess which one I did first? Yep, Grey’s Anatomy and the Christmas List. Next up is Sincerity. Let’s be honest, Katy McCarthy is the only person I know that could pass this one. Everybody says something mean, whether they mean it or not. This weekend my brother and I got in a big argument about some childish stuff and I told him I couldn’t stand him and I wanted him to leave. Probably not the nicest thing to say. Next is Justice; going right along with Sincerity. When I said that to him I’m pretty sure I hurt his feelings, even though I didn’t mean it and said it out of anger. Last but not least, Silence. I’ve said many things that are completely off topic and not beneficial to the conversation. For example, I was working on the the Benjamin Franklin Virtues project with Abi in study hall and I asked her what was on her Christmas list. Not exactly something that would benefit our project, right? Right. Well, that’s it for my failures.

So for the things I “passed”, I am very proud to say that I passed frugality with flying colors because I had no impulse buys this weekend, which doesn’t happen very often. I normally buy something at least once every week, but since Christmas is coming up my mom told me not to buy anything and to wait until after Christmas. I think I passed the rest. Well that’s it for this blog, see you in the next one!