America’s Failure to Support Troops…Economically

“Support our troops.” People in the United States frequently hear and see this phrase in a variety of settings: on cars, from politicians, and from friends posting on social media, to name a few. We hear it especially on days like Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

And I agree. We should support our troops. While my personal opinion is that we should avoid war except in the most extreme of circumstances (example: if our own nation is attacked, like with Pearl Harbor), people who risk their own lives on behalf of the entire country should be supported. Since people in the military serve our country, our country should in return serve our military veterans. It’s the least we can do in the United States.

And yet, economically, we don’t support our troops.

There are numerous damning statistics on this fact. As of 2014, 25% of military families sought some sort of assistance with food.[1] There are nearly 38,000 homeless veterans; it’s a slight decrease from where it was, but there are still way too many homeless veterans.[2] There were nearly 1.5 million veterans in the United States living below the poverty line as of 2012.[3]

And we haven’t even gotten to wages, which are abysmal. For example, a starting salary for someone starting in the U.S. Army as an enlisted soldier, according to the Houston Chronicle, is $1,414 a month (a little over $18,000 a year). While that number goes up after several years of experience, an enlisted soldier with several years of experience can still earn under $30,000 a year.[4] Some of these salaries are below the minimum wage of some states, and they are certainly not living wages.

These are just a few statistics that show how this nation literally does not put its money where its mouth is. This nation talks a big game about supporting troops, yet fails to do so by paying living wages to troops and making sure that veterans aren’t homeless or in poverty. Shame on the United States for not giving back to people who have given so much to this country. Many of our troops have risked their lives to protect this country, and yet the government is risking the livelihoods of troops and their families through providing many of them with inadequate pay. This country does not truly support its troops.

However, we, as individuals, could raise our voices on this issue. We, as individuals, could contact our representatives in the House and Senate and ask them to make sure that all members of the military earn a living wage. Oh, and it would help if this problem gained national attention.


[1] https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/hungry-heroes-25-percent-military-families-seek-food-aid-n180236

[2] https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/pit_count.asp

[3] https://www.va.gov/vetdata/docs/specialreports/veteran_poverty_trends.pdf

[4] http://work.chron.com/salaries-us-army-soldiers-6496.html

Fall/Winter 2019 Blog News

With Election Day now behind us, there are a couple of announcements I want to make about my upcoming blog schedule, as we head into the holidays:

  1. I will not publish posts on the following Mondays over the next few months: November 11 (Veterans Day), November 25 (Monday before Thanksgiving), December 23 (Monday before Christmas), December 30 (Monday before New Year’s Day), January 20 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), and February 17 (Presidents Day). These breaks from publishing have given me much-needed breaks in past years, especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
  2. That being said, during this stretch around Christmas/New Year’s, I will publish a blog wrap-up for this calendar year. Last year, I experimented with publishing a series of social media posts that highlighted my most read post, my most liked post, the post that received the most comments, etc. However, doing this became challenging for me to keep up with during a time when I was hoping to take it easy. Instead, I will try to publish a single blog post that makes note of some (if not many) of the same highlights (as well as some highlights I didn’t mention in my social media posts last year, such as the blogging awards I received), and this will come in the form of a blog wrap-up for the calendar year. I’m tentatively thinking of publishing this post the day after Christmas, but this is very much subject to change depending on how the holidays are for me. It’s the first time I’m trying this, so I’ll welcome the feedback when/after the post is published!

That’s it for now. Happy reading, and I hope everyone is having a good fall (or spring, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere)!

Election Day Coming Up: Remember to Vote!

For those of my readers who are in the United States, please remember to vote tomorrow.

While much attention may be focused on the election for President that is about one year from now, the smaller elections are important as well. Elections for local and state offices, as well as referendums on your ballot, can have a major impact on whether certain injustices are addressed or not.

So, while the excitement may not be there for the elections in 2019 quite like there will be for the elections in 2020, I encourage all of my American readers to vote. As for all of my non-American readers, I hope that you will also vote when/if you have elections.

Intersex Stereotypes

As I said a few months ago, I will be doing a series addressing stereotypes for LGBTQ+ people—talking about people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, as well as people who are intersex and asexual. I look forward to continuing through this series.

As I am going in order of the acronyms for LGBTQ (or LGBTQIA), it is time for me to discuss stereotypes associated with being intersex. But before going into details about those stereotypes, I should start by talking about what it means to be intersex.

Intersex people are people who have variations in sex characteristics (examples: sex hormones, genitals, chromosomes) that do not fit the typical definition of a male or a female body. One example of an intersex person is someone with external genitals that don’t appear to be clearly male or female.[1]

Now that we’ve talked about what it means to be intersex, here are a few stereotypes associated with being intersex:

  1. Only men and women were made; therefore, there are no intersex people. This is a belief most commonly held by conservative Christian churches. My counter to this is science—sometimes there are people who are born with both male and female body characteristics, or body characteristics where it’s not clear if the body is clearly male or female.
  2. Intersex athletes are cheats. For this stereotype, look no further than the treatment of Olympian Caster Semenya. She is ostracized, marginalized, and is just about treated as the equivalent of a cheat for the simple reason that she was born with intersex traits,[2] which in her case means that she was born with an abnormally high level of testosterone. Some have come to her defense and argued that she’s successful because of her skills and not her testosterone, but additionally, athletes should not be punished for the way they were born.
  3. Intersex people must be “made” into a man or a woman. If intersex people want to undergo transition so that they are a man or a woman, that is up to them. However, non-consensual surgery to make an intersex person into something they don’t want to be is harmful mentally, not to mention the fact that such surgeries can be physically harmful if not done properly.
  4. Even if they don’t get surgery to be made into a man or a woman, intersex people must be raised as a man or a woman and behave as a man or a woman. This seems like a product of ideas about gender as a binary—the idea that someone must be clearly a man or a woman. However, intersex people should have the freedom to choose their own path as to whether their gender identity is as a man, as a woman, or as somewhere outside of the gender binary.

These, of course, are just a few of the harmful stereotypes associated with being intersex. If there are other stereotypes about intersex people that should be discussed and/or if anyone wants to expand upon the intersex stereotypes mentioned here, please feel free to post a comment below!

Other posts in my LGBTQ Stereotypes Series:
Introducing a Series on LGBTQ+ Stereotypes
Lesbian Stereotypes
Gay Stereotypes
Bisexual Stereotypes
Transgender Stereotypes
Queer Stereotypes


[1] There are other examples too, aside from the one I mentioned here.

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-48120228

The Intersex Pride Flag.

Another Mystery Blogger Award!

I recently found out that I have been nominated for another blogging award—this time, another Mystery Blogger Award! I want to thank Ospreyshire’s Realm for the nomination—please give the blog a visit! I also thank Okoto Enigma for creating the award; you can find a link to Okoto’s blog here.

As for the rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  9. Share a link to your best post(s).

I’ve already done the first four on this list, so now to the three things about myself (and these are three other things I haven’t shared before):

  1. While I have my own talents, playing a musical instrument isn’t one of them. I went to a public school that taught violin for a time and then recorder for a time, but I wasn’t exactly the best talent ever at either instrument.
  2. I was into singing, though…in choirs. Between 5th and 12th grade, I was always in my school’s choir, singing at school Masses.
  3. I still enjoy singing, even though I haven’t been in a choir since 12th grade.

As for the questions I was asked, here are my answers:

  1. What makes you an innovative blogger in your field? In my field (social justice blogging), I focus on injustices we may be blind to and/or blindly commit. I think this makes me innovative because most of the time, the injustices that we want to focus on as bloggers are only injustices that end up in the news.
  2. What are issues that you’re passionate about? There are a lot of issues I’m passionate about, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, indigenous rights, ableism, immigration, and economic justice, just to name a few.
  3. Who are three famous people that you would want to have coffee with? I’d love to have coffee with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as well as Malala Yousafzai for similar reasons— I admire how they integrate their faith with their work (Anglican in the case of Archbishop Tutu, and Muslim in the case of Malala). The third famous person I want to grab coffee with is a choice that may create controversy with soccer/football fans who read my blog…because I’d like to grab coffee with Jürgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool Football Club. I’m not even a Liverpool supporter, but he’s a funny guy with major interests and passions similar to mine (football/soccer, faith, and, apparently, walking).[1]
  4. Why do you blog and what are your goals for your it? I blog so that people (myself and others) can hopefully be aware of some of these injustices we may’ve been blind to or blindly committed in the past. My goal is for that awareness to spread on those “blind injustices.”
  5. Would you rather own a house that’s attached to an ice cream company or one that’s attached to a chocolate factory? Yes, that’s my required weird/funny question for this award. Haha! I’d rather own a house attached to an ice cream company! With a chocolate factory, I would end up limiting myself to chocolate. But with an ice cream factory, I could have chocolate ice cream if I’d like, but I could also choose to have something other than chocolate if I wanted.

Here are my nominees (with links to their most recent posts, as of the time I was drafting my award acceptance). This is in no particular order:

  1. Novas Namaste 365 Online
  2. denise421win
  3. No Half Measures
  4. Shine Heart
  5. Green Revolt
  6. Retrospective Lily
  7. Invisibly Me
  8. Sylvia Marcia
  9. Gadfly on the Wall
  10. Love is Stronger

My questions for you all are:

  1. What are you passionate about, outside of the topics you blog on?
  2. What made you want to blog on the topics you now write about?
  3. What do you enjoy the most about blogging?
  4. What is the biggest piece of advice that you think new bloggers need to hear?
  5. Are you a superstitious person? If so, what is your biggest superstition? (That’s my funny/weird question.)

Three of my best posts (these are different from the posts I shared the previous time I accepted a Mystery Blogger Award) are:

  1. “Men and Mental Health”: Given the suicide crisis with men in the United States, I thought it was important to really raise awareness on this topic. It looks like I was successful at that, with 115 WordPress likes as of the time of drafting this post!
  2. “Racism Exists Where You Don’t Expect It”: This post, which I wrote nearly two years ago, is a favorite because I was able to turn a negative (racist writing in my neighborhood, including on my own family’s car) into a positive (this post on how racism exists where you don’t expect it).
  3. “Addressing the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting”: I was worried about the quality of this post because I wrote it literally the night before publication. But, looking back at the timing of the post (mere days after the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh), a blunt and relatively unfiltered view of just how deep anti-Semitism really was/is was maybe what was needed at that time.

Congrats to my nominees, and once again, thank you to Ospreyshire’s Realm for the nomination!


[1] Klopp’s undergraduate thesis was on walking. Additionally, when he was the manager of Borussia Dortmund in Germany, he enjoyed taking walks from his team’s stadium to his home after matches.