An Open Letter to My Friends Who Voted for Donald Trump

My dear friend,

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, especially when you know it’s likely to be filled with sadness and anger. I know this is uncomfortable, but I also know that you care about me. That’s why we’re friends. Thank you for your respect; I will strive to show the same to you.

It’s easy to rant against Trump supporters in the abstract, but not against you, because I know you. I know you’re not racist, or sexist, or homophobic. I know you respect and care for me and others like me. And that’s why, as a woman, as a Millennial, as a writer, and as your friend, I have to let you know how your vote feels, and more importantly, how it functions, to me. Continue reading

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The Law School Diaries: What’s Your Excuse?

Greetings from beautiful, inexplicably 65-degree, Pittsburgh, PA! I write this from the porch of The Porch in Schenley Plaza, because I want you to vote.

As you probably know, the US presidential election is tomorrow. You can check out some of my thoughts on our candidates here, here, and here. But this blog post is not about them. This blog is about you. You and your beautiful vote.

If you are a US citizen, please, pease vote tomorrow. This election matters, and your participation in it matters. People have fought, been arrested, and died for your suffrage, some more recently than others. Honor the legacy of the American Revolution, the Civil Rights Movement, the Voting Rights Act, the Suffragettes, and everyone else who believed that you, and your voice, matter. Continue reading

Who Is My Neighbor? Voting as an Evangelical

It’s really only been this week that I figured out what, at base, so disturbs me about this election. There’s plenty to choose from, sure. But beyond the actions of the candidates themselves, beyond the insane and horrible rhetoric, beyond the general polarization and scandal and dishonesty, there’s one thing above everything else that burdens my heart. This election, more than any other I can remember, we are desperate to save ourselves at any cost.

The Evangelical voting bloc has been a powerful one for a long time. It’s vocal and it’s effective. Conservatives have used lots of different methods to appeal to us, to assure us that they are the best candidates for us. This election, the Evangelical bloc has been courted through fear: fear that our way of life will disappear if we vote for the wrong candidate. Continue reading

10 Points on Eric Metaxas

In July, I wrote a response to a piece by Wayne Allyn Root advocating that Christians must vote for Donald Trump. Root’s piece didn’t turn out to have much readership, but then Eric Metaxas, of Bonhoeffer fame, wrote his own piece for the Wall Street Journal. This piece, in contrast, has gotten a lot of Evangelical response. It has the tone of many of the pieces written by this community: yes, Trump is distasteful, but hold your nose and vote for him because the alternative is worse. Here is, point by point, why I believe Eric Metaxas has it wrong. Continue reading

40 Days of Meaningful Fasting

Do you celebrate Lent? Lent is typically thought of as a season celebrated by the Catholic church and some high-church denominations, but it’s something that I’ve really been blessed by.

In case you didn’t grow up in the church or have no idea what I’m talking about, Lent is 40 days (which doesn’t count the Sundays) of fasting in preparation for Easter. Different people do it different ways: some give up something like chocolate until Easter, some engage in acts of service, and some fast from things like gossiping or complaining. Traditionally, you abstain from eating meat on Fridays in remembrance of the crucifixion (hence Friday fish fries) and don’t say “alleluia” in church in recognition of the solemnity of the season.

The season is 40 days long to echo Jesus’ temptation in the desert. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is February 10th this year. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the day before, traditionally the day when people would make pancakes to use up the rest of their cooking fat before the fast. Of course, it’s also known as a day of going crazy for the same reason. Continue reading

Spending for Justice

Think about how much money you spend on a regular basis, just on basic things–on food, clothes, personal care products, and other pseudo-necessities. What if you could contribute to justice through these products you already buy all the time? Basically, without even changing much that you do? Check out the companies below and see how you can change your everyday purchases for justice. I was going to write a paragraph on each of them, but there are so many awesome companies with awesome causes, just click the links and see for yourselves!

Personal Care

You need soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, or body wash – Soapbox
You need soap, salt scrub, lip balm, or candles – Hand in Hand
You need a toothbrush – Smile Squared

Food/Beverages

You need gum or mints – Project 7
You need water bottles – Faucet Face
You need snack bars – 2 Degrees Food
You need peanut butter – Good Spread
You need bottled water – People Water Continue reading

Get Ready for #GivingTuesday: Here’s How to Celebrate

It’s been a whirlwind of a week — first Thanksgiving on Friday, and then basically a four-day long weekend of spending incentives, from Black Friday to Small Business Saturday to Cyber Monday. Somewhere along the line, though, somebody decided that after all that buying, it would be a good idea to establish a day for giving, and #GivingTuesday was born.

Giving Your Money

Here’s where most of us start, and why not? Giving Tuesday is a good time to take stock of your financial resources, which you’ve maybe been spending quite a bit of on yourself. But don’t just dump some money into the first charity you see and pat yourself on the back. Make sure you’re doing some homework so that you’re only donating to an organization that’s doing good work. Here are some resources for doing just that: Continue reading

Ethical Christmas Shopping

Yes, it is that time. Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas before, which means we really need to get on our Christmas shopping. What do Christmas shopping and justice seeking have in common, you ask? Well, a time of this much spending is also a good time to figure out where our money is going. While you’re buying awesome Christmas gifts, why not buy awesome Christmas gifts from great ethical sources? Continue reading

Adventures in lunacy

As some of you know, a couple of weeks ago, I embarked on a very short-lived adventure/experiment. I had been reading this book called More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger (which, incidentally, I very much recommend to anyone and everyone). The purpose of the book is essentially to get you to re-think what is enough in your own life and to learn what to do with the excess. In order to accomplish this, Shinabarger uses something he calls “social experiments,” in which you start with a hypothesis, usually about something you or people in general have that is excess and you don’t need, and then you perform an experiment to test this hypothesis and to stand in solidarity with those who don’t have as much as you do.

I read the book and naturally wanted to do something about. What, I thought, was something I didn’t want to give up but could probably go without? My conclusion: my laptop. I wouldn’t get rid of it, but I wanted to see if I could go forty days without using it. Now, that’s not without using any computer, just using my own laptop. I reasoned that on such a tech-savvy campus (I go to Carnegie Mellon University, for those of you who don’t know), I should be able to go without having a personal computer. There are computer clusters everywhere, designed to help out people who don’t have computers or don’t/can’t carry them to campus every day. Continue reading