JFK Assassination Vignette

If you’ve been a round for a while, you may have noticed that I have a slight obsession with the JFK administration and Kennedy’s presidency. In AP Lang, we had the opportunity to pick any event in time and write a short piece about that moment. I picked the JFK assassination and wrote from the perspective of Lyndon B. Johnson as they were getting ready to leave Texas and head back to Washington D.C. Enjoy.

The heat was unbearable. The crowd was unbearable. The news was unbearable. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson stood as a crumbling stone wall aboard Air Force One. Franticly searching around the stateroom, he cried, “We can’t leave Dallas yet. Please!” This was all happening too fast. The arrival at the airport, the breakfast, the parade, and then the gunshots. He turned to Mrs. Kennedy who stared blankly at the floor, covered in the brains and blood of her deceased husband. President Kennedy was dead, dead as the Camelot he had fought so hard for. Johnson trembled as he placed his left hand on the Bible then raised his right hand to recite the oath of office. He fought to hold tears from rushing down his cheeks. He had lost his co-worker, his friend, his president. Johnson finally pleaded, “So help me God.” and with these last words, he became the next fearless leader of the United States of America. With the tragic events of the past few hours, the country watched as a peaceful river turned into a raging, destructive torrent after heavy rain. Once the rain had cleared, the river calmed back down and left fertile, new land to grow on. The country would grow strong again and Johnson would lead the way.  

JFK Assassination Vignette

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

As I sit in the airport and wait for my flight back to Denver, I’d like to reflect on my experience back in our nation’s capital. I am exhausted!! For those of you who didn’t know, I attended Envision’s Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit for five days beginning this past Wednesday.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

A lot of people have been asking me how I was able to attend this leadership conference, so I’ll answer that first. Back in 6th or 7th grade, I attended the Junior National Young Leaders’ Conference (JrNYLC) in Washington D.C. Because Envision is tied to the JrNYLC program, I was invited back as an alumni for the leadership summit and inauguration. My mom came with me to D.C. and she was attending the “Parenting the Future” program that was a part of Envision’s program.

When I arrived on Wednesday, I was greeted by Envision staff at the airport and then taken to our hotel which was the Marriott at Wardman Park. It was one of the nicest hotels I’ve EVER stayed at. The desserts we got to have for lunch and dinner were the bomb and the rooms were absolutely wonderful. The other scholars and I got to get to know each other and then we were broken up into our delegations for change, which were smaller groups of students sorted into interest of things like education, medicine, national security, etc. I was in the “Cure for the Future” delegation and we focused on our healthcare system and curing the diseases of today. In our groups, we had to create a solution of some sort to reform the healthcare system or work on creating cures and funding for certain diseases. For those solutions, we had to propose our ideas in an essay and create a short, persuading presentation. Wednesday was a very long and busy day.

Early Thursday morning, we got up and headed to George Mason University to listen to a great lineup of speakers including Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson. After a yummy Chick-Fil-A lunch, we got to hear Mr. Ziauddin Yousafzai and Malala Yousafzai (via satellite). Their messages were extremely powerful and motivating and it was really moving to be in the presence of such brilliant, successful, and great leaders. The most influential thing I learned that day was from Malala who told us all to never stop dreaming big. Malala also said to never be afraid to fight for what you want. Others won’t fight for you, so you have to take care of yourself. That night we got to go to bed a little earlier, and that was great because Friday was going to be a looooong day.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

Inauguration day. My roommate and I had to wake up at 3:30. AHHH! It was so early and everyone was so sleepy. We got up so early because we had to eat breakfast and get on our buses by 4 or 4:30 so we could get the program’s buses as close as possible to the National Mall. The program had made a deal with the Secret Service to get our buses out by 7 am and the ride there was long so it was important to leave early and get there in time! Once we arrived at the National Mall, we had to walk for about a mile. It was still dark as this was happening but as we got closer to our security checkpoint, the sun was rising and we were passing by the Washington Monument as this occurred and it was absolutely stunning. It was definitely a cold morning but it wasn’t so bad that I was wearing like ten jackets. I was bundled up for sure, but I wasn’t a walking marshmallow. Once we got through the tight security checkpoint, we were in the National Mall and got to go to our warming station at the National Natural History Museum.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

We had about an hour to explore the museum and refresh and then it was time to head out for the inauguration. At about 10 am, the inaugural ceremony began and it was amazing and so special to be a part of something so monumental and important to American and world history. There wasn’t that much protesting or violence as the inauguration took place and the place was definitely packed! I did attend President Trump’s rally when he came to Colorado and looking back on that, it’s amazing to say that I’ve been in the same place as our president twice. Right after Trump gave his inaugural address, we headed back to our buses and got a chance to rest back at the hotels. A nap was well needed!

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

The next day, Saturday, we were back at George Mason University to listen to round two of the speakers, which included: General Colin Powell, Spike Lee, Governor Martin O’Malley, Carly Fiorina, and Abby Wambach. All of the speakers had interesting and meaningful things to say, but General Powell’s words stuck with me the most. He said that it’s okay for people to dislike President Trump but it’s not okay to disrespect him. Trump is our president now and people need to accept this and support him. We want him to succeed because we all live in this country. We need to be united. Everything is going to be okay for our country. We just need to trust that what happens will happen for the best. After a wonderful day at George Mason University, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the inaugural gala Envision had planned for us.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.
General Colin Powell

The gala that night was held at the Air and Space Museum and was opened exclusively to our program. My friends and I got all dressed up and danced the night away. We also got to explore the museum while we were there and it was awesome getting to have an actual dance at a national museum. Because many of the people in my group were having early flights the next morning, we all said our goodbyes that night and went to bed.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.
(not my picture; credit to photographer)

And now here we are today on Sunday. I’m chilling at IAD with my mom and we’re waiting for our flight home. I really don’t want to leave D.C. There’s so much history and excitement in the capital of our country all the time, and it’s something I absolutely love. This is definitely not the last time I’ll be in Washington D.C. I hope to be back soon!

The Electoral College: How it Works

Another presidential election has come and gone and in January, Donald Trump will take office as the 45th president of the U.S. The electoral college is an important part of the election process in the United States and I thought I might take some time today to explain how the popular vote and electoral college work, for those of you who don’t know.

So in each state, on election day, if not before, citizens vote on who they want in office. Those votes are totaled up and the candidates with the most votes win the popular vote.

While the popular vote may demonstrate which candidate is more desired, the electoral college is what actually determines who the next president will be. In order for a candidate to win the presidential race, they have to win a majority vote of the electoral college which is 270 votes.

Based off of the popular vote, the electoral college then gives the electoral votes of their state to the candidate who won the popular vote. For example, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in Colorado, and so the electoral voters of Colorado gave the eight electoral votes to Hillary Clinton. And for another example, Donald Trump won the popular vote in Alabama, so he was given the nine electoral votes from that state.

The amount of electoral votes is based off of state population, so the more people in a state, the more electoral college votes they get. For instance, California has 55 electoral votes, because so many people live there, and Wyoming only has three electoral votes because the population is small.

Below is a short video on how the electoral college works to clarify it.

Did You Know: The Presidential Inauguration

With the second term of President Obama wrapping up here pretty soon and the inauguration of a new president, I thought it would be interesting to find some information out about the big event. On top of that, I found out recently that I will be going to see the 45th president sworn into office. Here are some things you might not know about the presidential inauguration.

-George Washington had the shortest inaugural speech at 135 words.

-All but six presidents were sworn into office in Washington D.C. George Washington, John Adams, Chester Alan Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Lyndon B. Johnson were the six.

-The oath that the next president takes is taken with a hand upon the Bible and is opened to the passage of the president’s choice.

-The outgoing president leaves the Capitol immediately after the inaugural ceremony.

-For each inauguration, the platform the POTUS and about 1,600 other people stand on is built from scratch.

-The vice president and president are usually sworn into office by the Chief Justice.

-President Obama was the first African-American and Hawaiian-born citizen to be sworn into office.

did you know: the presidential inauguration

So whether or not this information is new, now you know a few facts about the presidential inauguration. Have a wonderful week!

Does the U.S. Welfare System Need to Be Reformed?

There are many aspects of American society that need reforming today but one aspect that desperately needs reforming is our welfare system. According to welfareinfo.org, it says, “The US government responded to the overwhelming number of families and individuals in need of aid by creating a welfare program that would give assistance to those who had little or no income… Many Americans were unhappy with the welfare system, claiming that individuals were abusing the welfare program by not applying for jobs… to qualify for greater benefits. Welfare system reform became a hot topic in the 1990’s. Bill Clinton was elected as President with the intention of reforming the federally run US Welfare program.” The US’s welfare system gives support, such as food or shelter, to poor and needy people and families. The government created the welfare system to help the people. However, the people became more dependent on the system and continued to stay jobless, unmarried, etc.

Because of this, the problems gained federal attention and a bill was passed by President Clinton to limit the amount of welfare a person could receive and give the power of the system back to the states. Today people must meet certain requirements to be eligible for the welfare system. It truly depends on each case per person whether they are homeless, jobless, or in a different condition which leads to how the welfare system can possibly benefit them. But what happens to the people that don’t meet the requirements for eligibility but still desperately need the help of the welfare system? Those people simply don’t receive the benefits of the welfare system and are left to starve and be unsupported by the welfare system. From debate.org, one of the users, commented, “Without a doubt, generations abuse the system. There should be no free welfare. Can’t find a job? How about picking up trash on our roads and streets to earn that welfare?”  The person that made this comment was debating whether or not the welfare system in the US needed to be reformed. The person agreed that the system did need to be reformed and they believed people should find a way to work for the welfare. Currently in the United States, people have to meet certain requirements to be eligible for the welfare system. People then begin to depend on the welfare system for everything even after they have been helped and no longer need it. For the people that really need the welfare but are not eligible, there is no way for them to gain the eligibility unless they hit the requirements. There should be a much easier way for the ineligible people to get welfare and one of the ways to do this is by having the ineligible people work for the welfare. This is one of the major weaknesses of the welfare system currently because some people just can’t get the welfare if they don’t meet requirements but if they could work for it, the people could possibly.

From an article on cuny.edu, it says, “It gives uneven levels of Federal support to children in rich and poor states… It may not often much help in serious recessions.” Children in richer states such as Maryland, Connecticut, Hawaii, or Colorado, would receive higher benefits of the welfare system compared to children living in Mississippi, Arkansas, or West Virginia. The states have less money to supply the food and things that the welfare system provides to the needy. Because the states have less money, they have fewer supplies to support the children living in the poorer states.

Our welfare system was created during and close to the end of the Great Depression to help the people during that time. The Great Depression was a time in American history where the stock market crashed, millions of people were hungry and jobless, and the American economy was terrible. That was one of the very few severe recessions our country has had. The welfare system didn’t do much towards the end of the Great Depression so how would we know if it will benefit us if a serious recession were to occur in America today? One of the many aspects of American society that needs reforming is our welfare system. It has many things that could be fixed or changed to make it better to benefit our country.

Does the U.S. Welfare System Need to be Reformed?


Melgar, Liliana Melgar. The Welfare Reform System. City University of New York, 1997. Web. 9 Mar. 2014. <http://maxweber.hunter.cuny.edu/pub/eres/GSR716A_KUECHLER/liliana.htm>.

US Welfare System-Help for US Citizens. N.p., 2014. Web. 9 Mar. 2014. <http://www.welfareinfo.org/>.

“without a doubt.” Does the U.S. welfare system need to be reformed?. debate.org, 2013. Web. 9 Mar. 2014. <http://www.debate.org/opinions/does-the-u-s-welfare-system-need-to-be-reformed>.

Sauter, Michael B., Alexander E. Hess, and Thomas C. Frohlich. America’s Richest (and Poorest) States. 24/7 Wall St., 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 9 Mar. 2014. <http://247wallst.com/special-report/2013/09/19/americas-richest-and-poorest-states/>.

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment

Over a long period of time, our society has been impacted by a large number of documents and philosophers. Two of the most important documents are the Magna Carta and the Mayflower Compact. Two of the most important philosophers of this time were John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment

To begin with, the Magna Carta and Mayflower Compact really impacted our society. The Magna Carta was signed by King John and 1215, and it limited the king’s power because he was abusing his overwhelming amount of power. It’s stated that the government would be based on a rule of law and that there would be a contract or agreement with the people. The people will have certain rights and representatives in government. Without this amazing document, our government could still be a monarchy and give way too much power to just one person. In modern society today, this is why we have checks and balances and three branches of government to balance power. The Mayflower Compact was equally important. When the programs made their way over to America, they all signed the social contract creating a written rule of law, and give the people the right to self-government. This document also limited the king’s power. This document demonstrated the beginning of a trend of limiting the government’s power. Today in society, we still use the brilliant ideas of self-government, a social contract, and a government with limited power.

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment

Additionally, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were important and influential philosophers. Thomas Hobbes was well known for his work Leviathan which helped start the Enlightenment. He asked, “Why do we need government? “. Hobbes also believed that a strong authoritarian rule was necessary to protect people from themselves. No morality exists, according to Hobbes, and the best way to control people is through fear. John Locke had other ideas. He did believe that there was good and bad in society, but he also thought that people are truly good-willed and rational. Locke thought that government is a social contract between people and governing bodies to preserve peoples’ natural rights from being violated. Government is designed to secure a man’s natural rights and to protect people from the government. Without Hobbes or Locke, we wouldn’t have the strong, power-balanced government system we have. We wouldn’t have our natural rights.

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment

In conclusion, the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are super important and have a huge impact on our society. They all had huge ideas that influenced and led to the strong and successful U.S. Constitution and government. Where would we be without them?

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment