Girl on Fire: Coming to realizations through the help of the media

[As seen in Creston News Advertiser, July 3, 2014]

Recently, United States Supreme Court voted on a very controversial issue revolving around women’s health and religion. I’m not going to comment on the decision.

As a reporter, I realize the media has to be as unbiased as possible, especially within the workplace and pages published or minutes aired. However, as a human being, I realize what other human beings face in daily life and will support things I think need to change.

During my time as an undergraduate at University of Iowa in Iowa City, I witnessed protests against abortion and booths to raise money for Peace Corps. Iowa City is by no means a large city, but it is larger than Creston and Centerville, and even in a city with a summer population of approximately 70,000 it’s not unheard of to see homeless men and women on sidewalks, or stray animals running amok.

Since then, and with the help of media, I’ve come to realize something. Who is one person to say another person must be the same? Who is one person to say another person must be of the same opinion, political view or religion? Why do people force their opinions on others? How is any of this debate good for the country and its people?

The Supreme Court came into the mix when they voted to allow the large corporation Hobby Lobby to deny certain health care benefits to some of its employees based on religious freedom. They are allowed to do that, and I am not denying that.

I came out of the media coverage with one thing in mind: sometimes, people are not equal. I believe in equal rights for everyone, no matter the gender, race or ethnicity, but I am also not so blind or ignorant as to not see how even in a country as great as America, no one is truly equal to another person.

People look down on the homeless because they may not have access to a shower. People look down on those getting government assistance for food because they may not have jobs. People look down on those working entry-level positions because they may not have an education beyond high school.

What is wrong with this picture? Easy. People judge. People assume things before knowing the facts. People are selfish. People are not situationally aware. People have things and don’t realize not everyone can have those things, too, without working twice as hard for twice as long.

Not everyone is dealt the same hand. If the news and being part of the media has taught me anything, it’s taught me to see the world in a new light. It’s shown me real-life situations of domestic abuse, governmental welfare, failing at life.

But, it’s also shown me some people reach beyond the stereotypes and assumptions judgmental people make and create something amazing with their lives. With this knowledge, I hope to never be like those judgmental people, and to be situationally aware for everyone. People, no matter who they are, deserve that at least.

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