Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez wants to replace Columbus Day with a voting holiday.
Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images

It’s time to turn Columbus Day into something we can all feel good about as Americans.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t even taken office yet but she’s already steadily making waves on Capitol Hill.

Her latest proposal is an idea that could transform two American cultural issues that are becoming increasingly problematic: Columbus Day and voter rights. In a tweet over the weekend, Ocasio-Cortez suggested making Columbus Day a voting holiday, writing:


“While I would disagree with your complaint that Americans get too much vacation time (we work some of the longest hours of any dev country & have no Fed required paid leave), I am willing to compromise by eliminating Columbus Day to give Election Day off. See? I can be pliant.”

Doesn’t Democracy Day sound a lot better than Columbus Day?

And in case you missed the context, that was Ocasio-Cortez responding to a personal attack from a reporter who was essentially accusing the incoming House member of being lazy.

As Newsweek notes, the idea of swapping out Columbus Day for a national voting holiday started with Bernie Sanders, who proposed a national “Democracy Day” after low voter turnout in 2014, writing on his website:

“Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”

“We should not be satisfied with a 'democracy" in which more than 60 percent of our people don't vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote.”

Creating a national holiday day for voting doesn’t have to be controversial or partisan. After all, who doesn’t like holidays?

But more seriously, finding time to vote can be a real headache for people who live in states or counties that don’t have vote by mail or other more convenient options.

And while a national voting holiday creates its own set of problems (some people will still need to work, who will run the polling stations, etc, etc.) celebrating American democracy seems like something just about every American should be able to get behind.

Independence is literally the idea America was born upon and a commitment to democratically elected leaders and laws is the system on which our country was built.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

Keep Reading Show less