If you think LGBTQQIA is getting unwieldy as an acronym, imagine just how many letters (and numbers) we'd need to accurately define the entire infinite spectrum of human sexuality.
Through 46 seasons, "Saturday Night Live" has had its ups and downs. There were the golden years of '75 to '80 and, of course, the early '90s when everyone in the cast seemed to eventually become a superstar.
Then there were the disastrous '81 and '85 seasons where the show completely lost its identity and was on the brink of cancellation.
After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.
"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."
One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.
Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.
"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."
It's amazing to consider just how quickly the world has changed over the past 11 months. If you were to have told someone in February 2020 that the entire country would be on some form of lockdown, nearly everyone would be wearing a mask, and half a million people were going to die due to a virus, no one would have believed you.
Yet, here we are.
PPE masks were the last thing on Leah Holland of Georgetown, Kentucky's mind on March 4, 2020, when she got a tattoo inspired by the words of a close friend.
Politics has always been a mixed bag of genuine discussions about governance, inane partisan bickering, and ongoing struggles for power. As much as I wish we could engage in the first more often, it feels like politics in America has become far more of the latter.
Within those partisan power struggles, the language of politics gets skewed and molded to fit specific purposes. Sometimes, phrases are used as dog whistles calling on people's prejudices. Far too often, the manipulation of words and their meanings—political rhetoric—renders certain terms meaningless as they get tossed around without nuance or context. Ultimately, the repeated use of certain terminology ends up destroying discourse instead of adding to it.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are 10 terms I'd love to see us flush from American political discussions:
1. "Real Americans"
There's no excuse for anyone ever using this term. To call certain people "real Americans" implies some kind of defining characteristic that some Americans have and some don't, which is the complete opposite of the country's diverse reality. And who would get to determine that definition, anyway? Do we go by majority? A full 82% of Americans live in urban areas. Does that mean city people are "real Americans" and the rural minority are not? Obviously, that's ludicrous—just as ludicrous as the idea that Americans in diners talking about the Bible are "real Americans." There's simply no such thing.