Tag Archives: affirmative action

In My World

In my world racism is non-existent. I understand in the real world there are bigots, and unfortunately racism will never be completely extinct. It’s a regrettable, unintended consequence of our God-given free will. The good news is I don’t think racism is running rampant in America as what is continuously being purported by the media and a select group of talk show hosts, celebrities, and even a few of our country’s representatives. I tend to agree with what President Barack Obama said recently, during his weekly radio address, concerning current race relations in the United States. Our nation’s Commander in Chief said, “I know that for many, it can feel like the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed and even widened. But the America I know…is just not as divided as some folks try to insist.”

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 63% of those asked think race relations in the U.S. are generally bad, but I personally have not witnessed any prejudice against minorities in all my 50 years residing on this earth. In my world racism did not exist in the small Iowa town I was born and raised in. There were only a handful of minorities living amongst Newton’s population of approximately 15,000. My initial exposure to a different race, that I can remember, was when I was in elementary school, and one day a foreign boy sheepishly entered the classroom. He had moved to town from either Peru or Panama (I know the name of his country started with a “P”), and he instantly became just another classmate. I can’t say as the Peruvian or Panamanian ever became my best friend, but we did get along swimmingly. Even though the new kid looked, dressed, and spoke a little differently, than everyone else, I certainly never considered him to be “less than.”

My next encounter with different nationalities was during high school. There were now a couple of handfuls of minorities in the same small town. Among them were Black siblings, and both were in my graduating class. I didn’t have much contact with either of them because although the male was into sports he didn’t play high school baseball (my forte), and his sibling was a girl. My senior year I enlisted the services of an Asian professional photographer to take my graduation pictures. The kind, soft-spoken, local business owner somehow managed to make even my mug presentable enough for the Class of 1984 yearbook. I never once felt an indifference toward my Black peers or Asian photographer, and I assume they felt the same about me.

In my world I believe the perception of a racially divided country was ignited in the summer of 2013, with the inception of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now I’m sure the members of Black Lives Matter couldn’t care less what some White guy has to say in regards to their organization, but I highly value my thought-provoking input (pause here for chuckles); therefore, I cannot remain silent on the subject. I think the majority of those involved in the extremely loud and sometimes disruptive movement are misguided in their transparent us (Blacks) vs. them (Whites) mentality. Additionally, the organization’s obvious blatant disregard for others is quite evident with their numerous attempts at shutting down major infrastructure when protesting. Any sympathy one might have for the Black Lives Matter movement surely diminishes once they become a nuisance and risk the safety of others. It’s one thing to knowingly cause an upheaval, but putting officers’ lives even more at risk, with the uprising of extremist cop killers, is reprehensible.

I sincerely believe the recently exposed shootings of Black men by White police officers are almost entirely of a peace officer vs. alleged perpetrator nature rather than a race related issue. Sadly, each new reported case erroneously gets lumped together, by the Black Lives Matter movement and the media, with all the prior police involved deaths instead of rightfully being examined individually. In my world the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile aren’t related whatsoever. Martin was killed by a neighborhood watchman…not a cop (and not White). Brown had committed a robbery and assaulted the store’s clerk shortly before being fatally shot by police. Garner was placed in a chokehold (forbidden by the NYPD) while resisting arrest which resulted in his death.

Gray’s demise came at the hands of law enforcement while intentionally being negligently transported in a police van (driven by a Black officer). I don’t think the public has enough information yet on the Sterling or Castile shootings to adequately determine whether the officers involved were justified or not in taking such extreme measures. Some of the aforementioned situations, ultimately ending with a person being killed, seem defensible to me while some don’t, but all are tragic. There is one common denominator in almost all of the incidents mentioned: resistance to authority. I cannot help but think the majority of those who died would still be alive today if only they had fully cooperated when being questioned.

Much has been said lately, and YouTube videos have been made, about the need for parents to have “the talk” with their Black sons. No, not the talk. Parents are being encouraged to teach their children what to do if ever they’re pulled over by the police: stay in the car, turn off the engine, roll down the window, and keep your hands on the steering wheel. However, many in the Black community seem to think it’s unfair that they should be singled out and forced to bother with such a thing, and some are even irritated by the measly suggestion. In my world proper protocol when being pulled over by the authorities is not a Black or White issue. This White guy was taught to stay in the car, turn off the engine, roll down the window, and keep my hands on the steering wheel by both my father and my Driver’s Ed instructor. It’s just common sense.

Time and time again I’ve heard the tiresome argument, mainly from those most vocal in the Black community, how a White person especially a White man can’t fathom what it’s like to be Black. I suppose I can’t – not completely anyway. I certainly can relate though when it comes to being followed around by a store’s employee for apparently no other reason than due to one’s appearance. There’ve been many times throughout my life when I’ve sported long hair and earrings, and during those times I was treated differently (whether real or imagined) by others. I reckon my tattoos don’t suggest I’m a straight arrow either, but I am (for the most part). In addition, I’ve been pulled over by the police and left wondering why even after the officer drives away.

I don’t pretend to entirely grasp the plight of the Black man; however, I assuredly can empathize with anyone who has ever been treated unfairly due to the color of their skin. In the 90’s I was turned down for a small business loan mainly because I’m a White male. (Thank you affirmative action.) The media, especially The Arizona Republic, continuously insinuated that if a person was White and did not vote for Obama, during his initial bid for the presidency, then that individual must be a racist. As a White male I have often been made to feel as though I was a problem, an obstacle if you will, preventing minorities from achieving success. In my world the implementing of quota systems and the numerous “no Whites allowed” award shows tend to make me feel “less than.”

I have lived in Peoria, Arizona, for the last nine years, where the city’s population is well beyond 150,000. The Valley is much more diversified than the Midwest town I grew up in, and in my world racism is still non-existent. My lovely wife and I were at Desert Ridge Marketplace a mere three days after the nationally reported White cop shooting of a Black man, Philando Castile. We were enjoying FREE live music at the mall’s outdoor stage, amongst other ethnic groups, and it was obvious everyone was having a splendid time. I noticed the mix of people dancing to the funky sounds of the Thaddeus Rose Band in particular a Black gentleman near the stage who was partying like it was 1999. (Prince would’ve been proud.)

A couple of young White girls joined the older Black man on the concrete dance floor presumably to learn his choreographed dance moves. The man tried earnestly to teach his eager students (who by the way – in stereotypical fashion – had no rhythm) how to properly “bust a move,” but to no avail. It suddenly dawned on me that here we were, lost in the moment without a care in the world, while our televisions at home were reporting on broken race relations and a country deeply polarized. I leaned over to the missus and shared how difficult it was for me to comprehend all of the recent negativity in the news, concerning alleged racism, when in my world I just don’t see it.

I’m thankful to be part of the 32% listed in the Washington Post-ABC News poll, which includes President Obama, who think race relations in the U.S. are generally good. Obama, also during his radio address, eloquently proposed, “If we can open our hearts to try and see ourselves in one another, if we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right…then I’m confident that together, we will lead our country to a better day.” Well said, Mr. President. In the real world we can only hope that one day racism will become extinct.


If I Was To Run For President

If I was to run for president it would be history in the making. I would take a completely unconventional path to the White House. First, I would compose a list of all of the inappropriate things I have ever done, throughout my entire life, and I’d present it to the media the day I entered the race. The neatly typed document would include my juvenile record although I was promised my early indiscretion would be expunged on my 18th birthday. However, in today’s world of mischievous computer hackers, and so much personal information now floating around in “the cloud” (whatever that is), I’m not so sure that promise wouldn’t be broken. Regardless, I would hope my egging transgression, committed at the age of 16, would not be a deal breaker for the American public.

Next, I would refuse to give any additional detailed information, concerning the lengthy list, or even make mention again of my prior sins for that matter. So many candidates have said they’re through discussing specific issues, from their past, but then they continue talking about them whenever hounded by the press. I absolutely would not retreat from my vow of silence in regards to my distant past. If I was to run for president I would not make any promises, but I would be totally transparent with my devised agenda. My modest qualifications, for the position of president, includes earning a high school diploma, operating a fairly successful business (for 5 years), and possessing common sense. My formal education certainly pales in comparison to practically everyone, but the latter attribute (common sense) is seemingly absent amongst the majority of those who are currently occupying the political arena.

If I was to run for president it would be as an Independent. I do not fully agree, or disagree, with either of the two major parties’ platforms. In addition, I’m adamantly opposed to partisanship; therefore, if I was elected president I’d be able to form partnerships with Democrats and Republicans alike to do what’s best for the country. However, collaborating with the Tea Party might be a different story. I blame their existence, these past several years, for the much needed compromise missing in Congress.

I’m all for fiscal responsibility but not at all costs to the American public. Those Grover Norquist pledges, signed by almost all of the Tea Party clan, are utter nonsense. I assuredly would not add to the nation’s outrageous debt, but I wouldn’t be able to balance its budget either. (Not even if I had a full 8 years and a compromising Congress.) No one could responsibly make this country solvent again, after 14 plus years of careless overspending, in that short amount of time.

If I was president I’d be fine with leaving some issues left up to the states to decide, but generally I prefer consistency throughout the land especially when it comes to public safety. I would aim to make texting while driving illegal (nationwide) with a mandatory jail sentence even for first-time offenders. I’m a proponent of having a required sentence already in place, for all life-threatening infractions, so violators will be well aware of their punishment beforehand; hence, acting as a deterrent to those contemplating breaking any laws. Potential lawbreakers may be more apt to reconsider their actions when knowing there’s an unavoidable harsh penalty awaiting them. I have no tolerance for anyone who foolishly puts another person’s life at risk.

I definitely place computer hackers into that category, near the top, of people who need to be dealt with in a severe manner. I’m not sure if those hackers, who are “genius” enough to disable a moving vehicle or redirect the flight plan of a commercial airplane, are truly trying to cause harm or if they’re wreaking havoc on innocent people simply because they can. Regardless, anybody who’s inclined to tamper with the safety of others needs to realize that would not be acceptable on my watch. I not only have contempt for hackers like “patriotic whistleblower,” Edward Snowden, but I’m not too fond of those who blatantly shine their laser pointers into the cockpits of airplanes, temporarily blinding the unsuspecting pilots, as well. Again, I’m in favor of having mandatory jail sentences for the likes of these people.

If I was elected as President of the United States I would not attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I believe our nation’s healthcare system was much worse before “Obamacare,” so I wouldn’t be willing to revert to the way that it was. However, I would listen to anyone with a legitimate suggestion for improving the ACA. I’m not too familiar with the specifics of Medicaid or Medicare, but I’ve often wondered if combining those programs with “Obamacare,” into a single entity, would be a cost saving measure somehow. I do think President Obama made a mistake, through one of his many executive orders, by quashing the government’s policy of threatening prosecution for anyone negotiating with terrorists. Now, American families can make deals, with known terrorist groups, for the release of a confined family member. This sets a horrible precedent, and only the wealthiest Americans would have a legitimate shot at paying the necessary ransom to free their loved ones. That’s not right!

I am anti-war. It’s quite sobering when pondering the accumulated costs, both financially and in American lives, due to our nation’s involvement in unjust wars over the years. I proudly hold an isolationist’s viewpoint because in general I don’t think it’s appropriate to get involved in other countries’ affairs. I also don’t believe in forcing our type of government, no matter how wonderful it may be, on any other nation. I highly doubt if we’d appreciate it if the tables were turned. I imagine the United States of America would fight tooth and nail to keep from being subjected to another country’s form of government. Remember the Revolutionary War? Obviously, I would not hesitate to declare war if we were ever attacked on our own soil.

If I was sworn into office my agenda would surely include nixing any further development of driverless cars and putting the kibosh on the use of drones in residential areas. It’s apparent, at least to me, there are numerous drawbacks with both of these technological advancements including losing some of our beloved freedoms. We should maintain the right to drive our vehicles, and expect privacy in our own backyards, but that’s not where we’re headed. As president I would also advocate for the disbandment of affirmative action, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). I desire a country where equality actually means equality.

If I was president I’d petition for all grand jury rulings, of the racially charged kind (whether real or imagined), to be read in the morning instead of in the evening as currently tends to be the case. I think this simple change would most-likely prevent the spontaneous actions of many miscreants looking for a “justifiable” reason to loot and vandalize their neighborhoods. I figure delinquents are more prone to disregard the law in the shadows of the night than during daytime hours. Announcing verdicts before lunch would allow for heated citizens to cool down, and to reconsider their contemplated endeavors, before the sun sets. If they still choose to instantly riot at least the culprits’ identities would be less difficult to capture in the light of day.

If I was to run for president I would have no chance of winning whatsoever. I would not have any special interest groups backing me; therefore, I would not have the money to launch a competitive campaign. I know I lack the education, experience, and name recognition needed to become a viable candidate for president. Oh, and did I mention the money? I am certain I’d make a better president than anyone who has already entered the race, but it’s just not possible for a transparent Independent with common sense to be victorious at this time. I guess the making of history will have to wait.