The recent national crisis and racial tension have underscored that America seems more divided than ever. On the one hand, President Obama believes that our differences are just being exposed.¬† On the other hand a few of us feel that the President and Attorney General Holder exacerbated the race problem.¬† In some ways, both views are right. How could that be?¬† America has come a long way since the lynchings of the 50s and days of Selma.¬† However, we have a ways to go in terms of race, poverty, and class.
While few Americans fear enemy action from Cuba as we did during the 1960s, Cuba may not be as harmless as some suppose. In March of this year, the UN confirmed that Cuba was caught supplying North Korea with various weapons, including two MiG-21 aircraft. But if anything should give us pause before welcoming Cuba into our circle of international friends, it is the treatment of American Alan Gross. Gross, who came to Cuba as a subcontractor for the US government, has been unjustly imprisoned since 2009. Working to bring internet access to small communities in Cuba, he was sentenced to a 15 years in prison for espionage.
The conventional wisdom regarding what the GOP must do to repair its image‚ÄĒand eventually win on the national level again‚ÄĒhas included two basic pieces of advice. The first is to reach out to younger voters, women and ethnic minorities, mainly blacks and Latinos. The second is to downplay the issues of marriage and the sanctity of life, and it‚Äôs no secret that the socially liberal Republican leaders would like to get rid of those issues altogether. These two ideas are typically cast as the GOP‚Äôs only realistic path forward.
It is hard to imagine now, but Detroit was once known to some as the Paris of the West. At its peak, it was one of America‚Äôs largest cities, boasting a population of 2 million, spectacular architecture, a host of mansion-dwelling industrialists and a world-class art collection currently valued at over 4.6 billion dollars. Yet after decades of decline, the city that gave birth to Motown Records and Henry Ford‚Äôs Model T filed for bankruptcy last July; it was the largest municipal bankruptcy case in American history.
Weeks have now passed since black teen Michael Brown was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson in the small town of Ferguson, Missouri. That night, a candlelight vigil to honor Brown became violent, with looting and vandalizing of local businesses resulting in several arrests. Over the next days, numerous outsiders, from national media organizations to groups such as the New Black Panther Party and the Ku Klux Klan, descended on Ferguson. Chaos escalated, and Governor Nixon ordered the National Guard to help restore calm. The Justice Department is conducting an ongoing investigation into the Ferguson police force for possible misconduct and discrimination in Brown‚Äôs death.
My question may sound socialistic to some of my fellow conservatives; nonetheless it is a question that must be addressed.¬† ¬†American high school graduation rates are at an all-time high, but the education gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Noble and expensive attempts to close this gap‚ÄĒincluding subsidized preschool and the controversial implementation of the Common Core State Standards‚ÄĒhave largely failed. In the case of Common Core, where wealthy and middle class parents are hiring tutors to compensate for its weaknesses, the ‚Äúreform‚ÄĚ aimed at equalizing the playing field may actually be making the problem worse.
Early in August, I flew from New York to Tel Aviv.¬† I was a part of a faith oriented solidarity trip, with Christians United for Israel, focused on supporting Israel from a prayer and public policy perspective. In my mind this was a humanitarian trip ‚Äď it was made up of a diverse group of 51 ministers representing all 50 states plus Washington, DC. We prayed earnestly for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel. Of special concern to everyone was the protection of women and children of all faiths and ethnicities.
Can you imagine a television program airing in America that portrayed Muhammad as a foul-mouthed pothead? Given that earlier this year ABC canceled¬†Alice in Arabia‚ÄĒa show about an Arab-American who goes to live with her grandparents in Saudi Arabia‚ÄĒbecause CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) complained that the show relied on stereotypes of Muslims, it seems highly unlikely. Yet¬†Black Jesus¬†‚Äďthe latest reminder that Christianity is the only major religion it is universally permissible to denigrate‚ÄĒbegan airing August 7 on Adult Swim.
While most Americans favor the idea of a social safety net, it is a mistake to think that expanding that net to engulf most of the middle class will promote the kind of behavior that leads to greater prosperity. In fact, research demonstrates that greater dependence on government does not encourage the honest hard work necessarily for a thriving economy.
Fifty years after Dylan‚Äôs riveting verses, special interest groups‚Äô claims about both the nature and dynamics of marriage are changing more dramatically than any of the social phenomenon of the‚Äô60‚Äôs. For years, the argument for deeply altering an ancient institution was framed entirely in terms of individual ‚Äúrights.‚ÄĚ We were told homosexuals possessed an inherent right to have their relationships deemed ‚Äúmarriage,‚ÄĚ end of story.