I’d like to share a few observations regarding the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1963, African-Americans in the South (and to a degree, here in the North) suffered gross discrimination and segregation, were denied access to the best schools, hospitals and jobs and also denied basic voting rights. Housing discrimination was rampant, as well. Also, African-Americans were relegated to almost an untouchable status, like the bottom of the caste system in India. It’s very telling that King adopted most of Mahatma Gandhi’s theories and practices of nonviolence.
Idealistic young college students took up the cause of freedom and justice for African-Americans, and some were martyred for their beliefs and actions on behalf of basic dignity for African-Americans.
Now, 50 years later, we have an African-American president who proclaims equality and justice for all and has expanded health care coverage for millions of Americans previously denied. God bless him for it.
I disagree with those who paint him as an out-of-touch, radical leftist president who tramples on the Constitution and undermines Christian values.
What motivates these otherwise decent, law-abiding folks? I submit it’s fear of change, fear of a dominant Anglo-Saxon white culture and power structure eventually surrendering to an ever-expanding Latino, Asian and African-American population.
Ironically, this president embraces abortion rights knowing African-American women have the highest rates of abortion among women of all races. This is my problem with Barack Obama.
To champion the rights of the poor and disadvantaged, one must have a clear, sharp moral compass, yet on this issue of abortion, which is the taking of innocent life for either convenience or neglect of responsibility, or both, President Obama errs most grievously, and thus causes great harm to the moral fabric of our beloved republic.
I’m waiting for Obama to address the fundamental issue facing young people and young families today. To me, it’s one of choosing either a sacrificial life based on true Judeo-Christian principles or a hedonistic, paganish lifestyle that denies any future reward or punishment for irresponsible, selfish, reckless actions.
We’re coming to a tipping point as a nation founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unchecked greed, licentiousness and lying, and gross moral depravity and debauchery in the name of freedom, can only result in a form of tyranny and utter dissolution.
The choice is ours as Americans to make, and no president, Congress or Supreme Court can make that choice for us. To err is only human, but to admit one is wrong requires both humanity and courage. I pray Obama has it.
Desperate act in Ward 7
As a resident of Ward 7, I would like to say “shame on you” to Adam Van Ho for running a smear campaign against our wonderful Donnie Kammer, Ward 7 councilman.
Van Ho must be desperate to try such a disgraceful and unprofessional tactic. His cowardly, yellow postcards, taped to front doors, only indicate a childish and unprofessional attempt to discredit himself.
We all know that competent, loyal and trustworthy Kammer, with his special and personal interest and love of Ward 7, works hard full-time to make our ward the best it has ever been. Residents of Ward 7, please don’t forget to vote for Donnie Kammer on Sept. 10 to continue to keep Ward 7 the best ever.
A partnership for children
It’s disappointing that efforts to improve pre-kindergarten (“Preschool cuts to cost Ohio more down the road,” Aug. 17) have fallen short. But in improving quality and affordability, Ohio doesn’t have to go it alone.
It’s about fairness. Just 48 percent of low-income children enter kindergarten school-ready, compared to three-fourths of higher-income kids.
Quality pre-kindergarten levels the playing field, especially for poor kids, and cultivates “soft skills” prized by employers, such as focus and critical thinking, giving today’s kids a better chance to compete in tomorrow’s economy.
Congress should build a real federal-state partnership, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides quality, cost-effective health care for children.
Federal funds would help states such as Ohio make pre-kindergarten affordable for every child. And funding would be limited to providers meeting evidence-informed quality standards.
CHIP’s success is an important reminder that Republicans and Democrats can put kids ahead of politics. Let’s urge Ohio’s leaders in Congress to do it again. A child’s potential, not a parent’s income, should define the limits of academic success.
Editor’s note: First Focus advocates for children and families.
All on camera
The Akron Beacon Journal just published a Chicago Tribune commentary reporting that the Union City, Calif., Police Department has been using mini video cameras to record its activities (“Want stop and frisk? Add a camera,” Aug. 16).
I suggested this in a letter to the newspaper four years ago. Some people thought it was anti-police, but 60 years of being a lawyer makes me believe the contrary.
The statistics would show that for one rogue cop, there are 1 million crooked, twisted outlaws. Like DNA, this would be a turning point in law enforcement, a boon to honest persons and an anathema to those living outside the perimeters of the law.
Looking for an explanation
I’m surprised the letter written by a longstanding University of Akron employee didn’t state some numerical facts and solid evidence to back up why its graduation numbers are down compared to other schools (“University in transition,” Aug. 19).
A teaching opportunity was missed because the purpose of the letter appeared to be to attack people who attacked the school. An educator’s job is to educate, not denigrate.
It troubled me to read in the letter that the outside attacks were “venomous” because the school is “one of the largest employers” in the area and has “improved the city of Akron and the student experience.”
That is not helpful when trying to understand numbers. Having worked for another university for many years on the administrative side, I know there are myriad of reasons why students don’t graduate in a specific number of years, if at all.
Schools are unique. The university needs to explain itself as quickly, clearly and honestly as possible. Not doing so leads to speculation, misinformation and fewer applications.
Also, some soul-searching could help the administration and board become more focused on their mission. Bottom line: An institution of higher learning is a business that is selling a service backed by a reputation, which must attract customers and give them a fair trade for their money, or some competitor will.
Of course, we locals are and want to be proud of UA — not because it is one of the largest employers, but because its brand stands for something of value.
Goodyear misses an opportunity
Shame on you, Goodyear. My father worked many years at Goodyear (starting in the 1950s), and since I became an adult on my own in the 1970s, I have supported and given all my business to Goodyear, no matter where I lived.
I have lived in many states over the past 40 years. Growing up, our family was an annual participant in the Soap Box Derby, not as racers but as members of a marching group that performed prior to the race.
I no longer live in Akron, but still have many ties to the area. I will never purchase another Goodyear product; neither will my family.
Goodyear certainly has been given opportunities in the global economy. It has an opportunity to reconsider its decision, and support Akron-area youth and youth worldwide with scholarships.
This is its opportunity to encourage the study of math, technology, science and engineering. All these areas touch on the making of a race car. How ridiculously short-sighted of Goodyear to stop its support for derby scholarships.
In the event it does not reconsider, I hope everyone who has supported Goodyear, whether through purchasing tires, services or other goods, considers other avenues and companies.
I appreciate staff writer Carol Biliczky and the newspaper for bringing this to the public. I read the paper online daily, and always have, no matter where I lived. I am hoping there will be a follow-up story.
I wonder if Corbin Bernsen knows about this. It could make an interesting sequel.
Rochester, New York