The Press-Dispatch

October 10, 2018

The Press-Dispatch

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The Press-Dispatch Wednesday, October 10, 2018 C-11 OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg I've been writing for years about the depth of the culture war taking place in America. I've done so with trepidation, with knowledge that without resolution, culture wars can turn into physical wars. It happened once in America. Can it happen again? The first major violent con- frontation between citizens came about as result of the question of slavery. The country's founders included the proposition in our founding that all men are created equal. We lived for many years un- true to this proposition, and that unfaithfulness in spirit lead to war. Similarly today, we are deeply divided over the meaning and rele- vance of our founding proposition that we are endowed by our Cre- ator with rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The core point of contention is abortion. The nation is divided right down the middle between those that believe the unborn must be protected like all life and those that relegate the unborn to some other category, giving women free license to destroy what others un- derstand to be humanity. Although there are as yet no armed battles, other kinds of vi- olence are now disrupting our na- tional life. We see it in the confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavana- ugh. The efforts by liberals to derail Kavanaugh's nomination are driv- en by fear that he could be a threat to Roe v. Wade. It's all about abor- tion. The battle cry we have heard and are hearing is that those who The history of American poli- tics has been a mixed bag of sala- cious accusations but loyal opposi- tion. It began with Thomas Jeffer- son in the election of 1800 and has not abated since. Jefferson was accused of fa- thering children by his slave Sal- ly Hemmings. Jefferson chose to remain silent and refused to an- swer the accusation. The election of 1828 was consid- ered the dirtiest for the era. An- drew Jackson's wife was accused of being a bigamist; his wife be- came a political issue. The elections of 1860 and 1864 have been somewhat sanitized be- cause of the assassination of Lin- coln, and his elevation to political sainthood by the Radical Republi- cans; but he was castigated by the press and his opponents. Grover Cleveland in the election of 1884 had to "step up" when the press broke the story that he had a child outside of marriage. The point is that on all levels of politics men and women are not always stellar people, but on the other hand, we are not electing a pontiff. However, the rancor, vicious- ness, and defamation that has emerged in the last few years in Washington speaks volumes that we are a nation divided. Charac- ter assassination by innuendo has reached a new low to the point all citizens should take a step back and ask, "Is this political games- manship representing my core be- liefs as a human being and citizen." It is possible, but I don't know— but I am repeating them anyway. The politics of personal destruc- tion goes back to at least the Clin- ton administration when any ac- cusation against the Presidents was met with shrills of "it is a vast right-wing conspira- cy." The shrill of defa- mation upon the char- acter of anyone who spoke ill or accused him of misdeeds be- came commonplace. Political bantering has reached a new low in the Senate with in- vestigating teenage behavior. As one writ- er has remarked, we have gone from the Clarence Tomas accusa- tions of a hair on a Coke can and whispers, to a man accused, with- out corroboration, of orchestrat- ing drunken teenage gang rape parties. Columnist Pat Buchannan has written on the Culture War in America for decades. We seem to be in the death grip of battle be- tween which ideology will control the levers of power in Washington. This is "Total War;" no quarter will be given, and no prisoners will be taken. Former FBI director James Comey epitomizes the assassi- nation by stealth when he spoke publically about unfounded accu- sations about President Trump and a prostitute in Moscow. He said on ABC News in April 2018, "Hon- estly, I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I don't know whether the current President of the United States was with prostitutes urinating on each other in Moscow in 2013; it's pos- sible, but I don't know." Regardless of political party, all citizens should be appalled at the level of partisanship and destruc- tion that has become the new nor- mal in politics. Be assured, it will filter down to the state and local level. Personally, "I'm Mad! " Political ban- tering on all sides has discarded debating ideology and fiscal policy for the "good of the nation" to politics of destruction. Where will it end? Radio talk-show hosts have received calls where the caller hopes the president or some other person dies or is soon assassinated. What was once spoken in private among likeminded friends is now publical- ly shared and broadcast on social media. I am not a prophet, but I am con- cerned that someone may take it upon themselves to deem it their delusional duty to remove the threat they perceive is threatening the nation. Have you ever heard of John Wilkes Booth, Charles J. Gui- teau, Leon Czolgosz, John Flam- mang Schrank, Giuseppe Zanga- ra, James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan, Sarah Jane Moore, or John Hinke- ly? Are these men and women who are engaged in personal destruc- tion a reflection of what we have become as a nation, or are they lowering the bar for their constit- uency? Sadly, many of these men and women in Washington claim to be followers of Christ or practicing Jews. How do you square this be- havior with the teachings of the To- rah or the New Testament? The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Galatia about behaviors Heritage Viewpoint by Edwin J. Feulner Pro-Abortion Left vs. Kavanaugh Plotting the demise of the death tax Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond No relief Political dictionary My Point of View by Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. This past few weeks have been gut wrenching. I am referring to the testimonies in congress by wit- nesses and the interpretations giv- en by the media. What I have discovered is the enrichment of my vocabulary for terms I have not heard much be- fore. Examples- Redact (to put in writing), Recuse (to disqualify oneself ), Dossier (bundle of doc- uments), exculpatory ( to exclude from alleged fault or guilt) Re- cant (withdraw or renounce), fil- ibuster( the use of extreme dilato- ry tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action especially on legis- lative assembly), etc. etc. There are also many other vo- cabularies that went into my en- richment pot- like migraine, ad nausea, lip reading-like when four people talk at the same time as they express their opinions on T V, grandstanding, posturing, hid- den agenda, politicized, editorial- izing, fake news, etc. etc. So now I find myself constantly needing my thick book dictionary to educate myself. So one way to look at this experience on the positive side is the enrichment of my vocabulary. plus learning and experiencing the interesting dynamics of our politi- cal system. I certainly am not mak- ing light of these things for even- tually they will impact our lives and the future of our children and grandchildren. ****** So how then do I process these maze of information and emo- tions? Well, first and foremost no doubt we need to pray for our Continued on page 11 Continued on page 12 Continued on page 12 Minority View by Walter E. Williams Racial disparities in school discipline Continued on page 12 President Barack Obama's first education secretary, Arne Duncan, gave a speech on the 45th anniver- sary of "Bloody Sunday" at the Ed- mund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala- bama, where, in 1965, state troop- ers beat and tear-gassed hundreds of peaceful civil rights march- ers who were demanding voting rights. Later that year, as a result of widespread support across the nation, the U.S. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. Secretary Duncan titled his speech "Cross- ing the Next Bridge." Duncan told the crowd that black students "are more than three times as likely to be expelled as their white peers," adding that Martin Luther King would be "dismayed." Gail Heriot, a law professor at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and her special as- sistant and counselor, Alison So- min, have written an important ar- ticle in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, titled "The Department of Education's Obama-Era Initia- tive on Racial Disparities in School Discipline" (Spring 2018). The ar- ticle is about the departments of Education and Justice's "disparate impact" vision, wherein they see racial discrimination as the fac- tor that explains why black male students face suspension and ex- pulsion more often than other stu- dents. Faced with threats from the De- partment of Education's Office for Civil Rights, schools have institut- ed new disciplinary policies. For example, after the public school district in Oklahoma City was in- vestigated by the OCR, there was a 42.5 percent decrease in the num- ber of suspensions. According to an article in The Oklahoman, one teacher said, "Students are yelling, cursing, hitting and screaming at teachers and nothing is being do- ne but teachers are being told to teach and ignore the behaviors." Accord- ing to Chalkbeat, new high school teach- ers left one school be- cause they didn't feel safe. There have been cases in which stu- dents have assaulted teachers and returned to school the next day. Ad Feedback Many of the complaints about black student behavior are com- ing from black teachers. I doubt whether they could be accused of racial discrimination against black students. The first vice president of the St. Paul, Minnesota, chap- ter of the NA ACP said it's "very disturbing" that the school dis- trict would retaliate against a black teacher "for simply voicing the concern" that when black stu- dents are not held accountable for misbehaving, they are set up for failure in life. An article in Education Week earlier this year, titled "When Students Assault Teachers, Ef- fects Can Be Lasting," discusses the widespread assaults of teach- ers across the country: "In the 2015 -16 school year, 5.8 percent of the nation's 3.8 million teach- ers were physically attacked by a student. Almost 10 percent were threatened with injury, according to federal education data" (http:// Ad Feedback Measures that propose harsh punishment for students who as- sault teachers have not been suc- cessful. In North Carolina, a bill was introduced that proposed that students 16 or older could be charged with a felony if they as- saulted a teacher. It was opposed by children's advocacy and dis- ability rights groups. In Minneso- ta, a 2016 bill would have required school boards to automati- cally expel a student who threatened or in- flicted bodily harm on a teacher for up to a year. It, too, was op- posed, even in light of the fact that teachers have suffered serious bodily harm, such as the case in which a high school student slammed a teacher into a concrete wall and then squeezed his throat. That teacher ended up with a traumatic brain injury. Ad Feedback There are plenty of visuals of as- saults on teachers. Here's a tiny sample: Florida's Seminole Mid- dle School ( 2tmchd), Pennsylvania's Chelten- ham High School (http://tinyurl. com/ydf8rajf ), Illinois' Rich Cen- tral High School (http://tinyurl. com/yah3bjey). Byongook Moon, a professor in the criminal justice department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, says that ac- cording to his study of 1,600 teach- ers, about 44 percent of teachers who had been victims of physical assault said that being attacked had a negative impact on their job performance. Nearly 30 percent said they could no longer trust the student who had attacked them, and 27 percent said they thought of quitting their teaching career afterward. My question is: Is there any rea- son whatsoever for adults to toler- ate this kind of behavior from our young people? Walter E. Williams is a profes- sor of economics at George Mason University. Pursuit of the Cure by Star Parker No one puts out a welcome mat for the Grim Reaper, but those who've built up successful busi- nesses have even more reason to dread his approach. Why? Because they know the death tax will soon exact a hefty toll on their hard work. Technically known as the es- tate tax, the death tax is the pen- alty that families must pay when a loved one dies and leaves them significant assets. It was created a century ago to help fund World War I. Naturally, it outlasted that conflict. Proponents make it sound like the death tax affects only the su- per-rich. But whatever its origi- nal intention, that's not how it op- erates. The tax has destroyed countless family-owned businesses over the years. To pay the amount due, sur- viving members are often essen- tially forced to liquidate the busi- ness or sell big pieces to outsiders. What about the jobs they pro- vide? The people who fill them? Proponents of the death tax who tout it as a way to break up "in- herited wealth" count on us as- suming that only people like Eb- enezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" are penalized. They don't mention what the death tax does to those employed by the taxed businesses. The death tax is a job killer. It encourages wealthy Americans to spend their money today rath- er than invest it in growing a busi- ness. A fter all, what's the point of building a bigger nest egg if Wash- ington is just going to take a huge chunk of it? Because the estate tax discour- ages investment, it also holds down wage growth. Businesses are left with less funding, so they find it harder to purchase new tools and equipment. The workers that re- main are less productive and suf- fer slower wage and salary growth. The death tax also hammers some Americans more than oth- ers, since it especially targets land- owners. Many farmers, ranchers and homeowners have improved their land. Yet when they die, the federal government punishes their survivors. Think about what the family members left behind could do in- stead of either killing or crippling the business and then handing a humongous sum over to the fed- eral government. They could add new workers. Pay higher wages. Increase benefits. Congress has been all over the map on this issue during the last decade or so. In 2001, lawmakers passed a law that gradually phased out the levy, which then stood at 55 percent (for those in the top tax bracket). It actually disappeared altogether in 2010. Then it came back. The rate today stands at 40 per- cent. Democrats want to raise the rate to 65 percent and lower the exemption to scoop up even more businesses. Fortunately, Congress has been taking some positive steps over the last year. The White House had hoped to see the death tax fi- nally repealed as part of the tax cut that Congress passed last Decem- ber. The Senate, unfortunately, scotched those plans, but the final legislation at least doubled the ex- emption for the death tax — from $5.58 million to $11.16 million. That was an improvement, ob- viously, but it's not permanent. That higher exemption is due to expire in 2026. The House, as part of "Tax Reform 2.0," recently vot- ed to make it permanent. Now it's up to the Senate. A permanent higher exemption, though — while welcome — is no substitute for the best solution: A full, permanent repeal of the death tax. A new report from the Ameri- can Business Defense Foundation shows that repealing the death tax would increase employment levels by up to 380,000 new jobs each year. Death-tax proponents like to tell us that it affects only 1.5 percent of family businesses. But they ne- glect the big picture. The fact is,

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