Thursday, September 8, 2016
9-11’s Kindergartners Vote for President
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 8, 2016
On that fateful day 15 years ago, while President George W. Bush was reading the short story, The Pet Goat to a class of second graders at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, we all remember vividly what we were doing when the peaceful calm serenity of that bright sunny Tuesday morning was infiltrated by terror.
I was at home in Virginia completing my news articles for that week’s local newspaper for which I was a journalist. Sitting at my computer, as I am today, no longer in Virginia, yet the memories are as clear as though the air had been permeated with evil today, not 15 years ago. While putting the finishing touches on my assignments, Fox News on television in the background as per usual, the first report came in.
- 8:46 AM: American Airlines Flight #11 crashes into the North Tower (1 WTC) at the World Trade Center, New York City – followed by
- 9:03 AM: United Airlines Flight #175 crashes into the South Tower (2 WTC) at the World Trade Center, New York City
- 9:37 AM: American Airlines Flight #77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia
- 9:59 AM: South Tower collapses
- 10:03 AM: United Airlines Flight #93 crashes into a field, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Somerset County; alleged target: Capitol Building or White House
- 10:28 AM: North Tower collapses
- 10:53 AM: New York primary elections cancelled
- 5:20 PM: 47 story #7 World Trade Center collapses; #4, 5, and 6 WTC also ablaze
These heinous, unforgivable terrorist attacks were perpetrated by radical Muslim extremists who skyjacked the planes – of that there is no doubt.
While I have attempted, over the years, to avoid turning my 9-11 columns into political pabulum, this year there is too much as at stake on November 8 as we cast our next vote for president. Without hyperbole, I truly believe this election is the most important to the nation since 1860 when Abraham Lincoln handily defeated a triumvirate of opponents, John Bell, John Breckinridge, and Stephen Douglas.
In 1860 the United States was a nation divided over the issue of slavery and states’ rights, which led to a country illegally split into two. This year, 156 years later, this nation is once again divided – divided by a generation of entitled, politically correct, sniveling whiners who think the world is their oyster, so long as government pick up the tab. These are people brainwashed by a liberal public education system that does not support school choice who believe socialism is the answer, not capitalism. Let these poorly educated neophytes spend some time in Venezuela to see how real socialism is faring. Extreme shortages of food, toilet paper, and jobs have a nation in dire straits because of a totalitarian dictator attempting to cut his country off from the world. Any worse and Venezuela becomes Cuba or North Korea. Is this the socialism for which Generation Pinhead is clamoring?
When the 9-11 kindergartners, now 20-21 years of age, take to the polls this November, they will be casting their first vote for president.
This current crop of first time voters need be reminded of Ronald Reagan’s clarion call, where he prophetically warned the following:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what is was once like in the United States where men were free.”
The PC and thought police already run the public schools as well as the college and university campuses. Free speech zones really mean speech is limited to only certain areas as was demonstrated at Clemson University when barring a student from praying in public. The University of Houston is another prime example of the squelching of the First Amendment. (http://sanfordspeaksout.blogspot.com/2016/09/cougars-cage-free-speech-at-uh.html)
Freedom is the ability to speak one’s mind – verbally, in writing, but without fear of recriminations or a possible job loss. One does not have the right to not be insulted or presented with uncomfortable issues. Practically anything someone says or writes is bound to upset or offend someone. This country must return to the days when “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” meant something. Instead, there are shrinking violets taking cover in the nearest campus safe space or seeking their next trigger warning because their precious sensibilities can’t handle disagreeable thoughts or statements.
That is not how the real world works. For those who complain that Donald Trump is mean or harsh sounding in his speech, just remember we are not voting for Miss Congeniality, but instead, the leader of the free world. A leader who will have to face off with terrorists and is not afraid to identify the enemy for what they are – radical Islamist extremists – the same radicals who murdered nearly 3,000 on that fateful day 15 years ago. Trump will stand up to the terrorists, not cow-tow to them by paying ransom for kidnapped Americans who are in greater danger during the Obama administration than they were under the Bush administration.
For all his pitfalls and foibles, George W. Bush kept this nation safe following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the current administration. Instead, the United States has a weak-kneed so-called leader who calls what he does, leading from behind. That is not actually leading, Mr. Obama. Myriad terrorist attacks on and away from American soil have darkened far too many days because our enemies don’t fear the United States and our allies are unable to rely upon us. Exhibit Boston, Chattanooga, Dallas, Fort Hood (II), Orlando, San Bernardino at home; and Brussels, Istanbul, Munich, Nice, Normandy, Paris globally.
Hillary Clinton, the Democrats standard bearer who is unable to even utter the name of the enemy, promises to bring much of the same. She has spent decades in public life congenitally lying to the American people and lying under oath regarding her ability to uphold national security. “You clearly corrupted our national security,” said one Navy veteran to Clinton during an event hosted by Matt Lauer.
This September 11 while we mourn the past, and rightfully so – take time to watch the reading of the names from New York City – lest we forget the men and women who were needlessly slaughtered – civilians as well as the brave first responders, let’s also look toward the future with an eye to the past. Take notice of the new World Trade Center and what it represents – that Americans and America may get knocked to the canvas, but we should never be counted out. We will rise up stronger, smarter, and with the right leadership make America great again.
Yes, that is the slogan of one of the candidates for president, but it is also a nod to the future and not a return to the past. A future where the United States regains its rightful place in the world – and yes, it is rightful when the US bails out country after country for their troubles, be they geo-political or weather related, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. It is rightful when the United States sets the standard regarding the rights of women, minorities, people of various lifestyles and religions. Is the United States perfect? Certainly not. Yet people are risking their very existence to live in this country – even illegally – which is being addressed thanks to the same aforementioned candidate.
Are people risking their lives to sneak into Cuba? How about North Korea? While we work to improve the greatness of this country, we should also express our gratitude for the privilege of living in these United States and not act like spoiled malcontents. (http://sanfordspeaksout.blogspot.com/2016/09/kaepernick-sitting-stands-for-disrespect.html)
This September 11 remember the past, but ask yourselves what kind of future do you want for America, for your children, for your children’s children, and for the myriad generations that follow?
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.
Monday, September 5, 2016
Kaepernick Sitting Stands for Disrespect
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 5, 2016
Ladies and gentlemen, please rise, and gentlemen, please remove your caps as we honor America with the singing of our National Anthem.
We’ve heard this request countless times at sporting events around this great nation, and whatever our collective gripes are pertaining to the ills, perceived or not, of the United States, we comply with this request. Does this make us mindless drones or thoughtless lemmings bowing to a red, white, and blue cotton idol? Certainly not – especially those of the American citizenry of the Jewish and Christian faiths who abide by the Ten Commandments to have but one Deity – that of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
No, no – we the people honor this great nation for the opportunities it has afforded us – opportunities – not guarantees – opportunities to work hard and achieve our goals. We honor this nation by giving back to it for the freedoms it affords us – and yes, that even includes the freedom to speak out against this country.
One such outspoken figure, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has opted to sit during the playing and singing of the Star Spangled Banner. That is his right. That is his expression of the freedom of speech as outlined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. A right that thousands upon thousands of men and women have died protecting. A right that thousands of men and women in uniform – be it the armed forces, police, and fire no longer have the option to enjoy due to the debilitating and crippling injuries sustained protecting Kaepernick’s right to express. A right replete with consequences such as losing endorsements, being cut from the team should his personal choices prove detrimental to the environment surrounding the 49ers, and having his issues of concern overshadowed by his poor choices.
Millions of us will use our same First Amendment rights of free speech and expression to call Kaepernick a recalcitrant, sanctimonious, ungrateful malcontent; because he is just that and more. Fox News and Fox Business reporter Dagen McDowell called Kaepernick “a hot, steaming bag of garbage.” And that is her right in accordance with the United States Constitution.
Kaepernick claims he is sitting out the National Anthem as a way of garnering attention for issues of concern to him. Instead what Kaepernick is doing is demonstrating disrespect for the symbol of the country that affords him a great living as a professional athlete and disrespects every man and woman that has worn the uniform of the United States past and present – regardless of color; and color seems to be an issue with him.
“I am not going to stand up and show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick.
Black people and people of color are being oppressed? Where? How? This is the country that elected a black president – an election that could not have been won without support and votes of white people – votes cast using a secret ballot. The current and most previous Attorney General of the United States – black. The two people who served as Secretary of State in the previous administration – black. Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, General Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice all required approval via votes by an almost all white United States Senate – and bipartisan at that.
Is there still racism and bigotry? Sure, there is, and it probably will never be eviscerated. And when we begin to deny people the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment – even Kaepernick’s right to be a pinhead, we fail as a civilization.
I don’t approve of Kaepernick’s stand on sitting – I think it diminishes his argument. He, as a professional athlete, has a fairly large stage from which to opine – certainly the San Francisco Chronicle would publish an op-ed from Colin Kaepernick sooner than one penned by Colin Smith.
As for Kaepernick’s assertion that black people and people of color are oppressed in this country, he may have a point, but he won’t like the explanation, for it will damage his narrative. Blacks are oppressing other blacks in this country – in the killing fields of the inner cities where black on black crime, especially murder, is out of control and has been for decades now. That’s oppression.
Blacks are oppressing other blacks in this country – in the classrooms in those same cities. As an educator having taught in Elizabeth, NJ, Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC, I have seen first-hand the disasters masquerading as inner-city schools. A student who wants to succeed, go to college, make a better life for him/herself is held back by those students who perpetually disrupt classes, threaten students who dare to aspire to something beyond an underserved neighborhood, and shorten the time on task by creating a need for more time on discipline instead of on learning. It is frustrating for those students who want to get ahead and it is frustrating for those teachers who want to make a difference in the lives of those students. Far too often those teachers leave inner-city schools for greener pastures or leave the teaching profession altogether.
And with the dearth of education in far too many black communities, comes more black oppression – the lack of employment opportunities. For this form of oppression, blame the Democrat Party for their incessant lack of support of school choice. The lack of legitimate employment turns some people toward illegitimate employment that oftentimes leads to prison or worse, the cemetery. When poorly educated black men are in prison, single mothers are left to raise children on their own, prohibiting them from a proper education and possible ascension up the employment ladder.
And because of the educational crisis, for decades there has been affirmative action to assist people garnering acceptance into college. This form of assistance is not oppression, Mr. Kaepernick. On the other hand, affirmative action has been deleterious to minority communities. While it helps people get into school, it does not help people remain in school in order to learn and earn that coveted degree – and that is oppression.
That Barack Obama supports Kaepernick should surprise no one. This is typical of Obama – when given the choice of two roads, he opts for the road less patriotic. But at least Obama is consistent in continuing to walk the path established for him by Saul Alinsky and his Rules for Radicals.
Kaepernick went on to say “I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country.” Sitting during the National Anthem hardly proves that respect.
No one I know thinks the United States is perfect. We all take issue with something we believe could be improved upon in this country. Yet, we support the concept of the United States “for which it stands, one nation, under G-d, with liberty and justice for all.” We support the premise for which the country was created – “to form a more perfect Union,” because it was not perfect in 1787 when the Constitution was penned – the Bill of Rights soon after amended that great document. It still wasn’t perfect then either in 1791 and an additional 17 amendments later, the most recent ratified in 1992, this is still not a perfect Union. However, we the people continue to strive for a “more perfect Union,” but we do it in a respectful manner, using our influences, our appropriate forums, and our civilized forms of communication to garner sway with our audiences.
For all of the pitfalls and foibles the United States may have, it is still the greatest country on G-d’s planet. If Kaepernick feels so oppressed here, good luck finding a less oppressing country to call home. The NFL has already demonstrated its disrespect by remaining silent on Kaepernick’s antics and by opposing the small decal with which the Dallas Cowboys wished to adorn their helmets in memory of the five murdered police officers. (http://sanfordspeaksout.blogspot.com/2016/08/nfl-throws-flag-on-dallas-decal.html) The league will play its first Sunday slate of games this week on September 11 – let’s see how disrespectful Colin Kaepernick will be.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." – James Madison
Cougars Cage Free Speech at UH
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 1, 2016
Last time I looked, my copy of the United States Constitution included the First Amendment – that’s the one granting we the people freedom of speech and expression. How about your copies?
Apparently at the University of Houston the First Amendment has been erased from their copy of the Constitution, and Student Government Association Vice President Rohini Sethi has been targeted and punished for exercising her rights as found in that pesky amendment.
Following the slaughter of five Dallas police officers, Sethi took to Facebook and wrote “Forget #BlackLivesMatter, more like #AllLivesMatter.” For her brazenness in suggesting that the lives of all people, regardless of skin color, should actually matter, Sethi was chastised by fellow University of Houston students as “incredibly offensive and hateful.” (Yet another example of the denial of honor to the murdered Dallas police officers: http://sanfordspeaksout.blogspot.com/2016/08/nfl-throws-flag-on-dallas-decal.html)
Sethi was then called to the carpet and subjected to unilateral punishment meted out by SGA President Shane Smith. Smith was granted this one-time power by the student senate to determine Sethi’s penance. For exercising her First Amendment freedom of speech and expression, Sethi is now being subjected to the following sanctions:
- A 50 day suspension from the SGA which bars her from participating in group activities;
- Sethi must attend three cultural events per month;
- Sethi must write a reflection letter (upon reflection, Sethi should not have apologized for the initial post nor removed it);
- Sethi must make a public presentation before a student senate meeting on September 28; and
- Sethi must attend a diversity workshop.
Sethi could lose her position with the SGA should she not comply with all the demands as prescribed by the totalitarian Smith. One must wonder if Smith has an ax to grind against Sethi for imposing such harsh sanctions for simply expressing herself in a legal and peaceful manner. She threatened no one; offered an inclusive posting on social media designed to inculcate others that there is a bigger picture than Black Lives Matter, an increasingly violent and hate-filled group. Apparently to Smith only black lives matter.
The punishments saddled against Sethi are imposed solely by the SGA and not the school, according to a statement released by the University of Houston. The SGA is subject to its own governance, the school takes no responsibility, and makes no comment on the severity of a punishment imposed by a single individual, said the weak-kneed university administration.
Sethi said and wrote that while disagreeing with the punishment, she will abide by Smith’s pronunciation.
Yet while Sethi, independent of the SGA, and on her own volition, wrote the Facebook post replete with iron-fisted reprimand, a Twitter feed called #RemoveRohini, a Black Student Union creation, and trending with vicious, hate-filled invective vilifying Sethi, was ignored by the SGA. Note that the Black Student Union receives university funding from the 43,000 person student body.
Clearly the double standard is in full force at the University of Houston as the Black Student Union is entitled to enjoy its First Amendment rights, but not Rohini Sethi, where such freedoms have been suspended. Common sense has also been suspended on the Houston campus.
For alumni who support Sethi and her First Amendment rights, call President Renu Khator at 713-743-8820 and politely encourage her to step in and be the voice of reasonable discourse. Let the university understand how quickly alumni donations dry up when alumni and the Constitution of the United States are ignored.
Not only should Sethi not be subjected to such Draconian measures, an open debate sponsored by the Student Government Association should occur where students can opine without recriminations. A free and open exchange of ideas in public, not hiding behind social media for cowards to spout off anonymously, is what a university should endorse. To do less would deny tuition-paying students the real college experience.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.