Wednesday, July 29, 2020

If You Want True 'Diversity' and 'Equality' In Your Child’s Education...

"Maybe if we study real hard,
we can all get into Faber College!"

A private school north of the Mason-Dixon line with a tuition of over $62,000 per year recently sent out a notice to alums about the changes they are making to their school policy and faculty engagement that includes the following:  
  • Training for all students in implicit bias, anti-racism, bystander and intervention strategies.  
  • Education on the school’s existing options for registering instances of misconduct, racial bias and microaggressions, including anonymous reporting portals. 
  • Updated Mission and Statement of Values to ensure that student and employee handbooks reflect institutional commitment to creating a school culture in which every community member feels equally welcomed, respected and valued.  
  • A robust anti-racism resource page on the school’s website that provides easily accessible and continuously updated anti-racist tools.  
  • Diverse School Meeting speakers facilitating diversity of thought across various fields. 
“A robust anti-racism resource page on the School’s website.”  How 21st century. 

There is another, much less expensive way to achieve the same goals with much less effort:  

Send your kids to public schools. 

Seriously. If your top concern about your child’s education is helping them learn to live with others who do not look like them, public schools are the answer. 

Put your children in the same classroom and school building with children of other races across the board for 8-10 hours per day for the entire school year. That will do more to break down racial barriers than having a “robust” website page no one will ever look at. 

It is a big game to “talk” about racism. It is entirely another game to actually do something about it. 

I spoke to a rather large group of concerned parents about public education long ago in Washington, DC. When I asked how many of them had their children in public schools in North Carolina, not one single hand was raised. Every kid who was born to that group of parents, including a couple of affluent African-American parents, was enrolled in a private school either in North Carolina or Virginia. 

Yet, they were “concerned” about public education in North Carolina and willing to do anything possible to help improve it… except put their children in it. 

The primary reason to have an education system is to prepare our children for the challenges of the future. We need to make sure they understand the fundamentals of math, science, history, civics and literature, so they can make the most out of their lives as responsible citizens and in their chosen career. 

Not every child will go to college or graduate school. But they should all get a great classical liberal arts education from kindergarten to 12th grade, no matter what the color of their skin is or how much money their family makes. As one friend said recently, “We need philosophers to be sure. But we also need welders and electricians who can think philosophically.” 

If you want to help public schools get better, and help large numbers of children of all races, send your children to a public school nearby your home. Charter schools count. Not only will they learn how to live with others not like them, your involvement in the PTA or contacting friends you help get elected to the school board might be the key to making sure all the children have the chance to become the next Albert Einstein in the classroom, if they have the ability and are willing to do the work. 

People who have never attended nor sent their kids to public schools should be very cautious about lecturing the rest of the country about how to deal with racism in America. Maybe private school faculty and administrators can take sabbaticals to teach in public or charter schools and help solve the problems, including reducing racial tension and inequality, at the core level on the ground. 

Sending your kids to public schools will do more to reduce racial conflicts than any page on any website will ever accomplish.  

(first published in North State Journal 7/29/20)

Do You Want Better People to Run for Public Office?
Support the Institute for the Public Trust Today

Visit The Institute for the Public Trust to contribute today

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Mama Bear Voter

"Please don't make me any madder than I
already am. Please don't"
Despite the best efforts of those on the left who want to extinguish all biological, mental, emotional and social differences between men and women in our society, there is one innate behavior that cannot ever be shared or erased. 

The mama bear instinct.

Bears in the wild generally run away from humans instead of engaging them or trying to eat them. They don’t want to have any more interaction with us than we do with them.

However, try to get close to the cubs of a mama bear to take what you think is a “cute” picture for your collection, and you probably will not make it home in one piece.

The protective instincts of a mama bear to protect her cubs is hardwired in her DNA. It is a reflex reaction developed over millions of years of evolution out of necessity to protect the species from extinction.

American female mother voters are even more protective of their offspring than a mama bear. They are about to erupt on the American political scene to protect their children from all of the threats they see around them today.

Every elected politician should beware.

When a person enters politics, they quickly learn how to take direct aim at the emotions and feelings of voters with messages and images. There is no need to pound them to death with policy statements and campaign promises when targeting their emotions works so well.

The human amygdala is ground zero for a lot of political messaging. It is a tiny gland in the base of the skull that governs the “fight or flee” autonomic response in times of crisis. In a human, it might be the size of a cocktail peanut. In a mama bear, it might seem to be the size of a beach ball when she is aroused in protective mode.

When those animal instincts are triggered, there’s no telling how much damage can done.

A pollster recently completed a survey of close to 700 voters in North Carolina. He was shaking his head as he said he had to take 16% of the Republican women respondents out of the sample because they over-responded to the poll.

“Republican women between the age of 35 and 55 are usually under-sampled in these polls,” he said. “But not this time!”

“I had to normalize their responses to accurately mirror their percentage of the actual voting population. If I reported just the raw numbers, everyone would think I was nuts or cooking the books or something,” he went on to say. “But Republican women are geared up, charged up and ready to vote this year; there is no doubt about that.”

“Soccer moms” were considered the swing vote that allowed Bill Clinton to coast to victory in 1996.

“Mama bear voters” could be the swing vote of the 2020 election up and down the entire ballot. Mama bear voters are mad as hell about everything because everything is threatening — riots in the streets with mayors holding back law enforcement, schools being closed and the loss of millions of jobs.

Typically, when things are going bad, angry voters vote against incumbents because “it is their fault!” Jimmy Carter paid dearly at the polls in 1980 for the 12% inflation, 21% prime interest rates and humiliation during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis that happened under his watch.

The question is whom will these mama bear voters “blame” for all of the disruption to what seemed to be their “normal,” prosperous lives just four months ago. Will they blame President Trump for his response to COVID-19, or will they take out their anger on state and local officials for their roles in the COVID response, school shutdowns and calling off law enforcement during the riots?

Or both?

The protective instinct of mama bear voters has been triggered. If they show up in force and vote this fall in large numbers, they could determine who wins the White House and most other seats up for election.

(first published in North State Journal 7/22/20)

Do You Want Better People to Run for Public Office?
Support the Institute for the Public Trust Today

Visit The Institute for the Public Trust to contribute today

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

What if Jefferson wrote 'all men are not created equal' instead?

Amid all of the public vitriol about the inherent sin of slavery in our nation’s creation, one thing has been completely forgotten and not considered at all.

What would have happened had America not been founded on the principles of freedom and equality?

Jefferson did not have to write “all men are created equal” in 1776. He could have simply written: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.”

No one would have known the difference back then or possibly even now. It still sounds almost as good as the original.

The moment the ink dried on the Declaration of Independence with those immortal words — “all men are created equal” — human history changed. Those words were the proverbial “shots heard around the world” that have had far more impact on world history and events than any musket ball fired at Lexington or Concord.

For the first time in recorded history, a government was established where every person, regardless of their background, race or station in life, was supposed to be considered “equal” to everyone else.

Such idealism had never happened before. The most important export from America to the rest of the world over the past 231 years has been the idealism of self-governance based on democratic freedom.

Had the slave-holding signers of the Declaration and the Constitution wanted to make sure America would be a country of entitled rich landowners of English descent forever, they would have written: “All men are not created equal.”

Think of where America would be today if the Declaration had been worded that way. America would not have become “the land of opportunity” where over one million legal immigrants flock each year to become Americans instead of becoming Chinese, Russians, Iranians or Somalians.

Signing a revolutionary document with “all men are created equal” in its preamble and then basing a new government on that foundational principle 11 years later, both times in Philadelphia, would have been only one mistake the “brilliant” Founders made if they wanted to create an American aristocracy or oligarchy forever.

But they made another mistake. The delegates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, in a bald-faced political effort by Southern delegates to gain more power in Congress, agreed — again for the first time in history — to recognize slaves for representational purposes in the House.

Recognizing slaves as people for representational purposes had never been done before either — certainly not in the Roman Empire, the Greek republics, and certainly not under any monarch before 1787.

When the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were passed after the Civil War, the idea that “all men are created equal” made every newly freed male slave a citizen with full voting rights, not three-fifths of a vote. Under “one man, one vote”, any former slave’s vote would be equal to that of any president as well as his former slave owner, a breakthrough of monumental proportions unthinkable even a few years previous.

Immediate institution of full citizenship and voting rights for freed slaves added 40 new congressmen from the South to Congress during reapportionment. Fourteen were African-American Republicans elected during Reconstruction. Fifteen hundred other black officials were elected throughout the South to state and municipal positions, again all Republicans, over the next decade.

Would that have happened had “all men not been created equal” even in the aftermath of such a bloody war? We will never know for sure but it is doubtful.

Very doubtful. Even that brief period of equality under Reconstruction was cut short by Southern Democrats who ruthlessly took away political power of not only southern black Republicans but also of southern white Republicans for the next 80 years.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) recently said, “The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We invented it.”

Besides being a complete and utter surprise to anyone who has read any of the Old Testament or any legitimate history about Europe, Asia and Africa since time immemorial, he is completely and utterly wrong. People from Slavic nations are called "slavs" because the Vikings conquered them and made them slaves in the ninth century, to name only one example.

To Sen. Kaine and others: America did invent “equality” in a self-governing sense. And individual freedom. We are still working on them both as hard as possible “to form a more perfect union” two centuries later.

(first published in North State Journal 7/15/20)

Do You Want Better People to Run for Public Office?
Support the Institute for the Public Trust Today

Visit The Institute for the Public Trust to contribute today

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Pollsters Could Learn From Uber Drivers

Pollsters famously got everything wrong about the presidential race in 2016. Almost from the time Donald Trump came down the escalator of Trump Towers in the summer of 2015, pollsters on all sides and in the media did not understand what was going on.
Partisan pollsters “guaranteed” a 5-point victory for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in North Carolina. The same pollsters are now saying Joe Biden has close to a double-digit lead over President Trump.
Gallup used to send pollsters to conduct face-to-face interviews with people around states which took considerable time and effort to get a decent sample size of 300 statewide to make predictions. They got in the personal sanctity of a person’s home which is impossible to do in today’s robo-call cell phone/internet world.
Pollsters might want to employ Uber drivers to conduct their polling today, at least for the presidential campaign. You can learn a lot from them if you just ask.
Think about it. 90% of the people who are called by pollsters today either don’t answer or hang up immediately. Many lie to pollsters. Pollsters have turned to online surveys augmented by gift cards and Starbucks Rewards which seems to defeat the concept of “unbiased” data-collection in the first place.
All of that goes away in the sanctity of an Uber car. It is just you and the driver. Most Uber drivers are intelligent, thoughtful, chatty people who don’t mind carrying on an intelligent conversation for the 10 to 15-minute ride home.
I like to ask every Uber driver what they think of current events. Last week, I met (interviewed) an Uber driver who was a Marine veteran and a teacher in a small town outside of Raleigh. He had three advanced degrees, was active in church and local civic groups, and drove for Uber during the summer when school was out but also during the school year at times to help with family expenses.
Here are his verbatim answers to my questions about what he thought about politics in general, the COVID shutdowns and riots around the state and nation. I was taking notes on my phone as he drove me home:
“Trump is going to crush Joe Biden in NC. No one is interested in or excited about Joe Biden. Not in rural Wake County. Not even in urban or suburban Wake County.
“I have Ubered thousands of people over the past couple of years: rich/poor, black/white, young/old, male/female. Not one single person has told me they are excited about voting for Joe Biden. If they say they are voting for Biden, it is mostly because they are voting against Trump.
“Every week I go to a crowded cigar store in town owned by a black man. Most of the black men in that store tell me they are voting for Trump:  ‘He ain’t a great guy, and he can stop tweeting all the time… but before COVID, I was making more money than I ever had before. And now that the economy is opening back up again, I am getting back up to where I was in March and I want to keep it that way’
“None of the older black gentleman endorse or condone the violence they see in Raleigh or on TV. They recognize the need for social reforms and equality under the law; they lived it growing up in the 50s and 60s. But they don’t like the rampant destruction of property and think it counterproductive to what they grew up believing and struggling for. It winds up hurting the very people, the inner-city poor, they all want to help.
“We shut down everything to what end? Social distance, wear a mask, cover up in a rubber hazmat suit if you want, but don’t shut down people’s livelihoods. Closing churches and gyms while allowing mass protests in the streets with no penalties just rubs people the wrong way.”
Every Uber driver I have had in the last 4 years has said they support President Trump. Foreign-born naturalized citizens from France, South Korea, Sierra Leone…they all say they came here to live in the freedom America offers and President Trump represents that freedom to them.

Take an Uber ride yourself, and talk to your driver. You might learn a lot.

(first published in North State Journal 7/8/20)

Do You Want Better People to Run for Public Office?
Support the Institute for the Public Trust Today

Visit The Institute for the Public Trust to contribute today

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

President Calvin Coolidge on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

John Adams said there should always be
fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July
(What follows is an abridged, modernized version of Coolidge’s July 5th, 1926 speech) 

'We meet to celebrate the birthday of America.

Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken.

We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.

There is something beyond the establishment of a new nation in the Declaration of Independence which has ever since caused it to be regarded as one of the great charters that not only was to liberate America but ennobled humanity everywhere.

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history.

Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal; that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights; and that the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed.

In 1638, Rev. Thomas Hooker of Connecticut said in a sermon:

“The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people.

“The choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God’s own allowance.”

Rev. John Wise of Massachusetts published treatises in the early 1700s that have been declared to have been a textbook of liberty for our Revolutionary fathers.

His words were carried on with a missionary spirit which did not fail to reach the Scotch-Irish of North Carolina as well as the neighborhood of Thomas Jefferson, who acknowledged that his “best ideas of democracy” had been secured at church meetings.

George Mason prepared the Virginia Declaration of Rights on May 27, 1776, which asserted popular sovereignty and inherent natural rights but confined the doctrine of equality to the assertion that “All men are created equally free and independent.”

In 1710, Wise said “Every man must be acknowledged equal to every man.” Again, “The end of all good government is to cultivate humanity and promote the happiness of all and the good of every man in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, honor, and so forth.” And again, “For as they have a power every man in his natural state, so upon combination they can and do bequeath this power to others and settle it according as their united discretion shall determine.” And still again, “Democracy is Christ’s government in church and state.”

Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government. This was their theory of democracy.

In those days such doctrines would scarcely have been permitted to flourish and spread in any other country. These great truths were in the air that our people breathed.

Whatever else we may say of it, the Declaration of Independence was profoundly American.

In its main features, the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man — these are not elements which we can see and touch.

They are ideals.

They have their roots in religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We cannot continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments.
If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final.
No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.
Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

Ours is a government of the people. It represents their will. Its officers may sometimes go astray, but that is not a reason for criticizing the principles of our institutions. The real heart of the American Government depends upon the heart of the people. It is from that source that we must look for all genuine reform.

Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes.

The Declaration of Independence is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things.

These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them.

The things of the spirit come first. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep our ideals replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame.

(Coolidge is the only US president to have been born on the Fourth of July. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died within hours of each other on the Fourth of July in 1826, 100 years before Coolidge’s 1926 speech)
(first published in North State Journal 7/1/20)

Do You Want Better People to Run for Public Office?
Support the Institute for the Public Trust Today

Visit The Institute for the Public Trust to contribute today