Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
An open letter to Governor Hutchinson
I am writing you today regarding changes I believe need to be made to our state's gun laws. Specifically, I believe that we need programs to make it easier for women and minorities to acquire a concealed carry permit and that we need a "stand your ground" law so that people can protect themselves from the political and racial violence that is already occurring.
This week, an acquaintance of mine was walking to her car, which has a Hillary Clinton bumper sticker, when a man in a truck drove up to her and started screaming, "Killary lost! Get rid of your fucking bumper sticker, or I'll fucking kill you." I am sure that you are familiar with other examples of violence that have occurred in the wake of Donald Trump's election to the presidency — the women in hijabs who have been attacked, the Latinos who have been threatened with murder if they did not leave immediately, or African Americans who have woken up to find their homes and property vandalized with racial slurs.
All of this speaks to a growing need on the part of women and racial/religious minorities to be afforded the means of self-protection. The black community, for one, reports a lower percentage of gun ownership than whites despite experiencing a greater share of violence. If we developed policies to promote gun ownership by such communities, we could most certainly reduce the amount of violence. Moreover, if Arkansas had a "stand your ground" law, women and racial/religious minorities would feel more secure in using legal and lethal force to counteract the violence to which they are being subjected by Trump voters, to name but one group.
I believe that several policies could be put into place to encourage gun ownership among women and minorities. For starters, consider lowering the fee for a concealed carry permit. Second, we need to make guns more affordable for members of communities that are economically disadvantaged, perhaps with a tax holiday on gun purchases, like we currently do with school supplies, or some kind of rebate program. Third, we have federal and state small business programs to encourage female and minority entrepreneurship, and so we could easily use those to encourage the growth of the gun industry in minority communities. After all, most gun shops are white-owned, and many owners have evinced negative attitudes toward non-whites, as per one in Hot Springs that advertised itself as "Muslim-free." Black-owned or Muslim-owned gun stores serving their respective communities would make all the difference in growing gun ownership percentages in marginalized groups.
I hope that you will consider these ideas and look forward to hearing from you.
Like a lot of people I was surprised at the outcome of the presidential election. But, it is what it is and we have to carry on. I knew there was still, even in the 21st century, a lot of bigotry and ignorance in this country. However, I have been naive about the extent to which that bigotry and ignorance reaches.
Living in one of the reddest of red states, we've all heard the comments and jokes about our first black president, who by all traditional indicators has brought positive changes to our country. Unemployment is down, fuel has stayed under $2 a gallon, middle-class incomes have slightly increased, more people have health care, low interest rates have helped people buy homes, and other positives could be mentioned. President Obama certainly didn't accomplish much of the good he promised, but that had more to do with an obstructionist Republican Congress than with any lack of effort on the part of the president.
Who can say what the next four years will bring? But we should be concerned. Republicans now have the House, Senate, White House, and most likely will soon have the Supreme Court. Public education, Social Security and Medicare, I'm afraid, are in grave danger. I'm afraid we'll see the full effect of Citizens United for years to come, as the results of this election will embolden Republicans to press their aggressive agenda of privatization and deregulation.
My hope is that Democrats will learn from this experience and utilize that learning to build a much different coalition for 2020. Millennials will have to be reached if Democrats want to be relevant again before the next elections. Trump changed the way elections are run. Traditional methods didn't work for Democrats this time around. In 2020, Democrats will have to embrace a truly progressive agenda and turn millennials loose on social media. The support is there. The candidate just has to be right.
Another veterans story
I wonder how many of those ranting "veterans" recall those black veterans who came back from this country's nasty wars and found Bull Connor's police dogs chewing on their knees for trying to exercise the rights they'd fought and bled for? How many defended the black soldiers back then? Easy enough for those white boys to put such things out of their memories. Not so easy for the black fellows who are still reminded of those days when rousted by the rare racist cop we still have among the many decent ones.
So a few ladies took the knee to remind so many of the garbage heaped upon some of them without justification. And please be aware that when justice can be routinely denied to any citizen — it can be denied to any of us for the same reason. Not likely to get your head cracked with a police baton if you're kneeling in front of a few thousand witnesses, is it?
I haven't consulted with any of them, but I'd wager they, like some of us white folks, perceive foundations being put in place for the return of some aspects of Bull Conner's platoons. We do know now, after all, what White Christian Southern Family Values really are, huh? Got us a cretin for a new president — and where does a reasonable person see it stopping?
Stay tuned in
Will plaintiffs in the upcoming Trump University fraud lawsuit have the guts to refuse to settle with the mighty Donald Trump — president-elect of the U.S.A. — and take their case to trial? Might it depend on if there are any Democrats among them? Probably not very many; this kind of a scam strikes me as the type that mostly under-educated, greedy Republicans would fall for. But even so, those who still cast their vote for Don the Con might be mad enough by now for being suckered twice that they hang in there. Will, despite continuing protests, El Donald be narcissistic enough to take the stand, even if all he does is plead the Fifth again and again? Will he be found liable for this cruel and brazen fraud that fooled so many desperate real estate mogul wannabes — like he conned those who bought his hats, rallied, cursed, prayed and cast their votes for him? And, will all the other lawsuits pending for stiffing workers, vendors, contractors, investors and others be covered live, too? Did the banks really think that if Trump became president he could access the money to pay back the billions he still owes them? Will the other tenants of Trump Tower break their leases and move out because of the continued domestic resistance in the street, plus the fear that ISIS terrorists might plant crockpot bombs? Can Trump be evicted for causing a nuisance? Is it possible that the banks and all his doting fans' hopes will be dashed by this one lawsuit — presided over by a judge of Mexican descent (LOL—talk about instant karma)? Could just this one civil court decision be sufficient to prevent Trump from being sworn (literally) in to the highest office in our country — that he swears needs only him to be GREAT again? What if this Trump University trial runs past his inauguration? Is he then immune from further court actions while in office? Is there the will in Congress to impeach the Don or might he resign and then file bankruptcy again? Stay tuned.
Governor is glad students engaged in politics
I am disappointed that Governor Hutchinson made such a weak, indifferent statement when the Arkansas Public Policy Panel and the Arkansas Citizens First Congress asked him to respond as a leader when they reported "assaults, racial slurs and hate crimes against Black and Latino students across Arkansas." Is the governor calling these organizations alarmists because he hadn't heard any reports? Did he think they were making stories up? Of course, he passed the responsibility of student safety to the teachers and schools because he was unaware of any problems. Doesn't he own a TV? His statement made him sound like he was glad children were being educated and engaged in the presidential campaigns through assaults, racial slurs and hate crimes. Does he agree with school students being bullied or worse? Go get state Sen. Missy Irvin. She got very indignant, and was ready to sponsor all kinds of bills when she thought her children would be accosted when the transgender bathroom issue was a hot item. Surely she cares about other people's children being mistreated because of the horrible things people are saying and doing in the aftermath of Donald Trump being elected. Does she own a TV? Maybe Sen. Alan Clark, Sen. Jason Rapert, Rep. Laurie Rushing, Rep. Robin Lundstrum and Rep. Kim Hammer can summon up some of the same indignation and anger for bullies scaring school students that they showed to the women Razorback Basketball players, and reassure the parents and school students in Arkansas that their new GOP Political Party State Government (I wish this new group would stick with one name, but they have an identity problem right now), does not tolerate discrimination, mistreatment or bullying of school students, or anyone else for that matter. They have TVs don't they? In the old days, before the New GOP political party took the place of religion, people that quaintly called themselves Christians would have defended school students from the aftermath of Trump's racist remarks, which are causing real people to be terrorized. Whether Governor Hutchinson personally heard a report or not, he could have come up with a better statement, which could have made citizens feel safer and would convey a sense of unity to the rest of the nation. The citizens of Arkansas do not tolerate homegrown terrorist behavior. Maybe the governor's wife, Susan Hutchinson, who is an advocate for abused children, could make a more humane statement tomorrow, which would diffuse any violence from happening in the future — something that would, for a change, make Arkansans proud.
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