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Does Race Matter?

I want to pay homage to those who read my words – thank you very much for your support – and if this is your first-time WELCOME. I am looking forward to the comments and your thoughts with regard to the question. Since the assassination of Trayvon Martin and the recent incident in Oklahoma’s death-row, it begs the question or at least consideration of thought – “Does race matter?”

Race is a conversation that most Caucasians struggle with, at least in an open or honest way, and most are scared to talk about race, and we aren’t any different. Now, African Americans see matters of race from a completely different perspective. It’s like; if you’ve felt the brunt of this wretched ideal of supremacy you know it and see it.

The stories of oppression, racism, segregation and even slavery are very real and most African Americans have experienced it in one form or another and know it is real. Of course slavery was not physically visited upon us today by law but the elevated mental state and the prison industrial complex ensures it continues.

You cannot view the history of America and not see that race has and has always been the driver of its policies and laws. Naturally, the obvious differences in neighborhoods, employment, schools, and the legal system – causes one to ask why. If you just look at the presidents treatment, the Trayvon Martin story, Rodney King situation, or even the OJ case; all differed tremendously along political and racial lines. There are countless examples dating back to the first day black people was dragged onto the shores of this place they called “merica”.

More to the point, there was a time in my life where I saw police trample peaceful protesters, marchers beaten in the streets, and fire hoses turned on American citizens called Negro’s for asking and in most cases begging for the basic human right to live, which was simply a human right. Then a few years prior to that, in the first half of the last half century, black men were lynched by the hundreds for entertainment. Yet, most of white America believed it to be proper and sanctioned by law these so-called moral actions.

Was this colorblindness that dictated these policies that allowed justice which is blind to permit the wretchedness of racism to exist in the hearts and minds of people? You may realize that whenever the conversation of race comes up; there is the usual quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “we want to judge people, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” If the issue of race was that simple – the world would be a better place, but it’s not. So let’s talk about it.

Look at it this way, there was an old man who was bent over. Someone told him to stand up. The old man had been bent over so long – he said, “I thought I was!” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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University Student Writes Malcolm X Is Valued Hero For Today’s Times

The social and cultural impact the late civil rights leader and human rights champion Malcolm X still maintains in today’s modern society is an amazing example of his valuable existence. While the former Nation of Islam minister’s criminal past and fiery vocal assaults against the White power structure at large often defined him, it was his later acceptance of humanity as a many-hued tapestry that broadened his global appeal.


To Serve

On this great day I want to simply share a profound message that if taken to heart – will change the world. Please listen to the video and make that change. I once heard it said that “I may not be the one to change the world but I can change the mind of the one who can”.

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com


This Court!!!

 The Supreme Court is shaping up to be very significant in terms of issues involving race, at least the way I see this session. The justices are poised to decide some high-profile cases that could have long-term effects and certainly a huge impact on African and Hispanic Americans.

This is very serious because Ray Charles can see that the Roberts court is more conservative than any of its recent predecessor which surely does not bode well for minorities. Can I remind you that they do wear robes, which are more dangerous than the folks who wear the white ones.

Their decisions will have a huge impact on the president who suddenly finds himself running for reelection not only against Mitt Romney and the House Republicans, but now against the Court as well. The influence of the four conservative justices has already been witnessed in the January decision on Texas’ redistricting maps.

The big thing before them is the future of Healthcare, which is critical but there is another hot-button issue – anti-immigration laws. The top court will hear oral arguments April 25 on the Obama administration’s challenge to Arizona’s controversial law. The administration says such laws are irreconcilable with federal laws. Should the court uphold Arizona’s law, Latinos would feel the effects nationwide as other state will surely follow with more to do the same.

More serious, in my opinion, is the court’s ideological shift on affirmative action in an upcoming case that could undo the compromise reached in Grutter v. Bollinger. That 2003 ruling barred public colleges from using a point system to boost minority enrollment, but allowed race to be taken into account to achieve academic diversity. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a key swing vote, wrote the majority opinion is not there this time and her replacement, Justice Samuel Alito, reflects the court’s extreme rightward turn.

Another indication is that Robert’s made this statement that should provide some insight to his thinking: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”. He wrote this regarding a 2007 decision striking down school desegregation programs in Seattle and Kentucky. If the issues of race and education or poverty were that simple!

The way this court has rendered decisions harkened back to a time I thought was long past. Maybe you can remember the Dread Scott Decision during slavery or Plessey v Ferguson which ushered in what history has recorded as “Separate but Equal”. If that does not ring a bell how about calling it as it was –Apartheid American style. I am going to go out on a limb and say the fate of Obamacare is not as dire as it appears at this moment.

I think it is possible, even likely, that the Court will uphold part if not all of the legislation because the Court is keenly aware of public opinion and hopeful still has a bit of sanity. With the public’s trust of the judicial branch tying a historic low of 63 percent, down thirteen points from just two years ago, it’s doubtful that Roberts—who has wanted to be seen as an impartial “umpire”—would choose to imperil that trust even further with a ruling that would place the Court squarely in the election-season crossfire.

Overturning Obamacare would be a political decision but this is the court that thinks – corporations are people. With that said, the other two issues – all bets are off! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com


Living Yesterday – Today!

Let me first say to all who follow THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES that I am indeed honored that you read my words. I try to provided and add a prospective to reality whereby you may be empowered and maybe, just maybe, see the world through new eyes. If you knew me personally, you would know that I rarely ask for anything, maybe that is a fault, but I am a benevolent spirit and this is my way of giving.

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I WILL HOWEVER, TODAY, ASK EACH OF YOU FOR SOMETHING. PLEASE SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS MURDER, ASK FOR JUSTICE, AND RAISE YOUR VOICES IN PROTEST OF THIS INJUSTICE!!!

I have lived long enough to have witnessed many vial and unspeakable things done under the auspices of RACISM. I remember the first time I saw the brutally beaten corpse of little Emmitt Till, which was done because of a way of life. I can recall crying that day and I cry today for the murder of Trayvon Martin. As I see it, these two horrible events are strangely similar and equally frightening.

It shows that we, as African Americans, are still a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. Translated – no justice!

Of course, we don’t yet know every detail of the encounter between Martin and the monster who murdered this unarmed 17-year-old high school student. But, we know enough to conclude that this is an old familiar story with the same tenets rooted in RACISM. Emmitt’s murderer got away with it and so far so has this guy.

Now let me ask, how many guys named George are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy triggers fingers with loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians or more aptly put vigilantes who say the words “black male” with a sneer? You do know that was the Klan’s mantra!

Whether Zimmerman can or should be prosecuted, given Florida’s “stand your ground” law providing broad latitude to claim self-defense, is an important question. But, the more important question is: “we should stand up to repeal these deadly laws designed to give license to “Kill Black People”. This often happens because this bull’s-eye that black men wear throughout their lives, and in many cases, just caught on the wrong street at the wrong time.

Protect, teach your children, and may this child’s soul rest in peace. I have lost a child through tragedy and I know this pain. My heart and prays go out to the Martin family.

If you never took a stand for anything – now is the time. And that is my Thought Provoking Prospective…

http://johntwills.com


The Peril’s Of Justice

We as African Americans understand, as Richard Pryor famously said, when it comes to justice what we find is JUST-US! This statement could not be more profound today as it relates to some of the news stories that involve African Americans, namely the recent murder of the young child Trayvon Martin.

Frankly, this case takes me back nearly sixty-years when another young black child was murdered where the culprits did not receive due justice. I wonder if the story would be different if the victim was white and the shooter was black. I think we know the answer to that!!!

But I read a piece today written by Mr. Jonathan Capehart and like him I had the same questions that he asked in this article. First, he asked, what was Zimmerman’s relationship with the Sanford, Fla., police department? Then he asked why was Zimmerman portrayed as a volunteer neighborhood watch captain when he was not part of a registered neighborhood watch program? Further he asked, did the Sanford Police Department ever warn him about his activities in this unofficial capacity?

When you consider that Zimmerman was known to have placed, as it was reported, 46 calls to that department between Jan. 1, 2011, and the Feb. 26 shooting; did the Sanford police have specific orders on how to deal with him? Did they have a file on him? Did they have him on any kind of special watch list?

To these questions, the Police Chief said, “we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.” Yet, Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense was sufficient justification to not arrest him. My next question was why did Chief Lee accept Zimmerman’s self-defense plea on its face? Did the police run a background check on Zimmerman? Did his previous arrest, for resisting arrest without violence, raise any red flags with police? Did Lee attempt to establish probable cause? How did he go about it? Was Zimmerman tested for drugs or alcohol? If not, why not? Was Zimmerman’s gun confiscated? Was it tested? Where is that gun now?

These are all valid questions that demand answers.

Now, here are a few questions that come to mind with respect to the crime scene. What did police do with Trayvon’s body at the scene? What did police do with Trayvon’s body once taken from the scene? Why was it tested for drugs and alcohol? What did police do with Trayvon’s personal effects? Where is his cell phone? Did police try to contact Trayvon’s 16-year-old girlfriend, who was talking to him during the initial moments of the confrontation with Zimmerman and who tried several times to call him back? Hmmmm!

So as you can see there are many more questions than answers and frankly a thorough investigation would have answered these questions. Thankfully, the Department of Justice has decided to review the case to ensure that some of these questions are answered – maybe. There is such a thing as right and wrong; some things are right and some things are wrong. When you look at the aforementioned questions in this case that are unanswered – it stinks of wrong. Oh, and for sure racism!!!

There are so many more questions than answers and I pray we get them answered, and justice is served. With that said, I would suggest that you compare this to little Emmitt Till and recall the Peril’s Of Justice.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

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What’s So Super About Tuesday


For starters, it is a Tuesday and this Tuesday is one with the biggest payout of the Republican presidential primaries or for one of the contenders. This time Super Tuesday had been slimmed down to half its 2008 size but still doling out one-third of the delegates needed to win and frankly at the end of the day; it probably won’t settle much.

It might nudge the two long shots – Newt Gingrich out of the race or Ron Paul into a position of more credibility. Nor, in my opinion, will it give either Romney or Santorum a decisive advantage, because delegates are handed out by share. A close second in a state can pay off almost as well as first place. Romney might cement the front-runner status that keeps slipping through his fingers. Santorum could prove he’s the real thing. To which I doubt either will be the case.
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Delegates for grabs Tuesday: 419.
Delegates already won: 353; Romney, 203; Santorum, 92; Gingrich, 33; Paul, 25.
Delegates needed for the nomination: 1,144.
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Let’s consider the expense involved. The heavy advertising in all 10 states would cost a candidate about $5 million. That’s a lot even for Romney’s well-financed campaign, prompting him to make a plea for donations amid his Michigan victory speech. Gingrich is getting another multimillion-dollar boost from Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who donated the money to a special type of political action committee, known as a super PAC that will run advertising in key states.

But my friends Ohio is the race to watch. Why I don’t know – maybe it’s like the Mississippi of the north. Nonetheless political junkies get all misty-eyed over this Rust Belt swing state, and not just because of the 63 delegates. No Republican nominee has ever become president without winning the state. That makes it a powerful proving ground for the men trying to show they can take on President Barack Obama.

It could well be Newt’s last stand or Gingrich rises again. Either way – what a frightening thought! But for sure you can call the Sand Man with his hook Newt loses in Georgia, the state he represented in the U.S. House for two decades. Lest not forget, his is not on the ballad in Virginia! Newt hopes to win decisively here and pick up enough other delegates to relaunch his up-and-down campaign, which has been mostly down-and-out. There is a bright side or dark cloud – Herman Cain, a fellow Georgian, endorsed him. Oh, and he’s got a new pitch, claiming he can bring the cost of gas down to $2.50 per gallon.

Then there’s grandpa, Ron Paul, the anti-war, libertarian-leaning, unorthodox Republican who hasn’t won a single state. Super Tuesday could change that meaning he might win ONE! Let’s say – Alaska! Even if he doesn’t score a win, he’s likely to pick up delegates to help power him into this summer’s Republican convention with enough clout to promote his ideas.

There’s little drama in the Northeastern races. Romney’s virtually unopposed in his power base of Massachusetts, where he was governor just over five years ago. Delegates: 38. He’s expected to win neighboring Vermont handily, too, although Santorum seeks to peel away some of its 17 delegates.

Next up:

Caucuses and primaries in Kansas, Wyoming, Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois and Louisiana fill out the busiest month of the nomination season. Three territories; American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico also get their say in March.

Well folks, as exciting as that may sound it seem to me I’d rather be clipping my toenails or picking nose hairs because that will be much more fun. We’ve all been taught to say, God Bless America; with this cast of characters I think that’s an understatement and we should say God Help Us.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

“Just a Season”
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Legacy – A New Season is Coming!
Listen to the author’s interview!

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The Right is Wrong

We all know the Right-wingers are engaged in an ideological battle with the intent to make the rich richer and marginalizing those who are not. This false narrative is being done by using the tried and true method of quoting the Constitution and those good Ol’ Boys, the so-called Founding Fathers, as a convenient way to get the American people or some ill-informed Tea Party types to vote against their own interests.

One of those candidates is Rep. Ron Paul who has lured a lot of these so called “Real American” into that camp by creating a false narrative about America’s Founding, claiming that the drafters of the Constitution wanted a weak central government and one that was equal for all people. But that’s not the real or accurate history.

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas who has topped 20 percent in the first two Republican contests, is fond of claiming that the U.S. Constitution was written “to protect your liberty and to restrain the federal government,” thus making modern laws, from Social Security, to civil rights statutes, to health-care reform, unconstitutional. But that isn’t true either.

While the framers of the Constitution in 1787 undeniably cared about liberty, at least for white men, they were also practical individuals who wanted a vibrant central government that would enable the new nation to protect itself both militarily and economically, especially against European rivals.

The broad powers that the Constitution granted Congress were designed to let this central government address national problems that existed then as well as any that would arise in the future. For instance, the Constitution gave control over interstate commerce to Congress in order to counter economic advantages enjoyed by foreign competitors.

Far from Paul’s assertions that the Founders wanted a weak central government, the Founders, at least those at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, understood that a great danger came from having a national authority that was too weak, what they had experienced under the Articles of Confederation, which governed the nation from 1777 to 1787.

The Articles of Confederation embraced the concept of state “sovereignty” and called the United States not a government or even a nation, but “a firm league of friendship” among the states. In the Confederation’s Article II declared: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated.” And very few powers were delegated to the federal government.

So, in 1787, the framers of the Constitution led by Gen. George Washington, James Madison and others in the Virginia delegation scrapped the Articles and put forward a very different plan, eliminating state sovereignty and creating a strong central government with broad powers, including control over “interstate commerce.”

The Commerce Clause wasn’t some afterthought it was part of the original proposal outlined on the Constitutional Convention’s first day of substantive business on May 29, 1787. The Virginia delegation had one of its members, Edmund Randolph, include it in his opening presentation.

Virginia’s plan laid out the framework that would later become the U.S. Constitution, transferring sovereignty from the 13 original states to “we the people of the United States” as represented by a new national Republic.

Where Rep. Paul claims the Constitution was designed to let the American people do what they want using the word liberty as his reference point. This is just not true! Unless, of course, he is referring to the people that represent the privilege class of Americans, who happen to be wealthy and white. We needed a government that could co-ordinate commerce in order to compete effectively with other nations. So, from that first day of substantive debate at the Constitutional Convention, the Founders recognized that a legitimate role of Congress was to ensure that the nation could match up against other countries economically.

Many conservatives to include Ron Paul have worked hard in recent decades at constructing an alternative narrative. Claiming that the Founders envisioned a weak national government and were big supporters of states’ rights happen to be a storyline that is simply not supported by facts. Key framers of the Constitution even objected to adding a Bill of Rights to the original document, accepting the first 10 amendments only later as part of negotiations over ratification.

The other thing they cry about is Obamacare. This speaks to Congress’s power to address difficult national problems, like the tens of millions of Americans who lack health insurance but whose eventual use of medical services would inevitably shift billions of dollars in costs onto Americans who must pay higher insurance rates as a result, what courts have described as “substantial effects.”

Paul claims: It certainly is an encroachment on individual liberty, but it is no more so than a command that restaurants or hotels are obliged to serve all customers regardless of race, that gravely ill individuals cannot use a substance their doctors described as the only effective palliative for excruciating pain, or that a farmer cannot grow enough wheat to support his own family. They also pray for fewer regulations to the benefit of the rich.

There are some conservative legal scholars examining the Constitution and precedents who could not find a convincing argument to overturn “Obamacare” and that is because the Founders intentionally empowered Congress to address national economic problems. It was, as the Virginian delegation understood, one of the key reasons for the Constitutional Convention.

Now I say the larger goal of the right-wing is not to uphold the ideals of the Founders, who wanted a vibrant central government, but to reverse government policies dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The plan is to return the United States to a pre-Depression “gilded age” of a society divided into a few haves and many have-nots.

And that is my THOUGHT PRROVOKING PESPECTIVE!


Whose With You Now – Mr. Cain

For all that I know about faith I have come to understand that we all have a cross to bear and I mean that in terms of the burden race. Let me make that statement more direct – being black. From the first day we were dragged upon the shores of this land people of African decent have had an intense desire that we mind our manners and avoid personal acts and activity that would make the entire race look bad. Of course, or should I say, there were those images we did allow to represent us as buffoons to entertain those of the other hue, which left an impression of our worthlessness.

You know what I mean like the bad hair thing, chitterlings, water mellows, and such! Even when we were made out to be fools on television and in the movies most of us abided by the unwritten rules of deportment. I did say most of us! Well until this year’s human, and I use that loosely, a guy who will inevitably become known as a disgrace to our community and beyond. Let me put it differently; we have progressed to the point where, in my opinion, the buffoonery of a Herman Cain will make us shudder and shrink into the shadows to hide our faces.

For him to suggest that blacks should have gone to the back of the bus and not caused no trouble. Or, to say that African Americans were brainwashed is an unforgiveable insult that has frankly relegated this guy to a place far outside of the antics comparable to Amos ‘n’ Andy or even a Stepin Fetchit character. He so far as to tell the world that the ultraconservative billionaires the Koch brothers were his “brothers from another mother” and describing himself as “black-walnut ice cream” only drew disdain from our community.

Then came his ignorance, and I meant to use that word, of foreign affairs. Like the most talked about event this year – the war in Libya or the fact that China has had a nuclear bomb for years and lest not forget his long pauses and poor answers to questions about policy issues that presidents confront daily which reflected solely on him and all he could say was 9-9-9! Shocking!!! Calling him an embarrassment is too kind.

And his 999 tax plan is simple-sounding enough that Mr. John Q. Average can feel secure in it because he doesn’t think he needs to do the math and not realizing that he would potentially pay more than he does now. Cain sees water-boarding as an “enhanced interrogation technique” and homosexuality as a “choice”. Of course he has flip-flopped on abortion depending on the day of the week he is asked the question. Frankly, he was a good ol’ uncle who did what he was told and the ideological Tea Party-esque Republican wanted to hear. He was just a man with a black face belittling President Obama.

I’ve found no one who pays much serious attention to his comments and behavior, certainly no one in the African American community. Maybe I should digress because “they” seems to always find someone like him who reminds me of my uncle whose name is Thomas but we call him Tom for short. Then came the “jump-offs”, which made his sorry character seem as if it came straight out of central casting for black exploitation. Negro please!!! Did you not know they would dig up all of these white women?

“He’s just stupid,” a black, politically savvy grandfather in Chattanooga was reported as saying. “He knew he had all that baggage in his background before he ran. He is not qualified to be president.” I could not have said it better. So I guess the million dollar question is what does Herman Cain get out of it?

A lot of attention to grease his outsize ego, a lot of money from speaking engagements and book sales, and bragging rights to say that not only did he run for president, but for a brief moment, he was actually the leader in his race. But now he’ll have to assess, with his family and us, whether the ride was worth it.

This clown who really had no chance for the Citizen Council to make him their candidate even though he thinks that the unemployed are in their situations because they just don’t try hard enough and that blacks are “brainwashed into not being open-minded” about conservative positions; according to him racism doesn’t hold blacks back. He believes that God told him to run for president, sort of like the way God told Moses to lead the Hebrews.

Being what Malcolm described as a House Negro allowed him to use his populist charisma, managed to get conservatives to anoint him the Apostle of the Negro Right. One popular conservative said, he’s one of our blacks and he is better than there blacks. I am still trying to figure that one out but where I come from that is code for uncle.

So with Election Day less than a year away the Citizen Council has thrown their boy under the bus and we are left with the prospect of the likes of Michele Bachmann, the flip flopper Mitt Romney who they call “him”, Ron Paul who would rather revisit Jim Crow, Rick Perry whose family owns a ranch called “Nigger Head” and the serial fibber Newt Gingrich. Maybe with a cast of characters like that Uncle Herman should have remained. Wouldn’t that have been a good thing? Not really. One thing history has taught us is that people who can appeal to masses but who avoid the scrutiny of individuals are dangerous. Hitler comes to mind.

There was a line in the movie Men in Black, and I’ll paraphrase, individuals are smart because they are discerning, but people – meaning groups – are fearful, nervous and easily manipulated. That, to me, explains why Cain was doing so well in the polls.

I guess that’s why I have such distain for black conservatives such as Cain. They can hold high the ideals of what America should be. But then they’ve got to deal with the next cringe-worthy thing they are told to say and there is no place for them when they are abandoned by those who run the plantation. Cain and all his foibles deserve to be in the place he’s in and may he find peace in knowing that he is all alone.

I seem to recall Jesus said in the synoptic gospels that “tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. …it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http:johntwills.com


The Insanity of it All

I awoke yesterday to a very disturbing, in fact horrifying, news report that said President Obama had been assassinated. My first reaction was, as expected, NOOOOO! Then as I investigated further I had to consider the source. It was connected to Fox News.

I am all for Independence Day, let me first say but I have to be honest and say “I am more of a Juneteenth kinda guy”. Nonetheless, as I prepared to do the hot dogs and fireworks thing I found out that an anonymous hacker spent Monday morning breaking into a Fox News Twitter account posting fake reports of a presidential assassination.

The prank tweets, six in total, included gory (and entirely bogus) details: two shots at an Iowa restaurant, hitting the president in the pelvis and neck, etc. Fox News apparently struggled for a few hours to regain control of its Twitter account. In the afternoon, it managed to remove the prank tweets and issued a statement on its Web site saying it “regrets any distress the false tweets may have created.”

Adam Peck, a writer for Think, relayed instant messages he exchanged with a person claiming to represent Script Kiddies in the wee hours of the morning right after the hack. One message said, “Fox News was selected because we figured their security would be just as much of a joke as their reporting.” I do however agree with the statement that the reporting on Fox is a joke but it is not a joke to prank the death of the president. Later, I read a report that said the prank was distasteful. I beg to differ.
The Secret Service said it is launching an investigation, given the graphic and serious contents of the prank tweets. “We are investigating and will be conducting the appropriate follow-up,” said spokesman George Ogilvie. Very good – NO GREAT!!! However, many people today obviously have forgotten the horrible history of assassinations experienced in America’s not too distant past.

I am old enough to remember the horrors resulting from the assassination of the four little black girls in the Birmingham church, Dr. King, the Kennedy’s, Medger Evers, Emmitt Till, the three freedom fighters killed down in Mississippi, and what seemed like an endless stream of murder. The wretchedness of this prank is unconscionable. Therefore, I will take this opportunity to remind you that we are living in trying times and all is not what it seems. We are still in grave danger as a people.

Maybe those who so vehemently despise our president and people who look like him should Google the riots of April 1968 and the aftermath of the King assassination. God forbid such an event should happen but it would spark a similar episode on a global scale.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!


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