Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hear the Crowd Roar

DING! DING! DING! The bell rings, the crowd screams, the contestants enter the ring. From the audience you can see the wary look in their eyes; the way they stalk to the center, shake hands, and BANG! The first blow is thrown. Is it K.O. in the first, or do we see another round on the horizon?

Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier this is not. But anyone watching the twentieth – yes, twentieth – Democratic debate last night would find the analogy fitting. With Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attacking each other so viciously, one could not help but wonder if instead of electing a president and leader, the American people will be voting for the next heavyweight champion come November.

Yet, while many Americans have thrown up their hands in despair, begging for the return to normalcy and an escape from the never-ending political talk, this twentieth debate serves as a reminder that the nation is currently enduring a period of uncertainty. While America attempts to regain its feet, the presidential nominees must present an image of strength and power in all aspects of their campaign. Whether the issue is health care, tax reform, or the war in Iraq, all the candidates must show the American people that they can be relied upon.

Barack Obama, a one term senator from Illinois may not be everyone’s first choice for president however one cannot help but notice the vigor, excitement, and youthfulness with which he approaches this campaign and politics in general. While Hillary Clinton and John McCain – both Washington “veterans” – bring to the table their many years of experience in the Senate, this experience alone may not be enough to take them to the White House.

America is looking for that guy they can relate to; the candidate with that cool, relaxed blend of breezy know-how; the attitude that shouts confidence and reliance. The American people want to be told that everything will be okay, and for this they have found Obama. The fact that he has “no” experience is not a disadvantage; it is his greatest blessing. Obama can tell the people that he is not jaded by D.C. politics. Obama alone will find the solution.

While his jabs may not clock in at the breathtaking speeds of Ali’s, Obama certainly has schooled himself in the ability to “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” If the Republicans hope to win the White House in nine months they must hone that fighting wit of John McCain, but more importantly they must infuse their campaign and their party with the same freshness that Obama brought to his. The American people know that they are in for a few more rounds (at least); the winner will be the one who can carry the audience with him to the finish

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Huckabee attacks GOP - look at what the left has forced us to do: instead of being able to debate the issues we are now diminished to internal controversy and strife. The GOP risks losing this upcoming election because it cannot unite. Instead of showing the people of America that we are the party of ideas, that we can restore the excitement and appreciation of government, we are confirming the fears and suspicions of the people at large. One term Senator Barack Obama is running on a platform of change. He says that he can restore unity to America, and he brings with him a sense of vitality and life. Instead of allowing ourselves to be brought to the level of an idealist, unrealistic liberal, shouldn't we, the party of responsibility and tradition restore the tradition of excellence and pride that was and should still be the just claim of this nation.

Monday, February 18, 2008

An essay for class debating Affirmative Action (by me)

In order to gain a full understanding of the debate surrounding affirmative action in colleges one must first realize the purpose of college and university. While it is certainly true that institutions of higher learning exist to educate students, it must be realized that this is not the sole mandate of an institution of higher learning. Today’s modern universities must enable students to recognize and to maximize their potential. Students of all races, religions, and genders must be allowed to move forward and to bestow themselves with the self confidence and courage that can come only with the recognition of their hard work paying off. As Thomas Sowell profoundly states in his book, Race and Economics, “…those methods which are more direct and immediate – job quotas…subsidies… preferential treatment – tend to undermine the self reliance and pride of achievement in the long run.” (Sowell qtd in Thomas, 106) Supporters of affirmative action no doubt mean well, yet their actions are in fact detrimental, racist, and sexist, enforcing a mentality of inferiority rather than instilling beliefs of accomplishment and endless opportunity. University is not merely an outlet of higher education, it is a venue for sophistication and enlightenment; to admit individuals based on the color of their skin is to enforce a mentality of separateness and difference; a mentality that is anathema to those who seek to expand their mind and their view of the world in which they live.

When the white student applies for college acceptance he does so by submitting his SAT scores, his GPA, and a list of his scholastic accomplishments. When the African American applies, it would appear as though supporters of affirmative action are telling him to do so with the submission of his neglected childhood, a sad tale of the life he lived in the slums, and a list of America’s egregious history of slavery. In the words of Dana White, an International Associate for the Heritage Foundation, “It is time for liberal black leaders to stop hiding behind racism and admit that our priorities as a community have become our greatest hurdle to achieving long-term success… They must stop blaming white Americans for the sins of the past and set goals for the future.” (White) It is time that America as a nation recognize that blacks are not a race of pitiful, helpless subhumans; they are fully capable and in fact desire to be given challenges equal to those that face the white community.

The debate over affirmative action has traditionally been – and still is – one raised primarily by the black community. One must consider why Asian-Americans, Hispanics, and Jews have not been as vociferously opposed to ceasing affirmative action policies. As suggested by Ms. White, who is herself an African American:

Other communities suffer systematic discrimination: Koreans, Chinese, Latinos and Jews, to name a few. But within these communities people encourage each other to go to school, get good grades and go to college. In some communities not earning a graduate degree is shameful. Only within the black community is academic or entrepreneurial success openly chastised. (White)

It is the black community that suffers the most from this self-inflicted repression. The black student is led to believe that without a helping hand – a boost from the kind white man in the admissions office – he or she will never succeed. According to The Affirmative Action Myth, an executive policy analysis written by Marie Gryphon, a lawyer and a policy analyst with the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom, “Recent sociological research demonstrates that preferences hurt campus race relationships. Worse, they harm minority student performance by activating fears of confirming negative group stereotypes, lowering grades, and reducing college completion rates among preferred students.” (Gryphon, 1) This twenty-six page in-depth analysis of affirmative action policies debunks nearly all pro-affirmative action arguments. Ms. Cecila Conrad argues in response to the passing of the California Civil Rights Initiative (Proposition 209) that, “The end of race-based affirmative action in professional schools is likely… to reduce the supply of African American physicians and lawyers.” (Conrad) Ms. Gryphon, however, writes based on research done by William G. Bowen, the former president of Princeton, and Derek Bok, the former president of Harvard that:

The reason that affirmative action does not affect college access is that most four-year colleges and universities in America are not selective; they take anyone with a standard high school education. Preferences are policy only at the 20–30 percent of American colleges that have substantially more applicants than places. Students attending those schools have many other college options. The reason that minority students do not get college degrees as often as white students is not competitive admissions policies. Rather, the problem is that most minority students leave high school without the minimum credentials necessary to attend any four-year school, selective or not.[1] (Bowen and Bok qtd in Gryphon, 4)

The excuses for the failure of a more significant number of blacks to achieve a higher education are abundant. As Clarence Thomas, one of the most prominent Supreme Court justices in this nation’s history and himself a black American writes, “It was far more common… to argue that whites, having caused our problems, should be responsible for solving them instantly, but while that approach was good for building political coalitions and soothing guilty white consciences, it hadn’t done much to improve the daily lives of blacks” (Thomas, 106) Thomas suggests that one should “Do for self, brother.” Blacks must take responsibility for their own lives and instead of constantly seeking to blame the distant past, they must move forward with the focus being on result-oriented goals.

If advocates of affirmative action truly seek to assist blacks and to enable them to gain the competitive edge that will not only allow their admission to top ranking universities but will simultaneously diversify those learning environments to the benefit of all students, attention must be focused on repairing the public high school systems in black communities. In order to ensure that more blacks are capable of attending high level four-year universities, the high school system must adequately prepare the students for the challenges they will meet in college. As stated previously, the problem is not that blacks are being racially sorted out from their white peers when applying for college, “Rather… [it] is that most minority students leave high school without the minimum credentials necessary to attend any four-year school.” (Bowen and Bok qtd in Gryphon, 4)

An overwhelming plethora of information ranging from professor’s testimonies to psychological and sociological research data suggests that the policies of affirmative action cause more harm than good. The idea of being admitted based on the color of one’s skin is tinted with racism. The admittance of students in order to “diversify” creates the mental image of tokens. Thomas Sowell writes, “Even in the absence of overt hostility, black students at M.I.T. complained that other students there did not regard them as being desirable partners on group projects or as people to study with for tough exams.” (Sowell, 148) The idea of giving free handouts promotes the idea that it is not important for people to be self-supporting. It robs blacks of their self-confidence and dignity. Forcing students to accept blacks that were admitted to schools not based on their academic credentials but on their color does not diversify universities, it fosters isolation and resentment. “Law professor Eugene Volokh relates the story of a law student who claimed that he and his friends chose classes with high minority enrollments because they believed that competition for good grades would be less severe.” (Volokh qtd in Gryphon, 11) The students felt that because the class was comprised mostly of affirmative action admitted minorities the overall level of intelligence would be lower and they would therefore have a greater chance to look good.

The time has come to end affirmative action, to stand up for the rights of minorities to be treated the same as their white brothers and sisters. It is not too much to permit students to display their own capabilities. We must not rob them of the pride and joy, the satisfaction and confidence that will come upon the recognition of their own potential and their own ability to succeed.

Works Cited

Conrad, Cecilia. Black Enterprise Feb. 1997

Gryphon, Marie “The Affirmative Action Myth.” 14 Feb 2008 .

“Joie Jager-Hyman: Ending Affirmative Action May Hurt White Students - Politics on The Huffington Post.” 8 Feb 2008 .

Thomas, Clarence. My Grandfather’s Son. New York: Harper Collins, 2007

White, Dana “Who Says I'm Inferior?” June 27, 2003 .


“Affirmative Action (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).” 8 Feb 2008 .

“Affirmative Action and the College Admissions Process.” 5 Feb 2008 .

Conrad, Cecilia. Black Enterprise Feb. 1997

“ - Narrow use of affirmative action preserved in college admissions - Dec. 25, 2003.” 5 Feb 2008 .

“ - Powell defends affirmative action in college admissions - Jan. 20, 2003.” 5 Feb 2008 .

“ - The Affirmative Action Myth - Blog | Blogs | Popular Blogs | Video Blogs.” 5 Feb 2008 .

Gryphon, Marie “The Affirmative Action Myth.” 14 Feb 2008 .

“InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies.” 14 Feb 2008 .

“Is the end near for affirmative action?” 8 Feb 2008 .

“Joie Jager-Hyman: Ending Affirmative Action May Hurt White Students - Politics on The Huffington Post.” 8 Feb 2008 .

“pa540.pdf (application/pdf Object).” 14 Feb 2008 .

Sowell, Thomas. Race and Economics. D. McKay Co, 1975.

“SoYouWanna know about affirmative action in college admissions? |” 5 Feb 2008 .

“The downside of ending affirmative action for whites. Why ASIAN-Americans gain.”

“The Wall Street Journal Online - Featured Article.” 12 Feb 2008 .

Thomas, Clarence. My Grandfather’s Son. New York: Harper Collins, 2007

White, Dana “Who Says I'm Inferior?” .

“Why Black Americans Should Look to Conservative Policies.” .

[1] Emphasis added

Monday, February 4, 2008


In his essay, “Learning to Read,” Malcolm X writes about his incarceration and how, through his discovering a love of books and knowledge, he ultimately becomes a powerful civil rights activist. Malcolm X exclaims upon beginning to read and write that, “[he] had never been so truly free in [his] life.” This statement from a man who is jailed in a prison, the antithesis of anything remotely related to liberty! Yet indeed, Malcolm X was free because although he could not speak as he pleased, or socialize without restraint, (or do much else with any semblance of personal choice) Malcolm X possessed the truest independence there is: the freedom of thought. Through introspection and much diligence, Malcolm X transformed himself from a lowly street criminal into a world-renowned and respected civil rights advocate.

What exactly is “Freedom by Thought?” Malcolm X actually exerted his independence of unrestrained thought through the action of studying. One may, in fact be compelled to question the notion of a liberty such as thought, if it is not one that can always be used and applied. There are countries such as Iran and Burma that prohibit such manifestations of independence as uncensored speech, the right to bear arms, and freedom of assembly. Yet, on closer inspection, the answer is “Yes.” Yes, there are oppressive regimes that prohibit people from gathering, for fear that ideas and thoughts may be exchanged. Yes, there are countries like Iran and Burma, in which people are killed for holding certain religious or moral beliefs that may offend the controlling government. But this is exactly the point. All these forms of self-authority can always be influenced and controlled, if not directly prohibited by external forces such as governments or individuals who don't want to allow certain liberties to their fellow people, while hypocritically crying out for the preservation and even protection of their own.

The enabler of all liberties, and therefore the most valuable of them all is thought. Even while individuals are not allowed to exchange ideas, the individual self can still have ideas. And if an individual is verbally and mentally strong enough and persuasive enough, these ideas will eventually manifest themselves in the individual's actions and teachings.

Witness the great leader Mahatma Gandhi, whose ideas on non-violence and peaceful disobedience ultimately led to the emancipation of India. Gandhi, who theorized and preached that pacifism, simplicity in day-to-day living, and truth are the cornerstone of a virtuous life, began his journey of leadership with the idea that emancipation from the oppressive British Empire was ideal for the Indian nation. It was not solely through his activism (or rather inaction) that Gandhi gained support, but it was his teachings and ideology which garnered such a large following. The actions of Gandhi inspired numerous other activists such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. It was Gandhi's teaching that caused others to fight to enact their ideas, yet it was by the inability of government and society to restrict unbridled thought that allowed these leaders to rise.

The power of truly independent thinkers to reform society is so compelling that mighty historical empires such as Athens have killed people like Socrates, who attempted to express their thoughts. Yet, even as he was about to die, Socrates was still teaching his ideas, leaving behind devoted followers and scholars such as Plato, to pass down his ideas for the benefit and enlightenment of all future generations. For, no matter how liberated one may be in their lifetime, no matter how much they are permitted to speak and to assemble, there is always the inevitable restriction of death; the master and ultimate regulator of all man's actions. Men will always attempt to act and do as they please, yet it is only their teachings, their legacy, their thoughts, and their ideas that will outlast them and stand the test of time. It is only through one's thoughts that one may escape any and all oppression and restriction, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. It is because thoughts cannot be suppressed that great men attempt to leave a legacy.

“Thought” alone is the truest representation of Freedom. As Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardoza writes in his opinion for Palko v. State of Connecticut: “Freedom of thought is...the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.” It is from the cradle of thought that all forms of freedom are raised.


  • The U.S. Constitution

  • “Learning to Read” by Malcolm X

  • Indian Independence movement”

  • Mahatma Gandhi”

  • Freedom of Thought”

  • Palko v. State of Connecticut “FindLaw for Legal Professionals - Case Law, Federal and State Resources, Forms, and Code.” (accessed October 17, 2007).

  • The Apology by Plato