Age versus experience

To be a leader in the Mormon church, one must be old (and white and male). In Congress, the seniority system was the rule, but that has changed for the better (or the worse under the GOP). Which is the better system? I believe that in a democracy, the people should be able to choose their leaders to fit the demands of the times. If we allow seniority or age or other rules systems to determine our leaders, we will not get the leadership we need.

“We Are All Charged With Pushing Forward”: President Obama Delivers A Speech For History

Originally posted on mykeystrokes.com:

“This whole week,” said President Obama, “I’ve been reflecting on this idea of grace.”

That was the turning point of Friday’s eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, the Charleston, South Carolina minister who was, with eight of his congregants, murdered by a racist terrorist two weeks ago. It was the moment a memorable speech became a speech for history.

“According to the Christian tradition,” the president-turned-preacher explained, “grace is not earned, grace is not merited, it’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God.” Grace, in other words, is that which bridges the gap between creation and Creator, the staircase connecting the soil to the celestial.

And it is amazing. So the heart leapt when, moved by some ephemeral thing cameras could not see, Obama launched into a soulful, heartfelt and, yes, off-key rendition of one of the foundational hymns of the church. “Amazing grace,” he…

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Why are so many black families single parented?

If you listen to Bill O’Reilly and others on the right, you are told that the problems faced by blacks in the inner city and elsewhere would go away if black families included both parents. Is it that blacks hold different values than whites? That is not the case. There is a shortage of eligible black males relative to black women, and that traces back to the large number of black males in prison or out on parole. And what is responsible for that? The war on drugs which targets people of color to a much greater degree than whites even though drug use is about the same for all segments of the population. Once convicted of a drug offense, it is nearly impossible for a felon to find employment or regain his/her rights. Thus the single parent family in the black community is the result of the war on drugs which I favor ending.

If we do the right thing and end the drug war, what shall we do next? I believe that non-violent drug offenders should be released from prison, given full pardons and compensated for their losses. They should be given monetary compensation depending on time served and helped to return to society with education and training at no cost to them. If our goal is functioning families of color in our cities and towns, we must cease the drug war and help those injured by it. It is the morally right thing to do.