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"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." This famous quote by Benjamin Franklin resonates more than 240 years after it was uttered. The irony of Old Ben's observation is that many people in our era act and speak with such certitude, especially in regard to religion and politics.
Americans are generally ignorant of how our geography has shaped our thinking and our nation. In our history, we have only had one major invasion – the War of 1812. We have weak neighbors to our north and south and vast oceans that buffer us from foreigners to our east and west.
A little more than a week ago we saw British citizens vote to leave the European Union, citing distrust of ruling elites in Brussels and a desire to retake lost national power.
To commemorate the World War I Battle of Verdun, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met recently at the battle site to remember and honor the deaths of 300,000 German and French soldiers in that 10-month battle.
Do you know the difference between equality and equity?
"There is something in the American soul that wants to believe that it is facing disaster, that it has failed, that some corruption deep in its being will steal its success. I suspect that this has something to do with the familial recollections of immigrants."
President Barack Obama recently sent a directive to public schools around the country to let students use restrooms according to their gender identities. While this directive is not legally binding, the threat of potential civil rights lawsuits and loss of federal funding for Title IX looms large.
The presidential primary season has seen an earthquake of shifting alignments for both political parties, something few if any predicted six months ago. According to Michael Lind, writing an article for "Politico Magazine" entitled, "This Is What the Future of American Politics Looks Like," the political changes we have seen are really the end of the process, not the beginning.
Donald Trump's unpopularity numbers hover around 60 percent. Hillary Clinton's are between 50 and 55 percent. How did we get into a situation where most voters will be required to elect the least unpopular candidate this November? The answer lies in history and human nature.
What do voters want to know about the November elections? This was my question to a retired political science teacher friend recently (I will be teaching a Green River College continuing education course on the 2016 elections next week and was looking for ideas). His response was, “What do voters need to know about what the Constitution actually says about the powers of the president and Congress?”
"That government is best which governs least." These words of Thomas Jefferson are the hallmark of current conservatives toward the size of government. Big government is the bane of all hardworking Americans because money is taken from the productive and given to the unproductive. There are too many government regulations, which hinder freedom and raise costs because of expensive rules and regulations.
"Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." These words were my mantra over the last seven of my 31 years teaching high school social studies at Sumner. I know a lot about many fields because of my constant reading and thinking, but that isn't enough to have an impact upon cynical and suspicious high school students who won't listen or cooperate if they don't like you.
As of last Friday evening, Enumclaw was cut off from Buckley, Bonney Lake and Sumner by the White River Bridge closure. What was once a 10-minute drive has now increased to 45.
“Friends come and go, but enemies are forever.” This was a comment from a small-town mayor who had been involved in politics for almost 20 years. His statement is also true on the national level based upon an editorial from Theunis Bates, managing editor of “The Week,” in the March 25, 2016, edition.
As you may have surmised from my last three columns, I will not be voting for Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee for president come November. Because of that, I decided to attend the Democratic caucus. I know the Democratic primary election will not be used for determining this state's nominee; only the caucus counts. Not very democratic of the Democrats, but, hey, it's politics.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” stated Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Every year there are 500 million border crossings into the United States, according to Philip Bobbitt in his March 9, 2016, Stratfor article, “Borders in a Borderless World.” Those crossings have resulted in 11 million illegal/undocumented immigrants living the United States.
Is the Republican Party in its death throes? Donald Trump’s recent victories during the Super Tuesday primaries show the Republican Party in a major identity crisis, according to Christian Science Monitor writer, Linda Feldman, in an article entitled, “Super Tuesday: Trump’s Victories highlight GOP’s Identity Crisis.”
“We’ve tried intervention and putting down troops in Iraq. We’ve tried intervention without putting in troops in Libya. And we’ve tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in Syria.” These are the words of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who reflected on the decisions of western leaders who tried to plot the best course regarding hotspots in the Middle East.
President Obama is seriously underestimating Putin's strategy in Syria, according to Reva Bahalia in a recent Stratfor article, "Ruthless and Sober in Syria." "Back in October 2015, the president dismissed Russia's involvement in Syria: 'Mr. Putin is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally. The fact that they had to do this is not an indication of strength; it's an indication that their strategy did not work.'"