Subscription Preferences:

Dr. Will Boyd responds to Alabama lieutenant governor candidate questionnaire

Dr. Will Boyd, the Democrat nominee for lieutenant governor, recently responded to the questionnaire prepared by the Alabama Policy Institute and Yellowhammer News. His answers are below.

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

Question: What is your political philosophy and, if elected, how would it shape the way you lead as lieutenant governor?

Boyd: My political philosophy would likely be described as pragmatic as I consider myself a practical progressive. As Lieutenant Governor, I will put people over politics—concerning myself with the needs of all Alabamians versus a political platform. My compassion would lead me to work tirelessly to help every Alabamian seeking work get employment. My empathy would fuel my drive to expand Medicaid, protect of the Education Trust Fund many Alabamians depend on, and work towards a fairer tax system that does not unfairly burden low- and middle-income families while providing tax breaks for the rich.

How have you demonstrated your commitment to your political philosophy?

Over the past ten years alone, I have strongly supported policies that benefit those I was elected to serve or seek to serve. As an elected official, I listened to the concerns of voters on “both sides of the aisle” and supported projects or policies that provided for the needs of the many—even if it such support led to criticism from my own party.

What should be the role of the lieutenant governor?

While my campaign motto is “leading Alabama forward,” my aim is to “be number one at serving as number two.” Said differently, I want to employ my servant-leadership experience as a pastor and public servant to support the Governor in leading the State of Alabama with the understanding that my role is to serve as president of the Senate and make nearly four hundred appointments to more than one hundred and sixty agencies, boards, and commissions. Of course, I am prepared to step in at any time and serve as Alabama’s chief servant and executive should the Governor be rendered unable to execute her of his duties.

What is the most challenging social issue facing families in Alabama? Does government have a role in helping to solve that problem, and if so, what would you propose?

I believe the most challenging issue facing families in Alabama is still racial inequality. A lack of inclusion has resulted in many Alabamians being left behind. Unemployment rates are higher in African American communities. Many people of color are without healthcare and continue to be locked up disproportionately to their counterparts. On the campaign trail, I have noticed that predominately African-American communities have been left to tackle some of the most complicated environmental issues that have disgracefully and unethically been caused by chemical spills, toxic dumping, and infrastructure deficiencies that resemble those of developing countries. 

Lack of environmental cleanup and protection has purportedly resulted in central organ complications, exposure to carcinogenic materials, nausea, and death. All of these problems could easily be remedied by legislators and the government agencies working to provide every Alabamian with a fair shot to achieve the American dream—no matter the color of skin.

As Lieutenant Governor, I will not only use my bully pulpit to advocate for high speed rail to improve the odds of job acquisition or an educational lottery that will help provide needed funding to public schools, I will also advocate for broadband and more mobile towers in the black belt. I will work tirelessly to ensure that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math jobs) are not reserved for Alabama’s biggest metropolitan areas; but, I will fight to make sure these STEAM jobs are also available in the rural areas of Alabama. After all, there is no reason why any Alabamian who wants to work should live in poverty, be too far from a good public school, or be without affordable healthcare.

ETHICS

According to the Center for Public Integrity, Alabama receives a D+ grade for integrity. When the state is in the national news, it is often because of a lack of ethical behavior by state officials or candidates. How would having you as Lieutenant Governor improve our state’s image nationally and, more generally, what suggestions do you have to ensure integrity throughout the state government?

In the absence of exemplary leadership in the “highest offices” of the State of Alabama, I believe we need to restore public trust through ethics reform. The recent controversies surrounding moral failures in all three of Alabama’s branches of government have presented the state with a greater need for demonstration of ethical behavior and social responsibility. I strongly believe that leadership derailment often occurs as there is a lack of articulation of values and beliefs or no demonstration of the same.

Public trust cannot be restored by state officials and candidates by simply placing religious monuments around government buildings or even running political advertisements with candidates holding The Bible in hand. Public trust will not simply be restored with an influx of “religious” leaders into government. As a bishop and professor, I believe that ethics reform involves much more than posting codes of conduct and ethics in the chambers and halls of government or demanding more transparency. I strongly believe, and argue as much in my publications, that public trust in our state officials and candidates will come as we, state candidates and officials, embody the highest levels of ethical responsibility and engage in exemplary leadership practices which ultimately look out for the well-being of all Alabamians.
As the thirty-first Lieutenant Governor of Alabama, I will work to restore public trust, character and integrity statewide by:

— Pushing for reforms which lead to ethical and social audits of government offices.
Ensuring that state officials, like business executives of for-profit organizations, are socially-conscious of the concerns of the citizens, employees and all (domestic and foreign) who stand to gain or lose from the decisions they make.

— Encouraging government offices and agencies to benchmark their ethics and behavior to those of world-class providers of goods and services.

— Encouraging all elected officials to become critically reflective of their own actions in public and “behind closed doors”, seeking feedback from the citizens and promoting higher levels of their accountability to the people which elected them to serve our state and nation.

As Lieutenant Governor, you will be responsible for appointing more than 400 people to state positions. How can Alabamians be sure that you will appoint qualified and experienced candidates and not simply supporters from current or previous electoral campaigns?

Nepotism and “pay to play” tactics have rendered Alabama officials vulnerable to bribery, corruption, and other unethical practices. As an administrator, manager, executive and overseer working within for-profit and nonprofit organizations, I am required to ensure that job applicants possess the right skills and qualifications to fill job vacancies. Committed to the overarching goals of the organizations I served, I never have or will appoint anyone who is not qualified or experienced. Neither will I appoint someone solely on their current or previous connections to my electoral campaigns. As Lieutenant Governor, I will be held responsible for every appointment I make. Therefore, I am committed to seeking out the most qualified and experienced woman or man—no matter his or her race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

EDUCATION

PUBLIC EDUCATION

Alabama is ranked number forty-seven on U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best States for Education,and ranked number 1 in Pre-Kindergarten quality. As far as public education reforms, there have been many suggestions for improvement including increased investment in STEM education, distance learning, and reforming teacher tenure. What reforms would you propose or support to improve public education and prepare Alabama’s children for school success and lifelong learning?

While serving in higher learning, I had the pleasure of serving as Dean of Student Success while also teaching Business Management. My responsibilities included oversight of career services and providing professional assistance for student success. I have a passion for preparing students for educational success and connecting them to the right people to help improve job acquisition. I know many Alabama educators share my beliefs. 

I believe Alabama has the best administrators and educators; however, our legislators have not chosen to make funding of public education a priority. We cannot spend more money on housing a prisoner than educating a child in public school system and expect to succeed. We cannot raid our Educational Trust Fund or allow tax credit scholarship programs to pour money into schools where financial assistance is not needed.

My four year-old just graduated from a Pre-Kindergarten program. She was truly blessed to have the opportunity to matriculate through such a program; however, every four year-old in Alabama should be afforded the same opportunity without respect to level of household income. Pre-K must be fully funded statewide and this could be achieved through an Educational Lottery. As it relates to public education reforms, Alabama needs to rethink how it provides education.

I am a product of both traditional “brick-and-mortar” and nontraditional “brick-and-click” schools of higher learning. I want Alabamians to be afforded the same opportunities to become continuous learners. While there are nearly seventy-five thousand Alabamians out of work, there are more than thirty thousand jobs that have remained unfilled because of a lack of the right skillsets. We don’t need to teach students to test. We need to introduce students to learning experiences and programs that prepare them for changing economies and global marketplaces. We need to invest in STEM and STEAM programs. We need to explore ways to improve both our pedagogy (educating of children) and andragogy (educating of adults).

As Lieutenant Governor, I intend to introduce Alabama to my “Blue and Gold” program that brings educators together with blue collar workers to ensure that students are able to find more jobs in the private sector upon completion of high school and community college while also readjusting blue color workers for a greener economy through trade readjustment.

In order to move Alabama forward, we need to rethink how we prepare inmates for reentry into society and the workforce. We must introduce postsecondary learning to prisons to reduce recidivism. As we are increasing Alabama Department of Corrections salaries, we need to also raise the salaries of teacher to the level of a living wage. It is sad that our educators have to work two or more jobs to reach a living wage.

Having served as a Dean of Student Success for a private college, I propose that state educators in primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools partner together to:

— Identify ways to better engage all students and parents through targeted electronic messages or social networks such as Facebook,

— Find ways to help the financially at-risk successfully persist to graduation,

— Help students discover their strengths or areas of interest sooner,

— Provide psychological counseling to students who willfully disrupt the learning experience or purposefully do not engage in the classroom,

— Create special summer college prep programs for first generation college students,
Connect college students to the right people and resources within their community to improve the chances of job acquisition in the State of Alabama,

— Benchmark test performance against similar sized communities in the state in efforts to provide continuous improvement and hire the best teachers and administrators,

— Provide Career Services support to all juniors and seniors in High School and College (i.e. resume and cover letter training, graduate school and career advising, transportation to job fairs, and access to internship/job posting databases), and

— Create a nonprofit State Board of Education Counselors similar to the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) dedicated to education and career advising.

Through these collaborative efforts, I believe Alabama will see:

— Students will be able to sooner discover the places they can go with their interest, hobbies (ultimately leading to a more satisfied workforce),

— A decrease in class interruptions and fewer altercations with teachers and other students (on and off campus, including gang-related activities),

— Students/Parents finding it less needful to seek out private schools outside their own communities,

— Elementary, Middle and High School educators gaining a better understanding the effectiveness of their teaching pedagogy, perhaps even better understanding the educational challenges for students in a geographical region,

— Improved retention (and satisfaction) of students attending community, private and public colleges as there is less “run around” required to register for classes or gain access to services needed on campus,

— Better prepared job seekers (the best prepared are likely to acquire the best paying jobs), and
Improved retention of Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.

EDUCATIONAL CHOICE

In 2015, Alabama became the 43rd state to approve legislation to authorize charter schools. Many states now allow parents to transfer their child from a failing public school to a non-failing public school, to utilize education savings accounts or school vouchers, or to send students to alternative schools using tax-credit scholarships, allowing parents greater control in their child’s educational endeavors. How should educational choice fit into Alabama’s education system?

The Alabama State Department of Education has published findings that a number of public schools have, over many years, failed to make their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals. National Assessment of Academic Progress (NAEP) data has also reflected somber proficiency levels in math, science and reading for elementary students. Having the choice of a public charter school has been well received by many as research has reflected public charter schools have a positive effect on college success indicators like ACT scores and graduation rates. 

At first glance, it seems appealing to provide parents and students with more choices to control educational endeavors. Regrettably, the policy issues regarding educational choice in Alabama should carefully be considered. While the assumption that spending more money public students has been hotly debated, it is a fact that tax-credit scholarships, intended to provide thousands of students in failing school districts with increased funding, have gone to a high number of students who are not even enrolled in failing schools.

While Alabama should offer its educators compensation that is comparable or even more favorable than other states, the legislature should ensure that education options like tax credit scholarships are not being used merely to provide individuals and business with financial incentives at the expense of Alabama’s public school system. I believe that public schools should be at the heart of every Alabama community. Every Alabama child deserves access to a quality school—no matter the geographical location.

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

TAX CODE

In Alabama, the bottom 20% of earners pay 10% of their income in state and local taxes while the top 1% only pays 3.8% of their income in the same taxes. If elected, what would you propose be the future of the state income tax and do you see this disparity as a problem?

Alabama has an upside-down tax system that is unfair. It is regressive because lower income earners pay more in sales taxes than higher income earners. Proportional income taxes, though viewed as fair to some, don’t offset the revenues lost to the tax breaks provided to higher income earners and businesses that do not pay their fair share in taxes. The wage gains of low- and middle-class Alabamians cannot keep pace with inflation. Even worse, Alabama’s tax system fails to keep pace with the State’s needs as 57% of the top fifth of income earners only pay 44% of the state and local taxes collected.

In order for Alabama to avoid structural deficits, I propose that Alabama takes a serious look at moving to a proportional and progressive tax system that will fairly tax all Alabamians rather than saddling the cost of Alabama services to the backs of low- and middle-income households. Some feel it would be too difficult to make changes in the Alabama tax structure as it would require changes to the Alabama Constitution. However, as Lieutenant Governor, I support the following proposals presented by Arise Citizens’ Policy Project which includes:

— Increasing the personal exemption,

— Increasing the standard deduction,

— Increasing the dependent deduction,

— Making Alabama’s deductions and exemptions keep pace with annual cost of living increases,

— Create a state earned income tax credit, set at 10%, to help low-income working families offset the cost of high sales taxes, and

— Create a new rate structure.

STATE AND LOCAL TAXES

According to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, Alabama boasts the 12th most regressive state and local tax system in the nation. One contributor to this ranking is our combined 9% grocery tax (only four states tax groceries more than Alabama). In 2017, Governor Bentley proposed decreasing the grocery tax by 4%. If you are elected, would you suggest changes to the grocery tax?

Alabama has a regressive state and local tax system. Alabama’s regressive tax system results in $100 in groceries costing $110. Regressive state and local taxes hit low- and middle-income families hardest in Alabama as much of their income is spent on goods that are taxed at this high rate. When elected Lieutenant Governor, I will work hard to support any legislation that seeks to do away with the grocery tax. Alabama remains one of less than a handful of states that fully tax groceries. There is no reason why Alabama should tax low-income families even deeper into poverty.

INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT

US News ranks Alabama’s roads and bridges as the 16th and 21st best in the country, respectively. Even so, every neighbor of ours—except Mississippi – has roads and bridges that rank in the top 10. Alabama also ranks 45th in terms of broadband access. If elected, what would you prioritize as the most important infrastructure investment projects, and what innovative options would you propose to fund such projects?  

While Alabama’s roads and bridges have been ranked as 16th and 21st in the country, respectively, much of our infrastructure is outdated. Alabama needs broadband, energy, transportation, water, and wastewater infrastructure updates.

Alabama needs to modernize its infrastructure with prioritization being placed on broadband service. It is awful that there are areas of the state where there is no mobile phone reception, no broadband and concern about clean drinking water. Kids can’t search the internet for nontraditional learning at home as their parents have to visit local restaurants with Wi-Fi just to complete job applications. How can we expect businesses to be attracted to these areas to infuse more money for infrastructure improvements?

While Alabama roads and bridges will always be under construction, I believe it is time legislators progressively look to investing in high speed rail to provide Alabamians with greater access to employment opportunities while also lessening the amount of traffic on state roads and bridges. Each year, Alabama leaves millions in federal funding on the table each year by not investing in a high speed intercity rail system like other states. A high speed rail project in Alabama could create more than 20,000 permanent jobs over a 10 years of construction, cause a rise in property values near stations, lower fuel emissions, and shorten commute between major cities.

STATE-RUN LOTTERY

Most states resort to installing a state-run lottery to increase revenue and pay for government projects. Do you support a lottery to solve the state’s fiscal woes? Why or why not?

I support a state-run lottery—especially an education lottery as Alabamians have expressed their frustration educating the children of Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. An educational lottery, restricted solely to educational use, would help fully-fund pre-K, invest more in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math programs that better prepare students for job acquisition, help provide public schools more wraparound services, and help provide teachers with salaries competitive with other states.

FEDERAL DEPENDENCY

Alabama is currently the fourth most federally dependent state in the country. What do you think should be the federal government’s role in our state finances?

As previously mentioned regarding public transportation, Alabama needs to progressively work towards getting federal dollars to invest in infrastructure projects like high speed rail that will move the state forward. While other states receive an average of one quarter of their budgets from the federal government, Alabama receives nearly forty percent. This equates to two dollars from the federal government for every five dollars Alabama spends. While Alabama depends on this funding to support basic services, we need to be more progressive and consider looking for more matching grants and funding for infrastructure improvements. While I support the federal government’s role in supplying federal grants, I believe Alabama needs to do a better job identifying opportunities to contribute more to federal programs that provide “matching dollars “back to the state.

THE RIGHT TO WORK

JOB CREATION

The Census Bureau suggests that Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee are creating more jobs than Alabama. As lieutenant governor, how would you foster job creation that rivals our neighbors to the north, east, and south?

While I oppose disproportionate tax cuts, I believe tax rate reductions can lead to economic expansion. I support increasing the money supply at state and local levels. I also support tax increment financing and offering incentives to businesses to attract them to Alabama.

“Leading Alabama forward” requires supporting our workforce, especially our manufacturers. We need sound policies, modernization of infrastructure (including broadband in rural areas), detangling of regulations, education of the next generation of manufacturing, developing alternative energy sources, promotion of global trade, and even provision of tax incentives to businesses that truly provide job creation in areas where economic growth has been nonexistent.

Having served as a city councilman and an assistant adjunct professor of Business Management, I know the effectiveness of offering incentives to attract businesses to an area seeking economic development; however, I believe a better way of attracting a good workforce is ensuring that these communities seeking economic development have great education systems to attract a good workforce.

ROLE OF LABOR

Alabama is a right-to-work state. In your opinion, what is the proper role of organized labor and should Alabama remain a right-to-work state?

I am a “Friend of Labor.” I seek to be a strong voice for Alabama’s Working Families. I know from experience that organized Labor is one of the keystones of our Democracy. I will fight for Alabama’s working families as Lieutenant Governor by standing in solidarity with Labor to strengthen and defend worker’s rights to organize and bargain collectively. I will demand economic freedom for Alabama’s working families as support an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage to achieve a Realistic Living Wage. I have pledged to stand with Labor on the issues of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Employee Free Choice Act, Banning Striker Replacement, Davis-Bacon, Safety Standards and Fair Trade. I have been regarding as a “friend of Labor” who will fight for Alabama’s working families. I will stand with Labor to demand that the exporting of jobs overseas be stopped and that more good paying jobs are created here in Alabama.

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING IN ALABAMA

The state of Alabama licenses 151 different occupations and over 20% of Alabama workers need a license to work. If elected, how would address these regulations—regulations that both the Obama and Trump administrations have regarded as problematic?

Occupational licenses benefit consumers by insuring that products or services are offered with quality and safety. While occupational licensing is needed for practitioners in higher skilled occupations, Alabama has requirements for licenses in over 150 different occupations, presenting barriers and hurdles for practitioners like auctioneering, barbers, locksmiths, manicurists, massage therapists, and other fields. These fees, erect barriers and exact burdens for people seeking to enter professions that provide services to Alabamians.

Acquisition of occupational licenses has been estimated to cost Alabamians over $80 million annually. It has also been estimated that Alabamians working in occupations requiring these licenses collectively pay $30 million annually just to maintain licensing. The fees can prevent Alabamians from entering certain occupational fields and ultimately get passed on to customers—driving up the cost of either of the services provided by these 151 different licensed occupation workers.

As Lieutenant Governor, I would work to reform occupational licensing. I would encourage more use of certification rather than licensing. Certification would allow more Alabamians pay an upfront fee for initial training and allow trained individuals to work within their fields without the burden of licensing fees that have been proven to be disproportionately unfair to low-income and minorities seeking work. Alabama has nearly 75,000 people out of work and 900,000 living in poverty. Changes in licensing laws alone could provide more Alabamians an opportunity to find work to improve their quality of life.

Interestingly, occupational licensing can be harmful in areas dealing with disasters. Without emergency declarations for occupational licensing, immediate healthcare can be delayed. Long term, reconstruction can be delayed in the aftermath of a disaster like tornados. For the many reasons provided above, Alabama needs to scale back licensing regulations that impede Alabamians from working and ultimately pass higher costs of services provided on the Alabama customers who may ultimately elect to do the job themselves rather than investing in Alabama’s economy.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

OPIOID EPIDEMIC

According to the CDC, Alabama is the state highest-prescribed with opioids, with more prescriptions than people. Opioids are the main driver of overdose deaths and, in 2016, 756 Alabamians died from drug overdoses. As lieutenant governor, how would you help the governor tackle Alabama’s share of this national crisis?

According to the Center for Disease Control, Alabama has seen more prescriptions filled than people living in the state. In 2015, one study reflected that 5.8 million opioids were prescribed in our state that has a population of 4.8 million. In 2016, 756 Alabamians died from drug overdoses as an even greater number of Alabamians are suffering from addiction. As lieutenant governor, I will help the governor tackle Alabama’s share of this national crises by supporting priorities which include: 1) overhauling Alabama’s prescription monitoring system, 2) providing addicts treatment programs versus incarceration, and 3) working to provide medication that prevent the effects of opioid and overdose. While these are remedial efforts as they offer assistance after addiction, I would support efforts to also facilitate more behavioral and educational research that leads to prevention of opioid addiction for those suffering from chronic pain and are on opioid analgesics due to injuries sustained by way of trauma.

CRIME PREVENTION

Alabama has the third highest murder rate in the country. As lieutenant governor, how would you address crime and what policies, specifically, would you propose?

For too long, candidates have campaigned on being “tough on crime” without providing away to prepare inmates for reentry into society or lower recidivism. Furthermore, these same politicians have made way for “pipe ways to prison.” As legislators entertain the privatization of prisons, even more people are concerned with housing prisoners rather than preventing crime.

I’m concerned about Alabama’s prison overcrowding and lack of adequate correctional and mental-health staff. Some of these problems could be addressed with “fairer sentencing,” more investment in mental health treatment, more reentry preparation, and increased pay for Alabama Department of Corrections employees.

This year, it has already been announced that the Alabama Department of Corrections is cutting the amount of money it spends on drug rehabilitation, making prisons weaker and less productive in their mission to reform prisoners so they do not return to criminal activities upon their release.

In conclusion, I believe changes in the economy can have more pronounced effects on crime rates than incarceration. I also believe providing postsecondary learning “behind bars,” even to those with only elementary education levels, can significantly reduce recidivism and improve reintegration into society.

print

1 hour ago

The racist history of gun control

Frequently we see the case against gun control entirely grounded upon a Constitutional defense of the Second Amendment. While the Founding Fathers’ warnings about the importance of defending liberty with an armed populace are as important today as they have ever been, this approach has some flaws.

For one, the Constitution was not meant to grant positive rights to citizens but rather was intended to recognize the natural rights and restrict the ability of the federal government to limit them. The Founding Fathers did not believe that these rights could not be limited, however. Instead, they saw that legislation that restricted one’s natural rights should be handled by governments closer to the people themselves, including states and localities.

699

This is why the Bill of Rights was not intended to apply to state government.

Though many state constitutions shared similarities with the Bill of Rights, by 1820 only 9 of 22 states had language explicitly protecting the right to bear arms: Massachusetts (1780), Pennsylvania (1790), Kentucky (1792), Tennessee (1796), Ohio (1801), Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), Connecticut (1818), Alabama (1819), and Maine (1819). (The number was 18 of 33 by 1886.)

Of course that lack of state constitutional protection did not mean that states were necessarily hostile to gun rights – at least, for white citizens.

The same could not be said for “Indians,” “Free Negroes,” “Mulattos” and certainly not slaves.1

Prior to the passing of the 14th Amendment, eight states2​ had gun control legislation that criminalized the possession of fire arms by non-white free citizens. Virginia required such individuals to receive government permission. Three additional states3​ had constitutional language that specified that gun rights were reserved exclusively for white men.4

In order to maintain the horrific institution of slavery, the state had to disarm those most likely to empathize with its victims.

While the “peculiar institution” was ended as a result of the Civil War, racially motivated gun control laws were not.

While the 14th Amendment prevented states from explicitly mentioning race in legislation, state governments still managed to find ways to disarm black citizens.

As David Kopel and Joseph Greenlee have noted, these included laws that banned pistols that were not used by former Confederate officers, severe racial discrepancies in the penalty for unlawfully concealed carrying, as well as gun licensing requirements  that, in the words of a future Florida Supreme Court Justice, were “passed for the purpose of disarming the negro laborers” and “was never intended to apply to the white population.”

The racial motivation behind gun control did not end in the 19th Century either.

One of the most obvious examples was California’s Mulford Act, signed in 1967 by Governor Ronald Reagan. The law was a direct response to the Black Panthers’ open-carry patrols of Oakland neighborhoods, and banned the carrying of loaded weapons. It is also worth noting that the NRA, who for all the attention given to them by the media has often promoted the growth of government restrictions on gun rights, actively supported the legislation.

Of course, the outcome of gun control policies continues to have a disproportionate effect on minority communities. Every government hurdle placed on legal gun ownership renders citizens more dependent upon the state for their own protection. As we have seen, not all police response is equal.

For example, in Chicago the ACLU has found that:

African American and Latino neighborhoods wait much longer for a police officer to be dispatched after an emergency 911 call, have fewer officers assigned to minority districts for each emergency call than predominantly white neighborhoods and that minority neighborhoods continue to have more violent crimes per officer than white neighborhoods.

Justice Clarence Thomas also noted the unique experience of black Americans in his opinion on McDonald v. Chicago.

The use of firearms for self-defense was often the only way black citizens could protect themselves from mob violence. As Eli Cooper, one target of such violence, is said to have explained, “ ‘[t]he Negro has been run over for fifty years, but it must stop now, and pistols and shotguns are the only weapons to stop a mob.’ ”

So while it is easy for well-protected politicians, celebrities, and billionaires to champion the cause of gun control, it’s important to remember that the history of such legislation has come at the expense of those most vulnerable in society.

An unarmed populace is always easier to victimize than an armed one.

1. As Chris Calton informs me “the first colonial statute that specifically targeted black people (not just slaves, not Indians, and not white servants) was a Virginia law prohibiting gun ownership for blacks in 1639. ”
2. Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, and North Carolina
3. Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee
4. Frassetto, Mark, Firearms and Weapons Legislation up to the Early 20th Century (January 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2200991 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2200991

(Courtesy of Mises Institute in Auburn)

Conservatives must not leave the culture war battle to ‘summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots’

There are certain fundamental truths in life that neither the liberal elite nor the left-wing media nor the activists federal courts can change no matter how hard they try.

For example, I know that marriage ordained by God can only occur between a man and a woman. I know that individuals should use the rest room correlating to the gender they were born with and not the one they pretend to be. And I know that tearing down all of the historic statues, memorials, and markers in the world will not erase our history – it simply prevents future generations from learning the lessons it offers.

The fact of the matter is that our nation is engaged in a prolonged culture war in which the liberals extremists on the east and west coasts of the United States want to dictate the morals, values, and bedrock beliefs of everyone who lives in-between.

605

We must not let them win.

The Declaration of Independence says that our rights are endowed by our Creator and that the freedom for independence is entitled by the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”

I believe the Creator referenced in this revered document is the God to whom we, as Christians, devote our lives and spirits and the same God the founders worshipped when they held regular prayer and church services in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber, a practice that continued until after the Civil War.

If you agree, as the founders did, that God is the basis of our nation, we need only to look at Genesis to see His original plan for marriage – one man represented by Adam, and one woman represented by Eve.

Marriage is an institution created and ordained by God. It was not created by man, government, or an activist federal judge.

Every society that has allowed the marriage covenant to be destroyed eventually withered away and vanished. Our society is slipping away, and it is time to take a stand.

We must also hold the line against those who are working to mainstream crossdressers and transvestites by making accommodations that include allowing them to use the public restrooms of their choice. Even worse, some school systems across the nation are allowing minors who claim to be “transgender” to shower in facilities reserved for the opposite sex.

Gender is not a choice. It is a fact that is determined by biology and by God, not by how masculine or feminine you feel when you wake up in the morning. Dressing like a pirate doesn’t make you a pirate, dressing like an astronaut doesn’t make you an astronaut, and dressing like the opposite sex doesn’t make you a man or a woman.

For that same reason, I fully support President Trump’s ban on allowing “transgender” soldiers to serve in the U.S. armed forces. The purpose of the military is to protect our national interests, repel attacks on our country, and preserve peace through strength. Accomplishing these missions becomes infinitely more difficult when military leaders must worry about G.I. Joe demanding to be treated like G.I. Jane.

The culture war has prompted liberals to reach into our nation’s history and demand the removal of any statue, marker, or relic that offends their delicate sensibilities. Colleges have painted over murals of our founding fathers and other groups are vandalizing statues relating to Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Lee, and the Buffalo Soldiers, an African-American military regiment that fought against Native Americans who resisted the settlement of the Great Plains.

Demanding that men and women born more than two centuries ago must strictly conform to the accepted traditions and social structures of today is patently unfair and intellectually dishonest.

Because radical liberal elements are working to tear down monuments to our past and erase entire sections of our shared American history, I was proud to join my fellow lawmakers in passing the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, which prevents the removal of any memorial that is at least 40-years-old,.

If conservatives are going to win the culture war, we must elect public officials who are willing to speak the truth, abandon political correctness, and stand toe-to-toe against the liberals who attack us. I think this column proves I am willing to do all of those things.

The consequences of losing the culture war are too dire to leave the battle to what Thomas Paine called “summertime soldiers and sunshine patriots.”

If elected your lieutenant governor, I will shoulder the conservative fight and preserve the Alabama values that make our state such a great place to live, work, and raise our children.

Will Ainsworth is a Republican from Guntersville. 

When did marriage, parenthood become about self-fulfillment?


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

AMERICAN BIRTHRATE AT ALL-TIME LOW

TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, headline out of The Wall Street Journal, “American women are having children at the lowest rate on record with the number of babies born in the United States last year dropping to a 30-year low.”

Some 3.85 million babies were born last year and that’s down 2 percent from 2016 and the lowest number since 1987. The general fertility rate for women from ages 15 to 44 was 60.2 births per 1,000 women, the lowest rate since government began tracking it more than a century ago.

WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT THE VALUE OF PARENTHOOD?

DR. REEDER In a Christian world view, the having of children was seen as a calling from the Lord and that, actually, procreation was not only a blessing, but it was, in a sense, a vocation, a desire, a calling.

Now, that comes, of course, from the fact that when God made us — male and female, Adam and Eve, the first parents — He then gave us three commands:

— Be fruitful and multiply.

— Subdue the earth.

— Rule over the creation.

1420


Note that, subdue the earth, that’s the sanctity of work; rule over the creation, that’s the sanctity of stewardship of God’s creation; and then be fruitful and multiply, that’s the sanctity of sexuality within marriage, not only for the recreational blessings in each other’s life, but also for the purpose of procreation that we are to be fruitful and — not add — but multiply.

Well, now we are following the pattern of Europe in America and now we’re not even replacing ourselves. In fact, if America was not even a desirable place to be for immigration, then we would not even be growing at all as a society. Our growth is significantly reliant upon immigration — we’re not even replacing ourselves.

SHAME-CULTURE

This all began with the notion of Planned Parenthood — two parents and have two children to replace yourself — and so now we’re about to 1.78 children per marriage, not even a replacement rate. When you begin to do that, you lose the sense of the blessing of children, the blessing of the multiplication of the legacy of families, the joy of having children as well as the challenge that comes.

And why is that happening? Well, if you have more than two children, you’re being marginalized and shamed. Now, one of the great challenges is the notion that you have children for self-fulfillment — not to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with those who are raised in the home with a proper nurturing atmosphere from a father and a mother, but now you can have children for your own fulfillment.

CHILDREN AND MARRIAGE HAVE BECOME AFTERTHOUGHT

I remember after a wedding one time, a mother came up to me and she said, “I just think my daughter have children.” I said, “Well, that’s wonderful.” She said, “Well, she’s not married,” and I said, “Well, then she needs to be married.” And she said, “Why should they? If my daughter wants children to be fulfilled, why should she have to be married?”

And I said, “Well, to begin with, you don’t have children to be fulfilled. It is fulfilling to have children, but you don’t have children to be fulfilled. You have children to be fruitful and multiply. And, when you have children, you’re supposed to be responsible and part of the responsibility is to provide a covenant home that is a covenant of marriage whereby the child knows there’s two people committed to each other which means, ‘When I wake up in the morning, I’m going to have a daddy and mama.’ The father providing what only a father can provide and the mother providing what only a mother can provide.”

And so now it was, “Let’s get married and let’s discuss whether we want to have children for self-fulfillment.” Now, it’s, “Let’s connect.” We used to call it “shacking up.” “Let’s cohabitate.” And then it’s, “You know what? Why don’t we have a child?” And then, after they have a child, just like you’ve got to have a dog for a while and then, “We’ll have a child for a while. And then, now that we have a child, do we want to be married or not?”

The statistics are astounding. Those who are having sex outside of marriage and the child is sitting here like a pawn. That child was brought into this world simply as an item to be displayed and enjoyed in life. It’s all about my comfort, my nurture and my self-fulfillment.

You remember the song, Tom, sung on the playground — a taunting song — “There’s Sally and Jack, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Jack with a baby carriage,” but at least in the taunting they got the order right.

If we have the right view of marriage and the right view of procreation and that children are not a burden but a blessing from the Lord and the Lord’s given us a covenant promise, “I’ll be a God to you and to your children after you,” if that is true, there’s a great opportunity for us, as the world starves itself by its lack of procreation, we can be fruitful and multiply and, by the way, covenantal evangelism and bringing forth children who know Christ can be a great impact in a society, in a community and in a neighborhood.

PARENTHOOD LOW, SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES HIGH

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, let me bring up a sidebar issue. As you know, California often leads the rest of the nation in statistics and California officials recently said cases of sexually transmitted diseases reached a state record high last year, more than 300,000 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in 2017, a 45 percent increase in the last five years.

DR. REEDER: Amazingly, we’ve got these unbelievable advances in medicine that stem the tide, but it won’t get rid of it. Here’s the fact: sex belongs within marriage. If we could take an entire generation and, if in the providence of God, instead of acting like animals in heat, but we were to put sex within marriage defined by one man and one woman for one life, if we could do that for one generation, after that generation is through, give us 25, 30, 40 years. After that generation faithfully puts sex within marriage, then all sexually transmitted diseases would be gone.

However, vaccines are not going to get rid of them. I’m not saying to not get the vaccines — we need to always try to alleviate suffering — but I will tell you that prophylactics, vaccines, and all of the behavior modification theories will not get rid of the fact that, when you break God’s law and you decide to have sex outside of a Biblically defined marriage, then sexually transmitted diseases will rise.

Here we are looking at a state that flaunts its rebellion against God’s law and the result is skyrocketing sexually transmitted diseases. That doesn’t even give us a glimpse of what is happening emotionally in people’s lives.

SEXUAL SIN HAS LIFETIME CONSEQUENCES

Everybody thinks, when they look at the movies and they look at the pornography and all of that, by the way, after everybody’s jumped around in bed to bed with each other, show’s over and let’s just go on with life.” No, let me tell you what happens in real life: broken homes, broken bodies, and broken lives.

GOD’S LAW BRINGS TRUE FREEDOM FROM TEMPTATION AND SIN

However, let me tell you what can happen that is true life and that life comes in Jesus Christ, Who can forgive us of the shame and guilt of our sin and, even more than that, can transform us so that we can delight in His law and we love to do that which pleases Him,

And we love not only the Lord, to obey him with all of our heart, soul and mind because He has saved us from sin at the cross, but we also love our neighbor enough so that no longer will we covet our neighbor’s wife, no longer will we covet those relationships that lead to sexual activity outside of marriage and produce children who do not have the benefit of a father and mother and will likely seek out some kind of a gang as a substitute before long.

That’s what happens in real life so I would like to encourage everyone to come to the true life of the Savior, Who loves you and will set you free from sin’s guilt and power. And, in that glorious freedom comes the great transforming grace that we can begin to walk in life and, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you can do to the glory of God, not the idolatry of sin.

COMING UP MONDAY:

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on Monday’s Today in Perspective, we’re going to have a good follow-up program to what we talked about today. Christianity Today recently combed through some research by Pew Research, who found that evangelical mothers score high for balance and satisfaction in parenting but, at the same time, these evangelical women struggle with “mom guilt.”

DR. REEDER: Yeah, mom guilt: “Am I spending enough time with my child? Can I work outside the home?” Let’s take a look at that from a Biblical world and life view.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

5 hours ago

Greens file lawsuit to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline from being built

Environmental groups have taken to the judicial system in their latest attempt to derail construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

TransCanada Corporation has dealt with years of delays and stonewalling from those opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline project. The Calgary-based energy company was relatively unknown until it proposed to make an additional line to its extensive pipeline system that runs through the U.S. and Canada. TransCanada entered the national spotlight ever since opposition to Keystone XL became a rallying cry for climate change activists, with numerous protests organized to halt the project.

The Obama White House officially rejected the pipeline in 2015, claiming it wouldn’t do much for the U.S. economy or energy security. But not long after entering office, President Donald Trump reversed this decision and gave Keystone the green light to begin construction.

375

The president’s support for Keystone has not scuttled activists’ hopes of preventing it. Environmental organizations — such as Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and others — initiated a lawsuit in March 2017, claiming Trump’s approval of Keystone was unlawful. Their case is being held in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

Attorneys for the Trump administration on Thursday defended approval of the project in a Montana courtroom. Environmentalists and some Native American groups are asking U.S. District Judge Brian Morris to overturn the pipeline’s approval decision.

“In approving Keystone XL, the Trump administration unlawfully ignored that it would be a disaster for our climate, wildlife and clean water,” senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity Jared Margolis said in a statement released Thursday. “Regulators failed to fully consider this pipeline’s profound threats to the environment and endangered species, including the iconic whooping crane, which would be devastated by the project’s power lines. The government failed to do its job, and this terrible project must be stopped.”

In another Thursday statement, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council appeared to say her organization would oppose Keystone no matter where on the map it was placed.

“The Trump administration barreled into office eager to appease big polluters, and fast. So fast it acted illegally by approving the KXL project even before it had an approved route,” stated Jackie Prange, a senior attorney at the NRDC. “But no route will ever be safe. Wherever it goes, this dangerous pipeline will always pose an unacceptable risk to water supplies for farmers, ranchers, indigenous people, and communities. We intend to stop it once, and for all.”

Keystone is also battling a separate legal challenge in Nebraska. Landowners are challenging the Nebraska Public Service Commission’s approval of a route through the state.

Keystone is expected to cost around $8 billion to complete. Beginning in Alberta, it will extend through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, and will transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude a day.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

6 hours ago

VIDEO: Alabama may lose a congressman — Ainworth’s ‘blood on [Gov. Ivey’s] hands’ comment — run-offs in the governors’ races … and more on Guerrilla Politics!

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and Dr. Waymon Burke take you through this week’s biggest political stories including:

— Is Alabama going to lose a Congressional seat and can it be stopped?

— Did State Representative Will Ainsworth go too far with the way he asked the governor to call a special session?

— Will there be run-offs in the races for governor?

54

Attorney General Steve Marshall joins Jackson and Burke to discuss his re-election and his lawsuit with the federal government over counting illegals in the census.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at NFL players who are doing all they can to help Republicans hang on to Congress.