Red State Attacks on First Amendment Freedoms | Columnists

Happy Palindrome Day (02/22/22)!!!

*** While I am still convinced that an all-out war will not break out between Russia and Ukraine, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin incurred the ire of US President Joe Biden yesterday when he formally acknowledged the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. as separate nations from Ukraine. Putin’s press corps then noted that Russian troops would be sent to these two “new nations” for the purpose of “keeping peace”.

One of the things I love about history is that events tend to repeat themselves and because of that, those who are wise enough to study past people, places and events are in the best position to predict. present and future behavior based on these events.

When it comes to Putin and his eventual invasion of Ukraine, the world has seen this piece before, in 1939, when German Führer Adolf Hitler claimed that Poland was persecuting ethnic Germans living in Poland. It was a lie, but it was his chosen method of launching a Blitzkrieg that devastated the unprepared Polish army within weeks.

At the time, Hitler guessed correctly that neither France nor Britain was prepared to defend Poland against invasion. Hitler had also negotiated a “Non-Aggression Pact” with Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union just weeks before invading Poland, which ensured that his German army would not have to confront the much larger Red Army. – at least not yet.

Today, NATO is much better equipped and able to help the Ukrainian army through deployments in the field or by providing equipment to repel the Russian army. This point, again, leads me to believe that Putin will go no further than his foray into the two former Ukrainian territories that have declared independence. We’ll see, but again I think Russia is not ready for a protracted war in Europe and at the last minute will pull back and claim victory despite not having fired a single shot of fire.

Stay tuned…

*** Although I have written often lately about Russian oppression abroad, I am far more concerned about right-wing oppression here in the United States.

A State House committee in Arizona yesterday voted to advance a bill that would make it illegal for citizens to stand within eight feet of police officers and record their actions – unless they receive the permission from the police to do anything that is recorded.

The state of Arizona will consider passing a law that would outlaw this camera phone video of Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd…

Well, just like the fox wouldn’t want his stuff in the chicken coop recorded, most cops who beat, taser, or choke a suspect aren’t going to stop and say, “why of course, sir/madam, please tape it.Such is the absurdity of this bill, one that will NOT pass federal constitutional scrutiny as such is an assault on the First Amendment right to speak freely and assemble peacefully.

But unconstitutionality doesn’t stop “unknowing” Republicans from their daily despicable acts to diminish the rights America claims to cherish, which is why it’s essential for us to express our displeasure with words (blogs, opinion pieces, social media posts) and actions (vote)!

***Closer to home, the Florida Know Nothings, led by Governor Ron Desantis, are poised to pass measures this session that would ban critical race theory, while also banning any instruction on identity or identity. sexual orientation.

The governor of Florida has earned the derisive nickname “Dumb-Santis,” but if those Yale and Harvard undergraduate degrees he earned are worth anything, he must know that preventing the open exchange of ideas scholars is a clear violation of the First Amendment; the government simply CANNOT thwart the teaching of historical, sociological and scientific thought just to advance a political agenda!

While you can browse the archives of this blog to see my past reviews of critics of critical race theory, I am appalled by the idea that black figures like writers Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, or the icon of civil rights Bayard Rustin, would be banned from schools. because of their strong views on white supremacy or because of their sexual identification as gay men!

Clockwise from top left: Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Alvin Ailey and Bayard Rustin are titans of black history who were also gay men.

Moreover, as a historian who has spent quite a bit of time learning about Western civilization in general, and ancient Roman and Greek history, in particular, such bans by the Florida legislature would limit what children could learn about the island of Lesbos, or, the complete comedies of Aristophanes, or, the historical retrospectives of Thucydides and his commentary on homosexual life in the Athenian government! Such bans would eliminate the study of “bacchic” pursuits of famous ancient Romans ranging from Pliny the Elder to Pompey Magnus; from Caesar to Cicero – wealthy Roman men who often participated in orgies that included both homosexual and heterosexual activity!

Homosexuality was hardly taboo in the rich ancient Greek or Roman culture

For me, the mark of an enlightened individual is one who can read about subjects that are not to his personal taste – and still consider them in a scholarly and analytical way; the mark of a fool is noted by those who close their eyes, close their ears and reject all knowledge that is not their personal predilection. And judging by the poor state of public discourse these days, the last thing our schools need to do is suppress any kind of real knowledge!

figure in black history

With President Joe Biden poised to select the first black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, the racist Know Nothings wasted no time calling any candidate “unqualified” to serve. The truth is, black women have been qualified to serve for decades, but have been overlooked by Democratic and Republican presidents whenever vacancies have occurred.

Constance Baker Motley was surely qualified in her lifetime! Born September 14, 1921 in New Haven, Connecticut, Motley grew up in the New York area and during her youth her parents were influential leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Motley later recounted that watching her parents work helped her decide at age 15 to become a civil rights attorney.

Motley first attended Fisk University in Nashville, but later transferred to New York University, where she earned a degree in economics in 1943. Motley later attended law school at the University of Columbia and, upon graduation, became the first female attorney for the Legal Defense and Education Fund. In this capacity, Motley served alongside legal giants Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall and in 1950 she penned the original complaint that would lead to the seminal Brown v. School Board case that ultimately helped end Jim Crow’s legal segregation.

Motley was known for winning nine of ten cases she argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, including a 1962 case that saw James Meredith become the first black man to enroll in college. from Mississippi. She also later served as Manhattan Borough President before being asked by President Lyndon B. Johnson to become the first black woman to serve as a United States District Court judge, a position she held until his death in 2005 at the age of 84.

Judge Motley received numerous awards and honors during her lifetime, including citations from the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the Spingarn Medal – the NAACP’s highest honor, and the Medal of President’s Citizens Award by President Bill Clinton.

Characteristic of black college

Each day during Black History Month, I will feature one of America’s premier HBCUs.

Next stop: Xavier University (La.)

Story: Xavier University of Louisiana has the distinction of being the only affiliated Roman Catholic HBCU in the United States. In 1915, St. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament founded New Orleans Co-educational High School on a site formerly used by Southern University before its main campus moved to Baton Rouge. With the support of her wealthy father, banker-finance Francis Drexel, in 1917 St. Katharine expanded the focus of high school to include a “normal” school that would focus on training future teachers. In 1925, Xavier University of Louisiana became a reality when the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was established; the first bachelor’s degrees were awarded three years later. Two years later, in 1927, Xavier opened a School of Pharmacy.

During the Civil Rights Movement, in 1961, Xavier, under the leadership of Norman Francis, then Dean of Men, provided shelter for Freedom Riders who had traveled to New Orleans to challenge the city’s Jim Crow laws. .

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, nearly every building on Xavier’s campus suffered damage, but the University reopened the following year. President Barack Obama, on the fifth anniversary of the hurricane in 2010, gave a major speech from the Xavier campus.

Academics: Xavier is considered one of the elite academic HBCUs. The University is ranked 5th among HBCUs by U.S. News & World Report, and is the #1 HBCU for placing Black students in medical school, in the top three for awarding Black PharmD degrees , and is No. 1 for awarding the bachelor’s degree. degrees in physical and biological sciences.

Xavier students can earn degrees at its College of Arts and Sciences, which offers traditional liberal arts courses, or at its renowned College of Pharmacy.

Currency: “Fro Adjuvante Timendum” — “With God’s help, there is nothing to fear”

Mascot: Gold Rush (male) Gold Nuggets (female)

Colors: Gold and White

Athletics: Xavier University competes in NAIA Division 1 in men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, baseball, and track and field.

Alumni / famous personalities: Alexis Herman, former Secretary of Labor to Bill Clinton, Ernest Morial, first black mayor of New Orleans, Mayor Latoya Cantrell, first black woman to serve as mayor of New Orleans, educator and President Emeritus Dr. Norman Francis , former NBA star Nathaniel Clifton (first black to sign an NBA contract), Dr. Mary Runge, first woman and first black president of the American Pharamacists Association, USAF 4-star General Bernard Randolph, Admiral Coast Guard Stephen Rochon, the White House’s chief usher under Presidents Bush (43) and Obama; Black College Hall of Fame football coach Marino Casem, former Black League baseball star Dave Malarcher, former US Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, Candice Stewart, first Black Miss Louisiana.

Thank you and subscribe to Hobbservation Point – have a wonderful Tuesday!

Chuck Hobbs is a freelance journalist who won the 2010 Florida Bar Media Award and was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

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