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February 5, 2007

Love of Country and History Made

Derek Shackelford

The medical profession says that one way to prevent disease and poor health is to get a yearly physical examination. This yearly check-up can prevent disease, or, at least, catch them in early stages.

This is no difference with our federal government. This report on the health of the nation has become known as the State of the Union. I watched with anticipation to see if the President was going to talk about his vision for the country; but it wasn't part of the address.

Yes, mending social security is admirable. Signing immigration reform is deemed another priority. An affordable health care package was also mentioned. These domestic issues were merely sideline reporting to the highlight of the major issue - Iraq.

In recent weeks, President Bush decided to increase troop levels in that worn-torn country. As he explained it, his thinking centers on curbing the increased violence that has been taken place over the last few months.

Not too long ago much attention was paid to the report from the Iraq Study Group. Its members visited Iraq, talked to generals on the ground, met with administration officials, and made recommendations based on the information.

An increase in troop levels in Iraq was not among its recommendations. For the past few years, other commissions have convened to discuss and submit suggestions on certain issues. So, the Iraq Study Group, paid for by tax dollars, had many of its recommendations rejected.

The United States Congress is considering a resolution to denounce the president's plan for a troop increase. Although this resolution is non binding, it is an attempt to garner political capital. In more recent days, some Republican lawmakers have become outspoken critics of the president's plans in Iraq. Some critics of the actions by the Congress claim that the enemy is emboldened by such actions.

Language is everything when it comes to speaking and writing. The president has been clever about his word selection when it comes to Iraq. History has shown that war does not mean peace; war simply stabilizes. This is why President Bush has said "that a stable Iraq is crucial to American interests."

Notice he didn't say a peaceful Iraq. Come to think of it, he didn't say anything about New Orleans either. Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating catastrophes to ever hit this country; and, yet, there has been little mention of a visionary approach to repairing this region.

Anyone who has disagreed, and been outspoken about this administration's stance on domestic and foreign policy, has had their love for this country questioned. The purpose of an educated society is to question the world at hand. That is why I question our national policies is my love for this country.

Writer James Baldwin summed it up in this manner:

"The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious, one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not. To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity. But no society is really anxious to have that kind of person around. What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will obey the rules of society. If a society succeeds in this, that society is about to perish. The obligation of anyone who thinks of himself as responsible is to examine society and try to change it and to fight it - at no matter what risk."

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As we enter this month of February, we begin to celebrate black history once more. Black History Month was started by Carter G. Woodson in the early 1900's to recognize the achievements of African Americans.

The Super Bowl is just over and history is being made right before our very eyes. No African American has even been a head coach and won a Super Bowl. But, in this case, there is not just one, but two such men. They are Tony Dungy, of the Indianapolis Colts, and Lovie Smith, of the Chicago Bears. The media had made mention of this historic feat on several occasions.

Personally, I am ecstatic about their accomplishments. Strides have been made and should be celebrated; but there are miles to go. We have gone from African Americans running and executing the plays, to coaches calling the plays. The next step is to have African Americans owning the team that runs, executes, and calls the plays.

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