Archive for April, 2015

211 – “Sticks and stones”

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015


By Hetty Gray


# 211


April 8, 2015


“Sticks and Stones”


Some days, common sense is absent from the public forum. So it has been for the past several weeks here in Indiana. A law that simply prohibited any level of government from making a law infringing on religious liberty was skewed to imply that it promoted discrimination of a very small portion of our population. Ah, yes, those persons within what is deemed the gay community took on a law that parallels the one signed by President Clinton

–– a law co-sponsored by Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich. Bi-partisan? Yes.


This unexpected onslaught of misinformation placed a pall over the state to the degree that national media focused on it day after day, impugning the state’s credibility and making our governor out to be far less a man that he is. Not that that was a big surprise. Mainstream media, combined with a liberal bent in education, never ceases to push their favorite causes. It is their influence, in combination, that endangers American life as we know it.


A champion for freedom long before he went to Washington, D.C. to serve in Congress, Mike Pence hosted a radio show for years. His down to earth comments were not lost on Hoosiers. In only a few years, his fine reputation went beyond the airwaves to the political scene.


A conservative pledged to the liberty of all Americans, Governor Pence has suffered the unwarranted slings and arrows of a determined minority bent on making everyone else in society fall into line with their beliefs. Hoosiers are divided on whether he should have asked to have the law amended. Clearly, it could have stood on its own.


Maybe the gay community should take note of those who initially came out in support of it, only to end up in the stands to watch the Final Four. Did they stay home from the best possible site to see collegiate basketball? Nope. Take Apple CEO, for example. He stormed forward with comments that soiled Indiana’s reputation and then blissfully flew into Indianapolis for the NCAA National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium. Maybe someone should ask him to defend his sales practices. His company sells products in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Middle Eastern countries where homosexuals are put to death if identified. Maybe he should remove Apple iPhones and iPads from outlets in those locations. If he is such a strong spokesman for the gay community, perhaps he — using an old phrase — put his money where his mouth is! Don’t hold your breath for that one.


Freedom of choice is sacrosanct in America, but some aspects of life should be kept private. No doubt, sexual preference apart from the majority heterosexual persuasion has been around for a long time. However, the current, incessant push to scream “civil rights” is not only disappointing, but also threatening. Why threatening? If taken to every level of daily life, it endangers the spirit of the entire population. And a dispirited people does not band together easily.


It’s time that the gay community tried to rehabilitate itself into a group that, while defending its beliefs, ceases to constantly impinge on those of the rest of us in order to make a point. That kind of rhetoric wears on many of us.


As a grandmother, I do not want the gay lifestyle marketed to my grandchildren under the label of tolerance. Tolerance is a two-way street. Maybe it’s time that the gay community toned down its language and metered its actions. Not that I expect that to happen.


For decades, the schools have been more intent on gender sensitivity than to teaching basic skills. Try to explain to a teenager at a cash register that you received too much change. Try to fathom why that same teen has no idea that 88 cents is just 12 cents from a dollar. Yet, that same teen would be very apt to come to the defense of the gays as a legitimate group. Go figure… Sorry about that, figuring was a poor choice, wasn’t it?


Too many of our young people rely so much on electronic devices and popular culture that they no longer think on their own. Sad. Combine the specter of a stilted view of sexuality with a reliance on devices over brain matter and you have the ingredients for disaster. Heaven forbid if we find ourselves fraught with the failure of those wonderful little devices.


A whole lot of good that sensitivity will do for the younger set then. Do have empathy for those who live a lifestyle that we cannot defend or understand, but also do remember that a house divided against itself falls. (Thanks, Abraham Lincoln.) We are more a divided people today than any time in our history, and widespread support for traditional marriage and religious liberty among our young people is fading fast.

I guess the old saying goes, “As you sew, so shall you reap.” Well, we may be in for a bitter harvest. Think about it.

210 “Had he lived…”

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015


By Hetty Gray


# 210


March 25, 2015


“Had he lived…”


Forgive the recent hiatus, but my husband took me on a two-week camping sojourn and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Getting out into the woods and basking in nature surely tops the fast lane.


However, the only time we encountered the letters “w i f i” was in the word wildlife! Alas, Internet connections are absent in most state and national parks. That is fine with me, by the way.


Today, we seem to co-exist with acronyms. IRS comes to mind when the month of April rolls around. History buffs immediately recognize DAR, and the litany of acronyms of our military and its equipment ring a bell with anyone who has ever worn the uniform. And, of course, NRA for many of us.


Beyond all the short forms we use in everyday life, we need to remember how much we are connected minus technology. The very fact that we are all God’s children more than surpasses the well-touted “6 degrees of separation.” However, setting the tone for this column, we are all connected as Americans.


No matter what election level, from state to national, a cacophony of barbs launches. The ugly result has morphed into a completely inaccurate portrait of one political party: The GOP.


Yes, the Grand Old Party suffers the slings and arrows and, to my mind, does very little to defend itself. Perhaps it is because most of us who espouse to its beliefs hold to the tenet that mixing it up with the mud slingers and their unfounded charges only puts us at their embarrassing level.


Consider the large cities led for decades by Democrat mayors. Their residents are the poorest and most needy of all. When you assess the progress made by Republican mayors of major cities, you may find a flaw here and there — but overall, they are in much better financial shape.


Welfare and its attendant policies have crushed the black families of this nation. Go into a poor inner city and you will find children — students with ability and promise — relegated to the worst schools. Yet, most of their school budgets are higher than suburban schools. Go figure… And what of the kids? Minus role models seen before integration, i.e. black merchants, doctors, dentists and hard working blue-collar men and women, children have no stable adults to emulate. Minus neighborhood schools and involved parents, and any dreams of success fall far short of what they should be. And we, as the wider society, are poorer for it.


Have you ever wondered how very different our lives would be had he lived? The “he” to whom I refer is Abraham Lincoln, a lifelong favorite of mine. I do not have every book written about him, but a packed shelf in my office more than illustrates my high respect.


Consider the facts ignored by those who label their political opposition as biased, racist, and who knows what else. How convenient for them to forget the facts. Oh, yes, they appeal to emotions. Facts just get in the way of their twisted message. And what do they forget?


It was a Republican president who freed the slaves. When he died, his dreams of welcoming the south back into the fold died with him. He did not believe in punishing Rebel sympathizers beyond the day that both sides met at the Appomattox Courthouse to end the Civil War.


He wanted a firm union. I, for one, believe that Lincoln not only would have worked tirelessly toward a goal of north and south working together for a stronger nation, but also would have presided over a robust rebuilding of the south to heal the wounds between the two sides.


When Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency in the wake of Lincoln’s assassination, he had no such plans. That he allowed the recently cemented union to disintegrate into a prolonged situation of poverty and an atmosphere of anger and resentment against the north is not much of a legacy, is it?


Moving ahead to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the southern Democrats fought against promoting equal rights for Negroes and voted against the bill. It was Republican votes that carried the day and secured passage of the civil rights legislation that guaranteed and equal footing in society for our brothers and sisters of color.


Yet, at election times, Republicans find themselves demonized with Democrats claiming to be the true friends of the black community. Sadly, the family unit of the black community has suffered terribly. The so-called “War on Poverty” accomplished little more than rack up accumulate trillions of dollars in spending with little real progress to show for it.


For more than fifty years, Democrats have slandered and demagogued Republicans so much that generations of black Americans actually believe the accusations and view the Republican party as one of oppression. In truth, nothing could be less true. Oh, there may be a few who stray from the conservative mindset and set a poor example, but the GOP has never over-promised and under-delivered like the Democrats have.


Clearly, victimization is a thriving industry. Its leaders scream racism even before the facts of any case are known. They stir hatred for no reason and perpetuate the image of not the ugly American, but the ugly law enforcement officer and — once again — the ugly Republican.


And so we steel ourselves for another round of this garbage…. I fault the GOP for not seeding really good programs within our inner cities. Just showing up at election time does nothing to raise its image.


If you want to see a good program in action, investigate Robert Woodson and his Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. He doesn’t make excuses for his brethren, he lifts them up by giving them hope and opportunity. The very fact that many of you are unfamiliar with him is a testament to the lack of integrity in our press today.


The press should be showcasing programs like his — programs that work, run by black men and women working hard and making real changes in communities most at risk and most in need of help.


Are all Democrats of the ilk that we see in election years? Certainly not, but I don’t see very many standing up to complain about the festering hatred preached by their leadership.


Is there fault within of both parties? Absolutely. However, a glaring difference exists in the mindset between the two. What happens when the GOP identifies misbehavior? Once exposed, the offender soon disappears from public view. He or she steps down. Whether a personal or a financial lapse, history shows that the GOP is determined to rid itself of disreputable officials. Expulsion tops excuses. Our black brothers and sisters (Yes, we are all that in the eyes of God!) have been goaded to envy and hate others. What a waste of potential.



Gerald Irons Sr.

Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2015 7:00 AM, The Huntsville Item

By Winston Spencer Jr. Read on and take heart. Role models are out there!

  1. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the famous line that there are no second acts in America. It’s clear he never met Gerald D. Irons Sr.

Irons is perhaps best known as a former National Football League linebacker who played six seasons with the Oakland Raiders back in the 1970s, then four more years for the Cleveland Browns.

For most folks, the NFL may have been the crowning achievement in life. For Irons, that was only the beginning.

“I remember being in the seventh grade when a teacher asked the class what we wanted to be in life,” Irons said to more than 200 students, educators and others Wednesday at the Gaertner Performing Arts Center on the campus of Sam Houston State University. He came to Huntsville for the “President’s Speaker Series.”

“She called on one student and they said they wanted to be a doctor. Then another student said they wanted to be a lawyer. Well, no one had ever asked me what I wanted to be before. I thought hard about it. When my turn came, I said I wanted to be a professional football player.”

The teacher, feeling Irons had answered her question, moved on to the next student.

“I said, ‘Hold up, wait a minute. I’m not finished. I also want to be a husband, father, a businessman and a lawyer,’” Irons continued. “That teacher told me that it was humanly impossible to do all those things. Pick one and move on.”

The future vice president of business development with The Woodlands Development Company recalled how small he felt, as the class, along with the teacher, laughed at him.

“I went home that evening and my parents asked me what was wrong,” Irons said. “‘Nothing.’ But they wouldn’t let me get away with that. When I told them what happened they said that I could do anything if I was willing to work hard.”


God bless men like Mr. Irons. He exemplifies the value a strong family and respect for education? We are all equal in rights, but we are not equal in ability. Since ability determines success, America’s schools need to be able to train and guide students for a wide variety of jobs. The fact that nearly 50% of our population now depends on some sort of government assistance illustrates the fact that we are systematically depriving people of their inner initiative. Dependency is a flawed strategy and we are mired in it.

Sadly, I fear that America will continue to decline if our young people fail to achieve. Gerald Irons is right. Encouragement is priceless. Dreams are precious. Parenting is important.

What that message were the mantra for all families? I believe that given the chance to move upward over the past fifty years, the American black family would have blossomed exponentially.

Abraham Lincoln wanted all his people to succeed. I pose a question about the last 150 years. How would America be if Lincoln had not died? Sadly, that question is as unfinished as his life. Had he lived….

Think about it.