Politics

UC-Irvine’s Student Government is Unpatriotic and Dishonors Troops

UC-Irvine

Photo Credit: UC-Irvine

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, the Associated Students of University of California-Irvine passed a resolution to remove all flags, including the American flag, from a student government room on campus in a faux effort to be more “inclusive.” UC-Irvine student Matthew Guevara penned the anti-American resolution. Guevara posited that the American flag could be viewed as a symbol of hate. While America has a number of troubling phenomena in her past, and some residual problems in her present, an attempt to efface all symbols supposedly associated with the disquieting dimensions of our nation’s past evinces the fatuous thinking UC-Irvine’s student leadership employs. The American flag has always symbolized utopian ideals—even when many of the people who lived under it didn’t fully embraced those ideals. UC-Irvine’s student leadership should be honest and reveal that the vote banning the American flag isn’t about inclusivity at all; it’s a veiled maneuver to promulgate its anti-American sentiments.

Banning the American flag from this public space does nothing to ameliorate inclusivity at UC-Irvine. In fact, it does just the opposite.

Matthew Guevara’s lame explanation that since “the American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism,” its display “does not express only selective aspects of its symbolism but the entire spectrum of its interpretation” leads the Associated Students of University of California-Irvine down a murky road and slippery slope. Does this mean the next resolution Mr. Guevara or another member of the student government will author is a resolution forbidding white people from being able to use this space, considering white people could be viewed as vestiges of America’s racist and discriminatory past? This is the type of mindless conflation of what the American flag symbolizes with inclusivity in postmodern public space forces us to confront.

At every university I have attended, I have been a passionate advocate for student rights and for students being seriously included in the notion of shared governance. I love how students at my current institution, University of Wisconsin-Madison, have significant power. With considerable power, however, comes even greater responsibility. Unfortunately, the unpatriotic UC-Irvine student government has abused its power and exposed its immaturity.

I urge UC-Irvine’s student leadership to correct their wrongs by rescinding this foolish resolution. American men and women in uniform have fought and are fighting under the banner of what the American flag represents every day. Our military men and women who have lost their lives fighting for our liberty have been draped with the American flag. Above all, the American flag symbolizes everything that unites us as a nation.

I encourage the Associated Students of University of California-Irvine to awake from their stupor and be grateful for the precious human treasure that has been sacrificed and lost defending the honor of the American flag and the freedom of America and her denizens.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

David Perdue is Making a Huge Romney Mistake

David Perdue

(Photo Credit: Disclose TV)

Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, has a more than legitimate chance to win the Georgia U.S. Senate seat.  As Republicans are passionately committed to taking back the U.S. Senate, and maintaining control of the U.S. House in the November 2014 elections, this would be a disappointing loss. Why disappointing?  Georgia is a slightly Republican-leaning state and a state that Republicans have already determined they will win.  If David Perdue, the Republican candidate for Senate and cousin of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, does not do a better job of defending his business record, he will lose to Nunn.  In the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, Mitt Romney did a poor job of defending his business record against the attacks of President Obama, contributing significantly to his defeat.  Romney highly touted his business experience as the primary evidence he knew how to ameliorate the U.S. economy and do a far better job of handling the economy than President Obama.  Romney never, however, seemed to respond adequately to President Obama’s attacks on his management of Bain Capital, and never appeared to provide a sufficient response to Obama’s general attacks on his business experience.

David Perdue is in danger of making the same huge mistake Romney made; he’s failing to defend his business experience adequately.  Perdue’s business experience is even more important to his candidacy than Romney’s was to his candidacy in 2012.  Business experience is the only substantive leadership Perdue has.

Former Senator Nunn is highly respected across the state among Democrats and Republicans.  It’s possible that his daughter will be able to benefit from his name recognition and earn enough votes to defeat Perdue. Michelle Nunn is running a highly effective television advertisement about a company, Pillowtex, Perdue once led.  It shares the anger of some former employees of the company who were negatively impacted by Perdue’s management of the company.  If Perdue wants to stop the adverse impact this advertisement is having on his campaign, then he must run a television advertisement that directly counters Nunn’s Pillowtex advertisement.

Although Republicans are targeting open Senate seats where incumbent Democrats are vulnerable, it’s time for them to send David Perdue some much needed support in Georgia.  Some polls show Perdue leading Nunn and some show Nunn leading Perdue, with an average of the polls giving Perdue a slight edge.  This race will go right down to the finish.

Perdue is doing an excellent job of casting Nunn as being a rubberstamp vote for President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  He says that she will be a “proxy for both Obama and Reid,” and she will be “Obama’s Senator” and “not Georgia’s Senator.”  Nunn leadership experience is fairly limited but Perdue has not really done an effective job of exposing it.  To win, Perdue must become more aggressive in defending his business record and in exposing Nunn’s limited leadership experience.  His current campaign strategy will not be enough to win him the Senate seat.  Perdue cannot simply rely on the fact that Georgia is a Republican-leaning state, considering demographics have constantly been moving in favor of Georgia Democrats.  He needs to take an honest look at how much of a fight incumbent Governor Nathan Deal is in with Jason Carter, son of former President Jimmy Carter, as evidence of how tough it’s going to be to defeat Nunn.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Reverend Markel Hutchins: Linking Activism and Ministry

Markel Hutchins

(Photo Credit: WSB TV)

A champion for racial, social and economic justice and product of Morehouse College, Reverend Markel Hutchins serves as a shining progressive example of how postmodern Black preachers should be passionately active in their communities.  Hutchins has not been derelict in his duty to engage in civil and human rights efforts, efforts like those Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X championed. Even when he was in high school, one could see a burgeoning fighter for justice in the making: He led a march against the proliferation of drugs in the neighborhood surrounding his school.  Mr. Hutchins went on to become an ordained Baptist minister, leading Markel Hutchins Ministries.  Although there are laws prohibiting clergymen from being politically engaged in the confines of places of worship, this does not mean they cannot be involved in issues pertaining to social and economic policy affecting their communities, especially outside of their places of worship.  Hutchins certainly understands this.

Reverend Hutchins has an acute awareness of the power and significance of Black preachers’ serious involvement in political, social and economic issues during the Civil Rights Movement.  Black preachers during that period understood how to minister to the comprehensive needs of their congregants.  Yes, it’s one thing to feed one’s members spiritual food; another to feed their social, economic, professional and personal development.  Mr. Hutchins has been highly attentive to the complete needs of those he leads.  By doing this, he helps to further the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Although his leadership and ministry emerged in Atlanta, Georgia, a pivotal site during the Civil Rights Movement, his visionary leadership calls him to fight for justice throughout America.

When Black preachers invest in the communities in which they are situated, those communities become better places to live, work and play.  Unfortunately, too many Black preachers are too concerned about their personal and church’s financial prosperity to involve themselves in essential community development. Numerous pusillanimous Black preachers hide behind their collars and robes instead of tackling challenging and critical issues in their communities, including homelessness, police brutality, unfair labor practices, criminal justice system abuses, and racism, as Reverend Hutchins has done and continues to do.

Ministries not advocating for their communities are purposeless.

Markel Hutchins Ministries has purpose, vision and results.

While we increasingly see, hear and read accounts of preachers involved in corruption, and it’s easy not to support any preacher—which is a product of a burgeoning nihilistic impulse in postmodernism—it’s important to pay tribute to those preachers who are making a remarkable difference in the lives of people and their communities.  This is why we have to give Reverend Markel Hutchins his flowers while he’s living.  Although you may not always agree with his methods and viewpoints, it’s clear this man loves his country deeply enough to hold it accountable to fulfilling its nonpareil ideals—expressed most vividly and eloquently in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.  We should demand an America as good as it’s promised, and Hutchins is tireless warrior working to see those utopian founding ideals materialize.

When an individual thinks critically and comprehensively about the work Reverend Markel Hutchins has done and is doing, it becomes transparent why former Atlanta Mayor, Shirley Franklin, the first female mayor of Atlanta and first Black woman of a prominent Southern city, posits that he “will soon be celebrated as one of our nation’s most visible and viable public servants.”

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Republicans Need Chris Christie to Win in 2016

Governor Chris Christie

(Photo Credit: The Washington Post)

If Republicans are serious about winning the White House in 2016, then they need to rally around New Jersey Governor Chris Christie right now. Although Hillary Clinton has not formally promulgated that she will run for the presidency in 2016, any clear thinking American already knows that she will run. Clinton is a formidable candidate for any of her Republican challengers.  At the present time, there’s no candidate who can defeat Clinton save Governor Chris Christie.  While Governor Christie may not be as conservative as many ultraconservative Republicans would like, he’s a reliable conservative Republican who can actually win the presidency in 2016.  It does Republicans no good to nominate an ultraconservative candidate like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz who has no chance of defeating Hillary Clinton.

Popular conservative pundits like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh need to capitalize on the great opportunity they have to rally Republicans behind the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton. Investing too much time in discourses about whether Governor Christie is conservative enough or a RINO (Republican in Name Only) is fruitless. He has a proven conservative record, even as governor of a blue state.  A conservative Republican who can appeal widely to Democrats, Independents and Republicans can win against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

While America is still a fundamentally conservative country, it is becoming less conservative than it was during the Reagan Revolution.  The Republican Party, therefore, has to recognize that it cannot fashion itself in the same likeness of the Party of the 1980s.  Governor Christie will help to lead the Republican Party in the direction it needs to go to begin winning presidential elections again.  Nominating Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Mike Huckabee would evince to the American people that the Republican Party is not ready to embrace the political realities of a post-1980s America.  The political milieu President Reagan enjoyed is gone.  Being too consumed by nostalgia for the days of Reagan only stifles the progress that’s needed for Republicans to take back the White House.

Although the days of Reagan are long gone, wide support for limited government, personal responsibility, pro-growth policies, low taxes, and local control is still present.  Republicans don’t, therefore, have to abandon their core principles to win elections.  They simply need to be more flexible on certain issues, including immigration reform, and they must focus less on social issues and have a more compassionate tone on divisive social issues like gay marriage and abortion.

Governor Christie opposes gay marriage and is pro-life.  He does not, however, let his positions on those aforementioned issues define who he is.  He favors pragmatism over ideology.  As Republicans are struggling nationally to get African-Americans, Hispanics, and young voters to vote for their candidates, Governor Christie proved that he could get enough of these voters to win the presidency over Hillary Clinton.  As a blue state Republican governor, Christie can market himself as someone who has a proven record of reaching across the political aisle to work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to get things done to ameliorate the lives of Americans.

While many Republicans were upset with Governor Christie for working with President Obama to deliver aid to the denizens of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, Christie demonstrated to the nation that he is more concerned with his constituents than playing politics.  Independents and some Democrats will be impressed with Christie’s bipartisanship and will reward him with their vote for President.  Hillary Clinton is less known for bipartisanship; she’s known nationally for being a reliable liberal Democrat, which makes her more of a polarizing figure than Christie.  She has more name recognition than Christie, considering she’s been First Lady, Secretary of State, and U.S. Senator. President Clinton is still popular nationally, which will benefit his wife.  Christie’s national name recognition is constantly increasing, however.

Hillary Clinton will likely have to combat the anger of voters who are displeased with the economic performance of a Democratic President, President Obama.  Governor Christie can appear as a reasonable alternative to having another Clinton in office.  Yes, Clinton fatigue will help Governor Christie’s campaign for the presidency.  Many Americans are fed up with the destructive partisanship in Washington, D.C.  When they look at Chris Christie, they know they’re voting for someone who has a record of bipartisanship; a record that offers tremendous hope that Washington, D.C. can once again become a place where meaningful things can get done to improve the lives of the American people.

It was once widely thought that Republicans didn’t have the slightest chance to defeat Hillary Clinton, but too many people were focused on the wrong candidates.  The dominant focus should have always been on Governor Christie.  The polls are very close between Christie and Clinton, and one poll shows that Governor Christie not only wins against Clinton but also against all other popular potential Democratic candidates.

A Republican blue state governor could be much more attractive to more Americans than a reliable liberal former First Lady, Secretary of State, and U.S. Senator.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Violent Video Games, Mass Shootings and Mental Health

The Second Amendment

(Photo Credit: Fox News)

As Dr. Patrick Markey, Associate Professor of Psychology at Villanova University, recently disclosed on CNN, no empirical research evinces that playing violent video games leads to real-world violence. Although researchers should continue to investigate any potential connections between violent video games and violence in society, we shouldn’t get distracted by the most important issue we should be focused on concerning the recent mass shootings: mental health.  Even though all of the most recent mass shooters covered in the national media devoted significant time to playing violent video games, all of them had serious mental health issues that were not addressed.

While it seems that the divisive national debate about gun control and gun rights is dominating our attention, we need to dedicate more attention to mental health.  We need to make greater efforts to ensure that those with mental health problems do not get their hands on guns, and we need to provide them with the critical mental health services they warrant.

If we really desire to make America safer, then we won’t simply have discourses about how to reduce the number of guns in the hands of Americans; we will have meaningful discussions about how to decrease the likelihood of the mentally ill getting their hands on guns.  It’s time to get real about guns—not overly emotional.  Guns in the hands of mentally healthy Americans save lives.  The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the fundamental right to protect themselves with guns.  Knee-jerk reactions to recent mass shootings shouldn’t lead to diminishing the freedoms safeguarded by the Second Amendment.

It’s probably a good idea for parents to prevent their children from watching violent movies and television programs for exorbitant amounts of time, and it’s probably a good idea to keep your children from playing violent video games for an abnormal number of hours.  Adults should be aware of the number of hours they give to watching violent television programs and movies as well.  For those adults who play violent video games, reflect on the impact that this video game playing may have on you.  We have to be more responsible about the things we allow ourselves and children to consume, considering those phenomena could have negative impacts on us that go undetected.

Let’s not give violent television programming, movies, and video games too much credit for the recent mass shootings, however.

Our efforts to reduce the number of mass shootings should be concentrated on addressing mental health issues, preventing the mentally ill from obtaining guns, and ensuring that those who aren’t mentally ill are able to get guns to defend themselves and others from those who would attempt to engage in mass shootings.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stop Paying Lip Service to Dr. King’s Legacy

President Obama and Dr. King

(Photo Credit: BET)

Too often we hear people quoting lines from various speeches Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered, and they express their commitment to working to achieve and honor King’s legacy.  Unfortunately, too many people who quote Dr. King’s lines are only paying lip service to his true legacy.  Although King envisioned a day when America would have a Black President, he would be disappointed with President Obama’s economic record.  The national unemployment rate for Black is 13.4%.  In many major cities across the nation that are heavily Black, the unemployment rate is at least double what it is for Blacks nationally.  While all of the blame cannot be placed on President Obama for his horrible economic record, most of the blame does have to fall squarely on his shoulders.  This is the same President who said that he has the ability to bring people together across party lines to accomplish “change you can believe in.”

President Obama promised that he could come to Washington, D.C. and work across partisan divides, breaking political gridlock in Washington, D.C., to pass substantive legislation that would ameliorate Americans economically, socially, educationally, professionally, and personally.  When is this going to happen? President Obama has had over four years to make significant progress toward making this happen.

Although many people desired to romanticize his speech about Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the reality is President Obama has failed miserably in providing economic uplift for Blacks and the poor—the very people Dr. King gave his life for and the very people the March on Washington supported.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for more people to stop being mesmerized by those who employ Dr. King’s words, and start to hold them accountable for having deeds and records evincing a real commitment to fulfilling King’s dream.  King was not a man who simply talked and gave speeches around the nation—he was a man of action.  He had such a deep love for marginalized people that he found it necessary to risk his own life advocating for them.  Dr. King was not interested in self-aggrandizement.  He found it more essential to prioritize the collective good over any personal ambition.

Dr. King strongly opposed war, which is seen mostly clearly in his opposition to the Vietnam War.  King warned America of the dangers of her rising militarism.  On the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, President Obama expressed how great of an influence Dr. King had on his life.  Unfortunately, this great influence is not materializing in his actions.  President Obama is now asking Congress for authorization to use military force against Syria.  As a candidate for President in 2008, President Obama said that he would always rely on diplomacy and talk with all world leaders, including those who are not friends of the United States.  What a dramatic change: diplomacy advocate to warmonger.  Would Dr. King be proud of him on foreign policy?  No.  Would Dr. King be proud of him on the economy?  No.

Gracie Mansion, Rev. Martin Luther King press ...

Photo by Dick DeMarsico. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

For those who continue to support every action of President Obama, they’re no better than he is.  You cannot be truly committed to the legacy of Dr. King and agree with every decision of President Obama, especially those economic and foreign policy decisions diametrically opposed to King’s economic and foreign policy positions.  While this piece is not attempting to get you to discontinue your support of President Obama, it does call you to hold him accountable to aligning his actions with the words and actions of King.

Until President Obama gets legislation passed that truly advances King’s dream, he will continue to pay lip service to the dream and not be a foot soldier in the mission to help Americans fully experience the dream.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Cornel West’s Courage Should Make You Proud

Dr. Cornel West

(Photo Credit: MTV)

Too many milquetoast Americans, especially Blacks, lack the courage to offer a substantive critique of President Obama.  With the national unemployment rate for Black people being 13.5%, one would think that more Blacks would be propounding their criticisms of President Obama’s poor record of creating jobs.  In many predominantly Black cities across the country, Black unemployment is twice as high as it is nationally.  Although one may not always agree with Dr. Cornel West, former distinguished professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and now Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary, one has to be proud of the courage he shows in his passionate criticisms of President Obama and his policies.

Dr. West’s accomplishments, brilliance, and academic work will forever make him one of the most important persons in American history.  He’s one of the greatest minds in world history.  Dr. West is one of the leading public intellectuals of our time.  As a responsible and effective public intellectual, Dr. Cornel West understands that he has a duty to speak truth to power.  He’s never been afraid to say and do things that might unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse people.

While many question the motivations of his vehement criticisms of Obama, the focus should be more on engaging in a discourse about the criticisms he proffers.  People who don’t want to enter into a conversation about his potent critiques of Obama simply desire to dismiss him as being bitter because Obama didn’t invite him to his first inauguration or first inaugural ball.  Well, after sponsoring and attending over 75 campaign events—many were located in brutally cold places—for President Obama, one would like to think that Dr. West would’ve received an invitation.  Dr. West has repeatedly stated that he’s not bothered by such an inane matter as not receiving an invitation.

One has to be proud of him for mustering the courage to take on some of the prominent liberals that have been given platforms by MSNBC to advocate for President Obama.  Dr. West asserts that MSNBC is a “rent-a-negro” network; that is, a liberal network that gives Black faces (e.g. Al Sharpton and Dr. Melissa Harris Perry) their own shows and/or allows them to make frequent appearances on other people’s shows in exchange for their puppy-dog loyalty to President Obama.  One person who is a stanch liberal and who has been friends with Dr. Cornel West is Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.  Dr. Dyson appears regularly on MSNBC and is a strong supporter and defender of Obama.  Dr. West contends that Dr. Dyson has “sold his soul for a mess of Obama pottage.”  Before Dr. Dyson became a frequent contributor on MSNBC, he was willing to critique Obama.  Now, he cannot find enough ways to praise Obama.

Dr. Cornel West’s record reflects a serious commitment to racial minorities, working people, and the poor.  He will not allow himself to be placed on the market for sale, as others have done for Obama.  West hasn’t let his black skin prevent him from criticizing President Obama appropriately.  Dr. West gives President Obama credit when he deserves it, but he’s never afraid to hold him accountable for horrible policy choices and his inattentiveness to the needs of poor and working people.

Dr. West has been on a “Poverty Tour” across the nation raising attention and support for the needs of the poor.  The poor is the only group in America without lobbyists in Washington, D.C.  West hopes to make the poor visible to President Obama and America.  His work to ameliorate the lives of poor people in America should be applauded and supported.

It’s not popular to be Black and say things in opposition to President Obama, but Dr. Cornel West isn’t willing to submit to the pressure of staying popular.  He’s working to hold President Obama, a man who has tremendous power, accountable to all Americans, especially the most vulnerable people in America: the poor.  For this, he should make us all proud.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Only Stupid People Will Vote for Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner

(Photo Credit: ABC News)

New Yorkers considering or planning to vote for Anthony Weiner are simply stupid.  Weiner cannot be trusted.  He lies and lies.  Imagine if Weiner was elected mayor of New York: One of America’s most beloved cities would turn into a circus.  This man has demonstrated that he’s not committed to being a serious policymaker and leader.  He’s been far too focused on cheating on his wife and sexting with multiple women.  Weiner cannot even be sure how many women he’s engaged in sexting with and other inappropriate discourses.  His sexual corruption would be a tremendous distraction for the city, a city that has some important and pressing issues and problems that need addressing.  The people of New York don’t need to have attention taken off essential issues pertaining to education, crime, unemployment, and etc.  The massive national media focus on Anthony Weiner and his sexting is certainly not helpful to the genuine issues and problems New Yorkers need addressing.

The Democratic National Committee should call for Weiner to terminate his candidacy for mayor of New York immediately.

Democrats are always challenging Republicans to take a strong and principled stand against those in the Republican Party who say and do foolish things.  It’s time for them to do the same in the Weiner case.

Anthony Weiner admitted that he continued to be involved in sexting and inappropriate conversations with women other than his wife for an entire year after he had to resign for doing these things.  The public humiliation, the disappointment of his constituents and colleagues, and pain he caused his wife were not enough to stop him from showing off his emaciated body and diminutive penis to multiple women online.

Weiner’s candidacy for mayor of New York is a public spectacle.

In his recent promulgation that he has been involved in more sex scandals, a perspicuous message has emerged: Weiner is attempting to get ahead of those scandals before they’re disclosed by the mainstream media.  He hopes people will not view these scandals as important because he was the first one to announce them.  The people of New York and the American people see clearly what Weiner is trying to do and it’s not working.

If Weiner had any shred of decency, he wouldn’t continue to put his wife and family through the unremitting torture and pain of having to hear about his sexting with a number of women online.  Although his wife has publicly expressed that she supports her husband and has forgiven him, this doesn’t mean she’s not continuing to relive the horror of her husband’s indiscretions each day he stays in the race. 

Weiner is a man without any scruples; therefore, we cannot expect him to drop out of the race on his own.  The Democratic National Committee, Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other powerful Democrats must put pressure on him to discontinue his candidacy.  The people of New York deserve a race for mayor that’s substantive, and Weiner’s presence in the race makes this impossible.  At some point, more Democrats are going to have to do the responsible thing and urge Anthony Weiner (a.k.a. “Carlos Danger”) to end his candidacy for mayor.    

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

An Introduction to American Life and Culture in 2013

American Life and Culture

(Photo Credit: Neighborhood Love)

America is the most exceptional nation in the world.  This country continues to become more diverse: people across the world live in this nation.  From its inception, America has been a nation of immigrants and that tradition continues.  This is the only county where you can be the son of a former slave and become the President of the United States.  The diverse people from all parts of the world who live in America are responsible for diverse nature of American life and culture.

Making money seems to consume the thoughts, practices, and activities of most Americans in 2013.  Even when people are attempting to engage in activities that are creative, most of them strive to connect their innovative acts to ways to make a profit.  Any effort to introduce American life and culture in 2013, therefore, has to offer an understanding of the increasing power and importance of capitalism.

A close examination of American popular culture helps to illuminate what American life and culture is like in 2013.  When we examine television during this particular time, one finds a significant amount of variety.  One has an opportunity to witness things that are crass, such as Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, to valuable shows, such as Mad Men and Scandal.

Unfortunately, the federal government has not increased support for the arts, but average Americans have found innovative ways to keep engagement in the arts alive and well.  At higher education institutions across the nation, one can see how we have some of the greatest people involved in the arts than at any period of time in American history.

We have grown too divided as a nation.  We think in terms of “red states” and “blue states” and not simply the United States.  Our state and national elected officials have caused too many Americans to have a next election mindset, and this has led to numerous things not getting done.

One tremendously positive aspect about American life and culture in 2013 is there’s a burgeoning longing for innovation.  Although this longing for innovation is heavily centered on the profit motive, there’s hope that we can start thinking more about innovation outside of a capitalistic logic.  At this time, it’s becoming more difficult to differentiate creativity and capitalism.  There was a time in America when there were more artists who created things for the pure love of their craft.  Too many artists now are concerned about producing commodities—not art.  When we look at some current films, we see how they play into the profit motive by being imitations of events and people, such as White House Down, instead of striving to develop novel alternatives to the current way people behave and think in 2013.

While America is the most exceptional nation on the planet, American life and culture needs to discontinue being so self-indulgent and money focused.  With such diverse people in America, one has to remain hopeful about the potential innovations that can emerge.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Startup Act 3.0 Legislation Would Pave the Way for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Startup Act 3.0

(Photo Credit: Mark Warner)

A bill introduced to the U.S. Senate aims to create thousands of new visa programs designed to attract top-tier innovators, according to its proponents.  Senator Jerry Moran introduced the Startup Act 3.0 legislation in February, and experts have been combing through the details and implications ever since.

For top-tier innovators, the legislation represents an easier path to a struggling but powerful economy. The U.S. still dominates the information and technology markets, so online entrepreneurs in particular are keeping tabs on this bill.

The Details

Two previous renditions of the legislation failed to make it through Congress, but Startup Act 3.0 has momentum and support from both Democrats and Republicans. Startup Act 3.0 would permit 75,000 immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. for three years.  A fixed number of current immigrants would also qualify.  To qualify for these visas, foreign-born entrepreneurs would have to raise $100,000 for new businesses and hire at least two employees within a year. If these qualifications are met, the visa would be extended to three years.  Part of the bill also modifies the tax code to encourage small business investments.  Senator Moran and the bill’s other sponsors believe entrepreneurship is the key to the economy’s vitality.

The Startup Act 3.0 news release states, “Research shows that, for close to three decades, companies less than five years old have created almost all net new jobs in American — averaging about three million jobs each year.”

The Kauffman Foundation Report

The Kauffman Foundation analyzed the potential employment impact, and the numbers are encouraging.  The bill could generate up to 1.6 million jobs over the next 10 years, according to the Kauffman Foundation report.  Foreign-born entrepreneurs founded one-quarter of technology and engineering companies between 2006 and 2012.  The report lists a baseline of almost 500,000 jobs with the potential for more than 1.5 million.

Current Reception

The National Metropolitan Business Alliance (NMBA) expressed its support for Startup Act 3.0. In a letter to Senator Moran, the NMBA declared that the act would boost America’s innovation and facilitate growth.  Forbes published a more personal tale of support for the bill written by Nancy T. Nguyen, an entrepreneur born in the Philippines.  She describes how foreign entrepreneurs are woven into American history.  Without policies that enabled her parents to immigrate, Nguyen wouldn’t have started her own business and become Ms. Corporate America 2011.

Much of the support for this bill is based on a broader support for small business in general. From Mark Zuckerberg to Phil Knight to Bob Parsons, the CEO and founder of GoDaddy.com, some of America’s most successful tycoons, like Businessman Parsons and Zuckerberg, started in small offices with few employees.  All data indicates small business is good for the economy, and a strong economy is good for everyone.

What’s Next?

As the sponsors of the legislation continue to raise support, the bill is currently in the hands of a congressional committee.  Despite considerable support, a reliable source doesn’t like 3.0’s chance of survival any better than its predecessors.  Govtrack.us suggests that the bill has an 8% chance of getting past committee and just a 3% chance of being enacted.  That may sound small, but it’s actually average.  Just 3% of bills were enacted from 2011-2013, Govtrack.us reports.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison