From Washington, D.C., to our State Capitol and the chambers of the Metro Council, politics has become toxic. Rantings and ravings. Partisanship is rampant. Race is injected. There is violence in the streets. Tweeting at midnight. Civility has been lost. Many don’t even want to speak to one another. In fact, I have heard of two elected officials who would not even shake the hand of a former friend. It’s bad. Really bad.
Locally, black elected officials walked out of the Louisiana House of Representatives last month in protest—and that was just a couple weeks after black members had walked out of the Metro Council meeting, halting business. Feelings are running deep.
In the nation’s capital, Democrats and Republicans eviscerate one another in the press and on the House floor. There are violent protesters in the street from both sides. And now we even have a comedian posing with a bloody, plastic, decapitated head that resembles President Donald Trump. Outrageous. And we get to read and hear about it all constantly in the 24-hour news cycle and on social media—with much of the coverage and commentary totally biased, only adding fuel to the fire.
Has the world gone mad?
It is very sad, and many contend it is the worst they have seen in American politics. One wonders where it is headed and whether our “leaders” will find a way to turn it around, work together respectfully and get things done for the citizens they represent. On the other hand, it may be our elected officials are simply reflecting the attitudes and anger of their constituents—and that is a bigger problem to solve than politics.
It is ironic that many nations and many of their people would trade places with America in a second to enjoy the freedom and opportunities we are blessed with here. Yet we would rather fight and complain loudly instead of being grateful that our nation’s glass is way more than half full.
WHERE IS FREE SPEECH?
I am confused. I heard The University of California, Berkeley—maybe the most liberal college in America and the historic site of hippies and college protests—now restricts free speech. (No “conservatives” allowed.) Could this be true?
And now it seems that the list of university campuses in America banning guest speakers is growing. I thought these campuses were supposed to be bastions of free expression of ideas and differing views. Is this censorship or just “political correctness” that has gone out of control?
As for protesting a speaker you disagree with, have at it. That’s free speech too. But anyone destroying property or getting violent should get the billy club and be hauled off to jail—just like in the ’60s.
THE ROBOTS ARE COMING
Two people who are pretty darn smart and have impacted our lives with their products are Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates of Microsoft. I read an article on MarketWatch about these two, who “built billion-dollar technology companies in two very different areas, but they both agree on the biggest threats to American jobs.” That would be robots and artificial intelligence. Interesting points included in the story by Quentin Fottrell were:
• In his recent Harvard University commencement speech, Zuckerberg told the grads, “Our generation will have to deal with tens of millions of jobs replaced by automation like self-driving cars and trucks.”
• Gates recently told his 34.8 million Twitter followers that artificial intelligence will have a huge impact on jobs.
• “Some 38% of jobs in the U.S. are at ‘high risk’ of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next 15 years.”
• “Low-paying jobs appear most at risk from robots, economists predict. For those who want to avoid being replaced by robots, a college education will likely help.”
So with these changes we will continue to look to entrepreneurs like Gates and Zuckerberg, who did share some words of wisdom for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs at Harvard.
“Maybe you’re thinking … ‘I don’t know how to get a million people involved in anything!’ Well, let me tell you a secret: no one does when they begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started,” Zuckerberg said. “If I had to understand everything about connecting people before I began, I never would have started Facebook. Movies and pop culture get this all wrong. The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie. It makes us feel inadequate since we haven’t had ours. It prevents people with seeds of good ideas from getting started.”
In our May 9 issue of Business Report, we recognized nine influential women in our community who are making their mark. They join an impressive group of past honorees—women in the Capital Region who help lead the way.
Our CEO, Julio Melara, and I want to recognize and thank the women in this company who help lead the way every day. Almost 80% of our publishing company is women who provide you our excellent products including Business Report, 225, inRegister, 10/12 Industry Report, Daily Report, our websites and special events. Together, they are making an impact on our city and state, and we are proud of them all and appreciate their passion and commitment to our community.
June 18 is Father’s Day, a day to honor our dads. I realize that not all children have such an influence in their lives. I feel blessed to have had such a great role model and mentor. I also feel privileged to have the role of father—and now grandfather—and the joy that comes with it.
Last month we celebrated Memorial Day and remembered those who gave their lives for our country and our freedom. Many of those who died were dads. My heart goes out to those families—and all the families who lost loved ones in service to America.
Our family was fortunate to have our dad return home after serving as a first lieutenant in the Army in WWII and the Korean War. He was awarded a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars. In watching the somber national ceremony at Arlington Cemetery on TV, I realized my father wasn’t just a great dad, he was a hero—and I miss him. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and heroes.