Letters to the Editor | Reader Opinions | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | March 5, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: March 1, 2017 at 12:20 pm
CCHS student writes President Trump
Dear President Trump:
I am a 17-year-old public high school senior in South Carolina writing on behalf of my mother, my family, and the American way of life; for I am the son of an Iranian immigrant.
My mother, MyLinda Louise O’Quinn, was an Iranian born national, adopted by an American soldier and his wife in Tehran in 1973. In coming to the United States, my mother learned a new language, adopted a foreign lifestyle, and eventually became a legalized citizen.
Yet, despite her adopted family’s modest means and at times unstable home, she persevered in her young American dreams. She became a Christian, often walking to attend Sunday services by herself. She succeeded in school, though she was never the most intelligent or popular. She even took up the sport of running, excelling as a top performer on her high school cross country and track teams.
Upon graduating from high school, my mother enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and began rising through the ranks at a respectable rate. Seven years later, after having her first son (my older brother) with my father (a fellow Marine who is now a retired 28-year veteran), she got out to devote her time to raising her family properly.
Once my brother and I were both past our more parentally dependent years, my mother attended school through her and my father’s military benefits, studying nursing. She eventually received her BSN, commencing a career in healthcare that included working for a home health agency, multiple public schools as a school nurse, and a governmentally-funded nursing home for veterans. Currently, my mother teaches health science to public high school students interested in entering the medical field.
Though born in Iran, my mother has served her country, the United States of America, about as much as any one person can. Her only job not directly working for the government was working for a home health agency that was still largely governmentally-funded and provided healthcare to many American citizens.
Additionally, whenever she was not working, my mother was devoting her time to raising two promising young Americans who can potentially do a lot of good for this country (my brother will be graduating from the University of South Carolina with his master’s degree in aerospace engineering in one year, and I will be graduating as valedictorian of my high school class in three months to attend either Princeton, the Naval Academy, or Clemson.)
Yet, had your immigration ban been around in 1973, she might not be here now. She would have never served her country, brought my brother and I into existence, and inspired the community around her. Quite simply, my mother would have never been able to live the American dream to the extreme as she has. In this way, I believe my mother serves as a perfect example of the kind of people you may be blocking from entering our nation through your ban.
To be frank, Mr. President, I abhor you. You have squandered just about every value I have been raised to hold true as an American. Through your seemingly habitual acts of deceit, contradiction and lying, you have torn asunder my mother’s principle of honesty. Through your rampant bragging of your stardom’s power over women, and your utter disregard for their being anything more than mere sexual toys (the Billy Bush and Howard Stern incidents), you have debased my mother’s gender. Through your demeaning comments regarding John McCain’s capture and detainment as a prisoner of war, you have dishonored and insulted all veterans’ (including my mother’s) military service. I implore you, please do not disgrace my mother’s heritage as well.
Though I personally detest you, Mr. President, I offer every ounce of respect your title as the rightfully-elected president of the United States deserves. Thus, I have offered you my humble opinion (for whatever an inexperienced teen’s political perspective is worth), and will now leave you with this thought:
I love the field of engineering; it appreciates mathematics’ exactness, yet values estimation’s practical applications. An engineer can often deem factors negligible, ignore their existence, and compute an estimate that is close enough to work. A politician on the other hand cannot. For, when dealing with people, no factor is negligible and no person can be ignored, for people are the most complex factor, and there is no way to tell how much power a person may possess.
As my Aunt Kitty would say, “Food for thought.”
Most humbly yours,
Find out if it works before expanding
Before expanding the Cougar New Tech in Colleton County, the school district should compare the 2016 ACT scores of CCHS New Tech students to traditional students. New Tech is an externally funded online learning and testing system that has inherent weaknesses. Because the senior class of New Tech students were screened and selected for the program while in eighth grade, they should have done well on the ACT. The school district doesn’t want to lose the funding, but it must determine if New Tech is effective.
The CCHS diploma means different things to different students. For the consistent hard work of some, it qualifies them for academic scholarships of up to $8,000 a year through the South Carolina Education Lottery. Clemson and USC currently offer competitive engineering scholarships valued at $6-7,000 a year. A student could earn $60,000 in public scholarships to complete a degree in engineering.
Unfortunately for more students than I expected, the CCHS diploma doesn’t mean they will pass the military entrance exam. These students are not eligible for the benefits of military service which include the Post 9/11 Education Bill. This bill pays for four years of tuition at any public college or university in the U.S. and includes an E-5 basic allowance for housing which is about $1,500 a month in Columbia.
Most of the CCHS students are taught by educators in the traditional classroom environment. The graduation of 332 CCHS (traditionally taught) seniors in 2016 is an accomplishment. It is also a testament to the efforts of educators and administrators at Colleton elementary schools, middle school and CCHS. Humans have the innate ability to learn more from other humans. Children learn from parents first and then continue to learn from parents and teachers. Just like there is no substitute for a good parent, there is no substitute for a good teacher.
Jail tour was very enlightening
Just when I thought I’d just about seen it all, another real show-stopper takes place in my life. I was invited to lunch at one of the local eateries by Pastor Daryl Hunt (Living Word Church) and he asked if it was OK to invite along Captain Shane Roberts of the Colleton County Sheriff Office. The meal was OK, but Captain Roberts shared some things which I found to be very interesting. Roberts is now the current jail administrator, and while he and I’ve talked about the challenges facing our youths, we have not put our “hands” directly in the fight to attempt to resolve the issues.
Captain Roberts later invited Pastor Hunt and me to visit and tour the jail and learn more of how inmates can become caught in a revolving door because there’s very little for them to pursue after discharge from the jail community. Shockingly sad, but true, they’d return to the jail after having committed additional crimes not too terribly long after discharged from jail.
The jail tour was arranged to include a couple of guests of Pastor Hunt along with me and Chaplain Al Traynor (teacher of Life Skills) of Patriot Hospice. First we met at Captain Roberts’ office for an in-brief of how we should conduct ourselves while in the vicinity of the inmates.
I’ve served on active duty in the military for almost four years. I been in areas of the world that I’d feared for my life, and in fact, I’ve been in situations where I have wondered if I would ever see Green Pond again, alive! So if I say I’ve seen a thing or two, know that I am not a wimp and I could still hold my own physically if I was pushed to that level of life! But I can say with all candor, I wasn’t prepared for what I encountered on my tour of the Colleton County Jail facility. It really is a jail! The door really does close with a loud clang. The cells are not designed to make a sane person want to live there.
What I find most memorable is, whenever I go to the bathroom, I must have a door, and I must have an exhaust fan, and I must have one of those high–quality air fresheners. Also, I do not want to smell anything dirty, clothes, socks, nor people! That is why I bathe my dog and why I do the laundry in our house.
As we toured the jail, the inmates would quickly come to what looked like a 4×24 inch Plexiglas opening to “reach out” to us with their eyes. The same behavior was repeated as we passed each cell. Even in the booking area, where the person is awaiting processing, they would come to the almost one-way mirrored glass to “see.” I asked Captain Roberts what did he attribute the behavior, he said, “Humans are naturally clannish,” we want to “belong” to something or we’d gravitate towards anything to fill the void.
So an inmate never really loses the innate desire to want to belong and so as they looked us over, their eyes seem to say, “Are you one of my people? Do you belong to me? Can I relate to you?” And because so many men have left their God-given role as a provider, a nurturer, a protector to become an existing human and a “user” of the system to survive, many young boys are facing a spurious, inferior mindset because each boy needs to know or seeks to be validated by other males.
This is in no way implying that a single mother, grandmother, or a female cannot validate a male child. Rather, there are certain mandates in nature (some I cannot explain) that just seem to fit. The clannish or strong kinship to belong to a group is reportedly one of the reasons why gangs seem to flourish.
During our tour of the jail, we partially identified the problem. Afterwards, we brainstormed for some solutions. Chaplain Traynor has conducted the first Life Skills class at the jail complex. Living Word Church partnered alongside the CCSO jail by donating approximately 300 books to start a library for the inmates to keep their minds actively engaged and to advance beyond the Adult Education component already in place.
Finally, we are in the process to do a rollout of the Colleton County Community Coalition (C-4), a collaborative effort with five primary stakeholders: education, law enforcement, faith-based leadership, parents, and businessmen. The C-4 will seek to reach out to other churches and community focused programs to develop a strategy to especially address former inmates as they attempt to re-integrate and adapt back into society.
Our universities have turned into totalitarian centers of progressive propaganda and heavy-handed oppression of opposing viewpoints. The campuses are protected (ruled) by radical liberal troublemakers, who take every opportunity to turn peaceful demonstrations into violent and destructive riots. Led and instigated by professors who are employees of the university, these students are allowed to limit, or even completely prevent, Republican or opposing speakers to address the students.
On Feb. 1, students at University of California Berkeley demonstrated their desire for and recognition of free speech by chasing the “Breitbart News” website editor from the auditorium before he was able to speak. This is not only unconstitutional, it is censorship and it is fascist. Students were not forced to attend this event, so if they are such crybabies that they could not listen to an opposing voice, they were free to go home and take a nap.
Once again, there were the masked demonstrators setting fires, breaking windows and generally being destructive. Why isn’t there a law about wearing a mask to a public gathering? Only lawbreakers need their identity hidden by a mask. Ironically, one of the signs on display said: “STOP HATE.” Another one said: “Stay ungoverned.” This is not a peaceful demonstration — it is anarchy. One young lady wearing a Trump hat was sprayed with pepper spray in the face by one of the masked punks; yet, according to police, only one arrest was made.
This is not the action of a university that is trying to educate students — it is an institution of propaganda and censorship and chaos. This is just another example of the progressive liberals wanting to dictate their policies and beliefs to the rest of us. I find it incomprehensible that these same students demand a safe space and a warning from professors on the contents of a syllabus if it contains anything that may “make them feel scared or even cause them to faint.” The liberals, who are the first to throw around criticism with words like bigot and racist, need to have a talk with the person in the mirror.
Why has it now become acceptable for a professor to interject his or her personal opinion and political beliefs into the classroom? That is not by any standard a constructive environment for young students to hear all points of view and ask questions as they form their personal values. Intimidation is not only possible, but likely.
Why is there no action from the justice department against these universities for the evident prejudice against hiring conservative professors? They should enforce laws against discrimination against conservatives as it is applied to minorities. Keeping a campus balanced on all political viewpoints is necessary to insure students are exposed to a broad selection of viewpoints so they can determine their own life plan.
It is time for parents to demand that their tax money not be given to these universities and colleges that allow radical students from the left to dictate who can speak at their university. They also need to pull their students out of these universities.
Our students deserve a free and open education with all sides of all issues equally represented. It appears a small group of radical students are running our universities, so if it takes replacing university presidents to take charge and build an open and free campus, then it should be done immediately.