Payne in the ICE

It has been a while since we’ve heard from Representative Donald Payne (D-District 10) on the crisis of immigration policy.

On May 30, 2018, his office released a statement calling the Trump Administration’s practice of separating children from their parents at the border “horrendous.” He connects this policy to the experience of African American families under slavery, saying, “This is not the first time the United States has used the terror of ripping families apart in order to push a vengeful, racist agenda.” He was right to point out that the past is not even past.
It is easy to condemn Trump, but harder to clean-up your own backyard. The Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark detains immigrants for ICE in conditions that ICE itself condemned as recently as February.

Mr. Payne supported ICE when he was a freeholder in 2013, and apparently, that support continues. Now we witness raids on immigrant communities that left children bereft of their parents on the first day of school. How long can Mr. Payne separate ICE at the border from ICE in Essex County? It is all one dirty rotten mess, and he should say so, and act accordingly.




What Dems should be talking about

In their recent debates, the Democratic presidential candidates have disagreed on the best ways to handle health care, immigration, climate change and other challenges. What they haven’t done is define the goals and values they share, which bear little resemblance to those of the president and his party.

I believe our best chance is to inspire voters by reminding them of these ideals. Here’s an attempt to define the values Democrats share, despite their policy differences.
What does it mean to be a Democrat? It means

…recognizing that our country faces serious problems and searching for the best ways to solve them. (If you think the government can’t do anything right, does that mean you have no use for Social Security, Medicare, interstate highways, or national parks?)
…respecting the dignity and contributions of America’s minorities, instead of insulting them and fantasizing about a mythical past.
…appealing to what’s best in Americans—their generosity and desire for fairness—instead of exploiting their fears and resentments.
…talking honestly to voters—not lying to score points or grab media attention.
…using the best available scientific evidence to address crises like climate change, instead of pretending the problems don’t exist.
…acknowledging that, despite stock market gains, many of us still struggle to pay the rent and put food on the table.
…fighting the biases that hold women back in the workplace, and defending their right to make their own reproductive decisions.
… working to overcome racism—not inflaming it to win votes.
…giving people who weren’t born to privilege a fairer shot at success by improving public education and raising the minimum wage—so full-time workers don’t need food stamps.
…protecting the environment—not shredding the regulations that gave us clean air and drinking water.
…rejecting cruelty as a tool for governing—especially when the victims are children.
…appointing the most qualified people to run government agencies—not under-qualified loyalists.
…tempering justice with mercy when it comes to undocumented immigrants—not treating those who hoped for a better life as if they were dangerous criminals.
…guarding our elections against foreign interference, instead of welcoming that interference when it’s to your advantage.

Finally, being a Democrat means believing in democracy: governing according to the will of the people, not the will of the wealthiest campaign donors.

I know the candidates want to distinguish themselves from their rivals, but I hope they’ll also remind Americans that they agree on these basic values—which are shared by many people who don’t call themselves Democrats. Let’s show voters why they may want to support the Democrat in 2020, no matter how they’ve voted in the past.




Isn’t the United States still a haven?

“Give me your tired, your poor, your struggling masses yearning to be free…” Thus I was taught as a reflection of my country; it is written on the Statue of Liberty. It seems in stark contrast to recent news.

I am appalled at many recent actions by the federal government, but this week by the arrest of people at their place of employment while their children were enjoying their first day of the new school year. Isn’t the United States still a haven for struggling people longing to be free?

Admittedly, the population explosion is making it difficult to accommodate people anywhere. There are two and a half as many people now as when my father said to my fiancé and me, “Perhaps you two should adopt your family. The world is getting very crowded.” No baby should be born anywhere on the planet unless someone wants that baby very much. I am distressed and frightened by policies that promote unwanted babies.
I strongly advocate stopping policies that thwart desperate immigrants and/or promote unwanted birth.

I wrote the above to Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez and Representative Mikie Sherrill, I urge others to adapt these ideas for similar letters and phone calls.




Median teachers salary declines in Montclair

Your Aug. 15 article on teacher salaries says … “In 2018-19, the median administrator salary was $140,772. The median support staff salary was $83,341, and the median teacher salary was $73,194.”

Without having any of the background on these median numbers I was stunned to consider that teachers may earn about half the salary of administrators and $10,000 less than support staff.

I would encourage you to continue your investigation into this topic so the public can understand why teachers earn so much less than administrators and support staff.
Intuitively, it just strikes me as wrong but there must be an explanation likely to do with the size of the data sets. Please explain.




Equality can actually disenfranchise

For years, the LGBT movement — in partnership with the media and the Democrat Party — have been working to subvert and co-opt the Civil Rights movement. Their most recent interposition: the so-called Equality Act introduced in the House of Representatives last month which would “force” public schools to allow transgender athletes to compete in their “preferred” gender.

This is a perfect example of the power of special interest lobbyists and activists to impose a political correctness on society that is so coercive, that persons subject to its spell totally ignore natural law and disregard common sense. What is deemed to be “equality” effectively disenfranchises young women who wish to compete fairly on the field and advance athletic careers at the collegiate level and instead eliminates their scholarship opportunities.

The obvious distinction between male and female has quite literally been known forever. But modern science now shows that sex chromosomes differ between males and females. Females have two copies of the X chromosomes while males have one X and one Y chromosome. Basic middle school science exemplifies that one’s sex is inherently determined and embedded in every cell of the human body and not based on mere preference, whim, confusion, or delusion.

That Democrat legislators would even entertain such an idea at the expense of innocent female competitors and their families is tragic and shameful. Where is the National Organization of Women on this? Is this not a policy that will hurt young women and give unfair advantage to men? And, though I hesitate to ask, where do we go from here?



The author is the senior pastor at New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair.