Essays/Opinion

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Arkansas Needs Tim Griffin

Opinion: When it comes to candidates for Attorney General in the State of Arkansas, none can rise above or outshine Tim Griffin. To be frank, Tim Griffin will be the Attorney General Arkansas is going to need for the foreseeable future.

Few would argue with the statement, “There is no substitute for experience” and Griffin’s resume is a sounding board of experience. However, he is not only experienced in state law and politics, but he also has a background extending from federal law to Washington D.C. and into the heart of the United States Military.

Starting in 1995 Griffin gained experience working on an investigation into the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  He served as the Senior Investigative Counsel for the House Committee on Government Reform.  In 1999 he was the Deputy Research Direct for the RNC and worked directly with George Bush on the election campaign. In 2005, Griffin worked directly with the White House as a Special Assistant to the President.  By 2006, Griffin was appointed to serve as a United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. 

Tim would go on to run for Congress and win. He served two terms before deciding to come home to Arkansas and raise his family. In Arkansas, he has served two terms as the Lieutenant Governor. While serving and working in D.C. and Arkansas, Griffin also managed to serve in the United States Army Reserve where he currently holds the rank of Colonel. Tim served in the Iraq War and earned numerous awards for his service.

Arkansas faces an unprecedented time of potential and outright overreach from the federal government.  That overreach has gone into schools, challenged the rights of the Second Amendment, included vaccine mandates, and regulations put in place which directly hurt Arkansas families and workers.  We need Griffin to face these challenges. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office is the largest staffed state office serving the citizens of Arkansas.  There are more than 100 attorneys working directly under the Attorney General to ensure the rights and liberties of Arkansas citizens are not violated.  There is simply no better person than Tim Griffin to lead this fight.  He knows Washington, he knows Congress, he knows the law, and he knows the plight of our veterans.  Tim Griffin has the background, the experience, the knowledge, and most importantly the dedication to lead Arkansas as we face these challenging legal times ahead. 

When you go to the polls in May and again in November, remember Arkansas is in a fight for the future of your children. The battles in the court systems today will determine the freedoms, the rights, and the future for all of us in Arkansas. The choice can not be any clearer. The only person prepared to fight for us in the next four years is Tim Griffin. Tim’s experience, leadership, and skill will propel us into positions of victory for Arkansas. You must cast your vote for the future of Arkansas and that means you must vote for Tim Griffin as your next Attorney General of Arkansas. Tim’s campaign is online: Tim Griffin
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The Government COVID Vaccine Mandate is Wrong

COVID-19 Vaccine (Yale Online News)

Opinion: The battle over required COVID-19 Vaccinations is catching headlines across the nation. The country has a president who has now dictated a requirement for a significant number of Americans to be forced to take the COVID vaccine Vaccine without congressional laws or approval. There are past legal judgments that seem to support the government’s stand. However, just because a ruling in the past kept something legal does not mean that the same ruling will apply today. I believe the vaccine is good, has been scientifically proven to work, and is an essential step in fighting COVID. That is my view though, as I also believe in the individual right of choice. In other words, because I believe in the science behind the vaccine does not mean you have to believe in it.  Freedom of choice is one of the foundations of the United States.  We are free to decide our paths daily.  When it comes to vaccines, not even the federal government has a standard requirement for institutions such as schools.  Each state decides the annual school vaccines taken by students.  States self-govern, determine what vaccines will be required for public school attendance, and allow for exemptions.  Exemptions can range from medical exemptions, religious exemptions, and even down to that freedom of choice.  In simple terms, you have rights.  The only area where you do not have rights when it comes to standard vaccines is the military.  Anyone who has ever joined a military branch can tell you that you’re going to get vaccinated…whether you want to or not, but that military obligation also removes many of your freedoms and choices.  That’s just part of the military. 

So in the “Land of the Free,” we now have a situation where the government tells us we have to be vaccinated or tested if we fit specific criteria.  If you work for a company with more than one hundred employees – you know, Walmart, Dillards, McDonald’s, Burger King, Ford, GMC, Sony, Best Buy, grocery chains, etc., you have to have the COVID vaccine or weekly testing.  At this point, it’s not clear what the government may require next if you test positive, but it’s also not clear how a company will monitor for breakthrough infections in those vaccinated.  The only certainty is that you can submit to the testing, or you can get the vaccine – there’s your choice in the “Land of the Free.”  Further, those companies funded with federal monies – which is ultimately your money – are required to vaccinate or test weekly.  This requirement means all the small facilities providing long-term care, small medical facilities, even your local doctor’s office will have to vaccinate or submit to testing.  

Naturally, many companies wasted no time implementing these changes – you can’t blame them since the government has indicated enormous penalties for non-compliance.  Sure, they are going to act now and get ready. However, since there is no indication of who will pay for the mandatory weekly testing, most businesses appear to have simply decided to let people refusing the vaccine be terminated.  This termination policy is being seen first in hospitals and medical settings.   

We now have a situation where the medical staff in many hospitals are being terminated.  Some of these nurses, doctors, and others have been working in the medical field for years.  They were the front-line workers in the pandemic when it started…with no vaccine.  They came to work, wore PPE, took a deep breath, and jumped in to fight COVID daily.  They have been hailed as heroes.  While other businesses and schools shut down, people stayed home, travel was restricted, these medical men and women went to the front lines, and they fought.  They cried, they lost patients, they saved patients, and ultimately some of them even gave their lives in the fight.  The medical community in this country stepped up in our hour of need.  They continue to step up.  Now, they are being told to take the vaccine or hit the road.  Some of them have taken the vaccine – it was their choice, but others have decided they do not want it.  The same people who walked headfirst into COVID-19 when others stayed home are now being fired for not wanting a vaccine because they exercise their own choice – their freedom.  

Whether you are pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine does not matter – we can all have our own opinions.  You can feel like your opinion is correct, and that is okay.  But regardless of your opinion, when the people who fought on the front lines in the war against COVID with no vaccine do not want the vaccine, and then they are being fired, there is something wrong in the “Land of the Free.”  Choice and Freedom are the foundation of our country.  If we throw that away for a vaccine, then where will our government stop?  
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The COVID-19 Impact in Arkansas

Opinion: COVID-19 is no joke, and I strongly disagree with anyone who says it is a joke, conspiracy, or something not to be taken seriously. It is getting to where more families are being impacted by this disease. If the family is lucky, there will be a mild case, but in others, death comes knocking with a brutal vengeance. While people still debate the virus, masks, and the vaccine, few of those people at the edge of death debate it. In fact, the majority of the people showing up in the hospitals, ending up on ventilators, and eventually dying are often begging for the vaccine when they initially come in the door sick. Continue Reading →

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July 4, Fireworks, Shows, Parades, and God

Flag

It started with a suggestion in June, followed by a meeting on July 2, and finally a formal signing on July 4, 1776.  From that moment on, the cry would go up around the world that the colonies of the North American Continent, all thirteen of them, had declared independence from Great Britain.  Like any country, Britain would not take kindly to losing the colonies.  In fact, no country in the history of the world has ever simply said, “Sure, go ahead and leave us and take all the investments we made into your area with you.”  No, instead the greatest empire in the world set out to reclaim the colonies and force them back into the British realm.  The rest of the story, you know as the United States won independence in the war that followed.  To this day, we still hear our friends across the pond in England wish us a “Happy Traitor’s Day.”  Naturally, this is done more in good humor now that we are friends so many years after the revolution. The founding fathers were by no means blind to the fact that they were setting in motion something that would be celebrated for years, and perhaps forever.  John Adams wrote to his wife of the importance of the entire event that officially started on July 2 and ended on July 4.  He sent his letter on July 3, 1776 that included the following statement:

“The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Continue Reading →

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Juneteenth National Independence Day

Opinion: Juneteenth is now a national holiday, but it has always been in the hearts and minds of many. Perhaps not surprisingly, some Americans have never known about Juneteenth. Texas for years has celebrated the holiday as a state holiday, but it’s likely many taking a holiday did not know the true significance of the celebration. While the historic event was certainly not the official end of slavery in the United States, it has become a celebration of the symbolic end of slavery for all Americans.

Historically speaking, Lincoln’s great Emancipation Proclamation did little to free slaves. The proclamation ended slavery in the states in rebellion, but few realize that it left slavery in full operation in five states. Five slave states remained in the Union during the Civil War and were not subject to the proclamation. The enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation depended on the arrival and control in rebellion states by Union forces. The Five slave-states remaining in the Union during the Civil War waited until December to see the end of slavery. While slavery might end in one state, it may well have still been in operation in another state or territory. Because of the various dates slavery ended, no historian can say with certainty when it ended for any individual man, woman, or child. Despite this fact, Juneteenth day has a long history of being the celebrated date for the end of what President Biden calls America’s “Original Sin.”

What Juneteenth does hold over all other potential dates for the end of slavery is the fact it is the oldest celebrated date for the end of slavery in the United States. It has been called Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Emancipation Day. In history, it is the day Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, under the command of General Gordon Granger and shared the Emancipation Proclamation three years after it had been signed.

If you could step back in time, imagine being in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. It’s a hot day. Business is likely going on as usual. Maybe you are a slave, maybe you are free, but all you know for certain is that a Union group of soldiers have arrived. If you are enslaved, you may be standing near your owner, or you are working, or maybe you’re in town to pick up some supplies. This group of Union men moves through the city reading Army General Order Number 3 to everyone. Crowds would have likely followed them. They would have heard it read several times. To some, it must have been a shock, unbelievable, or even as the old saying goes, “Too good to be true.” By the time the group reaches a church on Broadway, there must have been many people following and asking questions. As the order was last read at the church, this is what they would have heard, had explained to them if need be, but come to understand as the day Freedom arrived in Galveston:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. “Juneteenth”. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Many would naturally be confused, but within that order, four words would have struck home for any person in slavery… “all slaves are free.” From the small island of Galveston, the word would spread through songs, messages, and across the land, “All Slaves are free.”

June the 19th, 1865, would become the day that all citizens of the United States would recognize that after 89 years, for the first time, all people in the United States could cling to the words of the Declaration of Independence. Continue Reading →

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Memorial Day 2021

Multiple cities have claimed to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, but in 1966 the government officially declared Waterloo, New York, as the national holiday birthplace.  The debates on the home of Memorial day came to a close, but the history remains unchanged.  Memorial Day was born on May 5, 1868, under Army General Order Number 11.  The order recognized Memorial Day, then called Decoration Day, by stating,  “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”  On that first Memorial Day, over 20,000 graves of both the Union and Confederacy in Arlington cemetery were decorated with flowers. 

After the first Memorial Day, several states celebrated it.  Some celebrated at the end of May as the original date, and others chose their dates.  In World War I, the holiday transformed from commemorating those who died in the Civil War to celebrate the service of those who died in any war.  The National Holiday Act of 1971 made the last Monday of May the holiday’s official date for all fifty states.  It has since become a tradition to recite the poem “On Flanders Field” each memorial day in various countries.  

This Memorial Day is no different than any other.  We now have more wars, more conflicts, and more men and women to remember than before.  Our country has been involved in wars from the Revolution to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Lives have been given both on this continent and around the world.  It is fitting and appropriate that during this three-day weekend, as you celebrate or relax, you should take a moment to remember.  

There are counties today where freedom is not allowed. There are people still to this day seeking admission, acceptance, and the opportunity to become citizens of the United States. Every day they come from countries around the world. They seek freedom, they seek possibilities, and they seek the life of the American Dream. Sadly there are those in this country claiming the American Dream is dead. They claim Socialism or some other form of government should be in place. They seek to change, modify, and even put away the freedoms promised by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We must remain vigilant to honor those who have given their lives to protect our freedom.

On this Memorial Day 2021, put down the burger, put down the hot dog, pause, and remember. Someone died so that you could eat that food in peace, in the home of the brave, and in the home the most desired state of existence in the world, in a state of freedom. That freedom was not free, and it will not be in the future. So take that moment to remember that someone died so that today you can look to a brighter future filled with freedom.
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Reflecting on Good Friday

When I was younger I had a problem understanding a major verse of the Bible. The verse that bothered me came when Jesus spoke in Matthew 27:46. He said, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” The provided translations really struck me as odd. In the English Standard Version of the Bible just next to the words the rest of the verse says, “…that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” As a young man I thought the plea was a sign of surrender, giving up and lost hope on the part of Jesus. To me, as a young Christian, I thought many times, why would Jesus say this? It’s almost as if He was expecting God to save Him at the last moment or take Him off the cross? The Bible goes on to explain that those standing near the cross thought that Jesus was calling out to Elijah (Matthew 27:47). So, it appeared to me that confusion was not only present in my reading, but also in the understanding of the people there that day. At times when I read it, I felt that Jesus had truly expected a different outcome. At the time He was very close to death. The plea seemed to me to be a question to God, a wondering thought, of “Why didn’t You come save me from this death?” As I would learn later when I grew in my Christian walk, the verse and the plea had a much deeper meaning and one that we as Christians should not only cherish, but be thankful that we will never experience. As Christians, no matter what trials, tribulations, or even potential death we face, we will never face it alone. God is always with us as we are promised in Hebrews 13.5 and several other places we are told that He will never leave us or forsake us. This means that even in the worst of times we will not be alone. The meaning of Jesus’ cry though is that at the moment He was about to die, the time He should have needed God the most, God was not there. This may be shocking to think that God would turn His back on His own Son, but that is exactly what happened when Jesus cried out. For the first time in Jesus’ life, He felt no connection to God the Father. In Jesus’ own words, God had “forsaken” Him. He had left Jesus completely and utterly alone on the cross to finally die in agony and pain. The connection to God that had been so strong all His life simply vanished. Jesus, perhaps for the first time ever, was completely alone. It was so torturous to Him that it caused Him to cry out. The Romans had beat Him, humiliated Him, and were in the process of crucifying Him, but through all that He knew God was with Him. Now, suddenly, at the final moments when God should have been standing close in Jesus’ human heart and soul, God turned away. Jesus could not understand why at that moment and He cried out. It is something that we as Christians have been promised never to face – perhaps because it would be too horrible for us to stand. Continue Reading →

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Time to Spring Forward Again

Daylight Savings Time Begins

Spring 1 Hour forward

Thanks to one George Hudson and his concept of Daylight Savings Time, we will spring forward tonight at 2 a.m. by one hour. According to supporters of the process, we will all be more productive, active, and gain an extra hour of daylight so we can complete our daily task…you know, tending the crops. Some people push to end the Daylight Savings Time ritual practiced twice a year. Medical professionals in particular have concluded there is an increase in work related accidents, suicides and other health problems around the time change. While a handful of states do not practice the ritual, the rest of the country and the four states region continues to be subjected to the “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” process each year. Continue Reading →

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Girls Basketball Team Shines With Act of Love

Opinion: On December 8, the girls of Chapel Hill High School Basketball team showed the world the true meaning of sportsmanship and love which goes beyond a game of basketball. When the game whistle blew the designated tip-off player refused to jump for the tip. As the Bowie Simms Girls Team took possession of the ball, the Chapel Hill player calmly walked toward her teammates in the corner of the gym where they were kneeling in respect. Bowie Simms easily made the layup and opening point at which time the Chapel Hill team rejoined the game. This simple act of respect and honor caused an immediate response. In the stands, the Chapel Hill and Bowie Simms fans all understood the symbolic gesture made by Chapel Hill. Immediately a standing ovation was given by both sides of the gym.

On November 7, Bowie Simms lost one of their high school players to a tragic car accident. Devastated by the loss, the team canceled their scheduled November 13 game with Chapel Hill as the Bowie Simms team and community mourned. At Chapel Hill, the team followed the updates, prayed, and received word from Coach Matt Garrett on how the community was holding up.

Coach Matt Garrett has coached girl’s basketball teams to four state championships. Needless to say, he knows basketball, and he knows sportsmanship as it’s an important part of his life. Coach Garrett in reference to the girls’ actions, stated, “there are times that there are things bigger than the game of basketball.”

Garrett says his team wanted to accomplish two important things by kneeling in the opening moments of the game. They wanted to honor the grieving family, school, and community first. They also wanted to use the moment to show other students the meaning of respect and honor above the game.

Sometimes older generations worry about the future. We worry if the younger generations will rise and be the type of leaders and adults our nation needs. Well, the girls of Chapel Hill Basketball team just showed the world that it is going to be okay. By showing compassion, love, and respect that goes beyond good sportsmanship, they transcended into outstanding young adults. With young people like this team from Chapel Hill school in the small town of Mount Pleasant, Texas, coming to age as young adults, we can rest assured the future is in great hands. Chapel Hill Basketball Team Takes a knee
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Fall Reflections and 2020

Opinion: There’s no denying that fall is upon us in the four states area. We are seeing colder days, Halloween has passed, trees are changing colors, and leaves are gently floating down to the ground. Fall seems to mark the end of each year as the leaves start dancing through the air outside my office window, a reminder that the end of the year is almost here.

From this point forward we will celebrate holidays, eat, shop, and for many of us, we will try to pretend that 2020 has never happened. Some of us have lost loved ones, friends, and co-workers this year. We have watched as politicians argue, debate, and try to find some happy balance between shutting society down and opening it up. We have debated masks, political agendas, and even argued over how real or unreal this pandemic is or is not.

2020 was a unique year to say the least. We started off with rumors of war quickly escalating to talk of another world war. We watched as Congressional leaders tried to impeach a President and a pandemic raced around the globe. Many of us shut ourselves away at home while “essential” workers carried on the day-to-day task of keeping society moving. We faced riots, demonstrations, and chaos in some of the cities around the world. We watched as a global economy suffered the effects of the “Stay at home” cry, and we marveled to some extent as pollution levels dropped across the states, perhaps a cry of relief from mother nature as our pollution output slowed. Finally, many of us watched as a loved one, friend, or stranger struggled for air, gasping as a ventilator tried desperately to keep the life-giving oxygen flowing. In some cases, with no rhyme or reason, the COVID patient survived or barely showed symptoms. In other cases, as our hearts were torn and ripped from us, we watched as COVID destroyed life. 2020 has been unique is perhaps an understatement.

As we close out 2020, political disarray is still the line for mainstream media, social media is still rolling with rumors, lies, truths, and perhaps half-truths at times. We seem to be divided, first as a world and second as a nation. At a time when COVID should have forced us to come together, join one another, and fight against the common enemy of a disease…many of us chose to focus on our masks, our rights, our feelings. Was it self-centered? I really don’t know. History will have to look back and judge how we handled the pandemic. All I do know is that 2020 will come to an end and 2021 will roll in on January 1. Maybe in these last days of the year, we should all take time to reflect, maybe reconnect with a political enemy or simply talk to our neighbors. If just a few people will reach out in our communities with a smile, a positive word, maybe a helping hand we can all be reminded that we are bigger than 2020. We will have 2021 and that is something in itself to be thankful for as we move onward.

So watch the leaves fall, enjoy the colors, and look into your own heart. Is there a way you can help make 2021 better? Maybe, in the end, it’s all a matter of how we approach each day, each person, and each situation we come across. Maybe it does boil down to you, and me, deciding it’s going to be better, and then we can all work together to make it so much brighter each day. Continue Reading →

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