Tag Archives: diversity

Let’s try this type of ‘diversity’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump was fond of reminding us that “elections have consequences.” Of course, he was right. They do and those consequences often present themselves in the form of judicial nominations.

Joseph Biden also knows that truism and he demonstrated just how consequential his election as president might become for the nation’s judicial system. President Biden rolled out his first list of court nominees and they are a truly diverse bunch.

Biden’s nominees include plenty of women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, a Muslim, a smattering of men, as well as Anglos of both genders.

Already, one of those nominees, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, is being discussed as a possible nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court in the event a vacancy occurs. Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed to the court in 1997 by President Clinton, is thought to be considering retirement once the court’s term expires later this year.

Biden has pledged to name an African-American woman to the nation’s highest court. Given that he made a similar promise when he named a vice presidential nominee, I am going to take him at his word that he will do what he promised. Judge Jackson fits the description.

However, I want to offer this suggestion for a way to diversify the SCOTUS: Find someone who didn’t earn a law degree from either Harvard or Yale University.

All but one of the justices on the court received their legal degree at one of those schools. Hmm. It makes me wonder whether the rest of the nation’s legal institutions are worth a damn. Well, of course they are! Which is why I would hope President Biden could cast his Supreme Court nomination wide, far beyond those Ivy League enclaves. Judge Brown is a Harvard Law grad. The only non-Ivy Leaguer on the high court is its newest justice, Amy Coney Barrett, who earned her law degree at Notre Dame.

Biden releases first wave of judicial nominees – POLITICO

I once made a similar request of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was considering an appointment to the Texas Supreme Court. It dawned on me years ago that the Texas high court comprised justices who resided strictly between Interstates 35 and 45. I implored Gov. Perry to look for someone beyond that corridor. As it turned out, a highly qualified appellate judge from Amarillo, Phil Johnson, applied for that vacancy.

What do ya know? Perry appointed Johnson to serve on the court. Either he heard my plea which I made on the editorial page of the Amarillo Globe-News, or he listened to the advice of aides who had been strong-armed by legal eagles in West Texas to select someone from our part of the state.

Whatever. I think President Biden could rethink how he wants to apply diversification to the nation’s legal network by looking for a Supreme Court justice who didn’t earn his or her law degree in the hallowed halls of the Ivy League.

City future likely in good hands

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I made a most interesting acquaintance today on the front porch of my home in Princeton, Texas.

A young man was walking the neighborhood when he rang our doorbell. We answered the ring and he introduced himself as John Kusterbeck. He is 41 years of age and is married to Brandy, who’s 36 years of age.

They appear to be the leaders — although John Kusterbeck gives his wife all the credit for being the “driving force” behind it — of a movement that seeks to improve the quality of life in the rapidly growing Collin County community.

He presented me with a card titled “Princeton TX United.” The group’s aim is to promote “racial equality, unity, diversity and change” in the city.

Here is what fascinates me about this fellow and the group he leads with his wife: The group appears to have a substantial following of literally hundreds of members who live in and around Princeton.

The group sprouted legs in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis at the hands — or under the knee — of a former cop who’s been charged with murder. They’re registered as a non-profit organization. Princeton TX United is dedicated to promoting candidate for public office who represent the diversity of the community. John Kusterbeck said some of that diversity is hidden because of the perception that Princeton comprises mostly older, Anglo residents who remain hide-bound to the Old Way of Doing Things. Kusterbeck doesn’t buy into that notion.

I could not help but think as we spoke of a one-woman “movement” that appeared in Amarillo some years ago when the city was debating whether to build a ballpark in the city’s downtown district. The Amarillo Millennial Movement turned out to be a serious flash in the pan.

AMM was composed of precisely one member, a young woman who campaigned vigorously for passage of a referendum endorsing construction of the ballpark. The measure passed and then the young woman moved to Fort Worth. The “movement” was no more.

I don’t sense that Princeton TX United fits that description of “movement.” This one looks like the real thing.

This group makes ample use of social media sites. It spreads its message throughout cyberspace. It seeks to bring in folks of all races, ethnic backgrounds, creeds, sexual orientation … you name it.

I wish them well. I also believe that if this organization has staying power that it could become a political force in a community that — based on its exploding population — is destined for some serious change at virtually every level imaginable.

Political diversity is far from dead

The next Democratic Party presidential nominee is going to be an old white man. One of the two remaining major candidates is 77 years of age; the other one is 78.

The gigantic 2020 Democratic primary field started out as the most diverse in history: five women; three African Americans (one of whom is a woman); an Asian-American businessman; a gay man; a Hindu woman.

We’re now left with the two old white guys: former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

I am all in for Biden. Never mind that … for now.

What’s left now is for one of these fellows to fight it out with each other and the winner to determine with whom he wants to run for the White House.

So much of the chatter has centered on the rivals who’ve dropped out. I want to expand the field of candidates for vice president way beyond building a “team of rivals.”

This much is as clear as anything one can imagine about the 2020 presidential campaign: The Democratic Party ticket is going to include either a woman, a woman or man of color, or possibly a woman of color.

So let’s quell the talk about the “death of diversity,” shall we?

As for the huge pool of potential running mates either for Biden or Sanders, one of these men can look far and wide well beyond the individuals whom they have defeated. Every state in the Union is full of competent, racially diverse individuals — including many women — involved at all levels of government.

I also agree that the once-huge Democratic field is full of competence, charisma and character. So, whomever emerges from the fight that’s about to commence from this day forward until the presidential nomination convention will have a rich field from which he can find a suitable running mate.

However, you can take this straight to the bank: The next Democratic VP nominee will not be an old white guy.

Liberals should heed advice from one of their own


Nicholas Kristof makes no apologies for being a liberal thinker.

Nor should he. The New York Times columnist, though, offers a serious word of caution to his fellow liberals and progressives: If you mean what you say about demanding diversity in all aspects of contemporary life, then do not shut out those ideas with which you disagree.

Kristof’s essay in the Sunday New York Times echoes a recurring theme on which he has written before.

He chides universities and colleges for becoming echo chambers, for demonstrating unwillingness to hear thoughts expressed by those on the right, even the far right.

He says this about his fellow liberals: “We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us.”

Ouch, man!

He’s correct. We see this played out on occasion when universities invite noted conservatives to speak on their campuses. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been victimized by outrage expressed by liberal faculty members and student body officers; so has Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration.

Even here in the Texas Panhandle, when one-time Bush presidential strategist Karl Rove was invited a few years ago to deliver a speech at a West Texas A&M University graduation event, you’d have thought WT had invited the spawn of Satan himself, based on some of the reaction.

Kristof has delivered a sound message for all his fellow liberals to heed. If you truly want diversity of thought and opinion, then open your own eyes, ears … and minds.

As Kristof writes: “It’s ineffably sad that today ‘that’s academic’ often means ‘that’s irrelevant.’ One step to correcting that is for us liberals to embrace the diversity we supposedly champion.”

Amen, brother.

Liberal offers an instructive scolding to liberals


When a conservative scolds liberals about being intolerant, one can chalk it up to sour grapes or to the bias of the person doing the scolding.

The same can be said when the roles are reversed.

However, when a liberal scolds liberals — or when a conservative scolds his or her brethren — that gets people’s attention.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has offered an interesting lecture about liberal intolerance.

Here it is: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/opinion/sunday/a-confession-of-liberal-intolerance.html?_r=0

He says liberal thinkers are none too tolerant of conservative thinkers on our nation’s higher education campuses. The intolerance undercuts liberals’ time-honored call for greater “diversity” of thought.

Hmmm. He’s suggesting that liberals want diversity as long as it agrees with their world view.

College and university campuses have erupted over many years when administrators invite conservatives to speak at, say, convocations or commencement exercises. Kristof’s essay talks about the reluctance of higher ed institutions to hire conservatives as faculty members.

Even in politically conservative regions, such as the Texas Panhandle, we’ve seen similar reactions to the presence of conservatives on college campuses.

Do you remember the mini-uproar that boiled up years ago when West Texas A&M University invited Karl Rove — the architect of President George W. Bush’s winning campaigns — to speak at an event honoring WT graduates? Some faculty officials disliked having Rove speak to the students.

Universities ought to welcome, embrace, even solicit differing — and diverse — points of view.

According to Kristof, though, they’ve become havens for liberal/progressive thinkers who dislike mingling with those on the other side of the fence.

Message received, Mr. Kristof.


No diversity on Democratic bench? C'mon!

The Hill newspaper has a headline that shouts that actual and potential Democratic candidates for president lack “diversity.”

The Democratic “bench” is too, um, bland … or some such thing.

Hold on here.


The trio of mug shots that accompany the news story attached here tell me something quite different.

* Hillary Rodham Clinton is, quite obviously, a woman. She was first lady for eight years from 1993 until 2001. She served in the U.S. Senate and then as secretary of state. Enough said there.

* Jim Webb is a former U.S. senator from Virginia. He’s a Vietnam War veteran. He saw combat as a Marine. He served in the Reagan administration, not exactly a bastion of progressive principles.

* Bernie Sanders is an independent U.S. senator from Vermont. He’s a card-carrying, say-it-loud-and-proud socialist. He makes no bones about his share-the-wealth philosophy.

I won’t mention Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who keeps saying she isn’t running.

Oops. I just did.

Those three individuals look pretty diverse to me. They each bring a different set of governing principles to a presidential campaign.

Only one of them, Clinton, has declared her candidacy. Webb has formed an exploratory committee, while Sanders is keeping his options open.

I get what The Hill means, though, about the lack of “diversity.” It refers to the Republican field that so far has two Hispanic candidates — Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. There well might be a woman, Carly Fiorina, in the mix as well. An African-American, Ben Carson, is likely to run.

Let us not dismiss the potential Democratic primary field as being bland and one-note boring.

Among the possible field of three — Clinton, Webb and Sanders — one can find plenty of ideological diversity.