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A friend, true American and patriot sent me this little homily: “It takes time to create a masterpiece! The people who began the creation of our American masterpiece also created our Declaration of Independence, they fought and won that independence, they created our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We continue to provide the best of each generation to defend this masterpiece against those who wish to destroy it.

"There are now 197 million white people, 38 million black people, 51 million Hispanics, 15 million Asians and 9 million other people from various ethnic and racial/interracial groups. In another 25-30 years, the white majority will be replaced with the results of the true melting pot, and the masterpiece will be complete!”

The author of this somewhat edited comment is a 76-year-old Texan who served in the Air Force and is currently being kept alive by the Veterans Administration.

I posted this to show that not all things governmental are bad and evil.

Someone also sent me a list of all the state agencies, offices and departments from  California and asked the idiotic question: “Do you wonder why California is broke?"

The obvious response to this kind of ridiculous and shallow questioning is California wouldn’t exist as a civilized entity in 2011 without most of them, especially the education agencies.

As late as the 1970s, California had the finest public and higher education systems in the country. I attended San Diego State University from 1971 to 1974 and earned a master of science degree for the grand total of $785 for tuition and books. Then came the tax whiners during Ronald Reagan’s reign as governor. The resulting “Prop 13” property tax cut slammed the schools and university systems to where they now are barely mediocre.

I find it more than a little ironic that Republican governors who become president tend to destroy the things that made our country something envied by the rest of the world. Our children and their education pay the price for political hubris.

Another friend recently lamented how she felt the conservative wing of the Republican Party has hijacked Christianity and turned their version of it into a political weapon.

She said the preoccupation with abortion and women’s rights was simply hypocritical, especially since those who claimed to be pro-life led with their “faith” on the one hand, but denied those children born to poor, unwed, teenage mothers help from public charity. She said she recently read again the books of Matthew and Luke and had her faith in the generosity of one person to the next renewed and justified. She wondered why so many conservatives couldn’t see their hypocrisy on this issue.

We decided it was perhaps a cynical political ploy to attract more people to a particular voting bloc than it was to execute the Biblical statements pertaining to Christian charity. Perhaps the masterpiece isn’t quite finished after all.

Most of the players from the recent NCAA basketball tournament will not graduate from college, even after exhausting their four years of scholarship eligibility.  This also is true in most major men’s college athletic programs. There are a few stellar exceptions such as Penn State and Notre Dame football, but most student-athletes are there to either take a shot at the pros or just escape their lives in poorer surroundings.

I am sympathetic to the kids who are recruited out of the inner cities of America to play college sports. For most of them, this will be their only opportunity to see life outside the environment of drugs and thugs. Good for them. I wish them nothing but good fortune, whether they graduate or not.

But isn’t it hypocritical for major academic institutions to label these youngsters "student-athletes” when so few earn degrees? Isn’t it hypocritical of the NCAA to allow the universities to reap huge revenues from their athletic programs while penalizing the kids for having someone buy them a dinner? Ask Tiger Woods why he turned pro before graduating from Stanford, and you’ll know the answer.

The “masterpiece” is not yet complete after all.

 

Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks. He can be reached by e-mail at vtgolf@zeecon.com.