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By Herman Sillas
It’s that time of year again: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This year brought us more than we expected and at a faster pace. We knew we were in trouble when the New England Patriots deflated their footballs for the 2015 Super Bowl. They did this so their quarterback could grip the ball better in freezing weather and their receivers could catch the ball easier. The Patriots won, and the cheaters were allowed to keep the trophy and ill-gotten money. I can hardly wait to see what will be allowed for a victory next year.
The year 2015 also brought us incidents of young black men being killed by police bullets or excessive force. My mind went back to the 1965 Watts Riot when, after years of being mistreated, the black community erupted for three days. The National Guard was called in to restore order. Committees were formed in both the black and Mexican-American communities to address issues regarding law enforcement, education, housing and employment. We thought things would get better.
Twenty years later I had lunch with a black attorney friend who was a Los Angeles Police Commissioner. Our bill arrived, and we both reached for our wallets. When he opened his wallet, a Police Commissioner’s identification card fell out.
Jokingly, I said, “Man, you showing off your commission position?”
He answered, “It’s not that. When the police stop me, I want them to know that I am their commissioner and not just some regular black man that they can hassle.”
I sadly shook my head. Another 20 years have passed since that lunch and still some law enforcement personnel haven’t learned anything.
December has brought us sorrow and dismay as we learned of the mass killing in Redlands, California. Folks, more than 300 lives have been wiped out in our country by mass killings in 2015! Some have been at the hands of terrorists.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Once again, the debate begins. One side argues regulation of gun possession is needed. The other side argues that if more people were armed they would shoot the mass murderer before he or she could kill anyone.
During the final months of this year we have listened to candidates who want to be President of this nation. When TV star and billionaire Donald Trump had a press conference announcing he was seeking the Republican Party’s nomination, many laughed. Political experts said that no one would follow him. After two Republican debates, Trump leads in the polls, and some Republican candidates have already left the fray. Next year’s Republican primary will at least be entertaining. Democrats have Hilary Clinton, an establishment politician, and Senator Bernie Sanders, a socialist, seeking the party’s nomination.
Following the nominating conventions comes the general election in November 2016 to select our new president. Some of us will listen to the candidates addressing the issues raised in this column. Others of you will think why bother? It’s the same old baloney (SOB). But remember, folks, in our democracy every Congress seat and one half of the Senate seats are up for grabs. No one inherits a seat just because they sat there before.
Some say a democracy is an experiment that has run its course and failed. I don’t believe that. We have the power to choose our leaders and demand they address the issues we want addressed. So register and vote in 2016. We owe that to our forefathers, this country, each other, ourselves and our children. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
That’s the view from the pier.
Herman Sillas may be found most Saturday mornings fishing at the San Clemente Pier. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org