Bob Messina | Society, Race and Opportunity

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

I have given thought to what has been going on the past few weeks in wake of George Floyd’s death and the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.

Some of you will agree with what I have to say, some of you won’t. I am going to give you my view.

First of all, the George Floyd death was horrible and the cop deserves his day in court. In my opinion the cop deserves a conviction. In the death of Brooks, we’re talking about a drunken driver who took a taser from a cop, shot at him then ran. Maybe it would have been better for the cop to shoot him in the leg, disabling him. We’ll never know.

My dad was from New Orleans until he enlisted in the Navy in World War II. At the end of the war he stayed in California, meeting his wife, my mother. We lived in lily white suburbia, eventually settling in Sepulveda, now North Hills. We lived in Glendale, Sun Valley, then Sepulveda. My wife, Angie, and I have lived in Granada Hills, West Hills and now in Valencia for past 32 years.

On occasion we Messinas drove to Louisiana to visit dad’s parents and all the relatives. We saw the “Colored” bathrooms, the “Colored” drinking fountains and the other Jim Crow life in the South. Yes we heard (the N-word) come from the mouths of grandparents, the relatives and everyone else. My parents had to explain the Southern attitudes. We four kids were never taught by my parents the Southern attitude. Maybe that’s why Dad never went back to Louisiana after the war. He might have had positive interactions with Black people in the Navy.

In my opinion the American society has given minorities the opportunities to succeed since World War II. I am inspired by individuals like Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, so many other Black entertainers, Black athletes like Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Willy Mays, Henry Aaron and so many who took the opportunity to succeed in spite of Jim Crow. We still offer opportunities if people will work hard and find needs. 

The problem as I see it is that government and the political parties — I blame Democrats more than Republicans — and we white people (are guilty of) patronizing minorities. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, with heavy emphasis on social programs and welfare, broke up families. Kids raised without a father, looking for someone or a gang to hang onto.

A former fellow sports official once commented, “What you permit, you promote.” How true that is. 

Recently I have heard comments from Dr. Sheldon Sheehy and Dr. Ben Carson talking about the needs for Black people to move on. Don’t live in the past. Again, American society is giving minorities the opportunities to succeed if only they would grab the ring and run with it.

You cannot change history. You can only learn from it.

Riots don’t help any cause. They only alienate the general population and will have effects in the next election, which this year is less than five months away. 

If you haven’t figured out where I stand by now I will explain. I am a Reagan/Trump conservative. I ran a photography business for 39 years, starting in 1980, when Reagan was elected, and I retired in 2019. 

In my opinion the issue with Donald Trump is that Democrats, politicians, bureaucrats and the media don’t want a private citizen, who they can’t control, in positions of power. If not for California I believe Trump wins the popular vote in 2016. Do I agree with Trump’s methods? The answer is NO. However, I feel he has done everything for the benefit of America. He works hard. My fear is what Trump’s antagonists say he is doing to America will be accomplished if the Democrats win in November. They will create an authoritarian form of government to control our lives. Bureaucrats and lawyers will rule the roost. Do you really want that?

This 2020 election is a battle for control or non-control over our lives. I don’t depend on government for my needs. Obamacare was thrown at us by Democrats. If a major change is to occur in our society, both parties must have a hand in the decision making.

The problem with our electoral system is called gerrymandering, the ability to create congressional and legislative districts, using a computer, to benefit politicians. Quite literally a district line could be drawn between your home and your neighbor’s by a computer to benefit a politician(s). This will happen this and next year after the census. This needs to stop or be minimized.

Regarding the electoral college, wisely created by our founders, the small states will NEVER ratify a constitutional amendment to get rid of the electoral college. NEVER.

I was a history major in college (Loyola Marymount University). Our professors encouraged individual thought so long as we had a reasonable, thought-out message. I did not want to go to CSUN and be indoctrinated by a bunch of liberal educators, many of whom never lived outside the classroom. I fear much of the recent rioting may have been egged on by educators during the pandemic-driven, stay-at-home online education.

Finally, I want to thank you for your reading my piece. I appreciate you and hope you will take my thoughts to heart.

Bob Messina

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