Give Faith a Try


In 1762, Charles Wesley, as far as I know only a namesake by not relation of one local pastor, wrote the words, “A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify, a never-dying soul to save,and fit it for the sky.”  Those words served as an inspiration for my father when he adopted our church motto: “Enter to worship; depart to serve.”  In a district where less than 40% of residents identify themselves as “churchgoers,” and in an age where “being spiritual, but not religious,” is an acceptable substitute, less likely to incur the wrath of those who decry a faith belief, this may be a discordant message, but, throughout our history the message has been clear:  “Doubt shows the obstacles; faith shows the way.”  From Pilgrims and Puritans among our early settlers who “came to do good, but did well,” up from slavery in an abolitionist movement that gave rise to a political party, but also a civil war, and through freedom’s march in a struggle for civil rights until “justice flowed like waters and righteousness a mighty stream,” so that a man or woman might be judged “not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character,” these were folks in a love American style praising the Lord and passing the ammunition.  Even within our communities in hosting Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops, sponsoring community outreach, chartering schools, creating scholarships, erecting housing, feeding the poor, providing voter education, serving as a venue for substance abuse programs, etc., the church has been one foundation.  In an age seemingly bankrupt of morals and facing a deteriorating family unit structure, the call to “Gimme dat ol’ time religion,” has kept many from the abyss.  And, in a nation that began and has stood as a shining city on a hill and beacon for freedom and liberty, the protections of religious freedom and the doctrinal legacy of Disestablishmentarianism, and not its antithesis, religious freedom has been a paramount concern and hallmark issue.  So, our freedom tradition calls us to a duty to safeguard these blessings of liberty, and compel us to say, whether entering a Jewish synagogue, an Islamic mosque, a Roman Catholic basilica, or a store front Baptist church, “I was happy when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.”  The quilt work fabric of freedom in this vast melting pot means that we will always have our different positions, but find one accord in our shared interests.  But, to abandon this foundation that has served us well these many years, would be a reckless course of impending peril.  So, why not give faith a try?  Everyone deserves a second chance; so, let’s make Americans great, again.

Education Makes Capable: E = MC, Squared

BS School

Galileo once credited his success with standing on the shoulders of giants. Dizzy Gillespie, when asked what made him “Dizzy,” responded by saying that each time he got to an intersection in life, someone helped him across the street.   My father, with a family economy devastated the day that my grandfather was shot because he looked like he was going to vote, causing the family to flee from the Old South to the City of Brotherly Love through the night, was aided on his return to better living by a man who placed faith with him named Dr. Duff.  But, in each of this instances, the two determinants for success were an education and the help of others. While in life, I certainly have been the beneficiary of the blessings bestowed upon me by others, most every meeting had something to do with the places where I received my education, providing me a very competitive advantage not just in experience and training, but also connections.  It is there where early the embers of curiosity are fanned into a conflagration, so greatly required for later STEM careers, especially. But, if you are trapped in an under-performing school that is not preparing even your mind, and where you connections are limited to the persons who share your financial means to attain that education, you may have a future, but not the brightest one to “be all that you can be.”  And, many young people, finding a shortage of employment for which they are trained, if they are able and eligible, take a chance on U.S., and join the armed forces to acquire skills and training to be competitive in the economy–assume our pooled risks in hopes of deriving a benefit from the G.I. Bill to further enhance their chances for success after their return to Fort Living Room–but who acquire skills uniquely suited for a particular military service, often with no direct credentialing connection to the civilian workforce, requiring re-training.  Still, many are not bad people, but they are yet young and subject to make bad choices with enduring consequence.  Accordingly, we have an obligation to create a pathway to citizenship for these alienated youth and young adults to afford them a choice. While many public schools need to be fixed, we cannot delay just opportunity for those with talents being wasted, and must provide them access to schools where they can derive that “double meant” flavor.  And, for those who choose to serve this nation in this age of global terror, we must do something tangible to thank them for their service, even if they fall a bit short in meeting the conduct and disciplinary standards of military service by function of youth.  Everyone deserves a second chance.  Let’s make Americans great, again.

Deficits and Debt–the D&D We Can No Longer Play


When Donald Beyer, Jr. decided to run for U.S. Congress in December 2013, the national debt was almost at $17 trillion, and that sum in just one dollar bills were laid head to head, there would be enough for five trips to the moon.  In December of last year, when my candidacy hit the local press,, that debt was almost $19 trillion.  As a consequence, every child born today assumes a debt of $1.6 million, and with deficits reaching nearly $480 billion just last year, the prognosis is not a pleasant one for the patient, and time will only tell one story–not a successful one.  In congress, I will sponsor a bill for a balanced budget amendment, while also working in Congress to get spending under control through disciplined stewardship and oversight, but that will only get us part of the way.  We need, as a nation, to take seriously that national debt that represents a clear and present danger to our national security, with 34%, or over $6 trillion, of that obligation due to foreign countries, with the largest creditors including China and our competitors in oil production.  Accordingly, I would favor a national lottery to assist us in eliminating that debt based leverage of power and to give us a second chance for our nation and our future.  Let’s make Americans great, again.

Safety First: National Defense and Homeland Security

Class A

My great uncle served as a Lieutenant in the War to End All Wars, under General “Black Jack” Pershing.  My dad was the first African American State Chaplain for the New Jersey National Guard.  When Iraqi tanks rolled  into the sovereign nation of Kuwait, I took a long lunch break from my job as a Bank Management Trainee to to voluntarily enlist as an Infantryman in the U.S. Army Reserve to join a unit preparing to mobilize.  I raised my right hand to say, “I’ll do it,” and served for almost two decades in uniform in assignments in special operations, intelligence logistics and training, and for the “battle cry of freedom,” I would gladly say, “I’ll do it, again.”  We live in an increasingly more dangerous world, and even though I have not yet been elected to the U.S. Congress, I have engaged legislators and interest groups to consider immediate enactment of my Sentinel Program, which would utilize a community of veterans with unique skills and experience to protect and serve our nation even after departing service, while disturbing the planning process of would be ill-doers because they could never estimate what level of force they might meet when they begin aggression. In a world with gun violence becoming evermore prevalent, and where the only options afforded by federal law enforcement are to get out “if you can,” hide and hope, if you cannot, and, if found, to grab a heavy object and fight for your life, I want a man inside who can engage with liberty over death to give Americans a second chance.  Let’s make Americans great and safe, again.

Remembering the Children: A Right to Life

Life Crop

At a recent concert by the Morehouse College Glee Club that was held at my church, Dr. Marian Wright Edelman was honored and began her remarks by stating, “When you get elected, remember the children.”  “Ethics is doing the right thing even when nobody else is looking,” was what the Chaplain told us at Officer Candidate School.  “Ethics is doing the hard right before the easy wrong,” were the words that preceded one of my favorite commander’s introduction speech to the troops as he assumed battalion command.  And, if you are not aspiring to lead, and if you are not a captive to conscience, it is very tempting and easy to remain silent even in the face of absolute wrong.  And, when a nation can dehumanize pre-natal life, exempting it from even the protections afforded to “fishes and fowls, beasts and birds,” for sake of expedience, at a rate of one child every 90 seconds, it may well be a progressive policy, but not a progressive march in our history of expanding the blessings of liberty and letting freedom ring.  When “little brown babies with spacklin’ eyes,” find a grave in their mother’s womb at twice the rate of their fairer skinned playmates, do “black lives matter” in that culture?  For over 30 years, I have loaned my voice to those without a voice because our higher angels compel us to always stand up to bullies.  Everyone deserves a second chance, so why not a first one?  Let’s make Americans great, again.