By Samir Shukla
The Republic of Modi's 2019 election is over. India once again became its prime minister. Yes, sure, I've purposely mixed up the words here, but make no mistake. Narendra Modi was reelected India's Prime Minister by a large margin and a bigger mandate. He has infused himself into India's ethos unlike any former Prime Minister. He is now larger and will be an even bigger self-proclaimed charger; further sprinkling his vision and policies into the country, which some will hail and others will curse.
It takes two terms, whether for Presidents or Prime Ministers, to fully flex the vision and policies for long-term effect. Those are fighting words for Modi detractors, albeit too late now, and, even more so for Trump detractors, who would love to deny him a second term in 2020.
It will be up to a man or woman with the word Democrat attached to their name to accomplish that task. The democrats vying for the party's nomination are becoming louder, as they must. Someone has to get ahead of the pack and stay ahead. Their policies are, for the most part, in line with progressive ideology. There is no “out of nowhere" outlier like Trump was during the Republican primaries in 2016. Each candidate will have to work hard.
Joe Biden remains the frontrunner, but there are four or five other candidates chomping at the bits that have a chance at the nomination. I can't imagine most of them will get too far, but they may be already angling for a cabinet position, if a democrat wins the White House.
The first debates have taken place in late June (after we went to press for the July issue). More debates are coming up in July. Much convincing and fundraising await the candidates.
In politics, as in much of life, it's all about persuading. My modus operandi has always been, if I can go see it, I will, if I can touch it I will. If I can hear it, smell it and taste it, I will. That is a prime way to inform myself. Now the nearly two dozen folks running for the Democratic nomination must inform the voters and persuade people to vote for them when the primaries crank up early next year. The long slog continues.
Upcoming Democratic Debates:
July 30 & July 31, 2019: CNN (9-11pm), Detroit
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Gunning for the Male Psyche
By Samir Shukla
Every few weeks there is news of a mass shooting somewhere in the United States. This time it hit home. Charlotte's name came up on this day, April 30, 2019, the last day of classes for the spring semester at University of North Carolina at Charlotte (my alma mater and the university that my daughter is currently attending), as the news quickly spread of an active shooter on campus. A shooter entered a classroom and began shooting.
One of the students ran toward the shooter and physically attempted to stop him. The student along with another died and four more were injured. The shooter, a young guy who for unknown reasons decided to shoot his fellow students, was quickly taken into custody by the police.
Once again debates about guns flared up. Here is the reality. We are a gun country, have been and always will be. Whatever is your interpretation of the second amendment, guns are in America's DNA. There are no simple solutions to gun violence, or most types of violence for that matter.
There is a bigger underlying dilemma here. It concerns half of the human species. I'm talking about males. I've written before that an overwhelming majority of violence of all sorts are conducted by my gender.
I often think about this. Yes, thoughtful regulations and background checks would help, more readily available and affordable mental health care would help, but more laws and rules still don't deter the innate male tendency toward violence. This is why we need a different, long-term approach.
What's really needed is a massive societal effort geared toward, let's call it, “Male Care." Yeah, it sounds odd, what is male care and why is something like that needed? The better question is what is it that drives males to violence? Females also experience physical, financial, and mental problems that males experience, but they don't resort to violence to try to “solve" those problems.
The overwhelming numbers of violent incidents, including shootings, brawls, domestic violence, religious extremism, wars, road rage, you name it, are spewed by males. We can make more laws and instill tougher punishment, but that doesn't get to the source of the problem.
A global effort involving multiple forces to reach out to boys in a “father figure manner" is a must, especially for boys who lack such figures in their lives. This is a complex discussion, but I guess what we really in the long term is a holistic manner of raising boys, if that makes sense, where they are able to find their place in the daily dissonance and rapidly evolving ethos of humankind as strong and stable men.
It's where males are instilled with a discipline and restraint that can be accessed when the dark forces of violence lurking beneath threaten to overtake them. This may be the only real remedy to reduce violence of all manners.