When the chips were down a few years ago and few were willing to stand up, rock the boat and call on President Barack Obama to slow down deportations from the country and places like Chelsea – Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez told a crowd of people at Pan Y Café in Cary Square last Friday that one man stood with him.
That man was Congressman Michael Capuano, and the popular Latino congressman from Illinois appeared with Capuano Friday morning, July 20, in Chelsea to endorse Capuano and remind voters here how hard Capuano has been working – both in good times and bad times.
“Ten years ago I came to East Boston to tell President Obama to stop the deportations,” Gutierrez said. “There wasn’t a lot of Democrats who wanted to strongly tell our president to do that. Barack Obama was popular, we liked him and we wanted him to success, but the deportations were continuing. Not many wanted to do that. Mike didn’t hesitate. We met with immigrant groups together 10 years ago to deliver that message and we’ve been working together every since then on these issues.”
Gutierrez has become a very popular member of Congress in the last few years as immigration issues have come to the forefront and he has combined with others like Capuano to tell the stories of those caught up in the system. Capuano took him on a tour of two locations in Chelsea Friday and one in Boston – talking to Latino and immigrant groups throughout the City. It reinforced that battle ground nature that Chelsea has taken on within the congressional race between himself and challenger Ayanna Pressley.
On Friday, he also received the endorsement of Councillor Leo Robinson and Roy Avellaneda. State Rep. Dan Ryan, who previously endorsed him, was also in attendance – as were several local movers and shakers.
“I didn’t know a lot about Mike when I came on the City Council many years ago, but on the advice of a neighbor and other councillors, I met with him and he was a solid guy,” said Avellaneda. “I looked at his resume and I’ve never looked back and never regretted supporting him. I’ve called on Mike so many times over the years for an issue regarding Chelsea…He earned my vote back then and has for the last 20 years.”
Robinson reminded everyone that Capuano has always brought home important monies for Chelsea from the federal government, including money recently allocated for rebuilding Quigley Hospital at the Soldiers’ Home.
Capuano was gracious, and said he really appreciated the support from Chelsea and Gutierrez, his colleague in Washington, D.C.
“It’s nice when you’re under the gun to learn who stands with you,” he told the crowd, moving on to the immigration issue and the family separation he recently saw in a trip to the Texas/Mexico border. “It’s a simple question. Do you like people or don’t you? Do you want to be a country that’s welcoming or don’t you?…None of us would have said that we would live in a country where the official policy was to rip nursing infants from their mothers…It’s horrible and it’s not right. Infants and their mothers should be together…Unless Democrats get the House back, we won’t have any progress on these issues. If Democrats get the House back, I promise you we will deal with the TPS (Temporary Protective Status) issue. We will deal with the infants ripped from their mother’s arms. We will have honest discussions and debate about comprehensive immigrations reform. It will be difficult, but at least we will have a chance because we’ll be talking about it.”
Evandro Carvalho believes his campaign for Suffolk County District Attorney is picking up momentum with just under three months to go before the Democratic primary is held on Sept. 4.
“It’s an honor to be running, to get to know the various communities in Suffolk County, and I believe we have a great shot to win this election,” said Carvalho, who has been a state representative in the Fifth Suffolk District (Dorchester, Roxbury) for four years.
Carvalho, 36, is a former assistant district attorney who worked for 2 ½ years in current Suffolk County DA Dan Conley’s office prosecuting gun cases in court.
Carvalho has received a number of endorsements from the Suffolk County delegation in the House of Representatives.
“My colleagues in the House know my heart, they know my passion to serve our community and they know the experiences that I’ve had, particularly as a former assistant district attorney who was one of the leaders in pushing for the criminal justice reform that we just enacted in April,” said Carvalho. “They understand that I’m the best person to go and implement those changes to improve the law.”
Carvalho feels his experience as an assistant DA and state representative and his record of service to the community set a strong foundation to his bid for the Suffolk County DA position.
“I think it’s time for someone like me, who knows the particular communities – whether it’s the youth, the people dealing with substance abuse issues or mental health issues – who has been fighting for those affected by these issues – to serve the people of Suffolk County as their next district attorney,” said Carvalho.
Originally from Cape Verde
Carvalho was raised on his grandparents’ farm in Cape Verde (islands), which is a nation off the west coast of Africa.
“I learned how to work hard and I also learned the value of education,” he said.
Carvalho came to the United States when he was 15 years old to join his mother (Ana), who was already residing in Dorchester. Fluent in Cape Verdean Creole and Portuguese, he learned how to speak English and enrolled at Madison Park High School in Boston. He became a top student academically, graduating in 1999.
He continued his education at UMass/Amherst, focusing on Legal Studies and Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice and a minor in African American Studies, graduating in 2004. He enrolled at Howard University Law School, receiving his law degree in 2008.
“One of the reasons I chose Howard was that I was inspired by Thurgood Marshall, who was an alumnus and the Supreme Court’s first African-American justice,” said Carvalho. “He made such an impact on American history. The legacy he provided for us at Howard was so admirable.”
He became a citizen of the United States in 2008 and his first vote was for Barack Obama for President.
“I remember how excited the people were that Obama was elected as president,” said Carvalho. “That was one of the important moments in my life, and it inspired me to serve – that I, too, could be someone that helps move our society forward and becomes a unifier like Obama was, a leader who brought America together.”
Serving as an assistant ADA
After working at the WilmerHale law firm in Washington, D.C., he returned to Boston in 2011 and became an assistant district attorney in Dan Conley’s office. He said he learned a lot in that position and always tried to help people improve their lives and get back on the right path.
“You see the same families cycling though the criminal justice system, dealing with substance abuse issues and other issues,” said Carvalho. “These are real people, not just another folder and another number. I understood their situation because I grew up in those neighborhoods. That inspired me to run for office, to become a state representative and change that system, to be able to do more to break the cycle of individuals going in and out of jail without a way out.”
A focus on criminal
justice in the House
As a state representative for the past four years, he has focused his efforts on improving the state’s criminal justice system.
“And together with the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and the work of my colleagues and advocates throughout the state, we were able to accomplish the criminal justice reforms that nobody thought we could,” said Carvalho.
He is also committed to the continuing battle against the opiod crisis in Massachusetts.
“The opioid crisis is one of the most important issues right now,” said Carvalho. “The system, as a whole, has not dealt adequately with the individuals affected by this crisis. As the vice-chair of the public health committee and someone who has visited various neighborhoods, I see too many citizens dying from this epidemic. I intend to fight this through a public health lens and focus upon treatment for people. And instead of drug addicts going to jail, let’s get them in drug treatment facilities and focus on programs to help them get long-term treatment. We need to expand the drug court programs in Suffolk County. Make no mistake, the people that need to go to prison will go to prison, but let’s emphasize diversion programs as well.”
Hopes to bring accountability and transparency to the DA’s office
Carvalho said his plan as DA will be to bring “accountability, transparency, and diversity” to the DA’s office.
“I will make sure that the staff at the DA’s office receives adequate training and that we expand the capabilities of the victim witness advocates,” said Carvalho. “The reality is that the victims of crimes need a voice. We need to do more for them and build a relationship between the DA’s office and our communities ahead of time so they feel comfortable working with the office.”
Carvalho said throughout his life he has been able to “bring people together” for the good of the community.
“We need someone that’s going to come in and try to bring people together,” said Carvalho. “I want to start a sports tournament where different communities compete and the teams are made up of youths from different neighborhoods. I want to bring the next generation of youths together from the different parts of Suffolk County. The youth are our future and this will go a long way toward healing our communities and bringing us together. We are all Americans and we all want the same thing. My goal is to be a voice for all.”
EBNHC CMO Dr. Jackie Fantes and EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes present U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren with a gift.
Last week the Democrats had a huge victory as the U.S. Senate failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obama Care. While there was much to celebrate as several Republicans, like Senator John McCain, cast votes against the Senate bill to repeal Obama Care, Senate Democrats like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren say the fight is ongoing and Obama Care is still under attack by many Republicans in the House and Senate.
Warren was back in Massachusetts Monday and toured the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, a place that long before Obama Care offered quality health care to people of all ages, races and backgrounds regardless of their ability to pay.
Warren toured both the Health Center’s Gove Street and Maverick Square facilities and ended her tour with a roundtable discussion where she heard from health care providers, patients and partners of EBNHC.
“I want to thank Senator Warren and her team for visiting the Health Center today,” said EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes. “We are so happy about the work she has done to help the lives of individuals that don’t have a voice but also her work to protect the Affordable Care Act and making sure people living in this country not only have access to coverage but access to high quality health care. On our door it says ‘All Are Welcome’ and we continue to provide service to anybody who walks through our doors regardless of their ability to pay and we have stayed true to that statement.”
Warren heard testimony from EBNHC different departments and programs that have helped improve the lives of countless residents in Eastie and the surrounding communities. Whether its the Health Center’s PACE program that helps seniors live at home independently, EBNHC highly successful pediatrics department and school based health care program to cutting edge metal health and substance abuse programs, Warren said she was beyond impressed with the team at the Health Center and the services they have been able to provide to thousands of low-income residents that would otherwise be left without stable health care.
Warren also heard from patients who have benefitted from EBNHC’s quality care and programs with one patient saying she passed up the chance to purchase a nice house for a good price north of Eastie because she feared her and her family would not get the same quality health care outside of the neighborhood.
For her part, Warren thanked the Health Center staff and board for being on the front lines and being a shinning example of everything that is right with quality affordable health care.
“I just wanted to come by today (Monday) and thank all of you,” said Warren. “An amazing thing happen last week. We were able to save health care for millions of Americans across the country. I just want to be clear that this has been a hard fight and we’ve been in this fight for a very very long time.”
Warren said the fight really began following Obama Care’s passage and then having to defend expanded health care coverage to millions of Americans day after day.
“When this year started we didn’t have the votes to stop the repeal but what we did have is people from all over this country that got into the fight including people like you from our Community Health Center,” said Warren. “You got into the fight in different ways. One of those ways was just by doing what you do every day and showing America that this is the way we can provide high quality health care to all of our people.”
When arguing on the Senate floor, Warren said she points to Community Health Centers as the shining stars of what works in the the health care industry.
“Every time I hear the arguments that costs are rising or things are not working I say ‘take a look at our Community Health Centers’,” said Warren. “EBNHC is one of the best examples of how affordable quality health care can be delivered to thousands of people every day.”
Warren said the Senate Republican’s failure to repeal Obama Care was a triumph for democracy.
“Enough people from across America said ‘health care is a basic human right, and we will stand up and fight for basic human rights’,” said Warren. “This is not a partisan issue, it’s a human issue and I think that is powerfully important to realize.”
Over the national debate of whether or not to repeal Obama Care, Warren said something magical happened across America.
“America believes in health care coverage, maybe not everyone, but I think there has been a huge shift and people are seeing health care as a basic human right,” said Warren. “Also, in the first time in its 52 year existence we talked openly about Medicare. We put a human face on Medicare and talk about who gets Medicare and why they get Medicare and why Medicare is so important. People are realizing that Medicare is not about ‘some others’ but about all of us as human beings and it was important to talk about the faces of Medicare and the people that are touched by Medicare. I think now much of America has a better understanding not only of how health insurance affects our health care system but how Medicare and Medicaid are an equally important component of that system.”
In the end Warren said the fight to preserve Obama Care is not over.
“This fight is not over and it can come back at any moment,” said Warren. “There are still those across the country that want to fight to roll back health care coverage. We have to be vigilant and we can not move backwards or lose focus in this fight. People like Manny (Lopes), Senator (Joseph) Boncore and people from across Massachusetts have been in this fight and standing shoulder to shoulder by showing up at rallies, sending emails and texts and making calls. You’ve done everything to say I want my voice heard in this big national health care debate.”
“I came here today to just say it has been an honor to work alongside all of you,” she added.
Last week, the US Senate tried to undo the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care. This system while it is not perfect and as a matter of fact it is far from the mark, still it provides a safety net for literally millions of Americans who would not otherwise be able to afford any health care.
What a sad commentary it is about our country and our leaders that in spite of our leading medical care that thousands of world citizens come here to use and yet for too many Americans, medical insurance still remains out of reach. As a result, these same Americans are forced to wait – sometimes too long – to take advantage of our medical care that could save their lives.
What brings this to mind is that on Monday, US Senator Elizabeth Warren was in East Boston to praise the work of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. For decades, this health center has been delivering care to many low-income residents who lack insurance but are in need of medical help. This center has helped thousands to cure a simple disease before it becomes progressively worse and possibly terminal.
Given all the rhetoric that is coming out about repealing or keeping the Affordable Care Act, our elected officials should look at the success of health providers like the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. The Center is located in an area that is serving a clientele that is below the national income average and in many cases first generation Americans who are struggling to raise a family and make financial ends meet. Yet, these same Americans are receiving quality healthcare at a price that they can afford.
It would be too simplistic to say that the model that is now being used at the Center can fit all areas of our country. However, it can fit many areas that are urban and poor. If this system works here, why should it not work elsewhere? The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center model could be one piece of solving the puzzle of affordable health care.
The quote from Boston political legend and former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Albert “Tip” O’Neil who coined the phrase that “all politics is local,” seems very apt with debate going on about the Affordable Care Act in Washington D.C. and Monday’s visit and remarks from Sen. Warren on the success of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.
The Gallery at Spencer Lofts announces X BONNIE WOODS: GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE, a solo exhibition of recent works by painter X Bonnie Woods. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Sept 22, at 6 p.m.
Chelsea resident X Bonnie Woods will present ‘GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE’ at the Gallery@Spencer Lofts from Sept. 12 to Oct. 23. An artist reception will take place on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m.
Berlin- and Chelsea-based artist and designer X Woods has widely exhibited her paintings and photographs in Europe and the U.S. A documentary photographer at Ground Zero in Sept-Oct 2001, in post-Katrina New Orleans, and for the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012, she recently curated an exhibition of 70 American photos and videos which traveled to four German cities. GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE will feature works on folded paper painted with sumi, a dense black Asian ink. Forgoing conventional brushes, X Woods creates her own painting tools and works outdoors in all weather, allowing the elements to create effects with water-tension and gravity.
Reception and admission to the Gallery are free and open to the public.
The X BONNIE WOODS: GRAVITY IN BLACK AND WHITE exhibition runs through Sunday, Oct 23. Gallery hours as noted below; otherwise by appointment.
Gallery hours, 2-6 p.m., attended by the artist, as follows:
The Gallery at Spencer Lofts is located at 60 Dudley Street, corner of Webster Ave & Dudley St, Chelsea MA 02150. The Gallery is wheelchair accessible. Accessible parking is available, as is on-street parking.
The decision by President Obama to open the diplomatic doors to Cuba and begin the process of bringing that nation into the modern world acknowledges something that has been a reality for decades: the Cold War is over.
Yes, the dictatorial regime of the Castro brothers is antithetical to the democratic values we espouse. But there are three points we wish to make:
First, we already deal with many similar countries all over the world. China, Saudi Arabia, and countless other nations do not even remotely resemble the sort of democratic ideal that we profess to believe in. Yet we consider some of these countries our strongest allies and some are our biggest trading partners.
Second, it is our firm belief that as Cuba becomes open to trade and tourism, Cuba will begin to undertake the democratic reforms that we all wish to see occur. The Castro brothers are old men who will not be around much longer. The lesson of history has been that when former Communist leaders pass into the sunset, the desire of the vast majority of their people for freedom will overwhelm those who wish to maintain the status quo. That will be especially true in Cuba, which is just a stone’s throw from our shores and which has so many historical ties to the U.S.
Finally, those in our country who lecture others about the values of freedom and democracy should not be so quick to judge, given that we ourselves hardly live up to the ideals espoused in our Declaration of Independence or our Constitution in countless ways.
As far as we can tell, the only drawback to the President’s Cuban initiatives is that it will not be long before the unspoiled Cuba — both in terms of its natural beauty and its architectural historicity — will be overwhelmed by the false promises and rapaciousness of American capitalism.
Hopefully, Cuba’s future leaders will not succumb to the glitter of American gold and will maintain the integrity of their nation.
Browne Middle School 5th grader Toni-Chanelle Suncar, 10, got to meet President Barack Obama on March 23 as part of a one-day trip to Washington, D.C. to present a project at the White House Science Fair.
In the lore of Browne Middle School 5th grader Toni-Chanelle Suncar’s family, there is a story about her great grandmother meeting the president of the Dominican Republic many years ago when she was a little girl.
As it’s told, Suncar’s great grandmother got face to face with the president and he told her he could give her anything she wanted – a house, money or schooling.
She chose simply to shake his hand.
Fast forward two generations, and another member of the family has come face to face with a president – this time U.S. President Barack Obama.
And this time around, Toni-Chanelle Suncar humbly shook the president’s hand, just like her great grandmother, and added to the presidential lore of the family.
It came last Monday, March 23, when Suncar went on a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the White House Science Fair as part of a national presentation by students from all over the country. During the fair, Suncar got to be front and center with the president as he gave a speech honoring the achievements of the students.
“I guess the president of the Dominican Republic could have given my great grandmother anything in the world, and she just chose to shake his hand,” said Suncar in an interview late last week. “Now, everyone in the family is making a big deal of the fact that my great grandmother met a president and now another member of the family, me, has met a president. My mom was happy the day we found out I was going to Washington, D.C. The whole family was talking about it.”
So was the entire Browne Middle School (BMS).
Suncar was chosen for a computer coding project she did through the BMS’s partnership with Citizen Schools and the Boston technology firm Digitas. Students from the BMS get to partake in short internships with several of the partner companies, including Digitas, and work on science and engineering projects. For Suncar, she and other team members combined with Digitas volunteers to code a computer game called “Flappy Unicorn.”
“Our main goal was to make a video game using the program ‘Scratch,’” Suncar said. “So, we chose a unicorn because that was the logo of Digitas. They taught us how to code and counseled us. We based it on the game ‘Flappy Bird’ and put the blocks together to tell our unicorn what to do based on an x-axis and a y-axis – like we learned in math…For us, the coding was kind of like the instructions for our figure – sort of like a Morse Code…I didn’t know when I was at Digitas that I was doing anything really big. I never thought it would lead to a trip to Washington. I thought I would move on to another internship and take with me what I learned.”
Suncar said they chose her because she stood out as the hardest worker on the project.
“They felt I had been the hardest worker on the project and were impressed with what I had done,” she said. “So, they chose me to go and represent our team.”
Coding is something that is becoming a primary building block of learning for students all over the world. In short, it’s the language of computers and tells them what to do and how to do it. Many technology companies, including Microsoft, believe that coding needs to be taught in every school to students just as a foreign language would be taught. Technology companies routinely report that there are jobs open at their companies, but no one with the skills to fill them.
With students like Suncar, that might change.
However, other pursuits might take her away from the computer.
Suncar, 10, said she probably will become a veterinarian when she’s older, but she’s also considering journalism.
“My inspiration to become a veterinarian is my aunt’s dog,” she said. “I always observe him a lot when I go over to her house – to see how much he sleeps and how he behaves. I really enjoy observing and noting his behaviors and how he acts around certain people.”
BMS Principal David Leibowitz said the opportunity to meet the president and present a project at the White House Science Fair is something that only comes because of the great partnerships the BMS has built with the community and Citizen Schools.
“This special opportunity is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Toni-Chanelle to display the work she’s done and present to an incredible audience what she’s learned,” he said. “It’s also a great model for other 5th graders that shows what anyone can do with hard work. It’s something for other kids to aspire to.”
Suncar said, in summary, it was great to meet the president, but she’s also ready for family history to repeat itself again.
“I hope I can meet him again; I really would like to go again next year,” she said.
Suncar is the daughter of Wanda Barrios, and she credited her older sisters Erica Maria Tapia and Stephanie Rivera – as well as her Citizen School teacher Lydia Cochrane – with supporting her in her efforts.
It’s been a busy few months for State Representative Dan Ryan since being sworn in as the Charlestown and Chelsea state representative back in April. Ryan was tossed out of the pan and into the fire and thrown into the middle of the state’s budget process.
“When I was sworn in, the House had already worked on the Transportation Bond Bill but my colleagues did a great job looking out for Chelsea and Charlestown,” said Ryan. “Chelsea and Charlestown were without a state rep for the first four months of the year but the Boston and Greater Boston delegation stepped up and took care of these communities.”
Since being sworn in, Ryan said he has the utmost respect and trust for his colleagues.
“They helped move a lot of items for our communities along but I found quickly that you have to have trust in your colleagues and they will in return trust and respect you,” he said.
One thing Ryan’s colleagues moved through the legislature was $30 million for the Chelsea Soldiers Home.
“This was important to keep one of the last two soldiers homes in the state up and running,” he said.
In the House, Ryan was involved in crafting and helping to pass several pieces of significant legislation. From the new gun control bill to substance abuse prevention legislation, Ryan said he feels he and his colleagues accomplished a lot this session.
One bill that will impact Chelsea is the substance abuse bill.
In the bill are tools that will form policy for supporting a continuum of care and removing barriers that stand in the way of effective treatment. There is also $5 million for substance abuse education and prevention for Charlestown and across the state.
To curb the public health risk of Schedule II and III drugs, the bill requires the Drug Formulary Commission to prepare a drug formulary of appropriate substitutions, which must include abuse deterrent properties and consideration of cost and accessibility for consumers. Insurance carriers are required to cover abuse deterrent drugs listed on the formulary in the same manner that they cover non-abuse deterrent drugs and cannot impose additional cost burdens on consumers who receive abuse deterrent drugs.
Ryan said if there is no abuse deterrent substitution available, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health can issue regulations related to the drug, including mandating that a physician review the patient’s prescription history, check the Prescription Monitoring Program, educate the patient on addiction, limit the quantity of pills and conduct a risk assessment before prescribing. The Commissioner is also authorized to schedule a substance as Schedule I for up to one year if it poses an imminent hazard to public safety and is not already listed in a different schedule.
The bill strengthens the Prescription Monitoring Program by requiring physicians to receive training on the Program before renewing their licenses. It also requires them to consult with the Program before writing a prescription on an annual basis for patients who receive ongoing treatment of a controlled substance and before writing a new or replacement prescription.
The bill also directs the Health Policy Commission, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, to determine standards for evidence-based, effective substance abuse treatment with high quality outcomes and create a certification process for providers, and once certified, insurance carriers are prohibited from requiring prior authorization for services offered by a certified provider.
In Chelsea, Ryan has also been busy working with immigration groups on the immigration crisis here and across the country.
“Immigration is a huge issue and we have taken too long in this country to address the crisis,” said Ryan. “There’s no one solution but we have failed to stabilize the country’s in Latin America.”
Ryan said the issue goes back to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).
“We exported our jobs and but not our ideals,” said Ryan. “Look people are not coming here because there are health care signs all over their country saying ‘come to America and get Obama Care’, they are coming here for a life that is better than the one they are leaving.”
Ryan has also signed on to a coalition that is supporting the Market Basket workers in Chelsea who are fighting to get their former boss, Arthur T. DeMoulas reinstated.
“We are hearing this all the time in the state and across the country about corporate greed,” said Ryan. “Walmart is a multi billion corporation but full time employees are on food stamps. What Arthur T and Market Basket have shows under his leadership is you can have a multi billion corporation that is hugely successful and still pay people a livable wage, provide health care and retirement benefits.”
If someone had said on September 10, 2001, that America would be embroiled militarily in affairs in the Middle East for the next 12 years, one would have thought that person to be crazy. Indeed, no one would have dared predict such a scenario even on September 12, 2001.
But the tragic events of September 11, 2001, unleashed a series of events and circumstances that affect us to this very day. Indeed, it is fair to say that in some respects, the terrorist attack of 9/11 has had a long-lasting impact, both directly and indirectly, on a par with Pearl Harbor, at least in terms of American military engagement throughout the world.
Regardless of whether Congress authorizes the Obama administration to take military action against the Syrian dictatorship, it is obvious that the U.S. never will be able to wash its hands of active involvement in Middle East affairs for a host of political, military, and economic reasons, at least within the lifetime of anyone reading this editorial. The terrorist attack of 9/11 changed the world in many ways, both large and small, and that will continue for the foreseeable future.
But amidst the concerns we all have about the future, let us not forget the immense personal tragedies that occurred on that day when more than 3000 innocent Americans, many of whom had direct ties to this area, perished because of the acts of a few madmen. One can argue all day about the geopolitical implications of 9/11, but what is undeniable is that more than 3000 of our fellow citizens gave their lives, many of them heroically, simply because they were Americans who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So let us remember their sacrifice and pray that never again will we witness such an act of evil.
We realize that we are by no means foreign policy experts, but we simply wish to say that it is our view that President Obama made the right decision is seeking the approval of Congress before bombing Syria for its violations of international law regarding the use of chemical weapons.
In our view, the decision to unleash the fury of America’s military arsenal, except in cases of absolute necessity and self-defense, never should be undertaken by a President without the approval of Congress. Even assuming that Syria has broken international laws and deserves to be punished, we believe that taking the step of what amounts to an act of war against Syria requires a vote from Congress.
Given that there are so many myriad voices in Congress expressing differing opinions, it is only right that the President make them put up or shut up, one way or another, and that Congress make the ultimate decision.