PRCC Honors program hosts national political experts

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bakari Sellers (left) and Cal Thomas (right) spoke at Pearl River Community College Tuesday night about "America's Future." Photo by Julia Arenstam

Bakari Sellers (left) and Cal Thomas (right) spoke at Pearl River Community College Tuesday night about “America’s Future.”
Photo by Julia Arenstam

Two nationally recognized political analysts visited Pearl River Community College on Tuesday to discuss America’s future.

Bakari Sellers and Cal Thomas were featured as part of the PRCC Honors Institute Lecture Series, bringing unique backgrounds from the national political arena.

Sellers provides commentary and analysis for CNN and MSNBC, according to a press release from PRCC, while Thomas is a syndicated newspaper columnist, radio host and a panelist on Fox’s News Watch.

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“Hopefully tonight we can maybe win an argument, I want to win an argument, but I don’t want to destroy a friendship,” Sellers said before the presentation on Tuesday night.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to come here and talk to young people and have a conversation and a dialogue with Cal,” he said.

As a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Sellers said that the first 100 days after the election are significant if Clinton wins.

He added that one of the most important issues young Americans face is the Supreme Court nomination. Though, “it’s not the sexiest issue for young people, but it is the most important issue,” he said.

“It’s not about where we were or where we are, it’s about where we can be,” Sellers said.

He also spoke about Clinton’s plan to create a $175 billion infrastructure package that would improve the national economy, especially in more rural areas of the country.

“It’s going to help put people to work, build roads and bridges, water [services] and do everything necessary in communities like this,” Sellers said.

Thomas had a different perspective to offer before entering Tuesday night’s discussion.

“There are certain truths that have always existed throughout human history. Those include personal responsibility, living within your means, marrying the right person, being a good father or mother, these are things that transcend politics,” Thomas said. “The problem is in our time everything has been twisted and everything is now partisan, mostly because we are now seen as parts of groups.”

In a series of elections marked by “personal attacks,” Thomas reflected on the civility and the political style of President Ronald Reagan.

“Nobody knows each other anymore; we all have labels and we are defined by the labels,” Thomas said. “Civility is almost a lost concept.”

Similarly, Sellers said, “The future of our country is having respect and having tolerable decisions that move the needle forward.”

The future of America relies on its students and their respect and understanding of another’s life experiences, Thomas said.

The future is also going to rely on voters educating themselves about political history in order to avoid making the same mistakes as their predecessors, he said.

“So you don’t live in the past, but learn from the past…you’ll make enough of your own mistakes, why repeat the mistakes of another?” Thomas said.

He said the most important issue facing younger generations is the national economy.

“Too many politicians want to indulge people and give them whatever they want, not what they need,” Thomas said.

What is becoming a dysfunctional government has to be revamped, Thomas said.

“Democracy needs to be renewed like a library book,” he said.

As to their advice for the college students, “I’m from a town where we have three stop lights and a blinking light, I just want people to know that no matter what their circumstances are they are not confined to it, they are part of our future and they can play an amazing role in this county,” Sellers said.

“Young people are not the first generation to ever live, you don’t have to invent the wheel, you don’t have to discover the use of fire…everything you think has been thought before, everything you do has been done before,” Thomas said. “Ask what you can do for yourself…do the research.”

About Julia Arenstam

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