My Friday Five: On Opinions & Milestones

Photo: Chris White

1. Real Talk

Last week was the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. I didn't watch the event and penned a post here with reasoning as to why I didn't do so despite watching George W. Bush's and Barack Obama's inaugurations. I also wrote about how it perplexed me that some Christians are supporting Trump despite his track record on bragging about sexual assault and everything else that has been widely reported. My comments apparently ruffled some feathers with some "friends" on Facebook and I later decided to revert the post back to a draft. I also posted this on my Facebook:

"'To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.' - Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States
I wrote a post on my blog regarding the inauguration and it apparently ruffled some feathers. I decided to revert it back to a draft but in no way does that mean I had second thoughts about what I said. Nor am I apologizing for it. Of course, you know me, it wasn't anything horrible to begin with. I know I open myself up to criticism with everything I post. However, my blog posts are there to create constructive conversation. I felt the direction the conversation on this post was heading was not a constructive one.
I hope that everyone will bear in mind the quote above from President Roosevelt. I stated on my blog that I cannot support President Trump until he proves to me that he can show dignity and class like his predecessors. Until he proves to me that he genuinely cares for ALL people. He has four years to do it and I hope he can. Many people didn't support President Obama. That is their free will as it is mine to not support President Trump. I hope you respect my stand on this."

I hear people say all the time, "whether you like it or not Trump is president." Well, whether you like it or not, I don't have to support him. And, so far through his first week, Trump hasn't given me any reason to.

2. National Endowment for the Arts

Speaking of politics, there have been several reports - including this one from The Hill - circulating that the Trump Administration and Congress are seeking to scale back or abolish several areas of the federal government in an effort to curb spending. That could very well include a complete dismantling of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In case you didn't know, the NEA funds opportunities for Americans to participate in the arts, with support from state agencies and local leaders, according to its bio.

As an active participant in and financial contributor to the arts for more than a decade, this has royally pissed me off. The arts are constantly under attack from several angles, whether it be arts classes getting cut from our schools, the arts becoming the butt of jokes on television shows and now this. The arts are an integral part of our lives, from listening to music on your iPod to attending a Broadway show. They provide entertainment, an escape from reality, even healing. I don't know where I would be if I didn't have music. I was blessed to have the opportunity to play in middle and high school as well as an orchestra after grade school. Some people don't have the chance to do this which is where the NEA becomes crucial. So, I ask: please stay informed on this issue. Also, if you feel led, check out this website, which provides a simple way to email your Congressional representatives to support funding the NEA.

3. Pack Wins in Durham

Now, onto some happier things. I was ecstatic on Monday night. Not only because my college alma mater, N.C. State, won its basketball game that night but which team it won against and where. The Pack defeated its Tobacco Road rival, Duke, 84-82 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham! This marks the first time since 1995 that State was able to pull off such a feat - woah, I was three years old when that happened! In any case, my disdain for Duke is very, very strong so it's always nice when any of that university's teams lose. But when my alma mater hands Duke an L, it's even better! Way to go, Wolfpack!

Let's roll those highlights!

4. Congrats Roy & Gott

The head coaches for my two favorite college teams hit major milestones as well. UNC Men's Basketball coach, Roy Williams, hit the 800-win mark after the Heels defeated Syracuse on January 16. Williams joined elite company and reached 800 wins the second fastest in history. The only coach to reach this milestone faster was the legendary Adolph Rupp.

Meanwhile, Coach Mark Gottfried, of N.C. State Men's Basketball, reached the 400-win mark in the aforementioned game against Duke on Monday. Win number 400 will definitely be a win he remembers for the rest of his life. Congrats to both of these great coaches!

5. Oscar Noms

The Oscar nominations were released this week. No surprise, La La Land received 14 nominations. That ties a record set by Titanic and All About Eve for most in the Academy's 89-year history. If Damien Chazelle's musical wins Best Picture at the Oscars, it'll be the first original musical to do so since Gigi in 1958, according to the Chicago Tribune. Beyond La La Land, the Best Picture category is stacked, with one of my other favorite films of the season - Hidden Figures - as well as films I want to see such as Lion, Fences, Arrival and Moonlight. It was also great to see one of my favorite actors, Denzel Washington, get nominated for his role in Fences. It all goes down on February 20 and I can't wait! Check out the full list of nominations here.

P.S. I hope the presenters will not mesh Hidden Figures and Fences together to create Hidden Fences like what was done repeatedly during the Golden Globes - and is still happening, apparently 😂

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