Another Memorial Day is here. But before you throw the hotdogs on the grill or head to the pool, let’s remember what this holiday is about. It’s the day we honor those who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy.

Given all the investment that parts of the media and many Democratic activists have made in former representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas, it is riveting — and painful — to watch the effort to momentarily resuscitate his presidential campaign before the inevitable walking back and unwinding of that investment. In The New York Times last week, Lisa Lerer pointed out that O’Rourke is abandoning his fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants style for such old-fashioned campaign techniques as adopting policy solutions, hiring a pollster and going on cable shows. Why should we care? Well, that O’Rourke’s peaked-too-soon candidacy still matters tells us something useful about liberalism today.

Despite President Donald Trump’s publicly backpedaling on his threat to restart his widely condemned family separation policy, reports reveal that the administration is vetting plans to revamp the scheme — euphemistically rebranding it as “binary choice.” In reality, this bland term belies a cruel ultimatum to parents at the border: Either be separated from your children indefinitely or waive your child’s rights so they can be sent to jail with you.

At Coach Clyde Hart’s retirement dinner last month celebrating his 56-year tenure, it was obvious as I listened to track and field teammates talk about their Baylor University experience under Coach that he is a living testament to the university’s foundational pillars. These pillars of transformational undergraduate education; Christian environment; research and scholarship; and arts and athletics were recently reaffirmed as the university launched its $1 billion Illuminate campaign.

I have lived through the end of the communist scare, the upheaval provoked by the Vietnam War and civil rights struggles, the sobering global realities stemming from the deadly 9/11 terrorist attacks on our nation’s political and economic centers. But none of this prepared me for the madness, hatred and hypocrisy that now mark our times and many of our neighbors.

With the 86th Legislative Session coming to an end, there’s even more reason to pay attention and become engaged before the window of opportunity to make positive change closes for another two years. As a youth organizer and member of Youth Rise Texas — an organization led by and for young people impacted by the criminialization or deportation of a parent — there is one bill I’d hate to see the sun set on before session’s end. HB 1389 could help thousands of Texas youth by ensuring that more parents and caregivers have a shot at staying home with us instead of being incarcerated.

I went to Baylor University certain of what I believed. My home church taught me a couple of verses in the Bible that express disdain for gay people — enough said, argument over, case closed. I could not imagine a gay person being part of our congregation. I learned a method of reading scripture that allowed any particular verse to trump the primary themes of the Bible. Leviticus’ shaky condemnation of gay men took precedence over Jesus’ message of inclusion.

Every single day, nearly $1.7 billion in products cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Trade volume has grown substantially, more than doubling over the past 20 years and up 55 percent between 2010 and 2018. In early 2019, in the midst of the ongoing trade war with China, Mexico emerged as the largest trading partner of the United States. Millions of trucks cross the border each year. Delays at the border cause logistical problems. The current slowing on the U.S.-Mexico border is reducing efficiency and could cost the U.S. economy billions in output and hundreds of thousands of jobs if it persists.

Has anyone ever told you to “think about the environment before you print this”? Do you wonder just how bad using paper is for the environment? Think again. As someone who has spent a career studying how we use forests for everything from building houses to hiking, I am perplexed at why we have gotten this so backward.

My family has been in the bicycle business since 1907, when my grandfather opened a shop on New York’s Lower East Side. That tradition continued in 1950 when my father started our company as a bicycles and accessories wholesaler. Today, we are one of the largest suppliers of imported and American-made bicycles in the country. Over the generations, we’ve weathered all kinds of turns in the industry. But we’ve never dealt with anything like this: heavy tariffs on key commodities, announced with barely any notice, by a president who may or may not be bluffing.

This is an important week for all Americans who rely on small businesses. It’s National Small Business Week. Besides supporting small businesses in your local community, it presents a great opportunity to learn about the essential role small-business entrepreneurs and their employees play in the American economy.

The FCC and Trump administration’s recent announcement of a third major 5G spectrum auction to repurpose more airwaves for next-generation wireless broadband, coupled with the creation of a $20.4 billion fund to help finance small cell infrastructure in rural areas, is the latest in a string of aggressive moves to support deployment of 5G services throughout the United States.

Recently, a man allegedly burned down three black churches in Louisiana. Another wrote a white-nationalist screed and then allegedly shot up a synagogue, killing one and injuring three. On two occasions, a noose was found hanging in a Maryland middle school. A band of white nationalists marched into a District of Columbia bookstore to harass an author they didn’t like. Hate crimes small and large seem to be on the rise everywhere.

Foreign policy experts spend a lot of time looking into the latest disagreements of the Foreign Policy Establishment: the Council on Foreign Relations, the Wilson Center, Brookings Institution and an alphabet soup of others. Nearly all think tanks, educational institutions, grant-providers and assortments of cranky old foreign-service employees have finally united on a common opinion: Donald Trump is the greatest blow to U.S. foreign relations, allied unity and just plain manners in the history of the republic.

Not since Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and The Heritage Foundation cooked up the Contract with America in 1994 has there been such a clever piece of political stagecraft as the Green New Deal. But whereas the Gingrich plan was able to make its way untrammeled through the congressional election and, in many of its goals, into law, the Green New Deal is by its nature more political theater than legislative agenda.

The federal government is moving to cut rental subsidies for families relying on federal housing assistance despite the inadequate supply of affordable rental housing for renters with extremely low incomes. Instead of proposing cuts to the federal programs that assist low-income renters, the federal government should do the opposite of what the Trump administration is proposing and take steps to address the inadequate supply of affordable rental housing across the nation.

I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was a teenager. She was 38 and lacked access to basic health care that would have likely caught her cancer at an earlier and more treatable stage. Losing her in this way galvanized my decision to become a family physician and to dedicate my professional life to providing improved access to quality health care for everyone.

During a congressional hearing on April 9, Rep. Charlie Crist, a Florida Democrat, asked Attorney General William Barr if he knew why Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators were reportedly upset about a recent letter released by Barr. The missive summarized the Mueller team’s still unpublished findings from its conspiracy and obstruction probe involving President Donald Trump, his advisers and Russia.

A new and sobering report released last week reveals that 4 in 10 Texans have been a victim of crime in the last 10 years with many experiencing trauma, stress, anxiety and fear as a result. The report from the Alliance for Safety and Justice further shows that 7 in 10 violent-crime victims have been victims more than once, and that 9 in 10 Texas crime victims do not receive support from the state’s victim compensation program that could help them recover.

Political curmudgeons might well grouse that local attorney Pat Atkins should have completely fixed Waco Independent School District by now, given his 17 years on the Waco ISD board of trustees, including nine years as board president. Such cynics fail to realize that applying intelligent solutions is difficult when dynamics are always shifting, always raising new challenges and headaches — everything from losing an enormously promising and popular superintendent (for a minor, roadside pot arrest) to trying to prevent scores of teacher layoffs during a nationwide recession that instead shuttered schools (and with some of the public consequently and ignorantly blaming the school board rather than our state lawmakers who cut $5.4 billion from public education funding in 2011).

Flashback

What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.

In a private letter written May 23, 2017, by general counsel Christopher Holmes, Baylor University quietly acknowledged it had fired its highly successful head football coach Art Briles a year earlier without justifiable cause. The context of the letter explains the university’s obviously inconsistent actions in blaming Briles for misconduct, yet paying him a multi-million-dollar severance fee.

There’s a scene in the movie “The Right Stuff” where one of the test pilot-turned-astronauts observes that without bucks there’s no Buck Rogers. In the realm of higher education without research dollars, there are no research scholars. So in light of recent pronouncements by Baylor University President Linda Livingstone setting tier-one status as an achievable goal for Baylor to aspire to, perhaps it’s timely to ask: How much would it cost?

Since 1983 and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley’s education report “A Nation at Risk,” American policymakers and politicians have accused our public schools of not adequately preparing children to meet our nation’s human resource needs in an increasingly competitive global economy. While this criticism has taken many forms, it has generally concluded that our nation’s schools have “failed” and that the solution somehow is: high-stakes accountability testing for children and schools, competition in the form of new kinds of competitor “public” schools (i.e., charters, vouchers), blaming teachers and their preparation or, more recently, closing/reorganizing “failed” schools and possibly dispersing students across other schools or communities.