Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


VOTERS SHOULDN'T BACK CANDIDATES WHO ARE ELECTION DENIERS: When it comes to upholding the results of elections in North Carolina and the United States – the most recent of which in 2020 for president have been shown to have been fair and free of manipulation – there is no room for equivocation. Incumbents who want to continue to represent this state in Washington -- but who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 elections and still stand with former President Donald Trump’s outlandish and false notion he defeated Joe Biden – do not deserve to return. On Jan. 6, 2021 Budd voted (along with every other North Carolina Republican member of the U.S. House except Patrick McHenry) to overturn the results of the 2020 election that Democrat Joe Biden clearly won. Budd said on Twitter at the time there were “irregularities (and) constitutional violations in the presidential election.” When it comes to pledging loyalty to our nation, Americans don’t swear to monarchs, dictators or deities. The pledge is to uphold protect and defend the Constitution. Loyalty to a political party or to a politician should NEVER override honesty, Integrity and the rule of law. I don't care if Budd swears on a stack of bibles he will honor the results of the upcoming election, his actions speak much louder than his words. And those actions have been undemocratic and downright treasonous.

COOPER ADMINISTRATION'S PUBLIC HEALTH POLICIES SAVED THOUSANDS: It seems like just yesterday that hospitals and morgues were overflowing, even as then-President Donald Trump was promising that the crisis would magically “disappear” by Easter of 2020, and he was issuing a seemingly endless series of scientifically invalid observations and statements. Then, of course, were the rancorous protests of the misguided “reopen” advocates, who demanded an end to the application of proven public health practices, like face masks and social distancing, even before scientists had worked heroically to produce and deploy vaccines and therapies. And remember the many conservative politicians, activists and “think tanks” in North Carolina who unleashed a relentless fusillade of invective at Gov. Roy Cooper for his supposedly “tyrannical” refusal to follow the lead of other (mostly southern) governors who had plunged ahead with reopening while the pandemic continued to rage? As early as April 2020 – just a few weeks into the pandemic – a commentator for the Raleigh-based conservative group, the John Locke Foundation, was already foolishly calling on Cooper to follow the lead of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and reopen the state. As a recent report published by analysts at the website Wallet Hub pointed out last month, when it comes to assessing how states responded to the COVID crisis, North Carolina is near the top. The analysts looked at five key metrics — vaccination rate, positive testing rate, hospitalization rate, death rate and level of community transmission — and ranked all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Their conclusion: North Carolina ranked second with a score of 75.32 – just below Vermont’s 75.91. In contrast, Georgia – one of the early reopeners – came in 48th, with a score of 18.92. Tennessee came in 49th with a score of 16.67. Abbott’s Texas came in 31st with a score of 48.12. The most important metric is per capita death rate. And while various analysts measure this number slightly differently, North Carolina consistently ranks among the best in this category, while its quicker-to-reopen southern neighbors rank near the bottom. The most important metric is per capita death rate. And while various analysts measure this number slightly differently, North Carolina consistently ranks among the best in this category, while its quicker-to-reopen southern neighbors rank near the bottom. Georgia, which has a population almost identical to North Carolina’s, has endured more than 40,000 COVID deaths. North Carolina’s figure is just over 26,000. Similarly, Tennessee, with a population of around two-thirds the size of North Carolina’s, has suffered more than 27,000 deaths. That's the difference between acting like an adult and acting like an irresponsible child. Let's hope the voters can see that difference.

I'M TOO OLD AND TIRED FOR THIS NONSENSE: I’m getting close to the six decades mark and I accept that I have more years behind me than in front. I don’t waste precious time giving people the benefit of the doubt, deciphering what they meant to say or expend cognitive energy trying to figure out what their facial expressions and body language actually mean. I’m too old and tired for that. I’m really tired of all the nonsensical verbiage offered up as truth by lazy, shallow and simple minded people who think they’re unique and special. These people drain my soul to a point of exhaustion like the “Green Mile” movie character who expressed his weariness with his fellow man by saying, “I’m tired, boss…I’m tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There’s too much of it. It’s like pieces of glass in my head, all the time…Can you understand?” I don’t think people hear me, so I’m going to go on a hard earned old man rant to explain why I’ve thrown my hands up in futility trying to reason with those of lesser intellect. I’m so over hearing about how much people love and care about veterans, but then make them jump through hoops for that same love and respect once they take the uniform off for good. No one who put their hand up and took that oath to fight for, protect and defend this country should have to beg for a roof over their heads, a job, mental health treatment or medical care. I hope no one sitting in the high back Council chairs is taking a victory lap or patting themselves on the back over voting to place an American flag in the downtown park. The veterans should’ve never had to stand on a hot street corner for weeks to protest and show their love for the flag they were willing to die for. Tired. I’m sick of professional politicians declaring war on things like poverty, guns, drugs, hate, homelessness and other low hanging fruit to get elected and re-elected, and then actually do nothing. Everything they supposedly have focused on has not improved, lessened or been made better, but their commercials and PR mileage has gone a long way for them. Tired. I hear you, Kenneth. I'm tired too. I'm tired of the chicken hawks using our military to feed corporate greed, and then tsk-tsk-ing about how much fixing their bodies and minds will cost. It's infuriating.

IMMIGRANTS ARE NOT GAME TOKENS TO BE ABUSED BY BLINDLY AMBITIOUS POLITICIANS: It is a dehumanizing spectacle reflective of the way medieval royalty treated serfs and peasants. It is the way dictators treat their subjects as objects. Here’s the sad truth: To Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis the shipment of human beings in two planes from Texas, then onto Florida, South Carolina, Charlotte and eventually to Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts is all about the GAME of politics. He dehumanizes the migrants and refugees into game pieces. Pawns in a chess match, tokens on a Monopoly board. It is the treatment of men, women and children – refugees desperate to escape violence, poverty and oppression largely from Venezuela – as if they are commodities. Even Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says such transporting of migrants is illegal. Politics is not a game where human lives are to be played with in such a frivolous way. There are appropriate ways to raise key issues – DeSantis makes it all a mockery. There needs to be an investigation into whether his actions amount to human trafficking – and if so he should be brought to justice. No, Ted Cruz hasn't "changed his ways," he merely saw the painfully obvious connection between these Venezuelan refugees and his own family's struggle and escape from Cuba. A connection I'm sure many of the Cuban emigres in Southern Florida also made. DeSantis may have just shot himself in the foot politically...

NO, ABORTION LAWS IN EUROPE DO NOT ALIGN WITH GROWING U.S. RESTRICTIONS: Apart from the very few European nations that retain highly restrictive laws on abortion — Andorra, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco and Poland — no other European country “bans” abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Instead, almost all European countries allow abortion throughout pregnancy on a range of grounds, including where there are risks to a patient’s physical or mental health, and in situations involving severe or fatal fetal impairment. Elective abortion is only one of the grounds on which abortion is legal in most of Europe, and time limits for this differ per country. When these time limits end, abortion almost always remains legal for a much longer period on other grounds, such as broadly framed socioeconomic or health grounds, or grounds of severe or fatal fetal impairment. In support of calls for a 15-week ban on abortion — with carve-outs merely for highly restrictive exceptions, extending only to situations of physical risk to a patient’s life and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest — U.S. lawmakers referred to six European countries in particular (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway and Spain) and falsely stated that such a ban in the United States would be similar to policies in these nations. Although these countries set a first-trimester time frame for elective abortion, they all allow abortion thereafter on other grounds. For example, laws in Denmark and Norway allow abortion for social, economic or family reasons until fetal viability (the definition of which is not specified). German law allows abortion on grounds of serious risk to health throughout pregnancy, explicitly noting that this covers both physical and mental health. Moreover, unlike in the United States, many of these countries include abortion under national health insurance policies, as do most other Northern and Western European countries, meaning that patients do not have to finance the costs of abortion care themselves. The fact is that most European countries are moving to expand access to abortion, not limit it. In the majority of countries, European lawmakers have moved steadily forward for decades on the issue of access to abortion. They have removed bans, increased abortion’s legality and taken steps to ensure laws and policies on abortion are guided by public health evidence and clinical best practices. These are extremely important points. Find out more at the Center for Reproductive Rights.


CAROL STEVENS: DOES TED BUDD EVEN VOTE ANYMORE? I read the News & Record each morning that has been promptly delivered by James Doggett, and I follow the columns and articles closely. After looking over several summaries of how our local congressional delegations voted recently, I have noticed that, rather than voting “ yea” or “nay,” as others have done, Ted Budd is often listed as “not voting.” My question is this: Is Mr. Budd not present in Congress when it is in session to vote on legislation? Is he absent for campaigning, fundraising and travel? Does he choose not to vote on pieces of legislation so he can later say he “did not vote for or against” if they later become problematic? I am inquiring about this before we choose who will represent us as our senator from North Carolina in the next election. Thoughts? He's too busy kissing ass for money and hanging out with nut cases like Boebert to actually do his job. I just can't figure out if it's a good thing or a bad thing...

EVELYN UDDIN-KHAN: THE POWER OF WOMEN VOTING: In Kansas — a deep red state — women voters kept abortion legal. The power of the vote! The power of women! After the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade in June the women (and men) of the state of Kansas went to work to get voters out and save Roe V. Wade. Five weeks later, on Aug. 2, Kansas held its primary. That date was specially chosen by the Republican super-majority legislature because they thought very few voters would show up at the polls to vote and their Republican Constitutional Amendment to end abortion in Kansas would pass. Surprise! The women of Kansas organized rallies, rang door bells, planted posters in yard and on highways, handed out flyers … they did it all. Their campaign, “Kansans for Constitutional Freedom,” was off and running! Kansans were fighting for their Constitutional Rights to “choose.” After abortion, what next? Birth control? Most people in Congress and the Supreme Court have one or two kids. How did that happen? Well, the women (the men, the people) of Kansas had five weeks to be heard and they were loud and clear at the polls. They voted to save abortion rights in their state and they won! Ladies and gentlemen, please go and vote on Nov. 8. It’s the singular power we have to make changes in our lives and control our future. Please remind your family and friends to vote. People, if you don’t vote, don’t complain. Congratulations to the voters of Kansas! You showed this country the power of your vote. Thank you. And thank you for reminding us of the power of working together to get out the vote. It most certainly can be done.

PATRICK BAI: YOUNGKIN'S VIRGINIA EXPANDS UNEQUAL TREATMENT: A new Virginia state policy allows parents to control their children’s gender expression at school. Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) administration claims that this “delivers on the governor’s commitment to preserving parental rights.” But, as a queer high school student, I know too well the harm in blindly assuming parents always know best. I still hear about queer youths who are rejected, abused or kicked out of their homes by their parents. I cannot express the devastation of rejection in words, but a statistic might: Queer youths rejected by their families are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide. When queer students lose support from home, school can be their only safe space. Parents should not be allowed to take that away as well. It is vital to work toward making schools a sanctuary for all queer students. I am terrified for my classmates who might lose what few protections they have in a month. Students must start organizing against the policy now. We have to break the mold that works from the assumption that "parents know best," especially when it comes to the sexual identity of their children. The statistics on domestic abuse of LGBTQ+ kids are horrific, and if parents don't know their child falls into that category, there's usually a damn good reason.



No words of wisdom,

or possibly more accurately, no words of unqualified and unwanted advice this week. :)

Not from me, anyway. Feel free to advise or vent as you see fit.