U.S. could be described as a laughing stock on the Covid front

Originally published in the Laconia Daily Sun on September 13, 2020

The rabid letters regarding my candidacy for the N.H. House suggest that a red flag (or more appropriately, a blue flag) was waved in front of a raging bull, the bull consisting of a group of local naysayers. Most of the assertions in their letters merit no response, and the notion that President Trump has been the savior of people of color is not only bizarre, but downright laughable. 

The rhetoric coming from the far right these days is primarily a feeble attempt to distract the public from the tragic, incompetent response to the coronavirus. Even President Trump, in tweeting that Michelle Obama got her facts wrong in her DNC speech, noted that the actual deaths were 20,000 higher than she had indicated, and that was just in the space of a few days between the taping and the airing of her comments. The U.S. has embarrassed itself terribly on the world stage, with only 4 percent of the world’s population, but over 25 percent of Covid cases. There was a time when the U.S. led the scientific world, and the field of medicine; not so now. With close to 200,00 deaths to date, the U.S. could be described as a laughing stock if it were funny, rather than tragic.

So how does the GOP and its followers in this area try to make everyone forget about the disaster that has been Trump’s handling of Covid? They start talking about socialism, in terms attempting to scare Americans about the future. As Harry Truman said in 1952, “Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years… socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people”. Some things never change.

When persons graduating from high school or college in New Hampshire think about their next move, or when young couples and families think about whether to move to New Hampshire, are they thinking about socialism? Not likely. They are thinking first of all about jobs, jobs that pay more than the $7.25 an hour minimum wage. They are thinking about good public schools fully supported by more equitable means of financing than local property taxes. They are thinking about health care, and hoping that Obamacare gets strengthened or replaced by Medicare for all, not eliminated. They want women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights, and reproductive rights to be protected and enhanced. They want us to address the problems of climate change, and work to protect the environment. And they want our country to live up to the promise of liberty and justice for all.

We should not let the fearmongers among us distract us from sensible plans for the future, or forget the disastrous situation this administration has dragged us into during the pandemic. Let’s instead focus on what will make New Hampshire a place where young people want to remain, and young families want to move. Join me in looking forward rather than into the abyss.

Cartoon in Daily Sun Not Offensive

Originally published in the Laconia Daily Sun on September 07, 2020

The furious reaction to the August 27 cartoon, showing an African-American boy fearing the police, shows how very out of touch some people are in this area of New Hampshire. One might think, or at least hope, that our community members would make some attempt to empathize with, or at least understand, what it is like to be a person of color in the U.S. in this day and age. We see instance after instance of shootings and killings of unarmed citizens who pay for their skin color with their lives. We see instance after instance of the police being called against persons of color who are jogging, or shopping, or driving their vehicles, or otherwise simply living everyday lives, but who are viewed as somehow suspicious because of their race.

There was nothing offensive about the August 27 cartoon, unless reminding all of us in this very white community that some people are treated differently is offensive. There was nothing in the cartoon that in any way attacked or demeaned police officers, as the cartoon wasn’t about the police. It was about what it is like to grow up as a black male. And the cartoon in no way disagrees with what we all know, that the vast majority of police officers are extraordinary public servants.

And for those very sensitive persons who chose to take offense at the cartoon, maybe I can lend you some of my toughness pills, of which I have (and need) a large supply. By the way, many of The Laconia Daily Sun cartoons have “offended” me, although I have a thick enough skin that I use that term in quotation marks. All of the cartoons of Gary Varvel are anti-Biden and/or pro-Trump. Just look at the cartoons of July 28 and 31, of August 13 and 15 and 18. Do the area liberals and progressives come crying to the paper threatening to never read it again, and only support the competition (as soon as they find it)? Of course not.

The Laconia Daily Sun should try to continue to do its job and survive as one of the rare local newspapers left, and the bullies trying to threaten its existence should move on and do something more constructive.