Lies, Damn Lies, Insurrection And Video Tape

              Don’t forget: Rage, Mistrust, Division, Threats, Vi0lence

                   All driven by Prejudice, Gullibility and  Fear.

Unfortunately, we have scores of political candidates these days — newcomers and veteran pols alike — running for offices on seemingly every level of government, whose motives — to put it bluntly — are dangerous, and sometimes, deadly. 

Through lies they know are lies, misdirection and made-up scenarios, they create dangerous divisions in their communities, dividing the populace by race, ethnicity, religious beliefs and cultural practices into warring camps that distrust one another, sometimes, to the point of outright hatred and rage that — more and more lately, lead to unnecessary violence.

It is a disgusting bag of tricks that, unfortunately, works to the tricksters’ benefit, helping them to build popularity, trust and a loyal following that pays off at the ballot box and in these charlatans’ bank accounts.

By preying on the fears and insecurity of their fellow citizens, they create  dangerous divisions. They offer almost nothing useful to their fellow citizens that might lead to healing or unifying their communities.

Instead, they are self-centered, power-hungry, perhaps even confused themselves. But make no mistake, their main motive is gaining power they can use  for their own personal benefit or for some misguided movement by some other leader they admire, look up to, or fear, whose ideology or selfish beliefs can only harm our democracy, our nation and its people.

They are too often acolytes of a narrow, tightly controlled America that resembles a younger version of our nation, before it made solid gains  toward acknowledging and sharing power with other members of the robust melting pot that makes up this country, and can take advantage of different insights, knowledge, hard work  and eagerness to help make this a place where all have the opportunity to succeed.

Never mind that keeping privilege and power in the  hands of the few, often those who were the beneficiaries of the days of indentured servitude, back-room decision-making by the wealthy and powerful is a prescription for failure and disaster.

These politicians, their backers and hangers-on are not really interested in what’s good for this country as a whole, only in what’s advantageous to them now, and their off-spring into the future.

They are bent on seeking power through nearly any means. Many of them help spread outrageous, even crazed conspiracy theories aimed at respected leaders with whom they disagree. One common attack is the outlandish “rumors ” that accuse several well-connected, highly thought-of political and business leaders of belonging to a group of ravenous pedophiles, who prey on young children — and worse.

Of course, the accusers never offer any real evidence to back up these bogus claims.

Many of these people also scare their followers into believing they are in danger of being deprived of their “birthrights” and family legacies. They tell them they will be overtaken or erased by members of other racial, ethnic, religious, and/or social groups, who will stoop to any means to grab power and use it against hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, kindhearted Americans, who — either they or their ancestors — have worked hard for everything they’ve attained.

They use “Trumped”-up theories and vile conspiracies to frighten folks to their side, to divide the nation and conquer it.  They have no shame. Truth and morality be damned. They want power — at almost any cost– to insure that they can keep on enjoying greater and greater privileges while they call the shots.

Many of them, themselves, are driven by fear. Fear that they will lose their power, their wealth, their influence and control. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough trust in their fellow citizens to believe that, if the table is ever turned and they find themselves in the minority, those then in a stronger position will not act the same way they did. So much of their fear is — ironically — fueled by the belief that others will act as they did when they had the upper hand. Unfortunately, however, they don’t see that, or — at least — pretend they don’t.

They are afraid to trust in the notion that those who were once locked out will be more open, inviting and willing to share than they have been.

Some of these people — perhaps many of them — may not realize what’s really going on. They have been so frightened by those who call themselves responsible leaders, that they actually may believe a lot of the ridiculous crap being spewed on the internet, through chat lines, “news” and talk shows.

Maybe they really believe — for example — wild speculation being pushed by many in conservative circles what is being called “replacement theory.”  The notion that liberals are actually pushing for more  illegal immigration at the southern border to allow more people of color into the country to hasten the time when members of minority groups will out number whites in this country, putting them in the minority. And once the “minority collective” effectively becomes the majority,  the old guard will be rendered virtually powerless.

If there is such a movement underway, I haven’t seen any evidence to support it. Yet, plenty of politicians and conservative talk-radio and TV-hosts are pushing it. And it sure seems to be moving the opinion needle among its target audience.

The fear and malice produced by these calculated efforts  are being witnessed across the country. The divisions, mistrust, anger, frustration and fear are apparent. They show up in racially motivated mass shootings, and other attacks, and even deranged, sometimes self-hating attacks on school children, houses of worship, shopping malls, outdoor festivals, peaceful protest marches and demonstrations.

The conspiracy theories, unfortunately are working. The American social fabric is unraveling at an alarming rate. Many  members of different ethnic groups, who themselves, or whose relatives  once fought side-by-side against a common enemy, are now turning their assault rifles on one another. And, sadly, the politicians, the wanna-be kings and king makers appear to be succeeding.

The wedges they are driving between us are working. We are, perhaps, more divided now, politically and philosophically, than we’ve been in generations. And to be blunt, the end doesn’t appear to be in sight. Rather than seeking common ground, we are rushing to our own foxholes.

How will it all end? It is difficult to say, especially since we have just witnessed something that would’ve been considered impossible just a few years ago. By that I mean the storming of our nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021 by an  angry mob — many of them armed — who sought to stop the counting of electoral votes and the certification of the presidential election.

And this was no flash mob or spontaneous uprising. It was  well-planned, well-financed; a brazen attack on our Democracy. It was backed and promoted by powerful people, including  the then-sitting president of The United States of America. And sadly, it nearly succeeded. Lives were lost. Our nation was embarrassed before the world. But the transition of power — after a considerable delay — was, thankfully, accomplished.

What is still troubling, however, is that the former president on whose behalf the insurrection was carried out, is still arguing that the election results he desperately wanted overturned were fraudulent. He is not yet ready to face the reality that he lost the election fair and square, and now, needs to move on.

And many of his followers, enforcers and faithful soldiers — even those who know the election was not stolen — have shown little inclination they are ready to move on, either.

May God Help Us …



America’s Other Deadly Pandemic: Gun Violence

U.S. President Joe Biden recently said that — on average — more than 330 people are shot every day in America. Every  Day.

Earlier this year, I was watching The PBS News Hour, when anchor Judy Woodruff said: “Since the start of this year, 5,700 people have lost their lives (in this country) to gun violence.”

The date: February 18, 2022.  Less than two full months into the year!

Gun violence has long been an epidemic in this gun-loving, gun-making, gun-toting country.  Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak,  however, it  has become a pandemic. One that, so far, appears to be even more difficult to manage than the deadly virus with which it currently shares a morbid spotlight.

Unlike with COVID 19, no vaccine has been uncovered that can stop the carnage this man-made malady continues to inflict on communities across this country.

Nearly every week, there is a report of a mass shooting — at a school, a shopping mall, a grocery store, a house party, a concert or other outdoor gathering.

Some times, there are several such incidents in a single week.

A paper recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that an analysis of  U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention data found that firearm-related mortalities surpassed vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children in 2020.

And, apparently, the trend in continuing.

What makes the majority of these life-destroying incidents even more disturbing is that so many of the victims  (men, women and children) are merely innocent bystanders, whose only “offense” was being unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Unfortunately, in the current ultra-angry, rage-filled, politically-toxic environment that engulfs us now, that is enough to get you ( your significant other, or mother or father or sister or brother or dear friend)– killed.

And what deepens the sadness is (to use an all-too-familiar, old saying) “the victims didn’t even know what hit them.”

There is no doubt that fear, rage and war-like political rhetoric are fueling this pandemic. This nation appears to be more divided over race, ethnic, political and social-privilege issues than it has been in a generation.

Just a few years ago, it seemed that —  with the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president — great strides were being made toward bringing Americans to a greater understanding of the advantages of working together through racial, ethnic, tribal and political differences and shaping this nation as a place where differences could be valued as positives, rather than negatives and, therefore, no longer reasons to fight one another. 

While Obama’s two terms as this nation’s  leader certainly moved the needle positively in some areas of American life that used to be flash points, there obviously were also some dark corners where his very presence, style and manner of handling things irked people. Many of them apparently determined they would do everything they could to make sure his presidency was a one-off thing.

To make matters worse:  According to a recent newspaper report that quoted several scientific studies, “An absolutely unprecedented increase in firearm sales has occurred over the last couple of years.” 

Given the number and frequency of gun-involved violent outbreaks around the country, it is increasingly worrisome that — not only are there more guns being brought into circulation every day, but several states have changed their laws so that people can carry concealed guns without first registering them and obtaining a state-issued permit.

My state recently joined this gun-happy club of governments. Lawmakers here called the practice “Constitutional Carry.” I, and a chorus of others — including many members of law-enforcement agencies — figured that lunacy would be a much better term for it. 

As schools, churches, businesses and other venues practice active-shooter drills, while looking for other ways to keep people safe during their normal activities these days, I am fearful every time I turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper.

We — as a nation — have endured scores of mass shootings that have claimed hundreds of lives now. We have seen so many others wounded — their lives changed forever.

When I think of all this, there is one incident that seems to squeeze my brain, my heart and my emotions to the point where I want to scream. It is a local incident — and only one person died.

Here it is: A 13-year-old boy had a business in his bedroom at his home, in which he was able to get parts online and make guns that he sold to others.  The guns had no serial numbers and were practically impossible to trace.

Such weapons are coveted by thieves, robbers, toughs, gang members and others. This young man had no trouble finding buyers for home-made weapons. One day, an older teenager, who had agreed to purchase one of the guns, showed up at the young businessman’s house. He was led to the gun seller’s bedroom, shown the gun. He loved it, took it, but refused to pay. Instead, he suddenly turned and ran from the room.

The 13-year-old picked up another one of his home-made weapons, chased the thief, firing at him as he ran. The thief got away.

Unfortunately, one of the bullets the young businessman had fired, struck his 14-year-old sister in the head.

She died.


The COVID-19 Challenge

  The Battle Continues


The COVID 19 pandemic seemed to start quietly, slowly — as the scariest things often do — then last spring, showed itself to be a bomb-cyclone of a health-and- economic storm that shattered the world’s sense of well-being and made scientists, government officials, first-responders, healthcare workers and frightened residents across the planet worry about the devastation it could cause before it could be stopped.  If it could be stopped…

We discovered more about its power to ravage not just our health, but national economies as well; shut down businesses, put millions out of work, close schools, leave working men and women unable to feed or care for themselves and their children, many of whom are wondering if they will ever see their teachers or classmates again.

In the face of these challenges — unparalleled since the devastating flu outbreak that swept the globe a hundred years ago — I thought the new threat was so bad, so unnerving, that it would lead us — in the U.S. and around the world — to put aside our differences, whether political, race-and-class, assumed birth-right privileges, and throw our united energy into  confronting a deadly enemy that threatens us all.

Boy, was I naive.

Now, in  the virus’ second year of destruction, the United States  recently acknowledged its 500,000th death attributed to COVID 19. Millions have been infected here and worldwide. Hospitals have been overrun. Nations the world over have shut down businesses, urged their citizens to wear protective masks and follow social-distancing recommendations. But, each time the death toll has dropped slightly, most of these countries have re-opened businesses, eased restrictions, to get their economies moving again.  The result, almost always, is an alarming rise in infections and deaths and a return to tight restrictions.

What has really troubled me,  aside from the pandemic itself, is the regrettable fact the cohesive response I had hoped to see has not materialized to the extent needed to better enable us to get through this crises with fewer losses. In the U.S. — especially — political, racial-and-class bickering have accelerated, not decreased.

The recent presidential election here — with all of the outright lies, phony conspiracy theories,  pure fiction about rigged/stolen elections, phony lawsuits filed, and bitter divisions in Congress — has produced a travesty, and has deeply tarnished this nation’s reputation and standing around the world.

What is especially galling is that the worst of these lies were promoted by our former president. He indoctrinated/brainwashed his loyal followers to the point that many of them helped organize and carry out an attack on the nation’s Capitol with a mob of thousands — many of them armed — storming the nation’s temple of democracy (The Capitol Building), threatening to hang the vice president and kill the speaker of the house, in order to stop the lawful counting of electoral votes from the states, that we all knew, would make it official that the sitting president had lost the election and would be replaced a few days later by the duly-elected new president, Joe Biden.

Several sitting U.S. Representatives and Senators had helped the now-former president spread the big lie that the election was stolen, and many of them were prepared to object to the electoral slates from several states, hoping to keep the then-president in power. Never mind that it was a direct attack on not just the Constitution of the United States, but an assault on Democracy itself.

Fortunately, the riot/insurrection at the Capitol only delayed the counting of  electoral votes, which was eventually completed. Five people died as a result of the attack. Democracy survived, but bitter feelings and divisions still exist, as does the white-hot rhetoric, saber-rattling and political posturing in the halls of government. Not to mention, the destructive degree of  attention-grabbing, self-serving gamesmanship. All to win over the losing president’s followers.

Something else that has puzzled and infuriated me is the number of black men and women, who have been shot and killed, or smothered to death by police officers around the country. It appears that the number of seemingly unjustified police killings has increased during the pandemic.  However, it may be that the increasing use of cellphone videos and police body cameras at the scenes of these deadly encounters merely make it appear that the number of such incidents has increased. In the past, incidents would not be widely reported and there was not as much available evidence to challenge the actions of police officers in such cases. Thank God, for these increasing numbers of “eyes” on our streets.

Also disturbing is a recent report on NBC News that, since the pandemic began, there have been more than 3,000 vicious attacks on  Asian Americans in this country. Many of them have resulted in severe injuries. A large number of those attacked have been senior citizens just out for a walk in their neighborhoods, or going about their normal daily routines, minding their own business. Their only offense: They appear to be Asian(?) These attacks are ridiculous, and according to police, are being carried out by toughs, who — for whatever twisted reasons — are blaming Asian Americans for the COVID 19 outbreak.

Sadly, that misguided sentiment may be a direct result of the former U.S. president’s insistence on referring to COVID 19 as The Chinese Virus.

These tragic incidents have led to peaceful protests, with several of them challenged by counter-demonstrators, many openly brandishing weapons, and in some cases, using them. Protesters have been attacked, roughed up — and in a few instances, killed. This, mind you, during a COVID 19 pandemic that continues its destructive assault on our collective well-being.

Add to all of the above, the troubling  number of people around the country, who refuse to follow government safety instructions, and as a result of their obstinacy, put themselves and others in serious danger. Some of them claim their “personal freedom/American liberty”  justifies their refusal to conform. There have been protests outside state Capitols and governors’ mansion — several of them by armed individuals and militia members, threatening the safety of state officials, while demanding that restrictions be lifted.

 Currently, in some states, including Georgia, legislators are considering bills that would limit the emergency powers of the governor, which would restrict the tools the chief executive of the state would have at his or her disposal to keep residents from harm during any extraordinary crises, such as the current pandemic.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that there have been scores of individual heroes — Good Samaritans — who have come to the aid of people in their neighborhoods, or helped those they have learned about through the internet, offering food, shelter, clothing, help with breaking through the online nightmare of vaccine-appointment registrations; building desks for students, who must do school work from home while schools are closed. Those are just a few examples.

But, as this viral tsunami shows few signs that it may run its course soon, we need more of us — particularly those in power – to step up, to imitate the every-day men, women and children, who are doing their best to help those they can. We need much of the bickering to stop in Washington and in state houses around the country. Just call a timeout! And concentrate, together, on what should be an overriding concern.

Nations, as well, need to lower the temperature on seemingly endless “fights” over positioning and power in the world, which seem to take up so much of the attention of oppressive rulers, strong-arm dictators and those mostly concerned about their own power and pocketbooks.

Sure, it is difficult. But it should not be impossible. At such a time as this.


A Sad Death In Hong Kong

China Delivers Sad Demise for Apple Daily in Hong Kong …     


U.S. President Joe Biden  called it “a sad day for media freedom in Hong Kong and around the world ” when Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper, was smothered to death by China’s leaders …

I have never read the now-defunct newspaper, whose demise was carefully coordinated and carried out at the behest of  Beijing, but I — like untold numbers of others, who appreciate fearless, truth-telling journalism wherever it appears — am still mourning the death of a brave enterprise that knew its very existence was a day-to-day proposition, and yet, fought hard to keep telling the truth in the face of enormous odds.

I spent nearly 40 years in newspapers and the media, here in The States, with newspapers, large and small, print and online. I know how difficult it is to keep them going and turn a profit — even in good economic times.

Yet, serving a small community,  or a vast metropolitan area, by holding elected officials’ feet to the fire, informing people how their governments and other  public entities are operating, is rewarding.

Apple Daily, a tabloid newspaper, founded by businessman Jimmy Lai, began operating in June of 1995, according to Wikipedia, and became one of the best-selling Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong. It was soon publishing print, and digital editions.

Eventually, its print edition had a circulation of more than 86,000. And its on-line editions reached hundreds of thousands of loyal readers.

I think it is safe to say that its existent and its support of pro-Democracy ideas, protests and demonstrations gave leaders in Beijing a sour stomach every time a new edition hit the streets or the internet.

Newspapers, simply put, are important players in the life of any community. They keep residents informed of problems; raise necessary questions about important projects and “deals” that could reward the players handsomely, but at the expense of others.

They have the ability to dig for, and interpret important facts,  that may be crucial in keeping a community healthy and functioning well. When necessary, they can shine a blistering spotlight on those whose actions could harm the community. Yet, they also cast warm lights of recognition and praise on those who serve their community well.

Even though businessman Jimmy Lai and his crew were almost certainly upbeat and believed their efforts would be rewarded when they launched the paper in 1995, it is also likely that the  brutal mechanism of the paper’s demise had already been set in place years earlier — in 1984 — when the British government and China reached an agreement to return Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997. 

At the time, however, Hong Kong was a flourishing island of Capitalist prosperity, whose residents enjoyed far more freedom than the inhabitants of mainland China. In the 1984 agreement, China had  pledged to preserve Hong Kong’s capitalist system.

With British control and oversight removed, Beijing’s somewhat loose-hand approach has evolved greatly over the intervening years, much to the chagrin of Hong Kong residents.

As for Apple Daily, the Chinese government’s passage of a National Security law that penalizes free speech and anti-government demonstrations, sealed its fate.  Not too long after the law was passed, police raided the paper’s headquarters, crippling its operations.

Lai, according to a Wikipedia report, was arrested in December 2020 and sentenced to jail in April, 2021.

As president Biden said back in June of this year, the security law “suppresses independent media and silences dissenting views.”

Its searing aim was focused with precision and unrelenting might on a business that had apparently become — in Beijing’s eyes — as much an enemy as a hostile foreign power.

It was only a matter of time before Apple Daily would fall. The level of harassment of the paper was blistering and unrelenting. Yet, the paper fought on, hoping to — somehow — survive.

On June 17, 2021, however, Hong Kong authorities — no doubt at the behest of Beijing — froze the assets of the company and its founder, Jimmy Lai. The newspaper was unable to pay its employees or its other expenses.

The newspaper was silenced. Beijing had won in the manner of so many powerful, but intolerant governments, that use might, threats and persecutions to bend their people to the will of those who govern. 

They control through mandate and fear. There is often little room — if any — for negotiation, and certainly not for compromise.

Fear, unfortunately, is the primary tool. And you can’t  dominate by fear without might. Nations, who operate this way, feel justified in making sure their citizens — “subjects” might be a better term — fear them so much that they won’t even think about challenging them or their authority.

But, let’s think about this fear approach for a moment. It might be wise to consider carefully: Who is really more afraid?

— The people who are hog-tied and cowered by their leaders?

— Or the leaders, who are so fearful of the people they govern, that they are afraid to raise their foot off their necks, even a little?




6 Women Golfers Speak Out About Anti-Asian Hate

The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate crimes aimed at people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent has several prominent members of the Women’s PGA tour speaking out about the sometimes deadly trend, as so many people in communities across this country are simultaneously frightened, angered, exasperated and wondering if the nightmare will ever end.

Targeting and attacking,  unsuspecting, innocent people — particularly elderly men and women, who are out participating in their normal daily activities — simply because of their appearance or their suspected heritage — is reprehensible.

Such cowardly attacks should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

The message that our government, our law enforcement agencies — and any citizens with the least bit of decency — should broadcast loudly is: No, No, No — Not Here!

Congress and many police departments across the nation have taken some necessary steps to combat this wave of inexcusable crimes. But, we are not where we should be on this matter, yet.

That is why I was encouraged when I saw a nearly full-page package in my local newspaper, highlighting the comments of several prominent, female golfers of Asian descent, who were in Atlanta this week for a Women’s PGA Championship event.

The article was reported and written by Karen Crouse for the New York Times, and picked up by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

An extremely interesting coincidence jumped out at me right away: The golf course where the tour event is being played is only about 15 minutes by car from one of the  three spa businesses where six women of Asian descent were among eight victims fatally shot during a killing spree in  metro Atlanta in march of this year.

The horrific murders of those innocent people horrified the nation. But, unfortunately, they were soon followed by other cowardly, unjustified attacks in California, New York and other cities. And the list of such reprehensible crimes grows longer seemingly by the week.

The New York Times article cites a national report released by Stop AAPI Hate that says “6,603 incidents of anti-Asian violence, harassment and discrimination were reported to the organization in the previous 12 months” that ended March 31.

As has been reported several times before, so many of these attacks have been spurred by antagonism against people in this country, who appear to be of Asian or Pacific-Islander  descent. The flame of that antagonism has been fanned by many politicians, social media “bullies” and others, who refer to the Coronovirus — which has killed more than 600,000 people in this country — as “the China Virus,” or the “Kung Flu.”

What bugs the hell out of me is that even if there were irrefutable proof that the COVID-19 virus started in China because of some mistake in a lab in Wuhan, it would still make no sense to hold ordinary people (even from China), who have lived in this country for years, and others whose families originated in other Asian  nations and territories,  responsible for the outbreak.

They are just as much victims and captives of this pandemic as the rest of us are. Besides, many of them were not born there; many have lived here since birth. It would be better to do everything, we as citizens can do, such as wear masks, wash our hands frequently, get vaccinated and follow the  U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, to make sure we stay safe — and help others stay safe, too.

Anything short of those sensible steps (that have been proven by this nation’s experience with the virus)  makes you a part of the problem, rather than a part of the solution.

But back to the female golfers featured in The Times piece. And they are heavyweights of the their sport:

—  Yani Tseng, “a two-time Women’s PGA champion and the first golfer from Taiwan to become the world No. 1 player. According to the newspaper article, “she was one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2012.”

But now, the article says, “she feels helpless” (because of the hatred and violence against people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.) “I’m scared every time I hear the news … that it could happen to me.”

She said she fell in love with America during her first visit in 2007, because everyone “was so nice.”

She added that, recently, however, a friend of hers, who lives in California, had a terrifying experience while seated in her car in a grocery store parking lot. A group of strangers approached her car and attempted to open its locked doors. The strangers pounded on the car with so much force, “the vehicle oscillated.”

After hearing that, Teng said she was so afraid, “I was worried about myself.” She has a house in San Diego, about 90 minutes from where her friend was menaced.

According to the article, Teng’s family members at home in Taiwan constantly worry about her being here. “Every time they see the news, they say, ‘Are you OK there?'” she said.

— Nine time LPGA tour winner, Na Yeon Choi, from South Korea, often travels with her mother, while here on tour. But, this time, she said she advised her mother “not to bother” coming to the United States for her tournaments.

“I was thinking it’s not safe for her to be alone when I’m focusing on practice,” Choi said. “She can’t speak English, so she’d be stuck in the hotel, because I wouldn’t want her going out.” 

— Four-time California Women’s Amateur champion, Mina Harigae, whose parents are from Japan, put it this way: “I’ll be honest,” she said. “I got so scared, I went online and bought a self-defense stick.”

— Michelle Wie West, who participated in the first major women’s tour event of the year, held outside Palm Springs California, said she “ran an errand at a strip mall near the course, one of thousands of such pit stops she has made for one forgotten item or another during her nearly two decades of competing in LPGA events.

This time, though, was different. “It was the first time, I was truly afraid. We’re targets now, unfortunately.”

— For Inbee Park, of South Korea, the rise in Anti-Asian violence has hit even closer to home. The shootings at three spas in metro Atlanta in March occurred close to where her aunt operates a dry-cleaning business.  “I called her straight away to make sure she was OK,” Inbee said. “It’s really unfortunate what’s happening.”

Park is a three-time Women’s PGA champion and former world No. 1, but wonders why broadcasters, for instance, are showing Asian athletes so little respect, mispronouncing their names during broadcasts, “even after she had corrected them on social media.”

It appears that the amount of disrespect directed toward these athletes, even by broadcasters and others in the media, seems to be increasing with the rise in anti-Asian violence and threats.

— According to the article, Christina Kim, a Californian of Korean descent, is weary of hearing that Asians “talk funny, and really tired of the added pressure that Asian-born players on the tour feel to speak the Queen’s English to avoid being mocked or criticized.”

She is also tired of people on social media ” directing comments to her about the “Kung flu.”

I, for one, am heartened and happy to see these accomplished athletes bravely speak out about this deplorable situation, when so many others are often afraid to stand out.

The U.S. Congress has passed legislation aimed at eliminating this vicious malady. So much of what legislators have mandated local law enforcement agencies to do focuses on finding effective ways to get more victims and witnesses to speak up, to report attacks, to encourage victims not to be afraid to report what happened to them, and for witnesses to report what they saw and heard.

I realize that many in that targeted community are reluctant to raise their hands, fearing that calling attention to themselves might bring them further harm. But police departments need that valuable information to catch those who perpetrate these crimes, along with their helpers and enablers. That is the only way it can be stopped. So, again, I applaud these brave women athletes.

I also wish that more athletes, other golfers — men and women —               baseball players, basketball players, football players, hockey players — especially stars in these sports, would rise up and add their voices to a growing, righteous chorus of influential Americans. 

We have seen, recently, changes brought about by thoughtful and determined professional football and basketball players, who have raised their voices against unjust treatment of black people in this society; against the alarming number of black men and women brutalized and/or killed by overzealous — and often bigoted — police officers .

There have already been criminal convictions against some of these bad actors and successful lawsuits against their employers.

The NBA and NFL have made changes that encourage greater respect and better treatment for those groups of citizens, who were routinely targeted and treated unfairly in the past . The WNBA has allowed — even supported — its athletes in their protests against injustice.

Racial, ethnic, place-of-origin, and gender discrimination should be a concern for every one of us in this country. And we need to do more than just talk a good game. 

We need to stand up and SHOW OUT in the name of equality. And justice for all.

The game clock is already ticking.


Naked And Unafraid


Naked And Unafraid

And Other Odd News You May Have missed 

According to the Miami Herald, a naked woman went on a rampage recently, trashing — and all but destroying — the inside of a popular steak restaurant in Ocala, Fla.

The suspect, a 53-year-old Florida native, was arrested after causing “thousands of dollars” worth a damage to an Outback Steakhouse.

A police officer, the newspaper said, arrived in the parking lot of the popular eatery around lunchtime and was immediately confronted by customers, who told him a woman inside was “breaking everything in the bar.”

As he entered the business, the officer saw broken glass and liquid all over the bar area and a “highly agitated female, who had several bottles of liquor in her hands.”

As the officer identified himself, the woman allegedly began uttering incoherent words, and throwing liquor bottles at him. He was struck on the forearm by a bottle, which literally covered him with alcohol. The officer deployed his taser twice.

The woman was then placed in handcuffs “and taken to a nearby health facility where THC was found in her system.” She was later arrested, charged with aggravated assault and felony criminal mischief, and held on $12,000 bond.

The rampage at Outback, however, was not her first “restaurant assault” of the day. She created havoc at another eatery — Mojo Grill — banging windows and upending tables. 

The newspaper reported that the complaint lodged against her in that incident said she told investigators she went to the Mojo Grill because the owner “is not honest.”

It was not clear at the time of her arrest “what beef” she had with Outback, or why she took off her clothes.

You know what they say: Some days, your Mojo just isn’t working …

More Crime While Naked

As reported by the News & Observer, a naked man went on a crime spree in North Carolina earlier this week. He broke into several occupied homes in West Asheville “while wearing no clothes.”

According to the Asheville Police Department, the assailant stole several items and “assaulted residents at each of the homes,” but, fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

Sometime after the incidents, police officers found a man who matched the description of the thief, but “he took off on foot and got away.”

The suspect was described as having brown hair, a short brown beard and a tattoo on his “upper right arm.” He was believed to  have been driving a gray, Volkswagen Jetta.

The good news is that, sometime later, a suspect was captured and taken into custody. No word, yet, on whether he was still wearing his birthday suit when apprehended.

If You Think That’s Weird …

The Kansas City Star recently carried  a story about a GOP State lawmaker, who was serving as a substitute teacher at a high school outside Kansas City, when he got involved in a strange incident that defies easy explanation.

Local police responded to the incident at the school, which included  –among other bizarre acts alleged against the law maker — the accusation that he kicked a male high school student.

The lawmaker/suspect took it upon himself, however, to voluntarily explain to police officers why he kicked the student. According the newspaper account, he told police officers that God told him to do it.

It was also reported that, prior to the kicking incident, he was talking to students in the class he was overseeing about several topics, including suicide, God and sex, then allegedly shoved the male student (victim) against a wall. According to the newspaper report, there are video recordings of the classroom discussion and the activities that followed.

“I could put the wrath of God on you right now,” he told the teenager, who then broke free and ran away.

The lawmaker told a sheriff’s deputy, after he was arrested: “The whole world is telling me not to do it. God said, ‘Yes’ “

An affidavit released after the man’s arrest, said the  suspect actually said God told him to do it –“twice.”

The affidavit also alleged that the man said he knew what he did was wrong — and he didn’t want to do it.  A deputy added that it seemed clear to him the man believed his actions were a part of “God’s plan.”

One of the charges against the defendant is that he caused “bodily harm” to one of the students, in an incident that was witnessed by 40 people, including at least 15 minors.

The aforementioned videos, the newspaper reported, also showed him asking students: “Who likes making babies? That feels good, doesn’t it? … You haven’t masturbated?  Don’t answer that question.” 

When students refused to answer, he reportedly told them, “Thank you. I told you not to. God already knows.”

The newspaper said a Franklin County magistrate ordered the lawmaker to undergo a mental health evaluation. His court hearing is set for July 12.

…  Makes you wonder how he ever got elected to whatever state office he holds …

Bizarre Drive-by Shooting

As reported in the Miami Herald, a 10-year-old boy — according to police — recently made an unusual request of his 26-year-old father. He asked his dad to take him “to do a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, with a paint gun.”

His father agreed. The man pulled his van up to a house in the 2300 block of a city street, “and the boy began to shoot paint balls into the crowd, where some other young people were gathering in the front yard. But the resident (of the house) believed he and his family were under attack — and squeezed off one round with a real gun,” where upon the 10-year-old boy was wounded.

The boy’s father has been charged with child neglect with great bodily harm, the news paper reported. The man “acted recklessly by agreeing to conduct a drive-by paint ball shooting,” according an Opa-locka police report.

Making matters worse, the boy was further injured after losing his balance and getting run over –apparently by the van that brought him to  the scene. In the chaos surrounding the incident, according to police, the father then got his son, put him in that van and drove home, where the child’s mother called 911.

 A Truly Difficult Wedding

A recent report on Insider contained the details of what must have been an extremely difficult wedding in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The report apparently also contains reporting from The Times of India.

Here are some basic facts from the report:  “The wedding was between a  a man and woman from a village in Nawli (I will not name them here, out of respect for their families.)

“The two,” the news report said, “were exchanging traditional flower garlands during a ceremony called the jaimala when (the bride) collapsed on stage. A doctor rushed to treat her, but declared she had died from a heart attack …

“The day’s festivities continued, however, with a different bride. While the bride’s body lay in another room in the house, the nuptials carried on with her younger sister … replacing her. “

According to the report, a member of the bride’s family told a TV news station: ” We did not know what to do in the situation. Both families sat together and someone suggested that my younger sister … should be married to the groom.”

“It was a tough call for our family,” another family member said. “One daughter lay dead in one room and the wedding of another daughter was being solemnized in the other room.”

The relative added: “We have never witnessed such mixed emotions. The grief over her death and the happiness of the wedding have yet to sink in.”

… What can any of us say?









Don’t Worry, Be Happy

“Don’t worry. Be Happy.”

Easy to say. Hard to do.

With the disheartening, often frightening, challenges confronting us these days (and by “us,” I mean anybody who is alive and breathing, has a reasonable amount of basic understanding and a sense of human empathy), the world we live in is getting scarier and more disappointing by the minute.

Make that, by the second.

And for anybody who reads newspapers, news magazines, watches TV and/or surfs the internet, maintaining a reasonable amount of sanity — and not just giving up all hope that things will ever get better — is the challenge of this age.

So much so, that sometimes I hesitate to turn on the TV. Fearful that the next calamity delivered to us by NBC News’ anchor Lester Holt, or the outright lunacy (disguised as news) from any number of Fox News broadcasters will send me over the edge.

On just about any given day, it seems, there is an awful fire; tornado; mass shooting; kidnapping; horrible homicide; multi-car pileup;  vicious attack on a man or woman of Asian descent;  the body of a missing child  found; politicians caught in horrible lies or faced with trial or jail sentences; hostile governments launching deadly rockets at one another, or threatening to; tons of illegal drugs intercepted; another housewife disappears; thousands of people die from the Coronavirus, because their nation can’t secure enough vaccine to save them.

And that’s the short list.

If that is not enough to make your heart sink,  consider that just about everyday, there is a report of another shooting of an unarmed black man or woman by law enforcement officers in some American city or town. There are also way-too-many instances of police officers killed or wounded while carrying out their lawful duties. Many of them shot; some simply run over by  those fleeing capture, or by simply inattentive motorists.

So much of this leads us to the matter of trust-destroying disagreements among us. While some are satisfied with court verdicts in cases arising out of many of these incidents, others violently disagree. Solutions offered by one set of “concerned” citizens and political leaders are shot down by others.

To make matters worse, there is a seemingly growing class of politicians and “community leaders,” who see ways to gain more power, prestige and money ( often campaign donations) by exploiting the differences among us, rather than working to bring us together.

Many distort — or exaggerate — the positions of opposing groups to harden the stances of the opponents. They figure there is political profit to be made in division, and, unfortunately, their gamble often pays off.

Right now, we are a bitterly divided nation, and a divided world. The old coalitions have lost their grip, making it more difficult for calmer heads and hearts to prevail.

At the very time when we need steadying, calming voices — and those willing to work harder to bring us together — more prophets of division politics are shaking the trees of mistrust, hoping political and financial fruit will fall.

Too many in the political arena are taking pages out of the playbook of former President Donald Trump, and his followers, and keeping the cauldron of discord boiling. They have dreams of taking up residence at the White House in Washington, D.C., or — at the very least — being the top man or woman behind the one who does.

Unfortunately, they believe the easiest — if not the only — way to get there is through Trump’s tactic of stoking fear, and offering his vision of an America driven by by race and class concerns, and the privilege of wealth.

So often these days — in the minds of many — that path is the Yellow Brick Road to American success and world dominance.

While in a deeply sad mood the other day, Bobby McFerrin’s upbeat song from the late 1980’s — “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” just popped into my mind.

I went quickly to You Tube and found a video of it that someone had posted. Not only did McFerrin sing the song as wonderfully as I remembered it, he was part of a three-person dance team whose comic antics made the performance even more lighthearted and uplifting.

I found myself singing along and “dancing” in my chair. What made it even better, was that legendary actor/comedian, Robin Williams, was a member of the dance team.

That video led me to  one of Louis Armstrong singing “What A Wonderful World,” and to yet another precious one of Israel Kanakawiwo’ole performing a medley of  “Over The Rainbow” and “What A Wonderful World.”

My soul and spirit were instantly refreshed. I couldn’t stop singing those songs in my head for the longest time. I was in such a pleasant mood, I skipped watching the evening news shows and went back to playing those songs until bedtime.

When I woke up the next morning, my first thought wasn’t: “I wonder what terrible things happened over night.”

It was to look out the window. I had the feeling there would be bright sunshine when I opened the curtains and blinds. And there was!

The next morning, too.

And I could still hear McFerrin: “In every life we have some trouble … But when you worry, you make it double. Don’t worry, be happy …

“Ain’t got no place to lay your head. Somebody came and took your bed …

“Don’t worry, be happy…

“The landlord say your rent is late … He may have to litigate … Don’t worry, be happy …”

I know this joy I feel right now won’t last forever. What does?

It’s highly likely I will soon return to my old, worried self. But right now, I’m riding with McFerrin, Armstrong and Kanakawiwo’ole, and I don’t notice any potholes in the road.

Don’t worry. Be happy.

If you can …




U.S. Senate Passes Anti-Asian Hate Crime Bill

In  what is, so far, a rare instance of  meaningful co-operation between Democrats and Republicans during President Biden’s administration, the U. S. Senate has passed Anti-Asian hate crime legislation that will require the Justice Department to sharpen its monitoring of COVID-related hate crimes and better provide targeted guidance to state and local law enforcement efforts in combating a scourge of violent attacks that have victimized people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent at increasingly alarming rates, since it became clear that the Coronavirus pandemic would have a devastating impact on the health, economic and social well-being of communities around the world.

The bill passed the Senate recently by  a vote of 94-1, and will be taken up in the House, where passage seems certain. The lone “no” vote in the upper chamber was cast by Missouri GOP Senator Josh Hawley, who criticized the law as being “too broad.”

The Kansas City Star, a respected  and influential newspaper in his home state, characterized the senator’s response this way: “Sen. Josh Hawley, last seen encouraging a riot at the U.S. Capitol, now thinks America is too tough on hate crimes.”

In contrast to Hawley, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, characterized the legislation this way: “By passing this bill,” he said, “we tell our law enforcement agencies to prioritize bigoted violence, and wield the sword of the law to detect, deter, and prosecute hate crimes of all variety.”

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, who said discrimination against Asian Americans is “a real problem,” was an early supporter and helped gain passage of the measure.

One has to wonder why a problem that is clearly deserving of major attention and swift action to deter scurrilous, violent — and sometimes deadly — attacks against targeted communities of people, simply because they are — or appear to be — of Asian descent, didn’t pass muster with Sen. Hawley. Especially since a key responsibility of serving in government in this country is to do everything you can to promote the safety and well-being of the people you are supposed to serve.

According to the non-profit organization, Stop AAPI Hate, there were 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents between March of 2020 and February, 2021.  That is almost certainly an under count of the actual  incidents, since it is widely acknowledged that many attacks go unreported, because many of those who suffer them fear even more trouble for themselves and family members, if they come forward.

That is one of the problems the Senate’s bill seeks to remedy. A provision of the legislation tasks the Justice Department with expanding cultural and linguistic education campaigns to, hopefully, make it easier to fight discrimination, and encourage more victims and witnesses to speak up. The legislation also requires local law enforcement agencies to set up online reporting of  incidents in multiple languages, which should make it easier for victims and witnesses to report problems. Those working on this effort in the agency are being asked to provide clear guidance and good practices to make it easier for local law enforcement agencies to comply. 

These measures are good steps. Truth is, no law-abiding residents, simply trying to go about their daily routines — and are not harming anyone  else — should be subjected to vicious attacks, simply because of their ethnic background and/or appearance. In the democratic nation, in which we so often declare we live, such attacks are Un-American and certainly ought to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

There is still the matter of communicating clearly to politicians, thought leaders and others who are considered ” social leaders” in this society — in the strongest possible terms — that it is not OK to continue to fall in line with those who seek to divide our people with ill-advised COVID-19 dog whistles that refer to the Coronavirus as “The China Virus,” or “The Kung Flu.”

Many, who follow those political and/or social media “influencers,” see themselves as righteous foot soldiers, fighting the good fight against “dangerous foreigners out to destroy their way of life.” So many of the victims are American citizens, too. Others are legal residents, who are contributing to their communities and just trying to get along.

Is is clear at this point that the problem is not going to go away on its own. That’s why the Senate’s action is important, and why the House should move quickly in putting its support behind it, hopefully, with a strong bi-partisan showing.

This is not an Asian-American problem. This is an AMERICAN problem. Every U.S. citizen and legal resident ought to be solidly behind all reasonable efforts to eradicate this dangerous and hateful malady.

It is in the best interest of All of Us — even those among us who are seeking to gain a political edge by dividing our people, pitting one group against another in the hope of garnering more political power, and raking in campaign cash for themselves and/or their favorite politicians. Yes, even those people. They know who they are.

The damage done to the soul and beating heart of this nation; to its image abroad and its ability to live up to the noteworthy claims it brags about, is enormous, and grows more alarming by the day. 

What kind of nation will we be, if we don’t act?

A second- or third-rate one at best. And who among us would really want to live in a nation that has fallen so low, and proven to be a country with  a  boastful mouth, but empty heart?






Of course, Asian Lives Matter

Blog/ Posts


Asian lives matter, period!

But: From the growing number of news reports detailing nasty threats and vicious attacks against people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in this country, you could easily conclude that — no matter how long they have lived, worked and contributed to the well-being of their communities –somehow, their lives still don’t seem to matter much to the larger society around them. If they matter at all.

It is a depressing, agonizing thought. On March 16,  a young, white male,  who reportedly had bought a gun the day before, went on a killing spree in metro Atlanta. Before he was captured by police several miles south of the city — reportedly on his way to Florida — he had killed eight people at three spas. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.

Days before that incident, an elderly woman in California was attacked by a man on the street, who began beating her — apparently for no reason except that she is Asian American. The woman, though beaten badly, managed to grab a stick and  fight back. She was able to do enough harm to her attacker that he was subdued and arrested.  The incident not only left her shocked and uneasy, she sustained serious injuries, including blows to the face that left her eyes so swollen she could barely see.

Less than two weeks after the deadly shootings in the Atlanta area, a 65-year-old Asian woman — on her way to church in New York City — was attacked by a man outside an apartment building near Times Square. The brutal attack was caught on surveillance video. The attacker, according to police, is a 38-year-old black man,who reportedly lived in a nearby hotel that serves homeless New Yorkers.

The video shows the man first, kicking the woman in the stomach, knocking her to the ground, then stomping her, repeatedly, on the face and head. According to news reports of the incident, witnesses just inside the building  nearby failed to intervene to help the victim. Some accounts say that at least a few people, who worked in the building, could be seen locking the doors and moving away, rather than helping the woman.

The man, who has been arrested for the attack, shouted anti-Asian slurs and told the woman, “You don’t belong here.”

It would be bad enough, if the brutal attacks described above were the only such incidents around the country in recent months. They are not. According to NBC News and several groups that monitor hate crimes, there have been thousands of similar attacks reported in the last year alone. And many who keep watch believe that scores — if not thousands  of others — have gone unreported. Why? Because, they said, so many of the people who are victims of these outrageous assaults, fear that speaking out could make them a target for even worse treatment.

 So much for land of the free and the home of the brave. Perhaps, it would be more appropriate to call this country the land of many imprisoned by fear, and the home of those, who wonder why their fellow citizens continue to look at them as being “The Other,” rather than “My Neighbor.”

There appears to be little relief on the horizon. It is clear that such attacks have risen sharply since the Coronavirus pandemic began. More than 3,000 in 2020 alone, according to some sources. The steep increase in this pattern of barbaric behavior appears to have been spiked — at least in part — by the unwise rhetoric of politicians and talking heads over the internet, on social media and “news shows,” placing the blame for the pandemic on China.

Chief among these China-accusers were former President Donald Trump, and many of his followers and supporters, who often used racially charged terms, such as “The Chinese Virus,” and the “Kung Flu,” to describe COVID-19. 

It is beyond any reasonable logic I can come up with as to why so many people in this country would listen to these misleading claims and conspiracy pushers and conclude that the person (“The Other”) living just a few blocks over, who is obviously of Asian descent — or at least looks to be — is somehow, personally responsible for the virus and its spread throughout the world.

What I do understand, however, is that this country has a long history of blaming its problems/troubles — economic and otherwise — on those who are part of that easy-to-blame group of “small-a” american citizens/ residents,” who make up the mythical, but seemingly ever-growing population of the class of people here considered to be “The Other”: Black Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, recent immigrants, and — of course — the dreaded “illegal aliens,” especially people, who enter the country, uninvited, via the Mexican border.

All of the aforementioned threats and attacks — particularly those that have ended lives — break my heart, as well as infuriate me. But my mind keeps returning to the incident in New York City, in which a black man is accused of attacking an Asian American woman, who was on her way to church. The incident is disturbing on so many levels, it is difficult for my heart and mind to unpack it.

How could this man do such a thing? He, who — like his victim — is a member of that group considered by so many of their fellow countrymen to be “The Other,” meaning not really worthy of being considered fellow “Americans.”

According to news and police reports, the suspect in that case is a 38-year-old man, who served nearly two decades in prison for killing his own mother in 2002. He, allegedly, was 17 years old at the time of that crime. He had been released from prison in 2019 and was out on “lifetime parole.” I certainly can’t speculate about his state of mind, but it causes me a great deal of anguish just trying to figure out how we got to this point.

Although, I don’t hear it talked about much, Asian Americans and Black Americans have a lot in common. People of Asian descent and people of African descent — through their labor and strength, blood, sweat and tears — helped build this nation into one of the top economic, military and political powerhouses on the planet. That sacrifice and sweat-equity ought to be worth something. Real citizenship, with all of its rights and privileges, perhaps?

But, sadly, many of the contributions by the ones who preceded us, (we, who are the current “Others”) — are rarely honored, or even acknowledged. So often, the progeny of slave owners and hard-driving industrial “visionaries,” for whom they turned swampland and hard-dirt acres of fields into lavish plantations and budding conglomerates, and also leveled, then laid the tracks for thousands of miles of railroad lines, connecting scattered communities, and feeding growing cities and bulging bank accounts, are still profiting today.

It also puzzles me that we haven’t seen armies of Asian Americans waving banners and joining those peacefully marching to protest the far too ubiquitous — and often, unnecessary — shootings of black men and women in this country. Or — on the other hand — crowds of black and brown folks organizing, consulting with, then marching with Asian Americans, and together, demanding an end to these alarming attacks on our communities.

Our elected officials and community groups should be meeting together, to come up with strategies to help one another. As we, Black folks, have learned from history, no one of us is free until all of us are free. Free from fear, discrimination, harassment, enforced segregation, inadequate healthcare and attempts to dilute the power of our votes. 

The time is now! Let’s stop being wary of one another. Instead, let’s dial into a stronger sense of our humanity and worthiness. We have given a lot to this nation/society. Don’t let it continue to divide us, so we don’t see clearly, and realize what it is doing to us.  I’m not talking about resorting to violence. Far from it.

But what I am talking about is joining forces, and inviting any others, who sincerely are concerned about justice and fair play in this country. We are smart enough. Numerous enough.  Educated enough, and understand well enough, the man-made systems — fueled by prejudice and privilege — that hold us back.

This nation doesn’t have to love us. But it must acknowledge us, respect us and stop putting up barriers to keep us from being successful and leading prosperous, worthy lives, based on our abilities and our willingness to put our shoulders to the wheel and contribute to making it better. 

If we trust one another more, believe in one another more, then we will be able to nudge this nation closer to the state of  “E PLuribus Unum,” the motto, which was chosen by John Adams, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to adorn the first official seal of the United States. The Latin phrase means: “One from many.”

Wouldn’t that be something ….









Voting Lights Went Out in Georgia Again

Since Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed sweeping– but unnecessary — changes to the state’s voting laws this week, I have not been able to get the once-popular country song: “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” out of my mind.

The song’s lyrics tell us the lights went out, because it was the night “they hung an innocent man.”

What Kemp, the state legislature and other Republican power brokers hoped to achieve with this vindictive overhaul of a voting system that was not broken  — regardless of their tongue-and-cheek  pronouncements to the contrary — was to lynch the progress that voters of color and other members of minority groups have won through hard-fought legal battles, demonstrations, protests and support from right-thinking  fellow Georgians over decades of painful — and sometimes, life-threatening work.

More than once, in the often  blood-thirsty history of this state, innocent men and women, who wanted no more than what was due them as citizens of this commonwealth, and who tried to stand up for their rights, were lynched, or beaten to death, or shot and left for carrion eaters.

According to the online Georgia Encyclopedia: “During the Atlanta  race riot that occurred September 22-24, 1906, white mobs killed dozens of Black Georgians, wounded scores of others, and inflicted considerable property damage. Local newspaper reports of alleged assaults by Black men on white women were the catalyst for the riot, but a number of underlying causes lay behind the outbreak of the mob violence.

“By  the 1880’s, Atlanta had become the hub of the regional economy, and the city’s overall population soared from 89,000 in 1900 to 150,000 in 1910; the Black population was approximately 9,000 in 1880 and 35,000 by 1900. Such growth put pressure on municipal services, increased job competition among Black and white workers, heightened class distinctions, and led the city’s white leadership to respond with restrictions intended to control the daily behavior of the growing working class, with mixed success. Such conditions caused concern among elite whites, who feared the social intermingling of the races, and led to an expansion of Jim Crow segregation, particularly in the separation of white and Black neighborhoods and separate seating areas for public transportation.”

Although this week’s legislative actions are, of course, not “violent” in the same way as some incidents of the past, the more “white-collar” restrictions on voting rights– carried out with a stroke of a pen — are still eerily reminiscent of  the bare-knuckled approaches of the past.

To paraphrase Mark Twain: Reports of the death of Jim Crow have been greatly exaggerated.

Depending on how this new Georgia effort — which is being watched by Republican lawmakers around the country — fares in the courts and elsewhere  — things could, again, take a nastier turn.

Ol’ Jim Crow ain’t dead. Hell, he, apparently,  ain’t even sick. If people of color aren’t vigilant, extremely careful, and don’t keep fighting the good fight, he, (Massa Jim) might come back stronger than ever.

The legislation that Gov. Kemp  signed barely an hour after it left the legislature made the following changes to the state’s voting process, according to coverage by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Absentee ballots must now be verified using driver’s license numbers or other state-issued documentation, instead of voter signatures. The requirement replaces  “signature-matching processes,” even though, according to the AJC,  “more than 200,000 Georgia voters lack a drivers license or a state ID number. That means more obstacles for many registered  voters to overcome before being able to vote.  

Ballot drop boxes will be allowed only inside early voting locations and will be available only during regular business hours, which will certainly make them less useful to voters.

Weekend voting  will be expanded for general elections with two mandatory Saturdays statewide. Counties can add two additional Sundays of early voting, if they choose.

The State Election Board will be able to exercise much more control over county election boards, even to the extend that it can remove county election boards and replace them with an interim elections manager.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot will be 11 days before election day. 

Counties will be required to certify election results within six days, rather the 10 days currently allowed.

As bad as those changes are for thousands of registered voters in this state — many of whom are elderly, have trouble getting around, or work long hours, and/or do not have driver’s licenses ( as many young voters don’t) — there is another provision in the law that I find egregiously cruel and absurd.

  It comes under Voter Assistance. Get this: members of the public are prohibited from distributing food or water to voters waiting in line near a polling place. As if the rest of these Draconian restrictions aren’t bad enough, this one takes the cake! It will be illegal to give tired, hungry, thirsty voters — who have been standing in line for hours, who are afraid to lose their place in line — a cool drink of water.

Such a simple act of kindness from one human being to another will now be illegal in Georgia! 

Republican lawmakers insist— with a straight face, no less — the changes are necessary to restore public confidence in the state’s election system after Joe Biden beat former president Donald Trump in the 2020 election, the first time a Democrat had garnered the majority of Georgia’s electoral votes since 1992.

A run-off to fill two (Georgia) U.S. Senate seats in January also shocked Republican leaders, since both races were won by Democrats, giving that party control of the U.S. Senate. 

Then-President Donald Trump had begun to set the stage to cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 elections months before the first ballots were ever cast. He relentlessly preached that the expected increase in the use of absentee ballots, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, meant there would be widespread voter fraud. He continued that “fraudulent” claim long after the elections were over, and courts — from the state level to the U.S. Supreme Court — had dismissed scores of challenges to election results.

It is clear Republican leaders in Georgia are disingenuous in their claim of trying to remedy widespread distrust of the election process among Georgia voters. The truthful and better way to do that would have been to simply tell the truth about the recent elections: that there was no widespread voter fraud, period!

  They should never have followed Trump in continuing to try to legitimize one of the biggest political lies in recent history.

Their culpability in propping up Trump’s lies makes their claims for these voting restrictions hard to digest. What they really want is to seriously lower the numbers of people of color, who vote in the state’s elections, and thereby, increase the chances of Republicans continuing to hold power in a state whose demographics are changing by the minute. And so many of the “new” voters seem to prefer policies pushed by Democrats, rather than those loved by Republicans.

President Biden called these initiatives in Georgia and in other states “un-American,” and “sick.”  I concur with his diagnosis.