An issue of fairness
I am a member of AARP, and on Thursday, I received the following communication from the organization. It was sent under the headline "Outraged. Heartbroken." It reads: "U.S. pharmaceutical company Gilead announced last week that its experimental coronavirus treatment, Remdesivir, will cost more than $3,000 per patient in the U.S. That's at least 33 percent more than any other country in the world, even though our taxes helped pay for the development of the drug!"
I share the outrage of those at AARP. I ask readers of this letter who feel the same way as I to join me in sending messages to Governor Hutchinson, Senators Boozman and Cotton, and Representatives Crawford, Hill, Womack, and Westerman. Remind them that America has the highest medical costs in the world, and we are tired of it.
This is not a political or "Medicare for all" issue. It is an issue of basic fairness for all Americans.
Was a great American
My former professor, Randall B. Woods, now a Distinguished Professor of History at the U of A, discussed the current movement to remove J. William Fulbright's statue in front of Old Main and his name from the Fulbright College.
He's a target because of his consistent voting record against civil rights in Congress, including the 1957 Civil Rights Act; 1964 Equal Accommodations Act; 1965 Voting Rights Act and 1968 Fair Housing Act. He signed the Southern Manifesto (1956) and voted against renewal of the Fair Employment Practices Commission (1946).
It's hard to imagine a senator who developed international acclaim for his Fulbright scholarship program, actively supported the United Nations and played a central role in bringing the Vietnam conflict to an end could be the same person.
In politics an office holder is generally known for that which he, or she, will fall on their sword, or the crusades they lead. Fulbright crusaded for his positions on foreign policy, not against civil rights. He simply voted "no" like his Southern colleagues.
Few believe that he was a racist, but just as few believe he could have withstood a re-election challenge by a George Wallace sympathizer had he supported civil rights legislation.
Further, at the time, Fulbright had the luxury of knowing that his vote was not needed. All four pieces of landmark legislation mentioned by Woods received at least 71 "yes" votes in the Senate.
While we may not be proud of his record on civil rights, that record did nothing to change the course of history related to civil rights. Conversely, it did everything to keep him in a position to do great things for his country and the world.
Fulbright was a great American and should continue to be recognized as a great American on campus.
Era coming to an end
July 20, 2020. A very significant date for the United States. Depending on how things turn out, only six more months in the Trump era, or four years and six months. Heaven help us. It seems like a good time to review how we're doing in Making America Great Again.
Not so hot, it appears. Our allies don't trust us to keep our word. Our adversaries don't respect us, let alone fear us. Mini-me in North Korea is still building bombs and testing missiles despite King Donald's epic dealmaking skills. Putin appears to have pictures or worse on Trump, who has become Russia's lapdog. Federal agents have invaded an American city--Portland, Ore.--to arrest whomever they want for whatever they want, legal process be damned. The covid-19 pandemic is hardly Trump's fault, but our nation's response to it surely is. We could hardly have done worse. We are the laughingstock of the world. It's so bad that the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team can't play any home games because its high-disease-risk opponents, coming from the U.S., would have to be quarantined when they enter Canada.
So, Mr. President, as you wind down your reign, think about some things that should have been obvious all along but apparently weren't. Leaders lead. They don't whine about what a tough hand they've been dealt. They don't spend much of their time looking for someone to blame. They make decisions, not all of which may work out, but they decide and they act. For you, grow up. Stand up. Act like an adult rather than a 9-year-old who didn't get his way. Your time is short. Use it wisely. And if, in the meantime, you're tempted to excoriate some politician for his mental fitness for office, look in the mirror.
Doomed to repeat it
A history lesson: In the 1930s in Germany there was a group of brown-shirted paramilitary that went around arresting "undesirables." They indicated they had the right to do so because Germany's leader said they could. In 2020 a group of camouflage-dressed paramilitary are roaming the streets in Portland picking up protesters. The president said they can do his will without the consent of the governor.
A history lesson: Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it. I am paraphrasing, but the lesson stands. Let the voter beware.
GWENNETH PRICE PICARD