Safety of the people
Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, was the principal sponsor of Senate Bill 590, which is now Act 1002 of 2021 and is scheduled to take effect Wednesday, passed by 20 of our 35 senators, apparently for the sole purpose of handcuffing Mayor Frank Scott of Little Rock. Mayor Scott first mandated the wearing of masks and was rebuffed by our illustrious Gov. (R) Asa Hutchinson who then changed his mind following the lead of former twice-impeached President Donald J. Trump.
Now we have a letter written by 12 Democrats asking the governor to lift the ban on masks "in a manner that respects the will of the Legislature." Forget the will of the Legislature. What about the will of the people whom they are supposed to represent, what about the safety of the people?
For the record, my formative years were spent in Union County in a divided community with Caucasian (whites) on one side of town and African Americans (Blacks) on the other side, a community house that served whites on one side and Blacks on the other.
I don't think much has changed for Senator Garner. I think that this is totally a race issue. I think if Mayor Frank Scott was not Black, we wouldn't have Act 1002, and I think that our distinguished governor had a hand in it as well.
The choice to murder
The Arkansas Legislature has banned mandates requiring children to wear masks in schools. A lot of my neighbors, good folks and bad, are equally excited about that ban. They feel it is not the right of the government to tell them what to wear or do. Suppose they are right and that a mandate to wear masks is a conspiracy to take away our God-given rights. Suppose that.
Some parents will choose to send their children to kindergarten in masks while many won't. Suppose a single child is told by his or her parents to wear a mask, someone looking forward to kindergarten, reading, writing this past year in preparation to go be with other kids. Suppose that one child is convinced to take off his or her mask at school, whether bullied or in order to have friends. Suppose a hundred, a thousand, no--suppose back to just one child does this and is exposed to a deadly virus and possibly dies. Just one. Unable to get a vaccine, subject to real peer pressure, this child has a probability of dying; indeed, has been murdered.
People once had to read in school a story by Shirley Jackson, "The Lottery": One person was chosen by lottery to be stoned for society. Ritually murdered. To most of us this was a horror story. We must choose the right society. Do we choose one of horror and even just possible infanticide to protect a supposed right not to wear a small piece of cloth? The difference between rules legislators already have chosen, that make us wear seat belts or require some appropriate clothing in public, is that this is a choice to murder. Do we really want that?
Now time to move on
Some people don't seem to realize that Trump is not president anymore. They continue to bash him even though Biden is president now. Guess that they just can't move forward. So sad.
I think the most impressive performance I've seen this Olympic season was that of Sarah Sanders in her recent guest column. Her verbal gymnastics and twists to place blame on Biden and Harris for low covid vaccination rates will be hard to beat. The people who refuse vaccinations based on statements by politicians are not listening to our president or vice president.
North Little Rock
As brave as it was for Sarah Sanders to declare her faith in the covid vaccine with her recent opinion piece, "The reasoning behind getting vaccinated," it was a bit bewildering.
Just under half the piece (literally 422 out of 922 words or 46 percent) was spent crediting former President Trump and criticizing the host of usual scapegoats (Democrats, the media, scientists).
Sanders ensured Trump played the starring role in her narrative, even calling it the "Trump vaccine"--an interesting choice for a vaccine invented by scientists like Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, Dr. Ugur Sahin, and Dr. Özlem Türeci.
Maybe branding the vaccine as a solely Republican accomplishment is an effective way to increase vaccination rates in Arkansas. It was a political choice for sure. But Sanders' own reasoning was pretty trite.
Perhaps allocating print space to a medical expert would be a better investment next time around.
Ditch former leader
Re Sarah Huckabee Sanders: I read your guest column. While I would not vote for you, I like what you said about our home, our state. Unhitch your star from 45. You are smart, intelligent in your own right. Riding on the coattails of Trump is not even necessary.
I know there are "normal" Republicans out there, and I respect them. Those are the folks you need to cultivate, not the Kool-Aid drinkers who think the election was "won" by Democratic chicanery. All politicians have an agenda.
We need strong women in government! What we don't need are women who can't think independently of a former president, which limits your own ideas and hopes for our future as the United States of America, and that, my dear, is my prayer for this country. I want a country I can be proud of again. Good luck and God bless you.
War seems inevitable
The potential, and very likely, fall of democracy, both here and abroad, leads only to eventual war, both here and abroad. If you know history, that is the road map.