Asking 'Elaine who?'
This past week, Gov. Sarah Sanders went forward with an anti-CRT (critical race theory) order and Bradley Gitz wrote this:
"The only thing that was different about slavery in America was that we were the only society to proclaim a set of political principles which directly contradicted it ... . It was only because American society was founded upon the principles of freedom and equality that slavery became so much more controversial and shameful here than elsewhere. Slavery in one form or another was generally practiced without apology or qualms of conscience in other places because in no other places could be found anything resembling our experiment in self-government, equality and freedom."
I believe this is objectively and seriously untrue, though apparently this is what we want our children to be taught to think. The reality is that we created a racialized, hereditary, lifelong chattel slavery unique in the world; we misused the Bible to justify it, even though it went far beyond biblical bounds, even permitting slaves to be killed with impunity and treated as any other property of their owners. You don't have to take my word for it, simply do a search on "Virginia Slave Laws" or read here: www.worldhistory.org.
We need the truth to be taught without fear or repercussions, and we need to face it as a united nation. We do not need to be a nation that believes some bogeyman called CRT is meant to make people feel bad about being white. Can we really not handle the truth? We don't need a generation of children to grow up to be adults who have to ask "Elaine who?"--and yes, I've been asked exactly that. We do need a generation which is inspired by the greatness of American Black patriotism, recognizes the struggle, and believes in all of us continuing to see it through.
Address climate shift
Noted in the Jan. 10 and 11 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette are two articles about climate change, the costs, and continuing threats over the coming years.
Is climate change really such a problem? Permit me to make a point, albeit via some sarcasm: If I look through a very self-centered lens, there is a lot to be pleased about.
For starters, I can expect to play tennis with few exceptions year-round.
The growing season for my veggie garden is extended to almost year-round; e.g., last year I picked my last tomatoes after Christmas.
Our winter energy bills are lower (OK, let's ignore the summer electricity bills for now).
It's January and my lunches are frequently enjoyed out on the deck, and Jan. 11 was even a shorts and T-shirt day.
So, is our January weather so far just a fluke? Not per the 10-day forecast calling for temperatures averaging daytime highs of 62 degrees. Should we consider this weather as a plus? In response, for starters, perhaps check the ADG references above, as well as recall the drought and flood events in Arkansas the prior couple of years. And consider those numerous extreme events beyond our state and country where the consequences are so dire for millions of others.
Climate change is real. While putting aside some trivial personal conveniences, this has to be urgently addressed at local, state, federal, and international levels. For starters, we can make demands of our government leaders at all stated levels to address this urgent concern.
Where are the aliens?
Looking at the past year's news and seeing that over two million illegal immigrants reportedly came across the border, I began to wonder: Where did they go?
I know that a couple of buses dropped off a number of them in front of the "Border Czar's" house in D.C., but where are the rest?
Two million people is nearly the total population of Houston, Texas. That's a lot of folks. I assume that our federal government is doing its best to find places for all of these people, but where are they going? It sure would be interesting to know.
How many has the government sent to our state, and what are they doing? They have to have green cards to be legally employed. Does any federal government supply the states money to provide health, education and welfare for these folks? I'd like to know, wouldn't you?
I believe the crisis at the border is a genuine catastrophe and the federal government does nothing about it. It just sends them all across the country and lets us sort it out.
No good deed goes unpunished.
The IRS needs agents
I was happy to see in the Democrat-Gazette's Thursday edition that the IRS has seriously reduced its backlog of unprocessed tax returns and is hiring more customer service representatives. Our personal information was accessed in a breach of my husband's employer-based health insurance several years ago, and a bad actor filed a tax return in our name and received over $5,000.
The IRS contacted us when we filed a legitimate return and asked for the money back before it would process our $300 return. I tried calling the IRS for over a week to straighten out the mess, but was unable to get anyone on the phone. So I took a day off work and went to the local IRS office in Fayetteville. I got there at 8:30 a.m. and was the third person in line after getting a ticket with a number, like at the Revenue Office. Lunch time came and the person ahead of me had still not gotten in to see the IRS agent (singular, there was only one agent in the office, plus her security guard, no one else). When the office closed for lunch, we were told we'd have to leave the office and get a new ticket to see the agent after lunch. I asked if there was another office I could go to, like in Rogers or Springdale. I was told the closest offices were in Fort Smith and Joplin, Mo. Each of those offices had only one agent, too. Imagine my surprise that there were only three IRS agents to service an area with over 500,000 residents.
Long story short, I was able to see the IRS agent at 3:30 that afternoon, and the person after me saw them, too. So, a total of four people were serviced that day. While I was waiting, at least 30 other people came into the office. Some took a number and waited, but most became angry, cursed loudly and left. There was a security guard in the office for a reason.
Most people I talked to after Congress approved the hiring of 87,000 IRS agents last year thought they were going to be gun-toting auditors going after the middle class. I knew the IRS had greater needs.