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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired in Florida for over two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

More "Rights" Legislation Needed and a Delicious Column from Tom Friedman

We have legislation to protect the rights of people, regardless of race, religion, age and sexual orientation.  That is good.  But it does not go far enough.  

The rights of the illiterate must be protected too, so that the present occupant of the White House is not discriminated against.  Congress should get moving on this quickly.  Not being able to read should not prevent anyone from becoming our Commander in Chief.  (That's why he never picks up the daily briefings prepared for him, fearing it would reveal his illiteracy.) Ask any Republican who was swept into office in 2016 on his coattails.   Ask Vladimir Putin.  Let’s join in fighting to protect the rights of the illiterate, some of whom are stupid as well and perhaps that quality should be protected too. Contact your Congressperson today!  (Without such legislation, he might be denied re-nomination by the Republicans this Summer.)   Protect Donald Trump’s right to be what he is!  

                                                                 * * * *

Thomas Friedman Comes Up with the Perfect Bumper Sticker for Biden

Thomas L. Friedman
I almost — but not quite — feel sorry for Donald Trump.
He’s at war with two “invisible enemies” at once — the coronavirus and Joe Biden — and both remain highly elusive, the pathogen by nature and the politician by design.

Biden, who made a rare public appearance on Tuesday, has been wise to stay out of sight. Trump is now in a full-on race to the bottom with himself, pushing uglier and uglier positions that appeal to smaller and smaller segments of the American public.

Why get in his way?

Of course, eventually Biden will debate the incumbent and will need a simple, clear message to counter Trump’s tired “Make America Great Again” trope.
I have an idea for Biden’s bumper sticker.

As I think about what kind of president Biden wants to be and what kind of president America needs him to be, the slogan that comes to mind was suggested to me by the environmental innovator Hal Harvey, who happened to sign off a recent email to me by writing: “Respect science, respect nature, respect each other.”

I thought — wow, that’s a perfect message for Biden, and for all of us. It summarizes so simply the most important values we’ve lost in recent years.

Start with respecting science. Trump’s disdain for science has become fatal, as we’re seeing in this widening pandemic. Trump has gone from offering quack remedies to declaring, “If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any.”

Think about that: Stop testing. Then we’ll have no knowledge.

Then we’ll have no numbers. Then we’ll have no virus. Why didn’t I think of that?
As for respecting nature, that has two meanings. The first is to respect the power of nature, which Trump has utterly failed to do.

She doesn’t negotiate. You cannot seduce her or sue her. She does whatever chemistry, biology and physics dictate. Which means in a pandemic that she will just keep infecting people — relentlessly, mercilessly, silently and exponentially — until she runs out of people to infect or a vaccine or exposure makes enough of us immune.

Respect for nature also means understanding that we live on a hard rock called planet Earth with a thin cover of oceans and topsoil, enveloped by a thin layer of atmosphere.

Abuse that soil, junk up those oceans with plastics, distort that atmospheric blanket and we will likely (further) destroy the perfect Garden of Eden that has been the basis of all human civilization.

And remember, as bad as this pandemic is, it’s just training wheels for the big, irreversible atmospheric pandemic: climate change.

Respect each other?

That’s not so easy in the midst of our other pandemic — a pandemic of incivility. You cannot exaggerate the impact on the whole civic culture of having a president who has elevated namecalling, denigration and lying to a central feature of his presidency, amplified by the White House. We have so many important issues to discuss among ourselves right now, but for that discussion to be productive we can’t just go from justifiable outrage straight to firings, public shamings or disbanding police departments — without pausing for respectful dialogue and moral distinctions.

Respect science, respect nature, respect each other. Biden 2020.
It’s the only way to make America great again.

Thomas Friedman is a columnist for The New York Times.  This version of the Times column appeared in the Palm Beach Post..

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