Opinion | The Coronavirus and America’s Humiliation – By David Brooks – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

“We Americans enter the July 4 weekend of 2020 humiliated as almost never before. We had one collective project this year and that was to crush Covid-19, and we failed.

On Wednesday, we had about 50,000 new positive tests, a record. Other nations are beating the disease while our infection lines shoot upward as sharply as they did in March.

This failure will lead to other failures. A third of Americans show signs of clinical anxiety or depression, according to the Census Bureau. Suspected drug overdose deaths surged by 42 percent in May. Small businesses, colleges and community hubs will close.

At least Americans are not in denial about the nation’s turmoil of the last three months. According to a Pew survey, 71 percent of Americans are angry about the state of the country right now and 66 percent are fearful. Only 17 percent are proud.

Americans are reacting in two positive ways. We’re seeing incredible shifts in attitudes toward race. Roughly 60 percent of Americans now believe that African-Americans face a great deal or a lot of discrimination. People have been waiting for a white backlash since the riots, or since the statues started toppling. There isn’t much if any evidence of a backlash. There’s evidence of a fore-lash.

Second, Americans have decided to get rid of Donald Trump. His mishandling of Covid-19 hurt him among seniors. His racist catcalls in a time of racial reckoning have damaged him among all groups.

I’ll be delighted when Trump goes, but it’s worth pointing out that it wasn’t only because of Donald Trump that Americans never really locked down, and then started moving around again in late April.

It wasn’t Trump who went out to bars in Tempe, Austin and Los Angeles in June. It wasn’t Trump who put on hospital gowns and told the American people you could suspend the lockdown if your cause was just. Once you told people they could suspend the lockdown for one thing, they were going to suspend it for others.

Our fixation on the awfulness of Donald Trump has distracted us from the larger problems and rendered us strangely passive in the face of them. Sure, this was a Republican failure, but it was also a collective failure, and it follows a few decades of collective failures.”

Opinion | These kids are done waiting for change – By Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Kristine Potter for The New York Times

“NASHVILLE — In real life, Nya Collins, Jade Fuller, Kennedy Green, Emma Rose Smith, Mikayla Smith and Zee Thomas had never met as a group when they came together on Twitter to organize a youth march against police violence. It was unseasonably hot, even for Middle Tennessee, with rain predicted, and earlier protests here had ended in violence, with the Metro Nashville Courthouse and City Hall in flames. Collectively, these are not the most promising conditions for gathering a big crowd, much less a calm one. But the teenagers were determined to press on, even if hardly anyone showed up.

On June 4, five days later, the founding members of Teens for Equality — as the young women, ages 14 to 16, call their organization — were leading a march of protesters some 10,000 strong, according to police estimates. “I was astonished,” Kennedy Green, 14, told me in a phone interview last week. “I did not know there were that many people in Nashville who actually see a problem with the system. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, there are so many people here who actually care.’”

The protesters, most in their teens and 20s, chanted “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace” and “Not one more” as they marched for more than five hours. There was not one hint of disarray in their ranks, no angry confrontations with National Guardsmen or police officers clad in riot gear.”

 

Opinion | The Rape Kit’s Secret History. There Are Many Man-Made Objects. The Rape Kit Is Not One of Them. – By Pagan Kennedy – The New York Times

MARTY GODDARD’S FIRST FLASH OF INSIGHT CAME IN 1972. It all started when she marched into a shabby townhouse on Halsted Street in Chicago to volunteer at a crisis hotline for teenagers.

Most of the other volunteers were hippies with scraggly manes and love beads. But not Marty Goddard. She tended to wear business clothes: a jacket with a modest skirt, pantyhose, low heels. She hid her eyes behind owlish glasses and kept her blond hair short. Not much makeup; maybe a plum lip. She was 31, divorced, with a mordant sense of humor. Her name was Martha, but everyone called her Marty. She liked hiding behind a man’s name. It was useful.

As a volunteer, Ms. Goddard lent a sympathetic ear to the troubled kids then called “runaway teenagers.” They were pregnant, homeless, suicidal, strung out. She was surprised to discover that many weren’t rebels who’d left home seeking adventure; they were victims who had fled sexual abuse. The phones were ringing with the news that kids didn’t feel safe around their own families. “I was just beside myself when I found the extent of the problem,” she later said.

She began to formulate questions that almost no one was asking back in the early ’70s: Why were so many predators getting away with it? And what would it take to stop them?

Ms. Goddard would go on to lead a campaign to treat sexual assault as a crime that could be investigated, rather than as a feminine delusion. She began a revolution in forensics by envisioning the first standardized rape kit, containing items like swabs and combs to gather evidence, and envelopes to seal it in. The kit is one of the most powerful tools ever invented to bring criminals to justice. And yet, you’ve never heard of Marty Goddard. In many ways she and her invention shared the same fate. They were enormously important and consistently overlooked.

I was infuriated when I read a few years ago about the hundreds of thousands of unexamined rape kits piled up in warehouses around the country. I had the same question that many did: How many rapists were walking free because this evidence had gone ignored?”

Opinion | An Open Letter to My Fellow White Christians – By Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

“NASHVILLE — Since long before it was a country, our country has been in flames. When we arrived on our big ships and decimated this land’s original peoples with our viruses and our guns, when we used our Christian faith as a justification for killing both “heretic” and “heathen,” we founded this country in flames. And every month, every week, every day, for the last 400 years, we have been setting new fires.

White Christians who came before us captured human beings and beat them and raped them and stole their babies from them and stole their parents from them and stole their husbands and their wives from them and locked them in chains and made them work in inhuman conditions. Our spiritual ancestors went to church and listened to their pastors argue that these human beings weren’t human at all.

Our pastors don’t tell us that anymore, but we are still setting fires.

Christians set a fire every time we allow our leaders to weaponize our fears against us. We set a fire every time our faith in good police officers prevents us from seeing the bad ones. Christian voters preserve a system that permits police violence, unjust prosecutions and hellhole prisons filled with people who should have received the same addiction treatment we give our own troubled kids.

We set a fire every time we fail to scrutinize a police culture that allows an officer’s own fear and hatred to justify the most casual brutality against another human being. It would be almost unbelievable to match an adjective like “casual” with a noun like “brutality,” but we have seen the videos. Watch the faces of justice shove an old man aside and leave him bleeding on the ground. Watch them drive their vehicles into protesters protected by the United States Constitution. Watch them fire rubber bullets directly at journalists doing work that is also protected by the United States Constitution. In video after video, note their unconcern with people who are bleeding or screaming in pain.

Make yourself look. Study the air of perfect nonchalance on Derek Chauvin’s face as he kneels on the neck of George Floyd. Register the blithe indifference in his posture, the way he puts his hand in his pocket as though he were just walking along the street on a sunny summer day. Nothing in his whole body suggests concern. He is not the least bit troubled by taking another human life.

We created Derek Chauvin.    . . . . “

David Lindsay:

Bravo Margaret Renkl.  I support this essay with all my heart.  Here is one of many good comments that I recommended:

Lydia
Florida

@JRC I, too, am white and was born into a Christian family. I, too, never oppressed or abused anyone. And, yes, I have always tried to treat everyone with love and kindness, as I was taught to do. The problem is not that either one of us ever did anything TO any minority. The question here is did any of us ever do anything FOR them so that they could be lifted out of the quagmire that the white American created four hundred years ago and promotes each and every day by not demanding more from our leaders? You are correct. We were not complicit in what transpired four hundred years ago. But to allow it to continue TODAY is most unfair and not Christian at all. This is a wakeup call to all self-righteous, comfortable, white Americans, Christian or non, that many fellow Americans are hurting egregiously. As the Bible says, “To those who have been given more, more is expected.” It is no longer good enough to “tsk tsk” about the unfairness and injustice that is perpetrated from America’s so-called leader down to his minions as we sit in the comforts of our living rooms watching the evening news. It is time to demand positive action. I think this pivotal moment in history will define America for many years to come.

In Reply to EricIrwinWang604 Recommended

 

Opinion | Bill Gates Is the Right Tycoon for a Coronavirus Age – By Timothy Egan – The New York Times

“. . . Beyond the $300 million that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given to blunt the spread of the virus, Gates has made himself a spokesman for science. It needs one. While President Trump spouts life-threatening nonsense, Gates calmly explains how a spike protein of coronavirus fits into the urgent hunt for a vaccine.

In 2018, he took the stage in Beijing with a jar of human poop. This, at the Reinvented Toilet Expo, was his way of stressing that about 500,000 young children die every year from diseases linked to poor sanitation — a problem his foundation has tackled.”

‘Sadness’ and Disbelief From a World Missing American Leadership – By Katrin Bennhold – The New York Times

“BERLIN — As images of America’s overwhelmed hospital wards and snaking jobless lines have flickered across the world, people on the European side of the Atlantic are looking at the richest and most powerful nation in the world with disbelief.

“When people see these pictures of New York City they say, ‘How can this happen? How is this possible?’” said Henrik Enderlein, president of the Berlin-based Hertie School, a university focused on public policy. “We are all stunned. Look at the jobless lines. Twenty-two million,” he added.

“I feel a desperate sadness,” said Timothy Garton Ash, a professor of European history at Oxford University and a lifelong and ardent Atlanticist.

The pandemic sweeping the globe has done more than take lives and livelihoods from New Delhi to New York. It is shaking fundamental assumptions about American exceptionalism — the special role the United States played for decades after World War II as the reach of its values and power made it a global leader and example to the world.”

DL: I found this piece on Facebook from Seth Bates.

Editorial | Amid Coronavirus, America Needs a More Just Society – The New York Times

“From some of its darkest hours, the United States has emerged stronger and more resilient.

Between May and July 1862, even as Confederate victories in Virginia raised doubts about the future of the Union, Congress and President Abraham Lincoln kept their eyes on the horizon, enacting three landmark laws that shaped the nation’s next chapter: The Homestead Act allowed Western settlers to claim 160 acres of public land apiece; the Morrill Act provided land grants for states to fund universities; and the Pacific Railway Act underwrote the transcontinental railroad.

Nearly 75 years later, in the depths of the Great Depression, with jobs in short supply and many Americans reduced to waiting in bread lines, President Franklin Roosevelt proved similarly farsighted. He concluded the best way to revive and sustain prosperity was not merely to pump money into the economy but to rewrite the rules of the marketplace. “Liberty,” Roosevelt said at the Democratic Party’s convention in 1936, “requires opportunity to make a living — a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.” His administration, working with Congress, enshrined the right of workers to bargain collectively, imposed strict rules and regulators on the financial industry, and created Social Security to provide pensions for the elderly and disabled.”

“. . .  A major investment in public health would be a fitting place to start.

The larger project, however, is to increase the resilience of American society. Generations of federal policymakers have prioritized the pursuit of economic growth with scant regard for stability or distribution. This moment demands a restoration of the national commitment to a richer conception of freedom: economic security and equality of opportunity. That’s why Times Opinion is publishing this project across the next two months, to envision how to turn the America we have into the America we need.

The purpose of the federal government, Lincoln wrote to Congress on July 4, 1861, was “to elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial burdens from all shoulders, and to give everyone an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.” The Homestead Act in particular was a concrete step in that direction: 10 percent of all the land in the United States was ultimately distributed in 160-acre chunks. But Lincoln’s conception of “everyone” did not include everyone: The Homestead Act rested on the expropriation of Native American lands.

Roosevelt shared Lincoln’s vision of government, but industry had replaced agriculture as the wellspring of prosperity, so he focused on ensuring a more equitable distribution of the nation’s manufacturing output — although African-Americans were treated as second-class citizens in many New Deal programs.

The United States today is in need of new measures to stake all Americans in the modern economy.

To give Americans a fair chance in the race of life, the government must begin from birth. The United States must reclaim the core truth of the Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Brown v. Board of Education: So long as Americans are segregated, their opportunities can never be equal. One of the most important steps the United States can take to ensure all children have the opportunity to thrive is to bulldoze enduring patterns of racial and economic segregation. Zoning laws that limit residential development in the very areas where good jobs are most abundant are one of the most important structural obstacles to a more integrated nation.

Over the course of this project, we will examine other ways to equalize opportunity early in life, and also to restore a healthier balance of power between employers and workers.

One of the clearest lessons of the pandemic is that many employers feel shockingly little obligation to protect the health and welfare of their workers, and workers have been left with little means to organize or resist. Amazon, one of the nation’s largest employers, fired a worker protesting safety conditions at the company’s warehouses on the Orwellian grounds that his protest was itself a safety hazard. A manager at a Uline call center instructed employees not to tell colleagues if they weren’t feeling well because it might cause “unnecessary panic.” “

Opinion | We Need Great Leadership Now, and Here’s What It Looks Like – By Thomas L. Friedman with Dov Seidman- The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Martin Barraud/Getty Images

David Lindsay: This NYT editorial is in my opinion, their articulate position on a new political platform for the post covid world. It takes up an entire page of print in the paper.
I have pulled out one of my favorite parts below after the intro.

“In a time of crisis, like we are in now, with people feeling frightened and uncertain, leadership doesn’t just matter more. It matters exponentially more.

Because even small errors in navigation can have exponential consequences when you’re spending $1 trillion in a week — while fighting a pandemic that spreads so fast that hesitating for just a week can totally sap your ability to manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable.

In moments like these, when the choices we make are so impactful, people desperately want to believe that their leaders know what they’re doing. But they quickly learn that in times like these, leaders either grow or swell — they either grow out of their weaknesses and rise to the level of the challenge or all of their worst weaknesses swell to new levels.

And pandemics leave nothing hidden. They flow into every tiny corner and pore and expose every weakness or strength in your society: how much trust you have in your government; how much social trust exists in your community to enable collaboration; the strength of your companies’ balance sheets; how prepared your government is to tackle the unexpected; how many of its people are living paycheck to paycheck; and what kind of public health care safety nets you’ve built.”

‘”. . .  Because this is such a critical leadership test at all levels, and because it is so not over, I called my teacher and friend Dov Seidman — who is the founder and chairman of both the ethics and compliance company LRN and the How Institute for Society, which promotes values-based leadership — to explore this issue. This is an edited version of our conversation:. . . ”

Opinion | The Age of Coddling Is Over – By David Brooks – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…John Locher/Associated Press

“Over the past decades, a tide of “safetyism” has crept over American society. As Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt put it in their book “The Coddling of the American Mind,” this is the mentality that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. The goal is to eliminate any stress or hardship a child might encounter, so he or she won’t be wounded by it.

So we’ve seen a wave of overprotective parenting. Parents have cut back on their children’s unsupervised outdoor play because their kids might do something unsafe. As Kate Julian reports in “The Anxious Child and the Crisis of Modern Parenting” in The Atlantic, parents are now more likely to accommodate their child’s fears: accompanying a 9-year-old to the toilet because he’s afraid to be alone, preparing different food for a child because she won’t eat what everyone else eats.

Meanwhile schools ban dodge ball and inflate grades. Since 2005 the average G.P.A. in affluent high schools has risen from about 2.75 to 3.0 so everybody can feel affirmed.”

“. . .There’s absolutely no self-glorification here, just endurance. I’m reminded of Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s 1931 memoir. When hiring doctors for his hospital in the African jungle, he wrote, he never hired anyone who thought he was doing something grand and heroic. The only doctors who would last are those who thought what they were doing was as ordinary and necessary as doing the dishes: “There are no heroes of action — only heroes of renunciation and suffering.”

I’m also reminded of the maxim that excellence is not an action, it’s a habit. Tenacity is not a spontaneous flowering of good character. It’s doing what you were trained to do. It manifests not in those whose training spared them hardship but in those whose training embraced hardship and taught students to deal with it.

I’m hoping this moment launches a change in the way we raise and train all our young, at all ages. I’m hoping it exorcises the tide of “safetyism,” which has gone overboard.

The virus is another reminder that hardship is woven into the warp and woof of existence. Training a young person is training her or him to master hardship, to endure suffering and, by building something new from the wreckage, redeem it.”

Opinion | Life and Death as Hospitals Fight the Coronavirus in the Bronx – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

With an amazing Video

Heartache in the Hot Zone: The Front Line Against Covid-19

Nicholas Kristof visits two New York City hospitals and witnesses the heavy toll on medical workers fighting to keep Americans alive.

“Terror, pain and loneliness mingle in the air with the coronavirus in the “hot zone” of the emergency department at Jack D. Weiler Hospital in the Bronx. The room is jammed with patients whose frightened eyes peer above their oxygen masks as they struggle to breathe, feel that they are drowning, wonder if they will ever again see loved ones.

No family members are allowed here, yet the space is more than twice as crowded as normal. About 80 coronavirus patients, ranging in age from 31 to 97, are squeezed into the room, bed-to-bed, some near death. A group of newly arrived patients sit in chairs in a corner to await stretchers, and they look around in alarm. Doctors and nurses hurry about so sheathed in protective garb — some of it makeshift, such as welding helmets over ski goggles — that even co-workers cannot recognize them.

The truth is that the doctors too are frightened and exhausted, overwhelmed by death and their own helplessness. Dr. Nicole Del Valle, 29, told me that what shattered her was treating a 30-year-old woman with Covid-19 whose 23-year-old sister had just died of it; Dr. Del Valle called her own younger sister and ordered her not to leave her home.

All day in the hospital, Dr. Del Valle maintains her reassuring manner as she intubates patients, holds their hands, fights for their lives — and then, she acknowledged, she goes home and cries.”