I Wish I Had Written This

Frances Coleman has been a friend for many years.  I met her when she wrote editorials for the old Mobile Press Register, way back in the day when newspapers were printed on paper and were available every day of the week.  A time that now seems so long ago that cars had fender skirts and clutches and gear shifts.

Today she does an occasional opinion piece for AL.com.  Hers stand out to me because they always make sense, which is not praise I offer to many such efforts by others.

She recently did one entitled, Leave the rest of us out of your zombie apocalypse fantasies.  Here is what she wrote:

“I am aware that there’s a virus out there called COVID-19 that has afflicted more than 3 million people around the world. I know that it has killed nearly a quarter of a million people.

I’m also aware, as you probably are, too, that there’s no cure or vaccine for the virus and that, for now, the unknowns outweigh the knowns. And I understand that our efforts to contain the virus are taking a terrible toll on the global economy.

But here’s what I don’t understand about COVID-19: Why, in addition to causing fever, body aches, pneumonia and even death, it can cause some people to act like fools.

When they’re upset about a government’s policy, normal people write letters or make phone calls to their elected officials. Sometimes they attend town hall meetings so they can speak their piece in public. If those tactics don’t seem to be working, they may even march on City Hall.

But normal people don’t dress up in militia costumes, sling rifles over their shoulders and barge into the Michigan state capitol building because they’re angry about the governor’s stay-at-home order. They don’t shout at state troopers and assert that the governor is a Nazi.

Similarly, normal people don’t defy the Alabama governor’s decision to keep restaurants, barber shops and nail salons closed for a little while longer. They don’t post signs like the one in front of a restaurant near Mobile that said, “Kay, let my people go, or else.”

“Or else”? What the heck is that supposed to mean? Is it simply a reminder that they and other Alabamians might vote Gov. Kay Ivey out of office if she runs again in 2022? Or is it meant to suggest something more sinister, that she might actually be in physical danger because she’s not re-opening the state’s economy fast enough to suit them?

Normal people don’t threaten governors. Fools, on the other hand, apparently do. They garner TV reporters’ attention and headlines on the front pages of newspapers across the country. Even if they don’t intend to harm governors here, there or anywhere, they are crude, rude and disruptive.

And fools aren’t content with disturbances and disobedience. They seem to revel in disrupting ordinary people’s lives, too, because … well, because that’s how fools behave.

Normal people generally keep enough paper products to last for a few weeks. But when a fool decides that although one or two giant packages of toilet paper would last his family a month, he (or she) should buy 10 or 12 giant packages, then other fools rush to the store to buy 10 or 12 giant packages, too, and guess what: There’s not enough toilet paper for the rest of us.

Before you know it, normal people are skulking through grocery stores, dollar stores and discount stores, desperately seeking Charmin. Ditto for hand sanitizer, paper towels, Clorox wipes and Lysol spray.

When fools start buying 30 pounds of ground meat and 10 whole chickens at a time, then the rest of us find ourselves staring at empty shelves in the meat department. When a normal family’s upright freezer goes out and can’t be repaired because it’s nearly 30 years old, guess what: That family — my family — can’t find a freezer in stock at the local appliance store or at any of the big-box stores in nearby cities, because the fools who bought all that meat apparently needed new freezers in which to store it.

“For what?” I asked a friend in the appliance business. “I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “The zombie apocalypse, I guess.”

That’s where the zombie-apocalypse crowd and I diverge. I’ve always assumed that when society collapses, so will utility services, meaning that electric freezers won’t do anybody much good and that toilet paper — no matter how much you’ve stashed — will eventually run out.

To them and the armed protesters and people who post signs that say “Or else,” I say this: The COVID-19 pandemic is a terrible thing, but it is not likely to bring about the collapse of civilization, much less of the United States. There is enough meat and toilet paper and freezers for all of us, and stores and restaurants will open in due time.

If I acknowledge that I may never understand what scares you or motivates you, will you in turn stop making life so hard for us normal folks?

Be foolish on your own time and your own dime, please, and leave the rest of us out of your fantasies.”

Frances Coleman is a freelance writer who lives in Baldwin County, Alabama. Email her at fcoleman1953@gmail.com and “like” her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prfrances.

George W. Bush: ‘We are not partisan combatants’ in fight against coronavirus

While this country grapples with the chaos and confusion of the coronavirus and political “leaders” put their own self-interest above what is best for the nation, former Republican President George W. Bush, released a statement that should be taken to heart by all Americans.

And in so doing, he graphically shows just how shameless and little so many are who would have us all believe only they have all the answers.

“Former President George W. Bush called on Americans to abandon partisan divides in the face of the “sheer threat” of the coronavirus pandemic in a video released on Saturday.

Bush’s comments come as Democratic governors clash with Republican President Donald Trump over the White House’s coronavirus response, and even drugs that could treat the virus are politicized.

More than a million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus, and well over 60,000 people have died from the virus in the United States. The White House has said it expects total deaths to rise to 74,000 by August.

“Let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this sheer threat,” Bush said. “In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together.”

In the nearly 3-minute video, shared by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Bush said he saw the nation “embrace unavoidable new duties” after the 9/11 terror attacks, and that “spirit is alive and well in America.” The former president also issued a warning that the impact of the pandemic will not be felt equally.

“Let’s remember that the suffering we experience as a nation does not fall evenly. In the days to come, it will be especially important to care in practical ways for the elderly, the ill and the unemployed,” Bush said. More than 30 million people have filed for unemployment in the last six weeks, as the economy has largely shut down to combat the pandemic.”

These are the words of a statesman.  A very rare breed in Washington these days.

Unbelieveably, Wisconsin Throws Caution To The Wind And Proceeds With Election

Yesterday we told you about the last-minute efforts of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to delay the state Presidential primary election to later in the year.

However, 11th hour political maneuvering by the Republican-controlled legislature thwarted the governor’s effort and the election went ahead.  According to all reports, it was chaos.  For instance, while there are normally 180 polling places in Milwaukee, there were only five.

By court order, no results will be released until Monday, April 13.

Go here to get a complete wrap up from Associated Press.

Every day we hear multiple stories of Americans stepping forward in heroic ways to help fellow citizens.  Wisconsin legislative leaders do not belong in this group.

Wisconsin Election: Pure Madness

Wisconsin’s presidential primary election has long been scheduled for Tuesday, April 7.  Then the world was turned upside down by the virus pandemic.

And in Wisconsin, all hell broke loose as the Democrat Governor, Tony Evers, and the Republican-controlled legislature battled as to whether or not the April 7 election should move forward.

Earlier today (April 6), Evers issued an executive order delaying the primary until June 9.  Republican legislative leaders said they would immediately ask the state supreme court to block his order.

“I cannot in good conscience allow any types of gathering that would further the spread of this disease and to put more lives at risk,”  said the governor.  For a more complete look at this situation, go here.

This is insanity.  Plain and simple.  When every public health official in the country is shouting from the rooftops for people to stay isolated, how do you try to engineer something that does just the opposite?

It would be just as insane were the governor a Republican and the legislature controlled by Democrats.

More than ever before in my 77 years, we should truly heed the admonition to be “my brother’s keeper.”  That includes Republicans, Democrats, Whigs, Tories and everyone in between.

Who Is After Del Marsh?

Like you, I get tons of email (and I send tons as well).  I try my best to “screen” it.  Like the notes from a foreign country saying their great-grandfather was the prime minister of such and such and if I respond I will be fabulously wealthy.  Those get deleted quickly.

There are some that catch us by surprise.  And leave us scratching our head.

Like this one that showed up earlier tonight.

Entitled “Del’s Secret Survey,” it purports to reveal an effort by senate majority leader Del.Marsh to pressure senators to commit (secretly) to support him on various education issues, such as: reforming tenure, expanding school choice, reorganizing the state department of education, a teacher pay raise and increasing the use of technology.

Does March really have a “secret survey?”  While I don’t know for sure, very reliable sources say he does.

But what is most interesting is that someone went to the effort to put this info together.  Someone who is obviously not a fan of Marsh’s past efforts at reforming education with the Alabama Accountability Act, charter schools, Amendment One, etc.

Last year Marsh got a 30-0 vote on Amendment One in the senate.  This number included 25 Republicans and five Democrats.  As we know, on March 3rd Amendment One went up in flames.  Like in the towering inferno.  Which means that 29 senators followed Del March right off the cliff.  And now their names are forever listed as senators who voted to take the vote away from Alabama citizens.

This may well be the first rather open signal that Marsh’s hold on the senate is coming undone.



Thoughts On Amendment One Battle

While I was hopeful that Amendment One would fail, never did I imagine that it’s defeat would be so overwhelming.  A 10 point defeat of 55-45 is considered decisive. But a 50 point shellacking of 75-25 like the voters gave to Amendment One is virtually unheard of.

This measure was defeated in all 67 counties.  Twenty-two counties had a NO vote of 80 percent or more.  In Lamar and Marion counties, the margin was 90-10.  The “best” counties for a YES vote were Madison (68 percent NO), Autauga (67 percent NO) and Montgomery (66 percent NO).  Senate majority leader Del Marsh was sponsor of the bill.  He is from Calhoun County.  The vote there was 75 percent NO and 25 percent YES.

This legislation was passed by the senate 30-0.  Twenty-five Republicans and five Democrats voted for it.  There is little doubt that future opponents of these senators will remind voters of this vote.

Politicians don’t like rejection.  The vote on Amendment One was not just rejection, it was humiliation.  And you have to wonder how quickly these same senators will sign on to Del Marsh’s next education bill.

One of the most baffling things of this whole episode was the news release below put out by the Alabama Association of School Boards on the day Marsh introduced his Amendment One legislation in 2019.

“FOR RELEASE: May 10, 2019
The AASB Board of Directors voted to endorse Gov. Ivey’s proposed constitutional amendment regarding K-12 educational governance after thoughtful consideration of the bold initiative. Fundamentally, we believe it is important the people of Alabama have an opportunity to vote on this dramatic change and that such change is needed to drive significant, sustained improvement in our schools across the state.
There are great things happening in Alabama schools every day. We want to make sure these great things are reaching every student and every corner of the state. Episodic success will not help Alabama compete with other states. Our support for this proposal is not a personal attack or driven by a particular issue. It is based in a profound desire to increase the rigor and results for our students.
AASB has no illusion that a change in governance will be a panacea for the challenges facing Alabama public schools. We do believe a governance change could be the pivotal turning point and create the momentum for increasing education funding and addressing other issues impacting school performance such as poverty, declining populations in rural communities and equitable access.
School boards believe Alabama is ready for change.”

Given the dismal track record of the Republican supermajority since 2010 in passing education bills that have clearly been aimed at harming public education, how in the world does a group that is supposed to “represent” education endorse a measure that would give the state senate the final say in who is on an appointed school board and who is hired to be state superintendent?

For certain, if I were still a member of the Montgomery County school board, I would be asking some questions.