Tip/Thought of the Day

The Tipping Point

March 6, 2023, commemorated the 57th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a key moment in the Civil Rights Movement. State troopers violently attacked 600 peaceful demonstrators when they marched from Selma to Montgomery across the Edmund Pettus bridge. They were asking for one thing, the right to vote, knowing this act could cost them their lives.

Just 50 years ago, lynchings were routine and those responsible were never brought to justice. They made it clear- this is what would happen if anyone spoke up demanding their rights under the constitution. Signs that clarified white vs “colored” bathrooms, eating areas, and transportation were commonplace. 

Japanese American citizens were thrown into internment camps when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. Asians were restricted by law from owning property until the Supreme Court overturned it in 1952. 

All Chinese were denied immigration when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1880, until repealed during WWII.

American Indians were thrown onto reservations and their lands stolen.

McCarthy witch hunts, using the auspice of rooting out socialists, subverted our government for years, resulting in a new word, McCarthyism-

     “The political practice of publicly accusing of disloyalty or subversion without sufficient evidence in order to suppress the opposition.”

 These and more all happened in the United States of America.

Sadly, once again, we have laws being enacted all across this nation that curtail the freedoms this country represents.

  • A woman’s right to choose. After 50 years women no longer have the freedom to choose what’s right for their own bodies even when rape or the health of the mother is at stake. Now, before hearing the ruling on misoprostol- a medical abortion pill- Walgreens has caved to threats by two dozen Republican attorney generals and chosen to withdraw the pill from stores, even in states where abortions are legal.
  • By May 2022, 18 states had passed 34 restrictive voting laws. As of January of this year, state lawmakers in at least 32 states pre-filed or introduced an additional 150 restrictive voting bills. The most breathtaking example of enduring democracy the world has ever known is being whittled away.
  • Tennessee’s Governor just passed a vaguely written bill banning “adult oriented entertainment including male and female impersonations” from public property and age restricted venues. They went so far as to enact laws that ban all healthcare interventions for anyone who identifies themselves as transgender or nonbinary.
  • Georgia legislators are in the midst of passing laws that allow the four top state Republicans (one already under investigation for his involvement in the fake electoral college campaign) to establish a commission that can remove any prosecutor who they think selects cases to prosecute based “not on evidence but how they feel about their political leanings.” Just as the prosecutor from Fulton County is about to announce if she will be indicting the past President of the United States. According to one legal expert it could also be used to enforce laws still on the books that have been ignored for decades e.g. adultery, sodomy, fornicating.
  • Already this year, 35 states have introduced or passed bills curtailing LGBQT+ rights. In Florida, Governor DeSantis signed a bill into law banning teachers from discussing sexual or gender orientation. Initially for only grades K thru 3, new legislation this year will extend it through college and includes a provision requiring all children be addressed only by pronouns that reflect their biological gender. It initially contained an amendment requiring teachers to notify parents within six weeks if they found out a student had disclosed they were anything other than straight.
  • Florida has also presented a bill requiring anyone who blogs about Governor Desantis or any elected state official to register before posting and document who financially supports their publications. Putin required all Russian bloggers do the same in 2014. 
  • Classrooms are being told what they can teach, and books are being banned all based on the premise it “may upset children” to learn about how we treat people of color, different religious affiliations, or the abuses and atrocities that have occurred worldwide. This includes the WWII diary of Anne Frank, the daily documentation of the horrors a young girl suffered while hiding unsuccessfully in an attic, all because they were Jewish. She and her family were ultimately caught and all but her father, Otto, died in concentration camps.
  • Critical race theory has been used as a term to incite fear of teaching anything race related in schools. It dates back to the 1970’s when law professors began exploring how race and racism shaped American law and society. Texas passed a bill that forces teachers to discuss widely debated topics “objectively and free from political bias”. They even require at least one campus administrator and one teacher from every school to attend a training program to “learn how to teach race and racism in Texas schools.”

We can’t just learn what we want to know. We have to learn it all- the good, the bad and the ugly. Otherwise history repeats itself. 

We are at a tipping point. Which way we fall is up to each of us.

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