Advice With An Ozone, Arkansas Perspective

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There is a small town in the northwestern portion of Arkansas called Ozone.  Most people have never heard of this place, but it is where my mom was born.  I’ve been thinking about that small town this week and recalling what mom would often comment about when recounting her youth.

I think it was in the 1990s when young people wished to purchase blue jeans that were weathered, stressed, and even ripped.  My mother could never quite understand what the attraction was to pay money for clothes she remembers many needing to wear during the hard years when growing up.  She knew how it felt to wear an article of clothing with a rip, and also how in later years it felt when the opportunity presented itself to have clothes that were fresh and new off of the store shelves.

I also recall a lesson she imparted to her children that today seems no longer to be in vogue.  Simply put, when one does not know what they are talking about they should just stay silent.  Listen to others when not aware of an issue and in so doing not alert others to your deficit of knowledge about the topic at hand.  A person can later learn about the matter and if the topic comes up again be ready to talk.

In today’s climate, we see ample evidence that people will just start to talk and babble about so much they have not a clue about.  Be it on talk radio or through comments on social media. There seems to be no chagrin about being woefully uninformed these days. Rather, among a certain demographic, there seems to be an emboldened sense of letting others know one has a mouth to use and a hand that can text but also making it abundantly clear there is nothing worthwhile to communicate.

As of late, I am most dismayed by the level of dialogue from some concerning wearing a mask so to fight the pandemic.  I have heard the most insane comments ranging from ‘masks cause sickness’ to conspiracy theories about why masks are being pressed into usage by the government.  Many are demanding “FREE-DUMB”.  Facts and medical knowledge can not dislodge their ignorance or temper their tongues.

I am confident that mom would advise those people it’s best just to stay quiet.  They are are just embarrassing themselves.

Today we are slipping down a most horrible hill of ignorance and willful nonsense as lies are spread against the need to wear masks so to stem the spread of COVID-19.  Mom grew up when many of the medical breakthroughs we now take for granted were not yet discovered.  She would add that too many people just have no idea what she experienced growing up in her day.  At the rate we are moving they just might.

Not a bad slice of advice to come from one who grew up in Ozone, a place most people have never heard of.

And so it goes.

Mail-In Voting Is What Voters Desire And Need

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This August, as Wisconsin conducted primary elections for the fall balloting, many voters did the same as this blogger and household.   We requested an absentee ballot and cast our vote via the mail.  I know many have already requested through their local clerk a presidential ballot, too, once they are available.

I looked at the latest Pew Research Survey released today which shows that 49% of voters think it will be difficult to vote this fall given the pandemic.

Voters who support Donald Trump are far more likely than those who support Joe Biden to say it will be easy to vote this year. However, the shares of both Trump and Biden supporters who expect it will be easy to vote are much lower than the shares of voters who said this in 2018 – regardless of which party’s candidate they supported.

There also are stark differences between Trump and Biden supporters about how they prefer to vote. Most registered voters who support Trump or lean toward supporting him would rather vote in person in the presidential election (80%), either on Election Day (60%) or earlier (20%); only 17% prefer to vote by mail. By contrast, a majority of voters who support or lean toward supporting Biden say their preference is to vote by mail in the presidential election (58%).

I can plainly state my regret over losing the decades-long tradition of going to the polls and casting my vote in-person.  There is a nostalgic Americanism that comes with that ritual.  But there is also data, facts, and medical reasoning why such actions can not be done safely now as COVID-19 marches about, and so mail voting is the most effective and practical way to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens.

The men and women who do work the polls on Election Day would surely like to have voters do their duty,  but in ways to make their lives safer, too.  Therefore the way for voters to act is to look up your local election rules, request an absentee ballot by mail as soon as possible, and then send it back as soon as possible.

The rush factor is due to Donald Trump and his Republican allies who will do whatever it takes to mess with the election and steal it if possible.  We know the backstory to this current undermining of our republic all too well.

First, we have the Postal Service making it known they need more resources so to ensure that ballots are mailed to voters and then sent to the local election officials in a timely fashion.  That legitimate issue is one that we can deal with.  Right?

Well, not so fast, dear readers.

Secondly, we now have a staunch Trump supporter who has taken over the reins at the Postal Service and is doing everything possible to undermine an efficient process for the election.  He has undertaken cost-cutting measures now, at the most ridiculous of times.  Not only with an election approaching but also during a pandemic when it is vital that meds are able to be delivered.  Add in the up-side-down timing of the cuts when online shopping creates some economic bounce that must not be impeded.

It is clear what is afoot.

The partisan stench can be detected nationwide.  To add the icing to this GOP created mess Trump is making it clear he will block any funds Congress wants to give the Postal Service to help it manage the election.  Even though his own treasury secretary and White House chief Of staff were negotiating with congress for those very same funds!

Trump has lied and maligned voting by mail for months and continuously attempts to discredit a method of voting that has not created corrupted outcomes.  If Trump actually wanted to fix a system that he thinks is broken–though the facts do not support his words–would it not then follow he should work to provide the funds through the congressional process?

The reason Trump is creating lies and working to undermine the faith of the citizenry about our institutions is that he knows the words from Alexander Hamilton are very accurate.

“This process of election affords a moral certainty that the office of President will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

This nation fell once to Trump, and it will not happen a second time if we do our civic duty.  And that is why Trump is outraged over voting by mail.