The Press-Dispatch

December 2, 2020

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B-8 Wednesday, December 2, 2020 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Race for the Cure By Star Parker Points to Ponder By Rev. Ford Bond Republican Party future depends on black voters Big questions remain about what exactly happened in the 2020 elec- tion. I've been looking over history, compiled on the Statista website, of total votes cast in presidential elec- tions compared with the number of eligible voters. 2020 seems very, very odd. The number of votes reported in 2020 exceeded the total number of votes cast in 2016 by 22 million. This is larger than the population of Florida, the nation's third-most-pop- ulous state, and almost as large as the population of Texas, the sec- ond-most-populous state. According to Statista, votes of 66.5 percent of eligible voters were recorded in 2020. In 2016, 59.2 per- cent of eligible voters voted. In 2012, 58 percent voted. And in 2008, the election with America's first black presidential candidate nominated by a major party, 61.6 percent voted. What accounts for the highly un- usual surge in votes recorded in 2020? Gallup polled voter enthusiasm just prior to the election, asking, "Compared to previous elections, are you more enthusiastic than usu- al about voting, or less enthusiastic? " This year, 69 percent said they were "more enthusiastic." But in 2008, 68 percent said they were "more enthusiastic." Gallup also asked voters whether they think "the stakes in this pres- idential election are higher than in previous years." In 2020, 77 percent said yes. But in 2008, 76 percent said yes. Voter enthusiasm in 2020 and 2008 was hardly different. Yet, in 2020, 22 million more votes were record- ed compared with the 2016 election, and in 2008, there were 9 million more votes compared with the pre- vious election. In 2020, voter turn- out was 7.2 percentage points high- er than in the previous election, com- pared with a 1.5 percentage point in- crease from 2004 to 2008. Regardless of where things go in court challenges to what happened in the 2020 election, the tens of millions of votes that seem to have emerged out of nowhere need explanation. The American people should de- mand an audit of the 2020 election and not settle until there are clear answers. Meanwhile, taking the results of the election as a given, another big question remains for Republicans. Why was it so close? In September, Gallup asked voters whether they and their families were "better off now" than they were four years ago. Fifty-five percent said yes. When the same question was asked in 1984, when then-President Ronald Reagan was running for re- election, 44 percent said yes. Yet Rea- gan went on to win by a landslide, winning 49 of 50 states. One reason President Donald Trump did not run away with the election as Reagan did is what I have been writing about for years: the changing demographics of the country. In the 1984 election, 84 percent of voters were white. In this election, 67 percent of voters were white. What would the results have been if every racial/ethnic group had vot- ed as they did in 2020 but 84 percent of the voters were white, like in 1984, rather than 67 percent? President Trump would have won 52 percent of the popular vote and would have been victorious by a mar- gin of 9.7 million votes. The fact that Trump made gains among blacks and Hispanics in 2020 is meaningful. It shows that these groups can change their voting be- havior. Voting liberal and Democrat- ic is not genetic. But Republicans are going to have to continue to make strong gains among non-white Americans, or they will be overwhelmed by the ethnic changes of the country. The white percentage of the American elec- torate that delivers most Republican votes will continue to shrink. There should be zero tolerance of voting irregularities. But Republicans will be vulnerable to them as long as elections remain on a razor's edge. Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 I had to look closely on my calen- dar to verify that the correct month I had typed in was December. I'm not sure about others, but it is an eerie feeling when you realize it is the last month for the year 2,020. I purpose- ly added a comma after the number 2 to make me aware of the reality of the two thousand year history from the first Christmas to now. It also makes me realize how quick- ly the months have gone by since last Christmas to the coming big event in about four weeks. It is Thanksgiving today, November 26 as I start gather- ing my thoughts, because we already celebrated a combined Thanksgiving and Rose's Nov.19 birthday this past Sunday. So, it is quiet in our house, except for the occasional noise my daughter Marie's dog was making. We "babysat" Duchess while my daughter's family celebrated their Thanksgiving with her husband's side of the family in Washington. So, to occupy my free time, I did some checking on my messages as I received greetings and well wishes from my family and relatives, friends and classmates. One recurring com- ment I noticed is how small and qui- et the gatherings are for everyone. How strange and different it is from all the past celebra- tions we have expe- rienced. Don't you all feel that way, my dear readers? • • • I suspect there are countless of us using cellphones or other electron- ic devices to con- nect with everyone. Lately, there have been so many mes- sages on my Facebook, Messen- ger, Viber, regular texts, etc, about prayer requests for people who have been ill, who will undergo surgeries, or who have gone to their final rest, and many other forms of appeals. So, I try to shift my attention by catching up with local and national news, and gracious goodness, that even makes me feel unwell. If you pay too much attention to the news, you would think the world is falling apart. It is really necessary to pay attention to the advice of ex- perts on good connectivity, handling of stress, getting proper nutrition, doing proper socialization, engaging in regular exercise, and trying vari- ous forms of mindfulness and meditation, especially during these difficult times. • • • Humor and entertainment of the week: Well, there are some amazing and laughable items you can find from dif- ferent sources. Some of my favorites is watching Ameri- ca's Funniest Videos, Ameri- ca's Got Talent, Britain's Got Talent. You can also find Got Talent programs on Youtube. They are very entertaining and wholesome. I like reading magazines like Reader's Di- gest, their features on humor, and en- joying good things that my friends and relatives send via e-mail and Messenger. Here are some good ones I came across: An elderly couple was aboard a plane, waiting for take-off. The PA system made an announcement that passengers should turn off all elec- tronic devices. The wife then asked the stewardess if her husband's pace- maker should be turned off as well. My Point of View By H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. Levity for longevity Heritage Viewpoint By Rachel Greszler Social Security reform could make a popular program better Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Minority View By Walter E. Williams Discrimination and prejudice We watch as we hope the emphasis in this first week of Advent is watching, not waiting. The Hebrews were told by the prophets that a savior would come and deliver them from sin. The promised Messi- ah would enter into their day-to-day world. There was no need to wait and ponder when; they were to watch for his arrival. They had hope that the end of sin was near and that the promises of God would be fulfilled. Advent is about watching with anticipation. Watching with hope means something you know will hap- pen can occur at any time. This is different than waiting and hoping, which means you are waiting for something to happen that may or may not occur. Advent is a period of preparation for the arrival of the Christ child. As God's people wait in hope for the coming of their long-promised Messiah, the saints of God wait and hope that TODAY will be the com- ing of Christ and the fulfilment of His promises will become a reality. The world is in a flux, and there is more than a pandemic disturbing the nations. So we wonder; is Christ near? John the Baptist told those who would listen, "There comes One af- ter me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." John told them to look for the Mes- siah and the promises of God start- ing among themselves. Many believ- ers in the prophets were seeking a kingdom, yet Jesus would tell them that they failed to realize that the Kingdom of God was among them! These people were watching AND waiting–Not watching and hoping! They believed God would establish His kingdom, but their Hope was in tomorrow. But His kingdom was here, and it begins with them! The apostle Paul reminded the Church at Rome, "…the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Let each of us consider the empha- sis of this first week of Advent: we are watching, not waiting! If someone were to ask you, "What is the message of Advent," what would be your reply? Advent is about Hope – watching for the manifesta- tion of Christ. We celebrate his birth, and with that birth comes the prom- ise of His return. This is similar to the question, "Why bother with be- ing a Christian? What would be your reply? The apostle Peter in his first epistle wrote, "… and always be ready to give a de- fense to everyone who asks you a rea- son for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." Consider that watching and hop- ing are linked together. Children during Christmas know December 25th is coming. They are waiting. There is no reason to hope; howev- er, they may hope that they will re- ceive the gift that they had dropped subtitle hints about. Paul writes the Church at Rome, "…but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? " Waiting and hoping seems a contradictory position, while watching and hoping seems compli- mentary. The Advent reading many Church- es used for the first week of the sea- son is from the prophet Isaiah, which begins with hope: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined." Notice how the prophet begins this passage: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;" the light has pierced the darkness– now they have hope. The prophet Jeremiah, who came after Isaiah wrote, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell se- curely. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The LORD is our righteousness." Hope is often trivialized in our cul- America's most popular federal government program—Social Se- curity—will be insolvent within 15 years, leaving older workers and re- tirees fearful of future benefit cuts. It will also leave younger workers reticent to contribute even larger chunks of their paychecks toward a program that 80 percent of millenni- als and Gen Xers doubt will be there for them when they retire. A new report from The Heritage Foundation shows how the next ad- ministration and the 117th Congress could modernize Social Security, increase benefits for lower-income workers, reduce Social Security tax- es for everyone, and give individuals and families more control over their incomes and life circumstances. Reform should start with evalu- ating Social Security in its current form and determining how it can be better. Over more than eight decades, Social Security has expanded far beyond its original size and scope. What was once a 2 percent tax on workers' wages, is now 12.4 percent and would have to be 15.5 percent to keep the program solvent. As households' financial strug- gles through the COVID-19 pandem- ic have shown, it can be hard—especial- ly for lower-income workers—to have money left over af- ter Social Security's taxes are taken to save for retirement and whatever life events might arise. Social Security was designed as an anti-poverty program with a savings component, but it has become an in- tergenerational redistribution pro- gram as policymakers have allowed Social Security benefits to rise far in excess of the taxes collected. Every dollar of workers' payroll taxes today goes immediately out the door to pay current retir- ees' benefits, with Social Se- curity stripping the average young worker of hundreds of thousands of dollars in poten- tial investment income. Individuals with lower life expectancies—dispropor- tionately those with lower incomes and A frican Ameri- cans—also lose out from So- cial Security. One out of every five A fri- can American men in the U.S. will die between the ages of 45 and 65, at which point they've paid tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thou- sands, of dollars in Social Securi- ty taxes that they cannot pass on to their heirs. Raising taxes by $1,200 a year on workers making $50,000 and in- creasing benefits for everyone, in- Some of the confusion in thinking about matters of race stems from the ambiguity in the terms that we use. I am going to take a stab at suggesting operational definitions for a couple terms in our discussion of race. Good analytical thinking requires that we do not confuse one behavioral phe- nomenon with another. Let's start with "discrimination." Discrimination is the act of choice, and choice is a necessary fact of life. Our lives are spent discriminating for or against different activities and people. Some people shop at Weg- mans and thus discriminate against Food Giant. Some students discrim- inate against George Mason Uni- versity in favor of attending Temple University. Many people racially dis- criminate by marrying within their own race rather than seeking part- ners of other races. People discrim- inate in many ways in forming con- tracts and other interrelationships. In each case, one person is benefit- ted by discrimination and another is harmed or has reduced opportu- nities. What about prej- udice? Prejudice is a useful term that is often misused. Its Latin root is praej- udicium, mean- ing "an opinion or judgment formed ... without due exam- ination." Thus, we might define a prej- udicial act as one where a decision is made on the ba- sis of incomplete information. The decision-maker might use stereo- types as a substitute for more com- plete information. We find that in a world of costly information, people seek to econo- mize on information costs. Here is a simple yet intuitively appealing ex- ample. You are headed off to work. When you open your front door and step out, you are greeted by a full- grown tiger. The uninteresting pre- diction is that the average person would endeavor to leave the area in great dispatch. Why he would do so is more interesting. It is un- likely that the person's fear and decision to seek safety is based on any detailed infor- mation held about that partic- ular tiger. More likely, his de- cision to seek safety is based on tiger folklore, what he has been told about tigers or how he has seen other tigers be- have. He prejudges that tiger. He makes his decision based on incomplete information. He uses tiger stereotypes. If a person did not prejudge that ti- ger, then he would endeavor to seek more information prior to his deci- sion to run. He might attempt to pet the tiger, talk to him and seek safety only if the tiger responded in a men- acing fashion. The average person probably would not choose that strat- egy. He would surmise that the ex- pected cost of getting more informa- tion about the tiger is greater than the expected benefit. He would prob-

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