Editorials 12-17-21

‘Tis the season for giving — and never has the need been more urgent

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

     With Christmas fast approaching, most of us will be rushing about — either to the stores and malls or on-line — to do our holiday shopping in hopes of finding that “perfect” gift for our family members and loved ones.

     Despite the pandemic that has ravaged our nation in so many ways, most Americans actually are doing okay, if not extremely well. Sure, the pandemic has made life inconvenient and not as enjoyable as usual for everybody, but most of us are getting along just fine.

     Those who are able to work from home have not suffered a loss of income. And for those among us who have any sort of investments, from real estate to the stock market to certain types of small businesses, the pandemic has been a boon.

     However, the good economic news for the majority of Americans has not been shared by all. For a sizable minority of our fellow citizens, the effects of the pandemic represent an existential disaster.

     Millions of Americans of all ages, in a percentage greater than at any time since the Great Depression, are struggling financially.

     To put it in stark terms, more Americans, including families in our own communities, are going hungry than at any time in our history.

     Far too many of our fellow citizens, including children, live either in shelters or in similar temporary housing arrangements — or on the streets — because the reality of our economy has left them out in the cold — literally — thanks to the pandemic.

     The homeless always have been among us, but the scope and depth of the problem is far beyond anything that has been experienced in our lifetime. The vast discrepancy between the enormous wealth enjoyed by some Americans and the abject poverty being endured by others is similar to what has existed in major urban centers in South America and India — but it now is happening right here in the U.S.A.

     For these millions of Americans, the holiday season brings no joy.

     Psychologists tell us that the Biblical directive, that we should give to those who are less fortunate, actually is the best gift that we can give to ourselves. Helping others activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating the so-called “warm glow” effect.

     Never in the lifetime of anybody reading this editorial has the need for donations to local food banks been more urgent. There will be ample opportunity to do so in the coming days to make the holidays brighter for those who are less fortunate — and there is no excuse for failing to do so.

GOP’s opposition to Rachael Rollins

     The unprecedented opposition, accompanied by unprecedented vitriol, by the Republican members of the U.S. Senate to the nomination of Suffolk County District Atty. Rachael Rollins for the position of U.S. Attorney for the Massachusetts district has laid bare their racist and misogynistic-driven agenda.

     Here is what Tom Cotton, the odious Arkansas Senator, said during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposing Ms. Rollins’s nomination:

     “Miss Rollins appears to measure success as a prosecutor not by how many victims and innocent people she protects, but rather by how many criminals she keeps from facing consequences. If she’s confirmed as the US attorney, the cartels and the gangs that are fueling violence and death in our communities will be gleeful. Rachael Rollins wants to destroy the criminal justice system from within. That’s not hyperbole.”

     Cotton’s last line — “That’s not hyperbole” — ordinarily would be laughable, but unfortunately it is illustrative of the way that leading GOP politicians are gaslighting the country these days to appeal to the basest of their base.

     Senator Cotton’s sham statement also has put on full display the propensity among leading GOP politicians to bully women, and that is doubly so for women of color. We recall the vote by Mitch McConnell and the GOP-controlled Senate in 2017 that silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren during the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General when she read a letter (which already was part of the Congressional Record) by Coretta Scott King in 1986 about Sessions. Later, a male senator read the same letter — but without a peep from McConnell.

     These GOP politicians are like the “tough” guys who have no hesitancy to engage in road-rage behavior when the other driver is a woman, but they shrink from honking, gesticulating, etc. if the other driver is a male.

     Rachael Rollins had the full support of both of our U.S. Senators, Ed Markey and Ms. Warren, as well as the endorsement of many others, including former governor William Weld (who served as the U.S. Attorney in Mass. in the 1980s), Wayne Budd (another former U.S. Attorney here), Winthrop Police Chief Terence Delehanty, and Revere Police Chief David Callahan (both of whom work directly with the Suffolk D.A.’s office on a daily basis).

     Despite the roadblocks thrown up by the GOP senators, the nomination of Rachael Rollins finally was approved, though only because of a tie-breaking vote by vice-president Kamala Harris.

            We wish to congratulate Ms. Rollins upon her confirmation and we look forward to her tenure as our U.S. Attorney for the Massachusetts district.

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