COVID vaccines, Israel-Gaza violence, child care and other top Opinion reads this week
In today’s fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we’ve started in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some of the week’s top USA TODAY Opinion pieces. As always, thanks for reading, and for your feedback.
— USA TODAY Opinion editors
1. Republican lies have thrust America into its third revolution. We are a nation in crisis.
By Carrie Cordero and Edward J. Larson
“To read and listen to the headlines after House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post, one would think that the ‘turning point’ in the Republican Party began with its denial of the 2020 election result after Nov. 3, or the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. Neither of those moments, however, is or was the actual turning point. Instead, the transformation one of the nation’s two major political parties took place well before each of those events. And the longer it takes for the public conversation to recognize how dramatically the Republican Party has already shifted, the longer it will take to develop a coherent civic strategy to protect U.S. democracy going forward.”
2. How the nation’s Founders wrote the Constitution to put the US on a path to end slavery
By Michael Medved
“During the eight years of Revolutionary struggle (1775-83), all thirteen colonies made a significant start along that path by legally and separately banning the transatlantic slave trade. Following the American victory and the resulting treaty with Britain, three states (South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia) resumed the importation of captives from Africa. At the Constitutional convention, most delegates denounced ‘the infernal traffic’ (George Mason of Virginia) as ‘a nefarious institution’ and ‘the curse of heaven’ (Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania), but South Carolina threatened to exclude itself from the new nation unless the other states agreed not to interfere with the commerce in slaves for a set period of time.”
3. 4 reasons you shouldn’t assume Democrats are doomed in the 2022 midterm elections
By Jesse Ferguson
“Remember the last time Democrats had a new president in the Oval Office? In May 2009, Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ topped the charts. The iPhone was 2 years old. The first ‘Star Trek’ remake led at the box office. And Democrats controlled Congress, but that was short-lived. Just 18 months later, the party lost its House majority in a midterm election shellacking.”
4. Israel-Gaza violence again shows Middle East conflict not just a ‘real-estate dispute’
By The Editorial Board
“A cease-fire in the days ahead might end this latest round of bloodletting. But the hard work of resolving the Palestinian issue remains. President Joe Biden certainly has a full agenda of domestic and international issues. But as leader of the one world power with the clout to be an honest broker of peace, he needs eventually to produce his own version of a peace plan. As it is, he has yet to name an ambassador to Israel or a consul general in Jerusalem to speak with Palestinians.”
4. My dad was an IRS tax man. The job is more dangerous than it looks.
By Charles E. Kraus
“When tax filing deadlines arrive, people think about many things. Last-minute appointments with their accountants, concern that they might have exaggerated their exaggerations just a little too much. Maybe they are wondering whether it will be possible to space out the payments. I think about my dad. He was an IRS agent. Father went to work for the Internal Revenue Service in 1931. Many years later, he happened to be issued a license plate with an alphanumeric sequence beginning ‘HH.’ His wife said it stood for Honest Harold. He was honest, more or less. That is the impression I gathered from the stories he told about his life as a tax man.”
4. We’re vaccinated but our son isn’t. The CDC lifted mask rules. So what do we do now?
By Louie Villalobos
“The CDC has cleared children 12 years and older for the vaccine and was reporting that as of Friday 120 million people have been fully vaccinated. Honestly, that combination of facts is amazing and lowkey frightening. But our son isn’t vaccinated and though things are speeding along with getting the children sorted out, we still don’t know when or if he’ll get his turn. He’s 8 years old and a few years off where science has reached. Thank you, scientists, by the way. You’re doing the lord’s work.”
6. Americans want more babies in their lives. Biden’s subsidized child care won’t help that.
By Kelsey Bloom
“In ‘Children of Men,’ the dystopian novel made into an acclaimed 2006 film, no child has been born in a quarter of a century and no one can explain why. England, where the novel is set, is a dystopian heap of refuse without hope, without laughter and without love. There’s no future without children, after all. The year? 2021. We’re not there yet. But things don’t look good. In April, the Census Bureau reported that U.S. population growth slowed in the past decade to its lowest rate since the 1930s.”
7. Shameless liars for Trump or out-of-touch Reagan relics? Republicans have bad choices.
By Jill Lawrence
“What if you were getting married, going shopping or (God forbid) voting for high-level political leaders, and you had two choices. Behind Door No. 1, a posse of liars and opportunists living (or pretending to live) in a fact-free world, many of them Ivy Leaguers, all of them counting on adoring, supposedly working-class masses to win and keep power. Behind Door No. 2, principled people who insist (if belatedly) on truth-telling, but have unfortunate affinities for unpopular military interventions and starving the federal government of money to keep it smaller than most voters want.”
7. Class of 2021: I didn’t have a traditional senior year of high school. Maybe that’s OK.
By José Escobedo
“My team made it to the second round of our athletic conference’s Los Angeles soccer playoffs in 2019, but on the way to the game I got a headache and it got so bad I couldn’t play. I was relieved when we went up 2-0 and figured I’d be better in time for our next game. But our opponent made a comeback and beat us. I took it hard. I was a sophomore, and I blamed myself for our loss and vowed never to let my teammates down again. On the bus heading back to school, we were miserable, especially the seniors who had played their last high school soccer game. I didn’t even want to imagine what that felt like, but then my junior year I made the difficult decision to focus on academics – with two AP classes and three community college classes – and skipped the 2019-20 season, determined to make the most of my senior season as a team leader on and off the field. That would have been this year, if there had been a season. As it turned out, my last high school soccer game was the one I couldn’t play in.”
9. Cop killing of teen shows how child welfare, police derail young Black and brown lives
By Marcía Hopkins and Susan Vivian Mangold
“Historically, the child welfare system has over-surveilled, over-separated, over-reported and over-investigated Black, Latinx and Native American families, while also failing to protect their children after placing them in foster care or putting them up for adoption. Each year, there are about 4 million reports nationwide to child protection services. Fewer than 17% of these children receive any services – in or out of the home – after they are reported, screened, investigated and recorded. Native American children have the highest rate of involvement: more than 15 per 1,000; Black children have the second highest rate at 14 per thousand.”