Editorial Recap: Thoughts Gathered Across the Country | Editorial

Compiled by the Roanoke Times

King would never give upMartin Luther King Jr. preached both urgency and patience – nonviolent perseverance in the face of fire hoses, dogs, beatings and lynchings. Every second of marginalization was intolerable. Yet it took a decade after King’s 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, for Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

These days, compassion across political and social disagreements seems to be disappearing. Hateful beliefs harden rather than soften. Americans increasingly refuse to venture outside of their bubbles — physical and virtual zones of like-minded people that are filled with varying amounts of misinformation. Thus, a once-a-century pandemic is exacerbated by people who refuse to accept miracle vaccines and politicians who pander to them.

A disturbing number of voters, concentrated on the right, now believe that anti-democratic violence is acceptable. And, more important to King’s legacy, the political system does not protect minority voting rights in the United States.

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In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. Republican-led states have since passed waves of laws designed to make it harder to vote, with a disproportionate impact on minority communities. There was once a bipartisan commitment in Congress to protecting the right to vote of all Americans. Now Republicans are blocking bills that would impose modest minimum standards for voting access and they are reluctant to fix the suffrage law they once overwhelmingly supported. King would not have given up hope. He would have continued to work. “The road ahead is not entirely easy. There are no big highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick fixes. But we have to keep going,” he told Montgomery in 1965.

It is crucial to seize every opportunity for progress, even if it seems small and insufficient at the time. Some opponents of voting access bills have expressed an interest in isolating the electoral process from supporters who would subvert its results. As important as allowing black Americans to vote, it is important to ensure their votes are counted despite the objections of those who seek to label their ballots as illegitimate.

If there is an opportunity to make even a small progress, conscientious leaders must seize it. Then they should redouble their efforts — in cities, counties, states, courts and Congress — to do more. King’s hope for the future was not an invitation to complacency. The arc of the moral universe will not bend.

Biden bureaucracy clumsy rollout of 5GIt’s hard to know which is more screwed up these days — air travel or the Biden administration. As another example, consider the conflict between airlines and mobile operators over 5G.

Verizon and AT&T said on Tuesday they would delay the rollout of 5G scheduled for Wednesday after airlines complained it would disrupt flights across the country. President Biden has taken credit for preventing lawlessness in the skies, despite his administration creating disorder.

At issue is the C-band spectrum that carriers plan to use to cover metropolitan areas with 5G. Carriers have paid the US government $80 billion for this valuable spectrum, but the Federal Aviation Administration is no longer letting them use it. The agency says the signals could potentially interfere with aircraft altimeters that measure distance on the ground.

The Federal Communications Commission considered these concerns and in March 2020 approved a plan that included a safe buffer between the bands occupied by altimeters and 5G. Some 20 months later, the FAA demanded a reversal of the FCC’s decision and held the airlines and carriers hostage. If Verizon and AT&T did not suspend their 5G rollout, the FAA would order flights to be grounded or diverted. AT&T and Verizon didn’t want to be blamed for this, so they twice agreed to scale back and delay their rollouts. Two weeks ago, they reached an agreement with the Department of Transportation. The FAA said it would not request another delay. And if you believed it…

On Sunday, the FAA said it had only cleared 45% of U.S. commercial planes to land in low-visibility conditions at just 48 of the 88 airports it deemed most at risk of potential 5G interference. That didn’t cover Boeing’s widebody 777 and 787 models, which fly in countries around the world with fewer 5G restrictions. This meant airlines would have to reroute or cancel thousands of flights. The disruptions would wreak immediate havoc while the discontinued 5G service would not be felt by Americans. Wireless carriers would be blamed for the chaos, which likely explains why they conceded to more “voluntary” and “temporary” restrictions on Tuesday. The aviation industry and the FAA “did not use the two years they had to responsibly plan for this deployment,” AT&T said. It’s far too charitable for the FAA and the Department of Transportation. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg replaced FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel, who supported carriers’ 5G rollout behind the scenes. And now he and Mr. Biden are describing their gaffe as a diplomatic victory. This Administration needs less political spin and more capable governance.

– The Wall Street Journal

The coined bird singsThe image of famed St. Louis-born poet Maya Angelou will be the first to appear on a new line of coins currently shipping from the US Mint. Angelou, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the 1969 book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, died in 2014 at the age of 86. The new quarter depicts her with outstretched arms as a bird flies behind her with a background of the sun. “What a fitting tribute that Dr. Maya Angelou has become the first black woman in the U.S. Quarter,” former first lady Michelle Obama posted on Instagram. “She was a phenomenal woman whose comfort in her own skin made many of us feel seen in ours.”

Other trailblazing women to be honored on the new coins include the first female astronaut, Sally Ride, and Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to become the Cherokee Nation’s senior chief. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (the first female Treasury Secretary, by the way) praised the new options available with the currency overhaul, offering a “chance to say something about our country” with each new episode.

– St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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