On Elections and Tragedies

While this country and the world remain entertained by the cheap theater masquerading as an election cycle, whole nations are disappearing, men, women and children by the thousands are dying everyday with untold suffering remaining for those who survive, hospitals, those places even the Nazis respected, are being bombed and destroyed – with cluster bombs, malevolent devices deliberately designed to inflict the most damage and carnage – and the only thing we’re focused on is the presidential debate and the absurd farce that is the current US Presidential Election Cycle. It would be understandable, maybe, if one of the candidates was even remotely qualified but that’s not the case. We’re debating about a debate(!), who won a debate that should never have taken place in the first place! This idiot turned circus clown who is supported by over 40% of the electorate in this country is taking center stage while a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions is unfolding overseas and the only news, no, the only hobby taken up by so many, is how many gaffes Donald Trump has uttered today!

The AP reported on Monday that a cluster bomb had exploded near a hospital in Free Aleppo, burying some patients, including new-born infants, and killing others! Just to point out the level of incompetence by those who would be president, Gary Johnson, the presidential nominee from the Libertarian Party, didn’t know about Aleppo and wasn’t even aware of the untold war crimes and tragedies that are occurring there every day. What about Donald Trump, where are his pontifications and pronouncements about Aleppo and the culpability that this country shares – with Russia and Bashar Assad – in what is happening there?

Unbeknownst to many, the hard-won Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark piece of federal legislation prohibiting racial discrimination in voting, is under assault. In a stunning 2013 Supreme Court ruling a key portion of the VRA was gutted. During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, it was signed into law by President Johnson on August 6, 1965. The United States Congress later amended the Act five times to expand its protections. In bipartisan solidarity for forty eight years, the law was always renewed and expanded to preserve and protect a key aspect of our democracy and any democracy that is to survive, the right to vote. Now, in 2013, the Supreme Court believes they know better and decides to vacate key aspects of the law that protected the voting rights of minorities and underrepresented communities forty eight years later, citing “remedies that speak to current conditions”. In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts pens “Our country has changed,”. He goes on to state that “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.” At the core of the disagreement in the 5-4 vote was whether racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination. What world is he in? Under normal conditions why would anyone want to change this law? After all, it isn’t really harming anyone and if certain aspects no longer apply, so what? That later question is rhetorical and the answer is obvious. Based on the ugly racism we’ve all witnessed since the election cycle kicked into high gear, its clear how the demographics in congress would change and who would benefit the most if minorities are once again disenfranchised of their basic right to vote.

Since the 2013 SCOTUS ruling, the act as seen further attacks from various states, mostly in the south and from members of the majority party in the US House of Representatives, many of whom represent districts in those same states. Fortunately, many lower courts have vacated openly racist and unjust voting restrictions in various states and communities.  That the VRA is under assault is chilling!  Image the response from Donald Trump if he were asked about the VRA and how important it is to protect the voting rights of all citizens.

If you’ve been following this blog, and have heard about stories and developments in Astronomy and science from other sources that you would have expected to read about here, such as the announcement that there is high confidence that an Earthlike planet is orbiting Proxima Centauri, our nearest stellar neighbor or that the Chinese have just completed building the largest radio telescope antenna and that it will take three years to fully commission or that tomorrow, September 30th, the Rosetta mission’s mothercraft will crash land onto the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, ending humanity’s first detailed exploration of a live comet or that a large scale geomagnetic storm is besetting the earth, now, as I write this blog post; if you’ve wondered these things, I have to admit that I’ve been campaigning for Hillary Clinton and don’t have the time, not so much because I’m such a big fan but because sanity has to prevail in what will be one of the most pivotal elections in a century.

All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike-and yet it is the most precious thing we have

An index of all articles in this blog can be found here.


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