If Only We Are Brave Enough to Be It

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Abraham Lincoln was everywhere yesterday, even when most people didn’t realize it.

Newly sworn in President Joe Biden referenced Lincoln in his inaugural address. “In another January in Washington, on New Year’s Day 1863,” Biden said, “Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the President said, ‘If my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act and my whole soul is in it.'”

Biden’s speech was Lincolnesque in other ways as well. There were the almost ubiquitous call to “the better angels of our nature.” It was a good speech. Not soaring in rhetoric as much as spoken from the heart, rooted in his own deep-seated emotional belief in this nation.

“My whole soul is in it,” Biden repeated. His whole soul is in “bringing America together, uniting our people, and uniting our nation.”

“I ask every American to join me in this cause.”

We very much need to do this.

I was asked by good friends how I felt about the end of an error and the beginning of an era. Mostly it feels like we as a nation are finally breaking away from an abusive relationship, the constant fear of what will happen next, how low can we go as a people. Even as the inauguration gave us new hope, we are now in the “I hope the restraining order keeps him away” stage of the prior relationship. It feels comforting to wake up to a sense of forward movement without the previously inevitable tweet to start the daily roller coaster careening into the past. But there is still work to be done.

Outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, widely believed to be gearing up for a 2024 presidential run, epitomized the Republican party view with his parting lines disparaging the diversity of America. “Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they’re not who America is,” he wrote on his last day in office, “They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker.”

He is obviously wrong. The proverbial melting pot in which all newcomers subsumed into the landscape invisibly was never really true, but the phrase lost its meaning entirely after immigrants began arriving from non-European climes and colors. Perhaps we are more of a melded society merging the best of multiculturalism while integrating into a blended America. Yesterday certainly demonstrated that diversity and blending. While Biden went to work in the Oval Office even as the celebrations continued into the night, our new Vice President Kamala Harris went to work giving the oath of office to three new Democratic Senators. New Georgia Senators Ossoff and Warnock were joined by new California Senator Padilla, the latter of whom takes over Harris’s previous seat. There are so many “firsts” in this one event that it becomes almost trite to catalogue them. But trite they are not; they reflect the change that is America. Harris herself represents many of those “firsts,” and may yet achieve more in her career. We are, in fact, a diverse America. And that diversity is reflected both in the new administration and the outpouring of election participation that proves voting has power. We’ll need to keep that energy.

In a program that included Lady Gaga (National Anthem), Jennifer Lopez (America the Beautiful), and Garth Brooks (Amazing Grace), who would have expected the ultimate star power to be 22-year-old African American poet Amanda Gorman. Her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” succinctly captured the past trials, the present transitions, and the future talents of America. Her performance, with its hints of rap and hip hop and history, made America fall in love with her, myself included.

So much of her performance spoke to so many. Among many other parts, and the sum of those parts, this part caught my ear:

A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation

Then setting the stage:

Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:

She channels Abraham Lincoln, although few would have noticed it:

If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright

Lincoln, in his 1860 Cooper Union Address, connected right with might:

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

Let us dare to do our duty as we understand it, and let it change our children’s birthright. Let love become our legacy.

Amanda Gorman again captures the essence of humanity in her closing lines.

The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

Let us be brave enough to be it.

David J. Kent is an avid traveler, scientist, and Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved AmericaTesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World as well as two specialty e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

Check out my Goodreads author page. While you’re at it, “Like” my Facebook author page for more updates!

[Photo credit: Alex Wong. (Getty Images)]

The Republican Party Must be Held Accountable

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By the evening of January 6, 2021 I had received nearly a half dozen queries from friends overseas. “What is happening in your country? Are you okay?”

These are people from countries with a long history of autocratic, authoritarian regimes. They are usually in the news for the corruption rampant at the highest levels of their governments. They recognize authoritarianism when they see it.

They wondered how the United States had devolved so quickly into what we Americans would previously have thought of as a third-rate, third-world, authoritarian dictatorship. How could this happen, they asked me after I assured them that my safety was secure.

As a historian of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president of the United States, it pains me to acknowledge that the reason is today’s Republican party.

I’ve noted that today’s Republican party is no longer the party of Lincoln, and has not been for a long time. I explained the history and metamorphosis of the Republican party in more detail. In the last four years the party has gone even further. They now are the party of the Confederacy. They are the party of Putin. They are the party of dishonesty. They have impeached themselves. They have committed treason.

The Republican party no longer even tries to hide its disdain for most Americans. They don’t hide their focus on white supremacy, on promoting the “superior” caste. Elected Representatives defended white supremacy on the floor of the House. The Republican party helped organize and fund the attack on the Capitol.

This became abundantly clear on January 6, 2021. Normally a perfunctory, ceremonial task, the joint House/Senate counting of the already many-times certified electoral votes to confirm the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was this time going to be an exercise in sedition. Current Vice President Pence, to his limited credit after enabling Trump for four years, refused to succumb to Trump’s treasonous threats to throw out valid votes. More than half of Republicans in the House and 13 Republicans in the Senate decided to violate their oaths of office to placate a psychopathic Trump’s delusions, all because they knew they needed Trump’s delusional and Anti-American cultists to support these politicians’ future political ambitions. These Republicans knowingly instigated and reinforced what they knew not to be true, solely for political expediency and fear of a psychopath.

Now four people are dead after a mob instigated and encouraged and instructed by Trump rampaged the Capitol and attacked sitting Congressmen, Senators, the sitting Vice President, and hundreds of staffers. Capitol police were injured. Offices were ransacked.

So now what happens?

After ridding the building of Trump’s mob, Congress continued through the night to complete the vote counting. A few Republicans backed down and they reduced the charade of baselessly challenging the votes after they saw how their political theater had caused the attacks. But more than half of Republican Representatives and a dozen Republican Senators followed through on their own attack on democracy.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) should immediately resign. If they refuse, the Senate should vote unanimously to expel them and ban them from ever holding federal office again.

All the other Republican Senators who participated in this sham attack on democracy should also resign immediately. If they refuse, they should at the very least be officially censured and removed from any committees they sit on.

Every Republican in the House of Representatives who voted to reject the vote of the American people should be immediately expelled from Congress and barred from holding future seats. If the House refuses take this necessary step, then these Republican members should be censured, lose their committee assignments, and be barred from leadership positions forever. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy should immediately resign his position.

Vice President Pence should immediately coordinate the removal of Trump from office using the 25th Amendment. This must be done today. Vice President Pence should assume status as Acting President immediately upon fulfilling the requirements of the 25th Amendment. Doing so will keep Trump from pardoning himself and his family, which would continue this national nightmare for many more years.

The House of Representatives should immediately bring charges of impeachment against Trump, to be voted on in the House immediately. Trump has provided ample evidence of sedition and treason, so no prolonged debate is necessary. We all know already.

The Senate must convict Trump on those impeachment charges immediately.

Trump must be charge with treason, inciting violence against the government, and a host of other seditious and violent instigations.

Every mob member that can be identified from the myriads of video and photographic evidence as having violently breached the Capitol should immediately be arrested and charged with the suite of felonies for their crimes. The two men photographed violating Speaker Pelosi’s office and the Senate floor should immediately be arrested for those charges and others related to theft of the mail and endangering public officers. They and other leaders of the attack should also be tried with manslaughter for their roles in the deaths of four people.

The West Virginia lawmaker who led one portion of the mob into the Capitol must be immediately expelled by the West Virginia legislature. He should also be arrested and charged with breaking into a government building and endangering the lives of federal lawmakers.

Soon to be former Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should resign his leadership position immediately. He should consider resigning from the Senate entirely. While he spoke out against the coup attempted by his fellow Republican Senators, he is the single most guilty of directing the party to the place it has arrived. Similarly, former Speaker Newt Gingrich should be called out for beginning this insurrection years ago with his dishonest attack on democracy during the impeachment of Bill Clinton, in addition to his continuing attacks on government and support for Trump’s treason via his media presence.

While politicians are naturally hesitant to hold each other accountable, the Republican party has reached a level of sedition so extreme that they must be punished for their Anti-Americanism. The above actions may seem extreme to some, but they are necessary to start the process of restoring America’s place in the world. A place that the Republican party has destroyed through anti-democratic and white supremacist policies over the last several decades. Trump didn’t appear in a vacuum. He epitomizes the autocratic, oligarchic promotion of the Republican party since Reagan. His overt brand of racism and casteism simply makes obvious the white supremacy and casteism pushed by the Republican party for many years.

Trump didn’t create the Republican party. The Republican party created the conditions that allowed Trump to rise to a natural position of authority. Both must go.

I reassured my friends in those foreign places that the United States would not become the kind of authoritarian nations theirs are known for. They assured me that the United States already is such a country. And we have secured that position in the last four years.

Enough is enough.

On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will become the President and Vice President of the United States. Pence should attend the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris to demonstrate the “smooth transition of power” that, until now, has been the hallmark of American government. Trump should be in jail.

Only then can we begin to rebuild America.

[NOTE: Edited to add the list of House and Senate Republicans who chose insurrection. See below and CNN link.]

The Senate voted 93 to 6 to dismiss the objection raised by Republicans to Arizona’s results, and 92 to 7 to reject the objection to Pennsylvania.

These are the senators who voted to object to some of the results of the election (and the states they objected to):

  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (Arizona, Pennsylvania)
  • Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (Arizona, Pennsylvania)
  • Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall (Arizona, Pennsylvania)
  • Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville (Arizona, Pennsylvania)
  • Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (Arizona, Pennsylvania)
  • Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (Arizona)
  • Florida Sen. Rick Scott (Pennsylvania)
  • Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis (Pennsylvania)

The House ultimately voted to reject an objection to throw out Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, but over half of the House Republicans backed the effort. The challenge failed by a vote of 282-138.

The GOP House minority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, and his deputy, Steve Scalise, were among those seeking to overturn the results.

[Note: Added the following quote from Abraham Lincoln]

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.

David J. Kent is an avid traveler, scientist, and Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved AmericaTesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World as well as two specialty e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

Check out my Goodreads author page. While you’re at it, “Like” my Facebook author page for more updates!

The Republican Party of Putin

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About two and a half years ago I had a far-ranging discussion with filmmaker Annabel Park and fellow scientist (and former colleague) Bob Scheuplein. In it I made an impromptu comment that the Republican Party had become Anti-American. Annabel was taken aback, shocked that I would go so far as to suggest one of the two American political parties no longer had the interests of the United States as a core principle.

And here we are.

And Republicans try to undermine democracy here.

And Trump tries to get a state official to commit election fraud here.

And now Trump incites a riot and attempts a coup.

If you have the time, you can watch the entire two hour discussion here. Bob, Annabel, and I talked a lot about Abraham Lincoln and how both parties today like to claim the mantle of Lincoln. [Here you can read about why today’s Republicans are NOT the Party of Lincoln.] Somewhat into the discussion I made the argument that the Republican party had given up all pretense of being a political party and had become a cult. The examples are too numerous to count.

I was reminded of the truth of this again today as I read Heather Cox Richardson’s January 2, 2021 edition of “Letters from an American.” She points out how the Republican party admits that it conducts witch hunt “investigations” as a mechanism to constantly attack Democrats, not as fact-finding. The constant fake investigations are a way to convince their supporters; saying false things loud enough and often enough makes people believe that they are somehow no longer false. That’s why we had ten Benghazi and dozens of email “investigations” while ignoring eleven “Benghazi-type” incidents under George Bush and Trump’s entire family (and most of the Republican party) using private emails. The Republicans know they are being dishonest, and yet they choose to sacrifice the integrity of the U.S. government, the media, and the election to destroy democracy in such a way it benefits the Republican party and a handful of oligarchs.

We saw this when Mitch McConnell refused to vote on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court for 10 months “because it was too close to the election,” and then rush through confirmation for Trump’s nomination when there was less than 10 weeks to an election the opposing party was likely to, and did, win. There are dozens of examples of McConnell playing with the rules to arbitrarily ignore the wishes of the voters. As the previous session of Congress ends, there are around 500 bills passed by the House that one man, Mitch McConnell, will not allow to get a vote in the Senate. That includes the $2000 COVID relief checks, not to mention how he blocked votes on COVID bills for nearly 8 months after they were passed by the House. All while saturating the courts with lifetime appointments of judges, many of whom the ABA says are unqualified – after blocking these same appointments for the 8 years of President Obama’s two terms in office.

Everything the Republican party does benefits two groups of people – the handful of most extremely wealthy Americans, and corporations. Proven daily.

While the Democratic party was fighting for relief for workers, small businesses, and states hard hit by the COVID pandemic, McConnell and the Republican party were blocking such help while they ensured huge amounts of money and additional tax breaks to the richest Americans and corporations. While Democrats were working to get unemployment benefits and checks to those who lost their jobs, Republicans were fighting to give liability protection to corporations that were not taking adequate steps to ensure the safety of their workers. On and on it goes. For the Republican party, the oligarch is America, workers are mere pawns to be used and replaced.

But the most egregious display of Anti-Americanism is reflected in how the Republican party has aided and abetted treason against the United States. The party remains silent on bounties Russia put on American soldiers’ lives. The party defended repeated acts of treason by Trump. The party voted not to convict Trump after he was impeached, and said all along they would allow him to get away with abusing the power of office. The party remains silent, or worse, becomes a conspirator, as foreign governments funnel millions of dollars into Trump’s businesses, blatantly violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution over and over and over (among many other impeachable offenses).

And now the Republican party is actively in sedition against the United States government. Following what their own federal elections officials, and every state elections official, call the most secure election in history, Trump continues to call for violent upheaval to deny the overwhelming and unequivocal results. Rather than support the integrity of the United States, we now have at least 140 House Republicans and a dozen Senate Republicans actively trying to destroy the American system of government and the peaceful transfer of power.

Such sedition. Such treason. Such Anti-Americanism led House and Senate members to be expelled from their positions when they refused to support the Constitution on the advent of the Civil War.

Those displaying the same behavior today should be expelled now.

The Republican party is now the Party of the Confederacy. The Republican Party is now the Party of Putin.

As I said more than two years ago, the Republican party is Anti-American.

Any Republican in Congress who chooses to remain in the same party as what the Republican party has become is guilty of Anti-Americanism by association. Every single one of them should be speaking up in volume against their colleagues. Every single one of them must reject their party. Every one of them should immediately resign from the Republican party. They can become Democrats or they can become Independents. But remaining in the Republican party makes them Anti-American.

David J. Kent is an avid traveler, scientist, and Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved AmericaTesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World as well as two specialty e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

Check out my Goodreads author page. While you’re at it, “Like” my Facebook author page for more updates!

Reading Time – 2020

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It’s time for the annual recap of my reading time for 2020. I kept my reading goal at 75 for this year, the same as 2019 and 2018. Despite my plans to focus more on my writing, I blew past that number and reached 90 for the year. The reason, in part at least, is obvious: COVID-19. With no ability to travel, I spent more time plopped in the corner recliner alternating between reading and dozing. I also didn’t write as much as I planned, but as I’ll note in a separate post on my website, it was a good year in the writing life nonetheless.

Books about Abraham Lincoln continue to dominate my reading list. In addition to my own purchases, I received a few books from publishers for book reviews (three of which are in publication) and quite a few books to evaluate for the annual ALI book award. That meant a full 30% of my reading this year were books directly about Abraham Lincoln. Among my favorites were Abe: Abraham Lincoln In His Times by David S. Reynolds, Lincoln on the Verge by Ted Widmer, Lincoln and the American Founding by Lucas Morel, The Zealot and the Emancipator by H.W. Brands, and Summoned to Glory: The Audacious Life of Abraham Lincoln by Richard Striner. Many of the others were also excellent. There were also books that I didn’t officially count as Lincoln books but featured Lincoln, such as Harold Holzer’s excellent look at The Presidents vs. The Press and Heather Cox Richardson’s How The South Won The Civil War.

Another 30% of my reading fell into the category of non-Lincoln non-fiction books, which also excludes memoirs, science, and writing books. These included books on Why Honor Matters, Target America (about Pearl Harbor), Lies Across America (misleading and downright falsehoods in history textbooks), Run the Storm (about a deadly hurricane), and The Year Without a Summer (the unusual climate of 1816 influenced by a huge Indonesian volcanic eruption). There were also two books of essays by Rebecca Solnit, a book called Indistractable that distracted me from writing, and the intriguing David’s Sling by Victoria C. Gardner Coates that traces the history of democracy in ten works of art (including Michelangelo’s famous David sculpture). Eleven of the non-fiction books were related to racism, continuing a trend I began in 2019. Among the best are White Rage by Carol Anderson, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. I am early in my reading of Isabel Wilkerson’s book, Caste, which may turn out to be the best book of the year (or next if it takes me to January 1st).

I counted memoir separately and read ten of them in 2020. Early in the year I read the memoirs of former UN Ambassador Samantha Power and scientist Hope Jahren, which I followed up later in the year with a charming memoir called Exploring New Europe by economics journalist Barry Wood, who documented his epic bicycle tours through the former Soviet block countries beginning in Estonia and ending in Albania. I also read about important political personalities including National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Senator (and now Vice President-elect) Kamala Harris. Most notable among the memoirs was A Promised Land, Volume 1 of President Barack Obama’s two-part memoir. I had read Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, last year and was enthralled; Barack Obama’s was even more inspiring.

Writing books included Murder Your Darlings, How to be a Travel Writer, The Best American Travel Writing 2019, and Guide to Magazine Article Writing. Hey, if you can’t travel, you at least can write about it, right?

Fifteen out of the 90 books this year were fiction. Among them were three books I read again after having initially reading them years ago, including Brave New World (I also reread the non-fiction follow up Brave New World Revisited), The Great Gatsby, and The Ugly American. I also read random fiction picked up (and returned) at two local mini-libraries and two Shakespeare plays as I try to make up for somehow missing them in school, plus a poetry book by Nathan Richardson, perhaps best known for his current portrayal of Frederick Douglass in public events. By far the best fiction book was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, a beautifully written book about a curmudgeonly old man rediscovering life as his neighbors rediscover him. If you read only one novel, read this book.

As always, there is much more that I could talk about. I keep track of my reading on Goodreads, so feel free to check out my Goodreads author page where I also have links to my own books.

You can also join my Facebook author page for updates and links to interesting articles.

For 2021 I’m going to backtrack on my Goodreads challenge goals even though I generally surpass those goals anyway. Officially I will set my goal at 50 books for 2021. Why? Because for the first six months I am going to be so busy writing my forthcoming book that I won’t have much time for reading. COVID is likely to halt traveling at least until summer anyway, which means no reading time on trains, planes, and automobiles. I do expect to read more light novels as mental breaks in the first half of the year, and I’m just as certain that I’ll have plenty of Abraham Lincoln books to review in the second half. We’ll see how many I actually read.

David J. Kent is an avid traveler, scientist, and Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved AmericaTesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World as well as two specialty e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

Check out my Goodreads author page. While you’re at it, “Like” my Facebook author page for more updates!

Thanking the U.S. Postal Service

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I want to thank the U.S. Postal Service, aka, USPS or simply, the Post Office.

To be honest, that might sound a little strange coming from my lips (fingertips). I’ve never been a huge fan of the local capabilities. Delivery of my mail to my neighbors (and my neighbors’ mail to me) has been so routine that we have developed a secondary re-delivery system in my townhouse farm community. Recently the post office added a new twist: put a key in the box that supposedly opens the bigger “oversized mail” section for relatively small packages – only to have the key not match up with the box they actually put the packages into. Still, most mail does arrive. Eventually.

But I’ve realized this year, and especially this last month, require an additional level of patience, and yes, appreciation, for the work mail carriers and post office workers are doing.

Consider that the post office normally delivers about 472 million pieces of mail every day to every address and post office box in America. While the amount of personal letters and cards have been displaced by email and e-cards, the amount of package traffic has grown steadily. As most people likely noticed, many of the alternative (aka, more expensive) delivery services, as well as huge shippers like Amazon, often contract with the Post Office for the final “doorstep/mailbox” delivery. Contrary to the oft-told lies about what Amazon pays for delivery, the Post Office actually has a positive revenue. The problem is that Congress in 2006 required USPS to pre-fund for 75-years all retiree health care costs, an exorbitant lump cost no other agency or corporation is required to do. [The requirement is part of the Republican party’s attempt to force the privatization of USPS.]

Enter COVID.

With people quarantined, locked down, and otherwise staying put, the amount of first class mail is down, but during this holiday season the amount of online orders – and packages in need of delivery – has skyrocketed. One local mail carrier reported that he normally delivers 20-40 packages a day on his route; that number has recently risen to 150. Other reports suggest 5 to 10 times the normal package volume. This is why Jeff Bezos’s wealth has increased by $70 billion dollars while many Americans are struggling just to keep their jobs.

Okay, now add a presidential election. We saw a huge increase in mail-in voting because of the pandemic, and that was on top of a significant increase in the overall number of people voting in this critical election. All those mail-in ballots had to reach election offices within a fairly narrow window. Trump put his billionaire buddy in as Postmaster General in June specifically to delay mail-in ballot delivery, which included removing perfectly operational mail sorting machines. Career postal workers had to pick up the slack on the now-slower hand-sorting process in an attempt to keep the ballots, along with the rest of the mail, flowing. These rank-and-file workers then had to deal with irate customers complaining about delayed delivery, as I personally witnessed on Friday.

And it isn’t over. The Senate runoff election in Georgia has stimulated another massive mail-in voting avalanche. Most of that is centered within Georgia, but voter-turnout operations have led millions of Americans to send tens of millions of postcards and letters from all over the country into the state. On the front end this is good for the post office as each item means revenue from stamps, but it increases the volume of mail that needs to be delivered, and thus the already overwhelming burden during the holidays.

Oh, and did I mention that Post Office staff have been hit hard by COVID, forcing many out of action due to sickness or close contact with others testing positive. Around 100 post office employees have died from COVID. Close to 10% of the workforce have lost at least some work time due to the pandemic. This puts more burden on those who do make it to work.

So yes, even in my grumpiness I must admit that the post office deserves thanks from all of us even as we wait for delayed delivery. This year has highlighted the worst of some of us, but also the best of some of us as we push through difficult times. At the very least we can show a little appreciation, and a lot of patience, with the post office this holiday season. Frankly, they deserve a break.

So to all postal service employees (and private delivery people too): Thank you!

P.S. I’m still waiting for my 2021 calendar to arrive.

P.P.S. If you live in Georgia, VOTE!

David J. Kent is an avid traveler, scientist, and Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved AmericaTesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World as well as two specialty e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

Check out my Goodreads author page. While you’re at it, “Like” my Facebook author page for more updates!

Vote Georgia – One More Time for the Senate

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To my friends in Georgia:

I know. This is getting tiring. But the rest of the country is counting on Georgia to save the nation. We need you to vote one more time – the Senate runoff election on January 5th.

We need you to vote for BOTH Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. They are running in two separate Senate races. Ossoff is running against incumbent David Purdue for the regularly scheduled Senate seat. Warnock is running against incumbent Kelly Loeffler in a special election (Loeffler, a billionaire with no legislative experience, bought her appointment to fill an empty seat).

The runoff is needed because Georgia law requires it if no candidate in the general election held November 3rd gets more than 50% of the vote. That was the case for both the regular Senate election and the special election, a rare case when both Senate seats are up for election in one year.

The candidate debates on December 6th showed what kind of Senator each of the two incumbents have been, and promise to be if reelected. David Purdue refused to show up, much as he has been a no-show in the Senate for the last six years, leaving Jon Ossoff to debate an empty podium. Kelly Loeffler at least showed up for her debate with Raphael Warnock, but she refused to answer even the most basic questions while somehow inserting the words “radical” and “socialist” in every sentence, as the political lobbyists had instructed her to do.

Meanwhile, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock each provided substantive responses to all the issues that concern all Georgians. This has been the case throughout the election – the two Democrats providing honest, substantive answers; the two Republicans refusing to answer any questions honestly, repeatedly lying to voters (when they bothered to even show up).

There’s another reason why everyone in Georgia needs to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.

Both Perdue and Loeffler are crooks.

Perdue and Loeffler each made insider stock trades after receiving private COVID briefings given to Republican Senators, then while lying for ensuing weeks to Georgians they each sold off millions of dollars worth of stocks in industries that would be negatively affected by the pandemic (e.g., hotels, airlines, resorts) while buying up stocks that would be expected to benefit (e.g., vaccine/pharmaceutical companies, online marketers, shipping companies). They had insider information and they used it to make millions of dollars.

That’s illegal.

Meanwhile, Perdue and Loeffler told Georgians that the encroaching pandemic was nothing to worry about. Georgians lost much of their savings while Perdue and Loeffler enhanced their portfolios. Both Perdue and Loeffler got into the Senate to increase their riches. Both have been under investigation for insider trading. Neither has contributed to governing or to protecting the rights of Georgians.

Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both have committed themselves to Georgia. Both have worked hard to address the issues that are critical to Georgia’s future. Both will work for all Georgians, not enrich themselves.

Today (December 7th) is the last day to register to vote in the runoff election. Anyone who turns 18 by January 5th is eligible to vote, so please get yourself registered by today.

January 5th is the runoff date but early voting starts on December 14th.

Check here to find out the details for voting in the runoff election.

Why is this so important? Besides giving Georgia’s two Senate seats to candidates who will work for all Georgians, these two seats will decide control of the Senate. If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win these two seats, the Senate will be officially split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. If either seat goes to the Republican candidate, then Mitch McConnell will remain majority leader in the Senate. McConnell has promised to sacrifice Georgian, and all American, interests for his own benefit and the benefit of rich oligarchs. McConnell has made it clear that he will block COVID relief, end health care for half a million Georgians, and increase the poverty level in Georgia (which currently stands at the 11th worst poverty in America because of decades of Republican control).

So getting Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock elected is critical for both Georgia and the nation.

Please vote.

As they have been for many years, the Republican-led government in Georgia has engaged in massive voter suppression in an effort to take the power of the vote away from Georgians. So Georgians must vote in huge numbers to overwhelm those voter suppression measures. Georgians did it to give the state to Biden/Harris in the presidential election and put Ossoff and Warnock in contention for this runoff.

So I’m asking, pleading, begging all Georgians to mobilize one more time and vote for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on January 5th. Early voting begins December 14th. Last day to register is December 5th (note that if you successfully voted in the November election, you are already registered).

Vote by January 5th to save Georgia and save the country.

More info on how to vote in the runoff in Georgia.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
America

David J. Kent is an avid traveler, scientist, and Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved AmericaTesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World as well as two specialty e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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