Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Brunswick News. July 22, 2021.

Editorial: Opponents to state’s voting legislation are misguided

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., thinks politicians in Washington know better than the states how to safeguard their elections. In fact, the chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee is doing everything in her power to prove it and is eager to trample all over state rights with the heavy foot of the federal government.

Klobuchar has convinced herself that the 50 states need Congress to babysit them when considering new laws. Poor dears, she is thinking, what states need most right now is federal voting legislation. Democrats tried once but failed when their measure hit a solid Republican wall built upon the belief that states are capable of handling and managing their elections.

A former Democratic candidate for U.S. president, Klobuchar is unwilling to let that defeat go and is joining the state chorus of fellow politicians, including Georgia’s own two senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, in declaring the Peach State’s new election laws discriminatory and rotten. The men and women Georgians elect to the General Assembly apparently lack the motivation, decency or intelligence to protect the integrity of elections, Klobuchar would have the nation believe.

It matters not to her, Ossoff, Warnock or other critics of this state’s revised voting procedures that the new law covers everyone who votes in the Peach State. It is not limited, as those three and others might have everyone else think, to one particular race or group of people. Everyone must follow the new rules. Everyone.

What the new law does is make it harder for anyone to cheat. That includes Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

One part of the new voting legislation opponents harp on and on about has to do with the inability of campaign workers or anyone else to hand out water and food to voters standing in line for extended periods of time. Water will be made available to long lines of voters by official poll workers when necessary or requested. And those who think they might get hungry between the time they leave their home or apartment and cast a ballot should think ahead and take a snack. Of course, they always have the option of mailing in an absentee ballot if they don’t wait until the last minute to request one.

That’s the trouble with the nation’s leaders today. They focus on the trivial or nonissues and ignore the country’s real problems or pretend they do not exist.

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Valdosta Daily Times. July 28, 2021.

Editorial: Press must be protected, not spied on

An open, free and unfettered press is a cornerstone of democracy and part and parcel of our liberty.

Government must never impede the work of journalists and that includes spying on reporters.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has said his justice department will not spy on journalists or seize their tape recordings, notes or cellphone records except in exceptional cases.

To be perfectly clear, both Democrat and Republican administrations have had embattled relationships with the press and seized the records of journalists, and it has always been wrong.

Of course, the federal government should protect classified information, but the fear is that “stopping leaks” is more often than not just a ruse used to justify the seizure of both professional and personal records of journalists.

The First Amendment enshrines the principles of a free press.

The First Amendment prohibits the government from impeding or harassing the press.

The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

It should not take action or a public statement by a sitting U.S. Attorney General to say the press will not be spied on and essentially harassed by the very government it is working to hold accountable.

The place of an open, free and unfettered press must not depend on the whims of whatever administration happens to hold power.

Congress must simply honor its creed: the First Amendment.

Federal lawmakers have introduced pieces of legislation to protect reporters against the actions of the state and we would absolutely welcome any such protections. While criminalizing the acts of government when it spies on journalists is warranted, we do already have this clear language enshrined in the Bill of Rights that protects the freedom of the press.

Ironically, it seems, the First Amendment is not enough.

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Dalton Daily Citizen. July 26, 2021.

Editorial: Editorial: Masks, vaccines can help keep our children and others safe as schools start back next month

We’ve spent the past 17 months living within the COVID-19 pandemic. The toll has been excruciating to us mentally, spiritually, physically and in seemingly countless other ways. To date, the coronavirus has killed some 610,000 Americans and about 4.16 million worldwide.

So whenever we hear the word “normal” or the phrase “return to normal” we instinctively breathe a sigh of relief. But “normal” may be much further away than we’d like.

Due to new coronavirus variants (including the delta variant, which is more contagious than the original virus) and many people’s refusal to be vaccinated, often because of unfortunate continuing disinformation campaigns, the number of new COVID-19 cases has increased this month in every state. And the number of cases continues to rise.

We have a tool — the vaccines — that could help us tamp down the insidious virus. Of 10.4 million Georgians, only 38% of us are fully vaccinated. Closer to home in Whitfield County, only 33% of our approximate 100,000 residents were fully vaccinated as of July 19. In Murray County, that percentage is even lower — 27% of the county’s 41,000 residents were fully vaccinated as of the same date.

Many public schools and colleges start back next month. Since no COVID-19 vaccine is yet approved for children under 12 and fewer than 20% of youth ages 12 to 17 are vaccinated in Georgia, many people are concerned about more coronavirus outbreaks.

The Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for school system leaders to follow the recently released guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics “to support in-person learning, including universal mask-wearing in schools,” when students return to classrooms. The Georgia AAP is urging schools to require all kindergarten through twelfth-grade students, as well as teachers and staff, to wear masks while at school.

“We recommend universal masking because a significant portion of the k-12 student population is not yet eligible for vaccination and masking is a critical measure for protecting those who are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Hugo Scornik, a Conyers pediatrician and Georgia AAP president.

The AAP released the following guidelines, which piggyback on directives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Maintaining at least 3 feet of physical distance between students wherever possible within classrooms.

• Enhanced ventilation in schools.

• COVID-19 screening.

• Handwashing and respiratory etiquette.

• Staying home when sick and getting tested.

• Contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation.

• Cleaning and disinfection.

We must do everything we can to protect our children in school, as well as the many people who contribute to their day — teachers, administrators, janitors, cafeteria workers, crossing guards, etc. Consider having your child wear a mask while at school, and if eligible, have your child vaccinated.

Let’s keep our children safe.

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