Former Republican legislator speaks to the absence of truth in the Trump party

Carly Roman wrote in the Washington Examiner an article called “Eric Cantor: Republicans refusing to tell truth led to Capitol siege.” A few paragraphs follow, with a link to the entire article below.

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said a failure by elected Republicans to tell the truth led to the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Friday, Cantor focused on the challenges to the 2020 election results but argued that the trouble began when conservative groups such as Heritage Action and Tea Party Express “purposely ramped up expectations” for Republican voters who wanted to repeal Obamacare in the GOP-controlled House in 2013

‘At first, this was a political headache for me and my colleagues … but then a small group of lawmakers in the House and the Senate, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), started telling the base what they longed to hear: that Republicans could indeed defund Obamacare,’ he wrote. ‘These members, and indeed every other elected Republican, knew better, but very few were willing to say so.

Cantor argued that the same tactic of intentionally feeding voters misinformation to gin up the base pervaded in 2020, when claims of widespread voter fraud cast a shadow over President Biden’s electoral victory in the minds of many Republican voters, even as the courts and election officials rejected the allegations.

‘Stop the Steal’ narratives about widespread fraud, albeit without evidence, sought to undermine the [2020 election] results,” wrote Cantor while decrying former President Donald Trump’s role in the unrest.

Rioters breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as lawmakers met to affirm Biden’s victory. Five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died, and Trump has been impeached on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” in connection to the mayhem of that day. Trump faces a Senate trial next month.

Calling himself by nature an optimist,’ Cantor offered a prescription for members of both parties going forward.

‘To my fellow Republicans who hope that Trump’s departure from office will end this cycle [of misinformation] … and to my Democratic friends who think this is a Republican problem … [I ask that you] engage in the competition of ideas and solve problems while moving the country forward [rather than continuing] to promote disinformation and false narratives designed to undermine our democracy,’ he wrote.

Cantor, a Republican who represented Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, chastised Trump previously. He criticized Trump for ‘assigning equal blame’ after the deadly 2017 clash at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The voices of reason like Eric Cantor or Senators Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and now Rob Poirtman, who chose not to run again, are being drowned out, when they are needed most. The ten Republican representatives, led by Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach the former president, while still president are receiving death threats and admonition for voting their conscience. And, only five GOP Senators voted to hear the impeachment trial and they are being vilified.

I have written many times before, but the truthtellers in the Republican party are showing courage as they know they will be crucified by the MAGA supporters. Yet, they tell the truth anyway. Why is that? And, why have not more MAGA supporters noticed how easily violence and condemnation occurs when someone speaks out against the former president?

Eric Cantor: Republicans refusing to tell truth led to Capitol siege (msn.com)

Harry Chapin made it “A Better Place to Be” – a reprise

Writing a comment on Deborah’s blog reminded me of an old post about a terrific songwriter and storyteller who left us way too early. Here is a reprise about Harry Chapin.

Like Jim Croce, another favorite story-telling songwriter of mine, Harry Chapin also left our world much too soon. Chapin died on July 16, 1981 of cardiac arrest that occurred either before or after a car accident on his way to perform a free concert at Eisenhower Park. He was only 38 years old. He never had the huge popular success that many performers crave, yet I don’t think that was his motivation. He wrote very meaningful songs which usually told stories or had lessons for us all. And, he was one of us – a guy we wanted to hang out with and let him regale us with his stories.

If your ever saw or heard him in concert, he was equally known for his story-telling between the songs. He would very often share how this weird story came to be, many that actually came from true events. One of my favorite songs of his – “I Wanna Learn a Love Song” is actually based on the true story of how he met his wife, Sandy, when she hired Chapin as her music teacher. Their family consisted of five children (two together and her three children from a previous marriage).  In fact, his most popular song, “Cat’s in the Cradle” was based on a poem Sandy had written about her childhood, but a lesson for her husband and all of us fathers – “when you comin home Dad, I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Son, you know will have a good time then.” As we all know, the Dad/ Son are switched at the end  “as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”

His first big hit was “Taxi” about a man who wanted to be a pilot and is now driving a taxi. He picks up a fare that turns out to be his ex-girlfriend who wanted to be an actress. It is a very melancholy song to which we all can relate. Other favorites include “W.O.L.D” about an old disk jockey who has seen better days and “Thirty Pounds of Bananas” about a funny trucking disaster that spilled boxed bananas everywhere. Yet, my two favorites are vintage Harry Chapin. I will save the best for last, as it appears in this title.

One of my two favorites is called “Mr. Tanner” which is a song about a man who loved to sing while he worked. And, all the shopkeepers nearby loved to hear him sing. Yet, when they encouraged him to perform, the critics were not as kind. As Chapin points out…

“But, music was his life, it was not his livelihood. And, it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And, he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole.”

You find yourself pulling for this man and are so heartbroken that his joy of singing was shattered. At the end, he only sang softly, so no one could hear him.

My favorite, though, is “A Better Place to Be.” It is a story about loneliness, a midnight watchman and a rotund waitress. The watchman tells the waitress his story as she says “I know I’m not no beauty queen, but I sure can listen good.” He tells how he met this beautiful lonely girl who, surprising to him, agrees to come home with him because “I’m goin nowhere and anywhere is a better place to be.”  After the most memorable night of is life, he leaves to get breakfast and when he returns, finds she has left, shattering his dreams.

The waitress dries tears from her eyes and eventually says “I wish that I was beautiful, or that you were halfway blind. And, I wish I weren’t so Goddamn fat, I wish that you were mine. And, I wish you’d come with me, when I leave for home; for we both know all about emptiness, and livin all alone.” After he finishes his last sip, he says “And, I know we both have been so lonely. And, if you want me to come with you, then that’s alright with me. Cause I know I’m goin nowhere, and anywhere is a better place to be.”

This is one of the most true to life, heartfelt songs you will ever hear. The song has many nuances and flavors. I hope I have given you taste of the genius of Harry Chapin. But, let me not stop there. On top of all of his storytelling songs and performances, Chapin was also a humanitarian. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his work on ending hunger in the US and abroad. He started an organization called “Long Island Cares” to combat hunger there and in 1977, Jimmy Carter asked him to be on a Presidential Commission on World Hunger.

So, through his songs and through his actions, Chapin told us how to make this world “a better place to be.” His epitaph is taken from his song “I Wonder What Would Happen to the World” and reads: “Oh, if man tried, to take time on Earth. And, prove before he died. What one man’s life could be worth. I wonder what would happen to the world.”  Harry, you live well beyond your 38 years. You keep on teaching us. You made the Earth “a better place to be.” Thank you.

This is a long video of Chapin singing “A Better Place to Be,” but grab some tissue, it is well worth it.

a better place to be harry chapin – Bing

Friday foibles and fumbles

Since I am struggling for a longer topic and did not want to repost an old post, here are a few foibles and fumbles for this Friday.

  • Help me understand how a person gets elected to Congress that believes in things like a Jewish laser from space is causing the wildfires? But, she must be OK in the eyes of many as she believes everything the former president says.
  • Speaking of said former president, taking a page out of deceased war hero and Senator John McCain’s op-ed a few years back, how can the actions of the former president before, leading up to and during the insurrection on a third branch of government not be viewed as “traitorous.”
  • I cite Senator McCain’s words as he called the former president’s siding with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki over the input of his own intelligence people as “traitorous.” It should be noted President Biden is getting kudos from Republican legislators for pushing back on Putin in his first call. Putin is a malevolent and deceitful person, the kind of person the former president holds in high regard as a strong leader.
  • House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy traveled to Mar-a-Largo to kiss the former president’s ring. Some may use a body part in this sentence, but let’s keep it clean. McCarthy has ranged from blaming the former president for a role in the insurrection to it is not his fault over the last twenty days. Between him, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and, disappointingly, former UN Ambassador and SC governor Nikki Haley, groveling at the feet of the insurrectionist former president to woo his followers is rather insulting and distasteful.
  • President Biden has been a busy camper with executive orders. I am delighted he has rejoined the US into the Paris Climate Change agreement and is taking actions to help heal the planet. And, I am glad to see a president who actually considers the pandemic a problem. Mind you, it is not as important as trying to overturn a just election or inciting an insurrection which was the focus of the last president, but over 400,000 citizens dying is a problem that needs to be dealt with.
  • On a sad note, two US treasures passed away this week, Cicely Tyson and Cloris Leachman, both terrific actresses. Tyson had key roles in movies like “Sounder,” “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” to name only a few. Leachman was the consummate supporting actress, often in a comedic role. Her roles in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “The Last Picture Show” were compelling.
  • Let me close with a note about collaboration. Collaboration is hard work, which is why it is not done as often as it should be. Working with others toward a common purpose is essential to gain buy-in and sustainability. As noted above, executive orders are easy to do and easy to change. Yet, they are not laws. Congress must do their job and work together to enact laws. If the US flip-flops with every new president on working with other countries, then those countries will find more predictable trading partners.

That is all I have for today. Have a great Friday and weekend. Let me know your thoughts and reactions.

“Weak stuff from weak kneed senators” per The Charlotte Observer

I have been writing to and about the five Republican Senators and ten Representatives who have voted to hold the former president accountable for his causing and inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol Building. The five people that died equal the number of courageous Republican Senators who voted their conscience and not out of loyalty to a deceitful former president.

The Editorial Board of The Charlotte Observe wrote a piece this morning about the lack of courage of the two North Carolina Senators called “The weak reasons Sens. Burr and Tills are meek about impeachment.” A few paragraphs follow, but the entire editorial can be linked to below.

North Carolina’s two Republican U.S. senators voted Tuesday – fortunately without success – against the Senate holding a trial on the impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

No surprise there. Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Thom Tillis are party stalwarts who rarely go against their tribe. According to the website FiveThirtyEight, Burr and Tillis voted in accord with Trump’s position nine times out of 10. Still, it’s stunning to see the senators’ party loyalty blot out their conscience in the case of a president charged with inciting an insurrection that stormed into their own chamber.

On the day of the mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, Burr said that Trump was guilty of ‘promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point.” Tillis more vaguely asserted: ”It’s a national disgrace to have a mob attacking Capitol Police and engaging in anarchy. This is not what America stands for.

But the senators’ righteousness of Jan. 6 has dissipated like yesterday’s tear gas. Now they offer thin justifications for skipping a trial of the president whose false claim of a stolen election – a claim he still maintains – fueled the attack on the Capitol. Burr says let the Justice Department decide if charges are merited. Tillis says impeachment is intended only for removal, not a reckoning after a president departs.

This is weak stuff from weak-kneed senators. Virtually all impeachments of presidents and other federal office holders – some of whom had left office – have involved a trial. Why would this case, based the most serious of impeachment charges, not merit a full hearing and vote by the Senate? It’s one thing to vote to acquit Trump after a trial. It’s an abdication of duty to say the American people should not even hear the evidence.

Our elected officials need to be among our better angels, not represent our worst demons. This former president planned and staged his fraudulent voter fraud claims well ahead of the election. He continued to lie and was aided by too many sycophants even in the face of his embarassing inability to prove alleged fraud. He wound up the extreme part of his base and encouraged them to come to DC on the day Congress was to approve the electoral college. He then wound them up some more and pointed these tin soldiers at the Capitol building.

Make no mistake, this former president has a heavy hand in what happened, but as per usual, he declares nothing bad is his fault. The Senators and Representatives who decided not to hold him accountable, or at least hear such evidence, should think that they are fortunate to be alive to make such a vote. Their fearless leader “sicced” his tin soldiers onto them and more people could have gotten hurt.

In my view, what the former president did is unforgivable. And, he should be held accountable.

In trial vote, Sens. Burr and Tillis put party before country | Charlotte Observer

The Frackers – the Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters (a reprise from 2014)

The following piece is a reprise from a post in 2014. It is important to read the concerns of six years ago about this industry. Fortunately, the renewable energy industry continues to make huge strides.

I recently completed a very interesting book written by Gregory Zuckerman, a Wall Street Journal reporter called “The Frackers – the Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters,” published by Portfolio/ Penguin Press in 2013. Zuckerman is also author of “The Greatest Trade Ever.” I highly recommend this book as it is as entertaining as it is informative, in multiple ways. It gives you a clearer picture of the risks and rewards of fracking, but also shows how hard it is to both glean the fossil fuel you are seeking and to be so highly leveraged in debt as you do.

The successful fracking companies, usually bucked the odds and the more measured risk takers in the larger companies who had much more capital to withstand some of the risk. As a result, even the ones who had success, usually failed before, after and sometimes during their success, due to the need to be land rich which came at a highly collaterized cost of debt. When some went public, they also had to contend with impatient shareholders. These wildcat developers made and lost huge sums of money, oftentimes with their egos getting in the way of knowing when to stop.

Zuckerman does an excellent job of telling the story of people like George Mitchell, who has been called the “father of shale fracking,” Aubrey McClendon, Tom Ward, Harold Hamm, Charif Souki, Robert Hauptfurher and Mark Papa, among countless others who were key to the success of gleaning natural gas and oil from places that were perceived too difficult to crack. He also defines why methods and strategies are so secretive, as companies will follow suit to leverage off your success. These men and their companies, Mitchell Energy, Oryx Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Continental Resources, Chenier Energy and EOG Resources, were truly the path finders in this process called fracking. They led the US to become more energy independent, yet in so doing, understated or overlooked the risks that came with those rewards.

As I read this entertaining book, I found myself convinced of a preconceived notion, that the main mission of these guys was to make a lot of money, as well as proving others wrong. Some even took delight that their hypothesis was true, even if they had not benefitted as greatly as the company that bought out their rights. Yet, what I also found this lust for money also was an Achilles Heel, and there seemed to be less consideration of what fracking was doing to the environment. They were more content to let the problems be handled by someone else and often belittled the complaints and complainers.

Zuckerman addresses these concerns from the frackers viewpoint earlier in the book, yet does devote an Afterword to the environmental risks that are real. But, before doing so, he notes that George Mitchell, late in life continued to buck convention. Per Zuckerman, Mitchell “gave millions to research clean energy even as he, along with his son and Joe Greenberg, invested in a new shale formation in Canada.” But the quote that interests me most, is by Mitchell who responds to those who contend how safe fracking is:

“Fracking can be handled if they watch and patrol the wildcat guys. They don’t give a damn about anything; the industry has to band together to stop isolated incidents.”

This dovetails nicely with a well-worn phrase I gleaned early on. Even if fracking were safe, it is only as safe as its worst operator. Mitchell, the father of fracking is more than acknowledging the bad operators. His son Todd, who was also in business with his father, said “his father’s work will have had a negative impact on the world if it forestalls progress on renewable energy, instead of giving innovators time to improve wind, solar and other cleaner energy sources.”

Let me close with an even-handed quote from Zuckerman, which frames the issue, yet also notes a caution. He answers the question “Is fracking as bad as activists say, and what will its impact be as drillers continue to pursue energy from shale and other rock formations?” His conclusion is as follows:

“The short answer: Fracking has created less harm than the most vociferous critics claim, but more damage than the energy industry contends. And, it may be years before the full consequences of the drilling and fracking are clear.”

With my reading I would agree with both of these sentences, yet not place the fulcrum in the middle of the scale. I would be more on the side of vociferous critics as the evidence continues to mount and as non-industry scientists are revealing issues. The massive water usage, the seepage of the poisonous slickwater fracking fluid into the environment, the particles that are blasted into the atmosphere which are causing breathing difficulty, and the degradation to the surrounding environment just to get vehicles and equipment into frack are compelling arguments by themselves.

But, the great caution in his last sentence is where we need to focus. “And, it may be years before the full consequences of the drilling and fracking are clear.”This is the bane of any environmental group fighting for people and the environment. Oftentimes, it takes years for the true damage to be seen and felt. Some show up in shorter order, yet when the companies making the money do not want to stop a mission, they can afford to fight people who cannot clearly make a connection. The developers want to settle with each complaint at minimal outlay and move on. Unfortunately, the people exposed to the problem, remain in harm’s way.

Email to Republican Senators and conservative opinion hosts

I have posted the following email on a few websites, several conservative opinion hosts along with a few Republican Senators. My point is to ask why did these people knowingly risk it all to do the right thing? Please feel free to comment and/ or adapt and use.

What continues to fail me is when people look past the courage and conviction of folks doing the right thing to fault them on their message. I see it today with people posing death threats to Republicans who dare push back on the deceitful former president. Don’t the folks who threaten people realize that the target of their threat knows they will receive such threat, yet they share their concerns anyway? Now, why would they risk so much?

The people of courage are those who testified under oath or wrote inspector general reports over concerns about the former president’s actions. They are the Republican (and Democrat) election officials, judges, secretaries of state and governors who told the former president he lost the election. They are the ten GOP representatives who voted to impeach the former president. My question is why did only ten do so, when it is clear the former president lied to repeatedly, invited, revved up and sicced these tin soldiers on the Capitol building?

And, now there are only five Republican Senators who voted to hear the impeachment trial. Five. The five Senators match the five people who are dead because of the former president led insurrection. And, we should not forget members of Congress were in danger as well due to this terrorist attack. This former president needs to be held to account. It is that simple, says this independent and former GOP voter. What the former president did is unforgivable.

A visit to the Civil Rights Museum at the Greensboro sit-in site (a reprise in honor of brave young people)

Yesterday, I had some free time in the Greensboro, North Carolina area and decided to revisit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Why Greensboro? For those of you are old enough to remember or know your history, the museum incorporates and builds off the actual Woolworth’s lunch counter where four African-Americans started a movement of non-violent sit-ins. The story of this daily sit-in helped bring about change along with many other efforts. Our tour guide whose mother used to bring her to Woolworth’s to shop, said the operative word they had to overcome was “separatism.”

In an attempt to protect the whites from the significant misconceptions about African-American citizens, “separate, but equal” laws were passed to allow discrimination to continue under the guise of the law. These Jim Crow laws, as they were called, came about to show that society need not have to integrate to give rights to its African-American citizens. The ugly truth is separatism was not very equal and continued to put down and discriminate against African-Americans in perceived legal and moral ways. There were some whites who spoke out before the overt discrimination became more apparent, but we had far too many leaders in business, government and faith communities who perpetuated this maltreatment.

The list of examples in the museum of discrimination and the fight to alleviate it are significant in number and impact. It makes you feel ashamed, disillusioned and angry that our fellow citizens were treated this way. The bombings, the lynchings, and the beatings are well documented and illustrated. The separate, but very unequal, train station terminals where whites had bigger waiting rooms, restrooms and easements are eye-opening. The separate, but unequal restrooms in stores, where our guide said her mother would tell her to go at home before they went to the store, are indicative. Sitting in the back of the bus, yielding your seat to white person and even the leather straps for standers in the back of the bus versus cushioned straps in the front showed the lack of equality. The Coke machine with two sides, one for whites at 5 cents with the opposite side for African-Americans at 10 cents is separate and very unequal. The voter laws that made it so very difficult for an African-American to register and vote were definitely not equal. And, so on and so on.

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) pushed through the Civil Rights Act in the United States. The next year he followed up with the Voters Rights Act. These key pieces of legislation changed the long term and horrible course of inequality America was on. Forced busing to allow for fair and equal education was passed in 1970 sixteen years following the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. LBJ helped change the future in response to the efforts of many from Martin Luther King to John Lewis to Rosa Parks. It was critical that LBJ, a white southerner working with a coalition across political parties was able to shame leaders into doing something for America.

We are much further along than before, but our work is not done. We each need to be mindful of our biases and prejudices we have to various groups of people. We need to be active to voice our concerns over recent state actions by conservatively led states (ironically and sadly like the one in NC) to limit the voting rights of people who are primarily African-American, under the disguise of doing something against voter fraud. Rampant voter fraud has been proven not to exist, even as recently as last week with touted data in an attempt to show it does. Some of these laws have been ruled unconstitutional and others are being sued for such as of the time of this post. Make no mistake, these laws are designed to suppress voters who tend not to vote with the conservative side of the ledger. This is masked cheating, which is straight out of Jim Crow book.

What makes this further disturbing is our Supreme Court ruled that parts of the Voters Rights Act are no longer needed. This is one of several decisions made by this court which puzzle and frustrate me. What country do they live in? I see or hear examples of discrimination almost every day. It often is masked with code words or followed by words like “but, I am not a racist.” It would surprise these folks to learn most food stamp recipients are white. Even Senator Paul Ryan parlayed that misconception in some of recent speeches and interviews. The bottom line is it should not matter, as poverty knows no color. I use this as an example of unstated racism in America. It is those people who are in need of aid, so it is OK to cut benefits.

There are Civil Rights museums in several cities. Please frequent them with your children and friends. If you’re near Greensboro, please stop by and tour this well crafted museum. I was pleased to see two bus loads of school children of all stripes leaving the museum when I arrived. This stuff really did happen and discrimination still exists today. Use these occasions as opportunities to discuss what is happening today with others. Per the play and movie “South Pacific” bigotry has to be carefully taught. The converse of this is also true. Let’s carefully teach that discrimination is not right.

Here is a link to the Greensboro Civil Rights Museum. http://sitinmovement.org/

Accountability and unity

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said yesterday, we cannot have unity without accountability. Yet, some Republican Senators are still echoing the planned fraud by the former president on the American people claiming unproven voter fraud. Others are saying the former president should not stand trial in the Senate.

As for those who do not want to hold the former president accountable, here is metaphor that uses a crying toddler example with intent.

-The toddler cried to anyone who would listen he was cheated.

-He took all measures he could to say he was cheated, unable to prove such.

-He bullied other toddlers to go along with him or he would be mean to them.

-He invited the tin soldiers to his room having wound them up for two months.

-He revved them up some more. Then he pointed them at the perceived enemy and sicced them to go do harm.

-Then, as per usual, he denied responsibility saying Mommy, it is not my fault.

The media did not do this. Democrats did not do this. The judges and election officials did not do this. Former Vice President Mike Pence did not do this. The instigator of all of this is Donald J. Trump. And, Senators who almost died cannot bring themselves to make him accountable. Really? After all that. 

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said if the former president is convicted in the Senate it would destroy the Republican Party. Too late, Senator. You, Cruz, Hawley, Paul, Gohmert, Brooks, Jordan, Nunes, et al have aided and abetted the destruction of the Republican Party by the crying toddler.

“Everyone knows I won by a lot. I was cheated. Mommy!” No, Little Donnie, you did not. And, five people are dead.

Turning the page on partisanship

This morning my newspaper printed a slight variation of the following letter I sent in. I thought I would include the entire letter, which is still brief. They eliminated references to my political standing and to the first press conference.

As an Independent and former Republican voter, I welcome the return to more normal governance where truth is not a victim and there is an active attempt toward unity. Yesterday’s press conference by Jen Psaki was refreshingly civil, welcoming and truthful.

I encourage Senators and Congresspersons to work together to get things done. Executive orders are not laws, so we need bipartisan action. For those calling for more partisanship and spouting untruths, that needs to stop.

Biden won because he committed to govern all Americans and try to unite us. He cannot do it alone. We must do our part. Absent that and we will continue to self-inflict mortal wounds on our country.

Please feel free to modify and use to suit.

Hank Aaron – quiet dignity, quiet strength

A great baseball player passed away yesterday. His name was Henry Aaron, but he went by Hank. He was a very quiet man growing up in the south in the middle of the Jim Crow era. But, arguably he is on a very short list of the greatest baseball players ever.

Rather than bore non-baseball fans with endless statistics indicating how great he was, let me focus on how poorly this African-American was treated as he chased records set by white ball players. He received multiple death threats and family kidnapping threats and was openly called the N word both aloud and within the many letters of vicious hate mail.

Like Jackie Robinson before him, he took all of this with quiet dignity and a heavy dose of quiet strength. Racism and bigotry was dumped on this man like garbage. But, he stood strong.

When he chased the greatest of records for home runs held by the legendary Babe Ruth, the threats were at their worst. Yet, when he broke the record on national TV, he quietly ran the bases. Then, he tipped his cap to the home crowd. Ironically, a teen came out of the stands to circle the bases with him, but he was all about touching all the bases first.

When we think of the white supremacists and nationalists who have crawled out from under the rocks, I think of all the great Black ball players who came before Robinson and Aaron that did not get the chance to play in the Major Leagues. When they were allowed to join, the Major Leagues got better.

To show how racism impacts results, the National League integrated faster than the American League, so when All Star games were played in the late 1950s and 1960s, the National League had an impressive win streak against its annual opponent. Taking this one step further, the Boston Red Sox had an opportunity to sign both Aaron and Willie Mays, arguably the two best ball players, and signed neither because they were Black. The Red Sox had a long dry spell of winning championships.

Hank Aaron received the Medal of Freedom for his success, but also for the manner in which he carried himself. Quiet dignity and strength. He did not boast. He just succeeded when too many did not want him to.