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Commentary: The midterms are over, but the shootings continue

Commentary: The midterms are over, but the shootings continue
November 15
09:24 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr.

We are living in times of the new normal. Yes, we have certainly had a lot of newsworthy events in my lifetime. Political, social justice and sporting events have all made their way into our living rooms via all media outlets. They have left an imprint on the way in which we live.

There are some events like 9\11 that we can say exactly where we were when they happened. Today, these events are occurring on a more regular basis. While some have another view, the level of disregard for our neighbor is at an all-time high. Triumph and tragedy have happened in our nation before, yet through both we have always valued one another. Our differences, both culturally and philosophically did not tear us apart but taught us tolerance.

Recently, there has been unprecedented anticipation about midterm elections. I can’t remember a time in our recent history when the hype was so heavy. More emphasis was placed on voter registration and making sure that voters had the right documents to vote. Unfortunately, in states like Georgia, Florida and North Carolina, voter suppression tactics were at play. People in power were simply trying to find ways not to allow people to vote. Many of the people being marginalized look like me. First off, the states that I named and didn’t name ought to be ashamed and subject to fines and punishment. Second, to try and “trump up” ways to put a mute button on one of our most fundamental rights is unconscionable.

Now the midterm elections are over. Early voting and Nov. 6 were significant to us who wanted a change in this country. Reports say that early voting records were set across the country. If you watched television, you could see the long lines as people waited patiently to cast their ballot. I voted early.

Nationally, we know that the Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives. At this point, they have picked up 26 seats with others still being decided. The Republicans still control the Senate. Prior to the elections, there was much debate about what would happen if the Democrats took control of the House. Now they have done it. What now?

Since the new administration took office, they have been trying to undo Obamacare. They couldn’t do it even when they had the majority. Why? Because their constituents depended upon it. Health care will continue to be a major topic in this new Congress. It is my opinion the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) is here to stay.

Immigration and its challenges, especially for people of color, will take on a new fight during this period. America is a diverse country and that isn’t going to change. Empathy and a welcoming spirit must kick in with citizens who adamantly oppose immigration laws.

One of the issues that resonates with a lot of us is what happens when guns get into the hands of the wrong people. Ian David Long shot and killed 12 people late Wednesday evening in Thousand Oaks, California. According to neighbors, Long, a former Marine, was depressed. It seems to be clear that his illness stemmed from his time in the military. Questions are now being raised about how this mentally ill man gained access to a handgun.

The news these days leaves us with a range of emotions, mostly bad.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at ewers.jr56@nullyahoo.com.

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