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Foster: A new era of social, economic justice

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Jim Ross Lightfoot posed some interesting questions in his commentary last Saturday on the Forum page. And from the tone of these questions, you’re led to believe that Democrats have lost their way and Republicans are the only ones fighting for truth, religion and the American way.

As a life-long Democrat who has been on this rock more than a few years, allow me to give him a succinct reply: HOGWASH.

Although Jim left his seat in Congress more than 20 years ago, he’s still affected by Potomac fever that distorts a person’s view of the world outside the Washington beltway. Being locked up with the COVID-19 quarantine has nothing to do with it.

It takes some hubris to ask where are the Democrat patriots, where are the Democrats who have worn a military uniform, and where are the Democrats he used to worship beside. I can very well turn those questions around about your dear leader, Donald Trump, who is the epitome of a self serving, godless demagogue, and his family cabal.

No, this isn’t another Trump diatribe; it’s about a warped world view that tells us that some folks like Jim have lost contact with reality. Just as baby boomers changed the culture of the United States in the 1960s and beyond, I believe the grandchildren of these boomers are about to inaugurate a new era of social and economic justice these folks need to comprehend.

We’ve already witnessed stirrings of the coming change. Fossil fuels are in rapid decline. No matter how hard Trump tried to whip up support for coal, natural gas and renewable energy sources are gaining momentum. Even big oil is making the shift to cleaner energy sources.

Environmental protection efforts will survive Trump’s efforts to defang the EPA and open wilderness areas to exploitation. The next Democratic president will sign new executive orders countermanding the one Trump has signed to undo a lot of President Barack Obama’s legacy. Before Trump goes to his final reward (?), he’ll know he was the nation’s most inconsequential president.

Ironically, it’s Trump’s total lack of leadership that is hastening these big changes now underway.

His leadership during the coronavirus pandemic is pathetic. First, he says it’s not a big problem and he has it under control. When that’s revealed as a fiction, he suggests drinking bleach or injecting Lysol. And to curb the number of people testing positive for the virus, he urges less testing, therefore fewer cases. Duh!

Frankly, these old Republican relics are clueless to the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement. These aren’t Marxist radicals hell bent on destroying our history and monuments. They are peace-loving patriots who want this nation to own up the 400 years of racism that is still prevalent in America.

Fortunately, most of the current protests have been non-violent, and a lot of the burning and destruction was done by outside agitators. How do I know? Police looked at the driver’s licenses of the arrested rioters to determine most came from outside the community.

A quick question to Jim. How did you feel when you saw the nine-minute video of George Floyd being murdered in Minneapolis? Don’t get me wrong, I admire and support law enforcement officers who do incredible work every day. But what was that cop thinking when he heard Floyd cry out for his mother with his dying breath? It was a monstrous act that will be a catalyst for change in America’s policing.

Along with social justice, economic justice is gaining momentum. Numerous states and localities have raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, providing families the means to escape poverty. That’s more than twice the amount under the current $7.25 minimum wage law that Texas and a few other states have maintain for more than 10 years. For heaven’s sake, even Arkansas has raised its minimum wage.

To answer Jim’s questions about patriotic Democrats, Medal of Honor recipient and former Sen. Bob Kerrey comes to mind. Sen. Tammy Duckworth lost both legs as a pilot in Iraq and serves as an inspiration to all service members, not just women.

Closer to home is John Bel Edwards, governor of Louisiana. Edwards comes from a long line of law enforcement officers. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and completed his Army service before returning to his home state.

Running for governor in 2015 as a Democrat in a red state, voters examined his character and credentials and cast aside party labels to elect him. Last year, Trump made three campaign trips to Louisiana to support his GOP opponent, but all for naught.

I’ve watched Edwards’ news conferences during the pandemic on Shreveport TV stations and his calm, measured leadership stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s mindless antics. As an Army veteran, he’s the type of leader that I would stand with anytime.

— John D. Foster is a Carthage resident and regular contributor to the Saturday Forum. Email .

Today's Bible verse

“Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us ...”

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