105 Comments
Jul 8, 2020Liked by Heather Cox Richardson

One of the questions that troubles me is this: how will schools handle the families who believe their children don't have to wear a mask and practice other health measures because they infringe on their individual rights? The CDC has made it very clear that their guidelines are guidance (suggestions) and nothing more. If there is no national, unified plan to address the spread of this coronavirus how can we expect parents who belong to the "Coronavirus Hoax School of Thought" to follow mandates set forth by a school/school district? (I can visualize mothers standing in the hallways of schools across the country screaming at principals that their Johnny/Jenny will not be wearing a mask in school.)

The Manifest Destiny tweet from the White House is shameful. Every day we are given dozens of examples of Trump's misgovernance. Surely we will learn a lesson from this mess of a presidency.

Thanks, Heather, for your daily letters and notes. The time and effort you commit to this project and to us is invaluable.

Expand full comment
Jul 8, 2020Liked by Heather Cox Richardson

My daughter is an elementary school teacher. Her union is trying to negotiate a pause in the re-opening in our city until after Labor Day because we are experiencing a spike. Our students have uneven access to Internet and even computers for on-line learning which is a huge concern.

She is very concerned about keeping masks on children, even older children. NM is #1 in child poverty and education. Unless these parents are provided masks and begin teaching children to enforce wearing them now, it will be a huge learning curve for the students and parents. My own grandson wears one regularly now. In other words, there is just so much we are unprepared to do as a community. And there is the usual resistance by adults to wear them. Just this week a man walked into a pet store here and pointed to a gun on his hip and asked the clerk if he really had to wear one.

And there is much more going on, but all of the resistance here seems to be between those who take 45's stance that it is going to go away or it is being overblown by the press and those who believe the path forward is to work together. And in the mean time over 500 in our state have died.

Expand full comment

That clerk should have picked up the phone, dialed 911 - looked at the dumb white male moron (they're always white males) and said "Yes, you do." then said to the 911 operator "Yes, I have an individual here brandishing a weapon and threatening people." These scum need to be confronted every time. That worthless coward (all gun scum are cowards) would have turned and run away.

Expand full comment

I agree.

Expand full comment

We are not a union state. We do have associations and they can represent teachers but it’s not the same weight. Texas is resistant to following the mask order, as well. I’m very anxious about going back to the classroom like never before! I have a contract, I will do my job, but that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about my health and the health of my students and colleagues. Good luck to your daughter!

Expand full comment
author

One of the things that bothers me is that there really are competing interests here-- not economy vs. no economy (that should have been-- and still can be-- addressed by national legislation supporting wages). But there are students who are in danger at home, as well as parents desperate to put their kids somewhere safe while they work. Other parents want their kids at home. Someone on Twitter pointed out that it would be possible to reopen schools in a very limited way for students who need them open, and staff them with teachers and staff members who are properly equipped, trained, and willing. But we cant' have that conversation because it's suddenly a political football.

Expand full comment

Yesterday the FL Dept. of Education issued an emergency order mandating that all schools will open for all students 5 days a week. I know our Repugnant governor DiSantis is a 45 suckophant and likely the head of the FL DOE is as well and will do the stupid fantasy stuff their cult leader tells them. (the order came the same day). Luckily, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said NO we will not unless we are in phase 2 of the COVID cases and we are still deeply in phase 1. Also, they are going to reopen with online & inhouse options and parents are told to decide which of those they want. Hopefully there will be enuf room for safe spacing at school. “We will not transition to a full model of traditional education in the schoolhouse,” said Carvalho. “That’s virtually impossible. It would be reckless.” Our school district is one of the larger ones and I think the superintendent has some pull with bucking an unsafe writ from the DOE that endangers kids and staff. We’ll see. (Bet they back off).

Expand full comment

So you are in Florida.? Me too. Between suck up De Santis and Richard Corcoran, Florida’s education system is in jeopardy along with the rest of the state. I’m worried that once my granddaughter goes back to school (she’s a sophomore in HS) the whole family is at risk. What ideas do you have foe us Floridians to try and change the trajectory here?

Expand full comment

So true! Abbott definitely wants everyone back to work, everybody off unemployment. And a key proponent of that is a place to put the kids. We want to be altruistic in educating and caring for our students as teachers, but the system just sees us as a warehouse for them. A public good with a political agenda. Leadership is such a huge problem at the state level. Nothing planned out, just knee jerk response to the ever changing moment.

Expand full comment

I know this is a super sensitive issue, so I hope that this doesn't come out wrong. I'm in Sweden, and as you probably know our schools (for students up to 15 years of age, older ones have had distance learning), preschools and child care facilities have been open and running as per normal all along. I know our deaths per capita overall is tragically high, but please bear with me. In the beginning the teachers were very worried, but so far, there just doesn't seem to have been much spreading from and in between kids. There haven't been more sick leave in teachers than other groups, nor higher number of serious cases. There have been a lot of mistakes in handling the corona pandemic in Sweden, but keeping schools open just doesn't seem to be one of them, from what we've seen so far.

Expand full comment

That is an interesting field observation that differs from this recent NYT article https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/business/sweden-economy-coronavirus.html

Expand full comment

I'm not sure what I wrote contradicts that article. As I wrote, I do think there's been many wrong decisions made along the way, but there hasn't been outbreaks that seems to be related to school/preschool (children under 15) . The vast vast majority of people that have died have been in some sort of elderly care, and that have failed miserably.

Expand full comment

Unless things have radically changed since I retired from the classroom in 2013, school districts can mandate ‘dress codes’ for students, often citing them as ‘health and safety’ measures. If there were ever a need for such action, this is it. Wearing a mask can be made mandatory, and parents can object (and even sue the district), but they might find that their child will not be allowed to attend classes in person; with remote learning already exercised and practiced this past semester, those children could still receive their education from home (this could go for children of parents with other objections, from mandatory vaccinations to uniforms). Of course, that takes away the parents ‘free’ childcare, and that may soften, if not silence, their objections.

Expand full comment

Folding mandatory mask wearing into the dress code may be the way to go. Those choosing to not follow the dress code don't get to "play".

Expand full comment

I know that Trump scandals are everyday occurrences and people are getting numb to them. And, that the fuse on the Russian bounty story is still burning and it may soon explode and eclipse all others. But why isn’t the story of stimulus money going to his friends getting more attention/outrage?

Early on it was a small software company contracted to work for Trump’s re-election campaign that received an incredibly large award. Then a private helicopter company with ties to Trump. Now, over 100 companies and $273 million! Wow.

Trump famously stripped away all oversight from the stimulus package saying HE would be the oversight.

Just feels like this should be bigger.

Expand full comment

The Supreme Court is handing down more rulings today. It would be a fine time to get a look-see at his finances. Senator Duckworth is keeping the fires lit on Russia Bounty and trying to prevent vindictive promotion withholding against Lt.Col. Vindman. The fires continue to burn. I'm hoping patience will be rewarded with a climatic ending.

Expand full comment

I'm more convinced daily a president's singular and expansive power needs to be reined in or some sort of constraints.

Expand full comment

Good post. Thanks.

Expand full comment

Wow! Thanks! 🤬

Expand full comment

The Russia bounty story seems to be slipping out of the news so I'm glad Prof. Richardson raises it in Letters. Guess it's personal to me that we nail down the details about Russia's actions and the consequences for our forces. My kid just came back safely from Afghanistan but two of his friends did not. The administration's failure to act is making me think the bounties and attacks are ongoing and that's okay with the Trump team

Expand full comment

Very thankful for your son’s service and happy he is back safe. So sad about his friends. In HCR’s video chat yesterday she seemed to think the bounty story is still going to end up being huge. 🤞

Expand full comment

Fingers crossed here, too, and thanks for your reply!

Expand full comment

Absolutely agree. It's the GOP office-holders who do nothing and refuse to protect America.

Expand full comment

Seconding the thanks for the July 7 Politics Chat. Thank you for your service of bridging your academic knowledge to lay people. You manifest moral courage in a world of trolls to help people understand the fundamentals of democracy, and why such understanding is critical in today's world. And there should be a way for you to be appropriately compensated with more than our thank you messages.

Expand full comment

Ellie Kona, I will give it a third! Yesterday's chat was great!

Expand full comment

I give it a fourth! Until yesterday, the argument over whether to abolish the electoral college was opaque to me because of lacks in my historical knowledge, despite that it gave us two of the more disastrous administrations in recent years, but that didn't seem an appropriate reason to argue to end it. Your explanation clarified it brilliantly. Thank you! Now let's hope someone, who has also seen the scenario you suggest if 45 loses the election, has the power and the will to be taking early steps now to nip that possibility in the bud before it gains momentum.

Expand full comment

Thank you. More must be done by everyone to get him out. If they try to steal the election dare we protest in the throes of a pandemic, and when he controls the military. I will soon be 70 and never imagined the possibility of being on the brink of destruction of Democracy. Listened to talk on Tuesday afternoon. Don’t let the trolls and bots stop your truth telling.

Expand full comment

I don’t think he controls the military like a dictator. The way the generals wouldn’t support dumpy’s tantrum in DC during the protest there is an example of their protecting the citizens and the constitution. Even his special little brigade was called back to their service and disbanded.

Expand full comment

Barbara Barnes, the trolls were terrible on yesterday's talk. Add that to some stupid pro-Trump memes my brother posted.on Facebook. The steam was just coming out of my ears.

Expand full comment

First, I find it interesting as more trolls and bots pursue HCR. It means the people behind them have heard of her. It means they are worried by what she has to say.

Second, I know most don't represent actual people, I know enough about their agenda, so I block them as fast as they appear. Aggressive blocking of trolls and bots on FB has turned the service it into a less annoying experience. I still find plenty of new trolls and bots to block every day, but I rarely respond, and I don't let them bother me.

Third, given that trolls / bots seek out as many responses as possible to increase the visibility of their posts, I rarely respond.

That said, here's a fun trick to use on trolls and bots you feel you just have to respond to, perhaps because you have a wonderful pithy reply. Go ahead and post the response, but then immediately block the troll / bot account. If you do that, the blocked account can't see your post or respond, which automatically gives you the last word. You don't care that they won't see your post, because most likely aren't even human, and even if they are you don't want them to draw you in with their nonsense (most of which even they don't believe). Meanwhile, everyone else can see and enjoy your witty reply. (insert smirking emoticon here)

Expand full comment

I listened to it yesterday but wasn't seeing any feedback. Did I watch it in a strange setting?

Expand full comment

You likely had the comments turned off. I sometimes turn them off because they are distracting and don't generally add anything to the talk HCR is giving.

Expand full comment

I also put it into “full screen” so I don’t see the comments which, I assume, were worse than usual yesterday.

Expand full comment

I don't know! I just saw some pro-Trump comments I don't usually see

Expand full comment

I searched for it and couldn’t find it. I’ll probably find it today. But I’m sure there’s interference with it now. Wouldn’t surprise me! I don’t watch the comments most of the time. I probably wouldn’t notice a change in them.

Expand full comment

I’m picturing a cavernous, empty arena in Jacksonville, with Trump standing alone on the stage. He turns and hugs the flag, while out amongst the empty chairs Ivanka stands. Her clapping echoes weakly through the deserted hall, as a lone balloon falls from the ceiling...

Expand full comment

Speaking of cavernous(!) - as Florida is underlain with limestone, perhaps a sinkhole will open up and consume the republican trash...

Karst 2020

Expand full comment

One can only hope.

Expand full comment

I agree with tthe conclusion that those pulling Trump's strings are more dangerous than him. As the understand spreads and increases that Trump is no longer of any use to them, they will fade into the background, drop their current puppet and plan for the next time. If they are not all taken down and their duplicitous philosophy exposed for all to see it will come back again with increased force having learned the lesson of not relying on a weak, fractured imbecile to do the work.

Expand full comment

Trump seems relatively unconcerned about his poll numbers and, weirdly, seems to be doing nearly everything in his power to lose the election. What does he know that we don't? He has spent numerous hours over the past 3 years speaking privately with Putin. Is the fix already in? What happens if the poll numbers remain the same but he wins? I'm afraid peaceful protests won't do us much good.

Expand full comment

We're going to need overwhelming turnout in November. As an older election officer in my county, I'll wear a hazmat suit, if necessary, to work the polls to help everyone vote! I'm thinking of working on a vaccine myself even though I know nothing about epidemiology and immunology :)

Expand full comment

My mother's rheumatologist recommends Vitamin C and zinc. Thank you for your service ❤️. I would see about getting fit tested for an N95.

Expand full comment

That's a good suggestion, thank you

Expand full comment

You are welcome! I hope you look into it! A N95 mask will protect you. The masks we wear to the grocery stores protect others. Now it is helpful when everyone wears a mask, but we know that maskless Trump supporter will show up at the polls. You probably can find N95 masks at a safety store. It is best to get a couple of different kinds for fit testing. You probably can get the fit test at an Urgent Care that does Occupational Health.

Expand full comment

Jen Sinsel, I know that is so weird.

Expand full comment

Calling Dr. Mary Trump...how will your uncle react when he realizes that his congressional supporters are, finally, casting him adrift to try to save themselves? How will it affect his eggshell-delicate ego and skewed view of reality? Or, dare we hope, if the Supreme Court rules against him regarding his finances? Safe to say it all will be rich fodder for Dr. Richardson.

Expand full comment

It is my prayer the Supreme Court rules against him.

Expand full comment

Stay tuned. That ruling will be handed down tomorrow (Thursday) morning sometime shortly after 10am.

Expand full comment

🙏🙏🙏🙏

Expand full comment

On that note, I'm in love with the "Whispers" ad from the Lincoln Project. It's aimed at an audience of one. If they buy airtime on the channels / shows that Corona Don watches, it seems likely this ad alone could push him over the edge.

I don't trust the people behind the Lincoln Project any further than I could throw them because at heart they are mercenaries and GOP operatives, but I do like this ad.

Expand full comment

Well, they have been "read out" of the Republican Party. I know a couple of them, and to me, they are people who have rediscovered their lost conscience and ideals (think of Alex Guiness' character in "Bridge Over The River Quai" - "Good lord, what have I done?"). That's something everyone can do - life *is* that low-simmering pot, and we are all the frogs therein. I can go "from zero to screech in 60 seconds" with any of them, and always could. But they are "genuine conservatives" (as opposed to the far right wingers who have stolen that word), and it turns out the things I can do that on are "et cetera" in the grand scheme of things. On the Important Things - which all of us have been reminded of, re-learned, discovered, these past 4 years - they and I (and likely you) are on the same page. I think the past 40 years should have taught us all that the laws of aerodynamics apply to more than airplanes: the eagle can't fly with just one wing, like it or not.

Expand full comment

That was a great ad. I signed up for The Lincoln Project:. National Virtual Town Hall on Friday. I can't wait 😍 to hear what they have to say.

Expand full comment

Actually it is today

Expand full comment

I just watched last night's episode of TRMS. Holy crap! I pre-ordered the book with one of my Audible credits. I am also downloading on my Kindle. I need the full meal on this one. The appetizers are just too tasty😋

Expand full comment

Agree, based on long excerpts that Rachel read, especially the section dealing with getting the boxes of financial records and turning them over to the NYT. Also, I read somewhere that Mary Trump wrote that Trump has a learning disability. Sure want to know what it is.

Expand full comment

Correction: Mary Trump wrote that her uncle has a “long undiagnosed learning disability that for decades has interfered with his ability to process information.” Still want to know the clinical name of the disability and other details.

Expand full comment

Trump promised to "drain the swamp" but instead he turned it into a Superfund Site.

Expand full comment

If (when 🙏🏻) Biden is elected, can he reverse the decision to withdraw from the WHO?

And, once again, thank you for all of your time and insight in putting together these letters!!

Expand full comment

It's my understanding the letter he sent to the WHO was the required notice that he intends to pull out of the WHO one year later, as is required. So, assuming he loses the election, this is a largely empty headline-stealing gesture that Biden has already promised to reverse on day one if he wins.

Expand full comment

Well, it's clear I desperately need an "edit" function for my posts here on Substack. Ha!

Expand full comment

Cathy, that is my question too. I sure hope so.

Expand full comment

I worked for a narcissist although trump is an exceptional specimen. They cannot change; their reality in very different from others’. Giving one the most powerful job on the globe is a disaster as we know now. When trump was running in 2016, I predicted much of this behavior, not because I’m so smart but because I lived it. I ultimately left the job because the narcissistic power holder always “wins.”

Expand full comment

Covid-19 is so deadly that Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen had to be released from prison early, but it's also so benign that we need to be packing the nation's children back into their schools next month?

Expand full comment

Yes!! Thank you. Too little, too late. And what are they going to do when he isn’t re-elected? Are they going to rig it, like they did in 2000 when Al Gore won the election? What are the people going to do then? Peaceful protests didn’t help in 2000, at all!

Expand full comment

What will they do?

Civil strife; armed protests and a few deadly insurrections in the heartland. From such a position, Trump and Barr can invoke martial law. I believe this is why they continue to stroke the fear and anger of his base.

Expand full comment

The Destiny Salute to America screen shot in the notes looks like Trump and Pence turning their backs on us.

Expand full comment

I haven’t heard yesterday’s chat yet. The school district I work for released our reopening plan at the same time and it overshadowed everything in my life!

In Texas, the director of education is Mike Morath. He is holding federal money and is claiming online virtual classes are just people talking online. So he has made new rules. Districts must fully open to get funding. Parents can opt to take virtual classes. But no funding to aid virtual learning below third grade. Districts will have to provide both in school and virtual classes at the same time. The guidelines for opening are shockingly lacking! There’s nothing for distancing in the classroom. It’s basically school as usual. We didn’t have any cases in March when we closed. Now we’re spiking with actual cases in our population and we’re forced to fully open. I have no choice! I need my paycheck! So a little panic stricken! Luckily, I work for an amazing district! No joke, I’ve never been so happy and felt so supported! I believe they will do everything in their power to make it as safe as possible. Just don’t know how safe that can be.

Morath is a big supporter of private and charter schools. The DeVos ideology. How he can withhold aid is beyond me! But he says he’s keeping emergency funds the state received to help his office, TEA, from expenses they incurred during the pandemic. Can that possibly be legal? Teachers everywhere are panicking. Parents, it’s in your court!

Expand full comment

Thanks for the reminder why this native Texan lives as far from that hellscape as possible. "Texass: It's a Whole Other Country!" (and we should make it such).

Expand full comment

My niece and her husband teach at a middle school near Dallas. They brought a house this last year and the first kid is due any day now. They are in Texas, because her husband is from Texas and could not get back to Texas fast enough. I personally don't understand why anyone would want to live in Texas🤔 Then again I am a Michigander

Expand full comment

States depend on the Feds for funding. With Trump threatening to withhold funding to those states refusing to bow to his pressure, others are acquiescing, and the domino effect kicks in, down the chain of command, from State Superintendent to district superintendent to site principal. The same occurred during the ‘No Child Left Behind’ snafu and the ‘Race to the Top’ campaign. It will take teachers and parents saying ‘no’ to unsafe schools for administrators to reconsider their position.

Expand full comment

It is even worse in AZ where older patients are being sent home to make room from younger patients. So glad my sister retired early and moved away.

Expand full comment

Request your mail-in ballots as early as possible. Complete and return your mail-in ballot asap. Do not wait until several weeks before November. Thank you.

Expand full comment

Also, if you live abroad make sure you go online and request your ballot. Don't wait till the 11th hour!

Expand full comment

Agreed. We did that back in March when Covid started percolating. We'll have our first dry run with a primary for state and local officials in August.

Expand full comment

At one time, I was a volunteer poll worker. This year's primary was my first primary mail-in ballot vote. If many of us vote by mail, then our fellow voters who must vote in person could be safer in the social distancing process.

Expand full comment