Mississippi editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:
The Greenwood Commonwealth on getting a flu shot:
The U.S. government provided a timely reminder in September of why Americans who are able should get a flu shot.
Failing to do so may not kill you, but it could kill someone you infect.
More than 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, the most in at least four decades. Compare that death toll to how worried people in this part of the country get about mosquitoes and West Nile virus, which claims less than 150 lives a year in the U.S.
Last year’s flu outbreak was made worse by a vaccine that didn’t work as well as it normally does. Nevertheless, health experts emphasize the vaccination is well worth doing. It can ward off the illness or, at a minimum, make its impact less severe.
Heed the warning. Go get the shot.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
It’s October. And since 1985, October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Initially, the aim of NBCAM was to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer. A partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of then-Imperial Chemical Industries was responsible for the October designation.
All these years later, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention and discovery of a possible future cure.
The color pink and its association with breast cancer has its own history.
In 1993 Evelyn Lauder, of the Estée Lauder Companies, founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the pink ribbon as its symbol, though this was not the first time the ribbon was used to symbolize breast cancer.
Even earlier, Charlotte Haley, a 68-year-old California woman whose sister, daughter and granddaughter had breast cancer, distributed peach-color ribbons to call attention to what she perceived as inadequate funding for research.
And in the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors.
Breast cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, and the second leading cause of death among women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
And men are not free of the fear of a breast cancer diagnosis either. The incidence is much rarer in men, but an estimated one in 1,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in his lifetime.
The good news is breast cancer does not have to be a death sentence. Early detection is crucial and can be successful only if women — and men — are well educated and ever vigilant in practices like mammograms, clinical breast exams and breast self-exams, which remain some of the most important ways to catch breast cancer early and increase survival rates.
The Commercial Dispatch on President Donald Trump’s remarks toward a psychology professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her:
During his campaign rally in DeSoto County, President Trump did what no Republican Senator nor even the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, dared to do: He mocked Christine Blasey Ford, whose testimony during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing has delayed, if not derailed the nomination.
While Ford was treated respectfully during her testimony — some, including Kavanaugh, acknowledged they believe she has been assaulted, but not by Kavanaugh — Trump poured ridicule on her during his rally.
By now, his conduct should surprise no one. Trump mocks anyone who criticizes or opposing him. What should be surprising — and most disturbing — was the applause and laughter of fellow Mississippians as Trump warmed to his mockery. It brought to mind one of the most poignant moments in Ford’s testimony. When asked what part of the sexual assault remained most vivid in her memory, she said: “The laughter. The laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense.”
Previously, many of Trump’s staunchest supporters have been able to dismiss his habitual crudeness and lies by saying, “I support his policies, not his conduct.”
But Tuesday night, the crowd at Trump’s rally clearly enjoyed what they heard and approved of it.
Is this who we are? Is this who we want to become?
At what point will we, as Americans, look beyond our increasing tribalism and scorched-earth partisanship to see the harm we are inflicting on each other and our nation?
As Columbus resident Raymond Overstreet noted in his Letter to the Editor published in The Dispatch hours before Trump took the podium in DeSoto County, we must abandon the strategy of destruction. We must regain our sense of decency, fair play and cooperation. We must build up through hope, not destroy through fear.
To achieve that, all of us need to commit to that ideal. No one can afford to stand on the sidelines. We all must strive for honest, fair and non-confrontational solutions to our problems. We must find a way to connect, to compromise, to work together.
Our increasing tribalism coupled with social media has amplified personal attacks and hateful opinions on both the left and right. Moderate, even-handed people are bubbling to the surface though, as evidenced by Mr. Overstreet’s letter. We need more participation by fair-minded people who understand we can disagree with each other while still being respectful and open to compromise.
There are many opportunities to practice this. You may write a Letter to the Editor or call your elected officials. You can vote and encourage friends and neighbors to register and vote. You can be a voice of conciliation in your local political party. You can bring that same voice to your social media. You can speak up amongst your friends when someone resorts to meanness instead of compassion.
We have the power to change things.
Do we have the will?