Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
Dalton Daily Citizen-News on observing National Suicide Prevention Month:
Suicide isn’t a topic we are all comfortable discussing.
It can be an extremely sensitive subject for those who have considered taking their lives, or for those of us who have had friends, family members or co-workers commit suicide. When someone we know or love commits suicide, it’s a gut punch that leaves us wondering why.
The spotlight has been placed on mental health over the past several months as we deal with the stresses that the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought to our lives. Those stressors in our lives have been exacerbated by COVID-19 due to health concerns, worries about our jobs, our routines being disrupted and being cut off from friends and family due to our efforts to maintain our social distance to stem the spread of the virus.
Suicide rates have been climbing over much of the United States. Since 1999, suicide rates have increased over 30% in half of states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reported that in 2016, almost 45,000 lives were lost to suicide.
More than half of people who died by suicide — 54% — were unaware they had a mental health condition, according to the CDC.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and several educational campaigns are underway to help people feel more at ease talking about suicide. In this era of technology, there are a number of online resources available to educate ourselves about suicide.
The CDC (www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/suicide) lists 12 warning signs of suicide:
— Feeling like a burden.
— Being isolated.
— Increased anxiety.
— Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
— Increased substance use.
— Looking for a way to access lethal means.
— Increased anger or rage.
— Extreme mood swings.
— Expressing hopelessness.
— Sleeping too little or too much.
— Talking or posting about wanting to die.
— Making plans for suicide.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) stresses: “If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.”
Keep an eye on your family, friends and co-workers. These days, it’s more important than ever that we take care of ourselves, and each other.
Valdosta Daily Times on honoring U.S. Constitution Week:
U.S. Constitution Week is upon us.
As historian Paul Johnson notes in his book, “A History of the American People,” “The (Constitutional) Convention met in Philadelphia again and sat for four months, breaking up on Sept. 17, 1787, its work triumphantly done.”
Developing the Constitution among the original states was far more difficult than Johnson’s lone sentence makes it sound.
Essentially, after winning the American Revolution, Founding Fathers set upon a course to overturn the revolutionary era’s Articles of Confederation and establish the principles of a new government — even more difficult, a new type of government.
Among the ranks of the Constitutional Convention were men such as George Washington, who presided over the proceedings, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, who is often called the “father of the Constitution” for his role in developing the document, and Alexander Hamilton, who along with Madison and John Jay formulated the arguments for the Constitution in the series of letters commonly called today The Federalist Papers.
They were among 55 delegates who signed the Constitution in 1787.
The Constitution established the nation’s Bill of Rights (though later in 1791), and the balance of power throughout three branches of federal government: executive (President), legislative (Congress) and judicial (Supreme Court).
Though in commemorations it often falls under the shadow of the Declaration of Independence’s popular appeal, the Constitution is often referred to as a “living document” because Americans still live by its principles and it has the ability to adapt.
When times and attitudes change, amendments have been added to the Constitution to reflect new national and societal issues, but the core values and established rights stated in the document remain intact.
The Declaration stated men are equal and should be allowed to live freely. The Constitution is a guide for how to govern while retaining the concepts of equality and freedom.
National Constitution Week is commemorated Sept. 17-23.
The Brunswick News on allegations that the state wrongly dropped Georgians from its voter registration list:
Prove it. That’s what the office of Georgia Secretary of State is asking the ACLU to do after the organization claimed the state wrongly dropped 198,351 Georgians from the state’s voter registration rolls in 2019.
Jordan Fuchs, deputy secretary of state, argues the claim is bogus and would like to put his eyes on the data used by the American Civil Liberties Union when it went public with the disquieting accusation. It’s a major to-do, especially when considering 198,351 of the 313,243 voters removed from the rolls last year would constitute a 63 percent error rate if the ACLU is correct.
The Georgia Secretary of State contends it’s the number of people who changed residences without any kind of notification to voter registration officials. Information obtained by the ACLU indicates the state erred, that the 193,351 voters erased from the rolls still resided at the very same addresses printed on their registration cards in 2019.
Fuchs insists it’s simply not true, that safeguards are in place to ensure all voters in good standing, including residing in the district where one votes, can cast ballots. “If (the ACLU’s) claims were anywhere near true, there would have been an uprising when our office took the unprecedented step of releasing the names of people who were subject to removal, but there wasn’t,” Fuchs said.
“Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is committed to protecting the rights of every eligible Georgia voter, so we’re simply asking that the ACLU turn over its evidence for our office to investigate or retract the report.”
What these contradicting statements tell us is that something is amiss.
The ACLU is a credible organization of high repute, but equally reputable is the office of Georgia Secretary of State. Question is, how did the two reach different conclusions when both are based on mailing lists obtained from the U.S. Postal Service?
Because of the importance of holding fair elections, we encourage the ACLU and Secretary of State to work together on this. If there’s a problem or a flaw somewhere, it needs to be identified and resolved before the Nov. 3 general election.
This is no longer a matter of one proving the other wrong, not when the integrity of Georgia’s elections is at stake.