Monday, July 13, 2020

Day 126 Nat'l Emergency: Constitutional Rights, COVID and the Sun, Tammy's Time and Teddy's Grandson Speaks

Our basket full of fruits, vegetables, some dairy products and several grocery items, we were about to enter the self checkout lane when Gilda remembered she needed two cans of coconut milk. We zipped into the international foods aisle and picked up two cans of Goya coconut milk.

The next day Gilda read the CEO of Goya Foods was a big Trump supporter, that Latinos and others were boycotting Goya products because of his advocacy, and that he went on Fox News to decry the boycott as an infringement of his right to free speech (

We have now joined the boycott.

Is it a restriction of free speech? Hardly. A boycott is itself an expression of free speech. It poses no physical harm. CEO Robert Unanue may continue to spout his love of Trump, but at least now he is aware his market share might suffer. 

Lesson to be learned—it is hardly ever wise to mix politics with business. Support nonpartisan programs yes, but endorse specific candidates at your company’s peril.

Is requiring a mask be worn before entering a store or boarding a plane a violation of one’s constitutional rights? Hardly. Private enterprise may regulate behavior within its territory. Just as retailers, restaurants and other service establishments have the right to deny entry if attire codes for shoes, tops, bottoms, and other clothing items are not followed, and may enforce smoking prohibitions, they also can regulate the wearing of a mask by anyone who desires to patronize their private property. 

That’s the key—it is their private property. They are not violating anyone’s constitutional rights by setting behavior standards (

The troubling aspect of the Goya and mask protesters’ protests is that they are emulating Trump’s claims that his constitutional rights are being restricted when Twitter and other Internet sites remove or tag his communications as untrue or inflame violence. Users of Internet message boards do so with the understanding that they must abide by each site’s protocols. There is no law that requires a company to freely spread Trump’s or anyone’s propaganda. There is no law that restricts companies from restricting messages that violate their standards of performance. 

Steam Heat: If we’ve learned anything from our time under Trump’s shadow it is that The Donald rarely remembers what he said the day before, much less months ago. 

But we remember. We remember how he cavalierly told an anxious public not to worry about the COVID-19 virus, that with the coming spring and summer the coronavirus will melt away in the sun and heat. “It dies very quickly with the sun,” he said on April 23. 

I wonder how that forecast is sitting with the residents of Florida, Texas and Arizona as they swelter under extreme heat and a raging pandemic. 

When will Trump’s supporters finally realize he is no doctor, no scientist, no weather forecaster? When will they accept their lives depend on that realization? I cannot really feel sorry for them. They’ve chosen ignorance and bombast over science and sound medical advice.

Trump is the prototype Yahoo envisaged by Jonathan Swift in “Gulliver’s Travels.” He is a non believer in science. Moreover, when science displays his deficiencies he attacks the scientists as Dr. Anthony Fauci is discovering. 

One of the subplots of the November election will be the public’s appreciation of science. Much like wearing or not wearing a mask has turned into a referendum showing anti-Trump vs. pro-Trump forces, the belief in science and medical advice is pigeonholing the electorate in seemingly uncompromising camps.

The same can be said for those who seek a reevaluation of many of our country’s historic figure statues and those who oppose it.

Tammy Duckworth has catapulted into contention to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate with her recent dustup with Trump and Fox News bloviator Tucker Carlson. They criticized her “openness to ‘a national dialogue’ about our founders’ complex legacies.”

Her combative op-ed in The New York Times included one of the best retorts to Trump’s bullying and Carlson’s questioning of her patriotism ( 

The junior senator from Illinois, a decorated Iraq war Illinois National Guard veteran, who lost her legs from a rocket propelled grenade in 2004, wrote, “These titanium legs don’t buckle.” 

To which my friend Hymie would add, “and they don’t have bone spurs,” a dig at Trump’s alleged medical excuse for evading the draft during the Vietnam War. Carlson also never served in the military. A year younger than Duckworth, he chose not to enlist for the Gulf War or for subsequent action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Duckworth volunteered.

One of the more eloquent commentaries on the debate over statues of historic figures comes from Mark Roosevelt. A statue of his great grandfather, Theodore Roosevelt, astride a horse while an African and a Native American stand beneath him on either side of the horse, is slated to be moved from the Central Park West entry to the Museum of Natural History in New York City. 

The president of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, N.M., Mark Roosevelt supported the move. His words are worth listening to:

1 comment:

  1. It really bothers me when the First Amendment is invoked improperly. To state the obvious, the First Amendment protects against governmental interference in Free Speech. Private concerns and individuals are free to choose to disassociate with others as they see fit. For the most part, those that raise the "denying Free Speech banner" are generally demanding consequence free Free Speech. In the real world, there are consequences for you actions and speech. It is no small matter that a good number of the sins we enumerate on Yom Kippur to ask forgiveness of are ones we commit with our mouth. The sages knew the power of words to do harm.