Recently, I was happy to drive with my son to the beautiful upstate village of Cooperstown. Visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum would be a reprieve from the recent gut-wrenching events in Washington and a chance to see America honoring its pastime. It’s a pastime with the warts of its history but also demonstrates our growth as a people. From Jackie Robinson in 1947 to today, where baseball is recognizing the statistics of Negro League players as official Major League statistics, to a game becoming a true international sport played by people of all ethnicities. Yes, Lady Liberty would be proud. The problem, though, is on our ride up through the small villages that led to our destination, we saw home after home with large Confederate flags waving in the wind, proudly displayed on front porches — symbols of division, racism and insurrection. What is happening to the promise of our country? How can people cling to their hate? I went to enjoy mementos of our national pastime but in doing so witnessed a national disgrace.
A new honoree for Black History Month
February is Black History Month. Stacy Abrams lost a close election for governor of Georgia, but she didn’t preach about the election being stolen, didn’t encourage followers to storm the State Capitol. She organized voters, many of whom probably had not had their voices heard, and got the state to vote "blue" for the first time in a long time for a presidential candidate who wasn’t a southerner. She then got the state to vote, in a runoff, for its first Black and Jewish senators. This is what democracy is supposed to be about. So I hope, in the future, Abrams is mentioned in Black History Month.
Corporate PACs could help underprivileged
Corporate America, especially large corporations and banks, is rethinking policies about political donations to candidates, parties, and political action committees. The money they would have contributed could be put to better uses. For example, they could parcel it out to food banks, soup kitchens, child welfare agencies, community-based youth programs, shelters for abused women or homeless families and similar generally underfunded public interest organizations that actually provide assistance to people. Such entities are often grant-funded, with additional funding from community donations. Think, for example, of the benefit of providing food and shelter to a hungry family, helping a community create jobs, providing mental health assistance. Imagine sending children to school on full stomachs or helping the head of a family find employment. The benefits are endless. And corporate America might benefit, too, as donations to public interest organizations are often tax-deductible.