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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/24/19

Best and Worst

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"Only about four percent of children worldwide now die by the age of five," he wrote. "That's still horrifying, but it's down from 19 percent in 1960."

Before the 1950s, more than half of humanity lived in extreme poverty, defined as less than $2 daily income. Now the ratio is below ten percent.

When I was young in the 1950s, gay sex was a felony and it was a crime for stores to open on the Sabbath and blacks were banned from white schools, restaurants, hotels, pools, neighborhoods and jobs and it was a crime to buy a cocktail or look at something like a Playboy magazine and a desperate girl who ended a pregnancy faced prison, along with her doctor. Our mayor once sent police to raid bookstores selling "Peyton Place." Now all those Puritanical strictures have vanished. Human progress occurred.

A century ago, average life expectancy was 48 years. Now it's near 80, thanks mostly to medical science.

It's true that the bizarre Trump era is the worst of times. But I have blind faith (perhaps fueled by wishful thinking) that Trump will fade into the muck from whence he came, and intelligent statecraft will return. I have hope that Democrats eventually will attain universal healthcare as a human right for everyone and today's ruinous college debts will cease and other progressive goals will be achieved, one after another.

As we stumble toward that future, it will always be the best of times and the worst of times.

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James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight Atheism, (more...)
 

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