+
A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
We are a small, independent media company on a mission to share the best of humanity with the world.
If you think the work we do matters, pre-ordering a copy of our first book would make a huge difference in helping us succeed.
GOOD PEOPLE Book
upworthy

government

Identity

Baseball legend Jackie Robinson once sent a telegram to the White House for equal rights

A brilliant example of what can happen when you use your voice.

Image by Bob Sandberg/Library of Congress. (cropped)

Professional baseball player Jackie Robinson swings a bat in 1954.

Jackie Robinson was an amazing baseball player with serious conviction.

He had the same level of conviction in his demand for real, substantive legislation about civil rights.

He was the first black player, EVER, in baseball's major leagues in America — he would know.


Real change doesn't happen all at once. But we get there faster when voters speak up and say they expect more from our elected leaders.

Take the slow path of civil rights in America. Voters like Robinson helped push for real equality when he sent this telegram to The White House and President Eisenhower in 1957:

Image via National Archives.


In the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling stating that segregated schools were not cutting it, the 1957 Civil Rights Act began taking shape under Eisenhower.Eisenhower signed the half-loafy 1957 bill, but that was just the beginning of a nation setting itself up to specifically make rights more available to everyone (and to make denying people those rights subject to some real penalties).The 1957 act was the first civil rights legislation passed since the mid-1800s, but it was was mostly lip service; it didn't do enough to tackle the huge problem of racism and prejudice in America.

There's no doubt about it, Robinson was hardcore. He did not sleep on the quest for equality.

You gotta admire athletes and people in the public eye who stick their neck out and use their public voice for equality!

And the fact is, they did have to wait a little bit longer. In 1960, another civil rights act passed. Then again in 1964, another civil rights act. We're talking two separate presidents to get America at least starting to get in front of that whole racism thing. And we're still working.

Robinson may not have gotten what he wanted right off the bat, but demanding more and not giving up hope was vital to keep the momentum going and build real change.

Bit by bit, we're building a more equal country.

Think of marriage equality. We weren't getting all wins in the court system over the years, but each fight helped to change public opinion until polls started showing that the majority of Americans believed in marriage equality. And then, finally, that Supreme Court ruling in June 2015.

Conviction and equality win, and so does love.

This article originally appeared on 09.21.15

Bill Maher described the "slow-moving coup" happening in the U.S.

We are living in weird times in far more ways than one. Not only are we coping with a global pandemic that some people still refuse to acknowledge, but we are also dealing with an ex-president who still refuses to admit that he lost the last election, whose fan base keeps spiraling deeper and deeper into kooky conspiracy theories and whose adopted party inexplicably failed to cut bait and run from Q-ville when it had the chance.

So now we're watching democracy flail and sputter because millions of Americans simply reject objective reality. It's genuinely, mind-bogglingly weird.

Such is the backdrop of Bill Maher's recent run-down of what he sees happening in the next election. Under normal circumstances, it would be far too early for such punditry from comedic political commentators, but the U.S. sailed right past normal years ago. So now, not even a year past the last election—and with no one even announcing an intention to run—we're already pondering what will happen in 2024. (Seriously, why does everything have to be so dumb?)

Maher laid out the plan that appears to be unfolding before our eyes in a segment titled "A Slow-Moving Coup," starting with the Eastman memo that basically was a blueprint for Trump overturning the results of the election he lost.



New Rule: The Slow-Moving Coup | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)www.youtube.com



"Here are the easiest three predictions in the world," said Maher. "Trump will run in 2024. He will get the Republican nomination. And whatever happens on election night, the next day he will announce that he won.

"I've been saying ever since he lost, he's like a shark that's not gone, just gone out to sea," continued Maher. "But actually, he's been quietly eating people this whole time. And by eating people, I mean he's been methodically purging the Republican Party of anyone who voted for his impeachment or doesn't agree that he's the rightful leader of the Seven Kingdoms."

Maher explained how the small number of Republicans who outwardly opposed Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election will be gone by 2024, and how state legislatures and election officials are being replaced with loyalists who will hand him the presidency whether he actually wins it or not. He predicted that Republicans would win the House in 2022.

"And yet, 2024 comes and Democrats treat it as a normal election year," he said. "They are living in a dream world where their choice of candidate matters, their policies matter, the number of votes they get matters, none of it does. I won't even predict who the Democratic nominee will be, because it doesn't matter."

Maher explained that even if the Democratic nominee wins the election, "Trump won't accept it." But this time, his conspiracy theories about election fraud "will be fully embraced by stooges he is installing right now."

The only thing that kept the U.S. from a full-blown constitutional crisis was that some Republican elected officials put their foot down and insisted on reality. What happens without people who are willing to go against pressure from their party and do the right thing?

"The ding dongs who sacked the Capitol last year? That was like when Al Qaeda tried to take down the World Trade Center the first time with a van. It was a joke. But the next time they came back with planes," Maher said.

"I hope I scared the shit out of you!" Maher said, in conclusion.

Yeah. A majority of Americans are already there, Bill.

As we see viral videos of people ranting about mask mandates being tyrannical government overreach, the Daily Show with Trevor Noah reminds us that people said the same thing about seatbelt mandates back in the day.

A video of news footage from 1986 shows several people complaining about how requiring seatbelts was a violation of their freedom and how they weren't going to comply. It's really something to see now. Watch:


There was intense resistance to seatbelt laws in the 1980s, which in hindsight seems quite silly. When used properly, seatbelts reduce motor vehicle fatalities by half, according to the CDC. People who are unbuckled are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a car during a crash. Most of us buckle up without even thinking about it now, which saves both lives and healthcare resources, but it took a mandate to get us here.

Now we see the same kinds of complaints with COVID-related mandates, despite COVID killing more than ten times as many people in one year as an average year of car accidents do. If the government could mandate seatbelt usage to save lives and healthcare resources, surely it can mandate masks in the midst of a global pandemic spread almost entirely by people's mouth emisssions.

The purpose of our system of governance, according to the preamble to the Constitution, is to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Sounds awesome, but sometimes those things can seemingly conflict with one another. What if what needs to be done for the defense or welfare interferes with our blessings of liberty?

It's a sticky question, for sure. But sometimes it's not really as sticky as people make it.

In the midst of a pandemic that has taken the lives of 675,000+ Americans and sickened millions more in a mere 18 months, it's clear that our general welfare is taking a huge hit. We know there are measures we can take to minimize viral spread and save lives, but asking nicely and leaving it up to people to do the right thing doesn't seem to be working. So in order to promote the general welfare, the government is requiring people to do the right thing (i.e., wearing masks in public places).

It's understandable that people don't want the government telling them what to do, but it's also understandable that a government of the people, by the people, for the people would try to protect the people. Right now, that means protecting the public from those who are contributing to the spread of a deadly virus and clogging up our healthcare systems by remaining unvaccinated and refusing to wear masks.

Freedom that leads directly to the death of our fellow Americans is not true freedom. Some people still don't seem to understand that we are in a viral pandemic that's killing thousands of Americans a day. If we don't voluntarily do the right thing, we're asking for the government to step in to protect the general welfare.

I wish we could fast forward forty years to see how silly the anti-maskers look to future generations. Just like seatbelt mandates didn't lead to tyranny, neither will mask requirements during a viral pandemic.

The Hill/Twitter

It was a mere three weeks ago that President Biden announced that the U.S. would have enough vaccine supply to cover every adult American by the end of July. At the time, that was good news.

Today, he's bumped up that date by two full months.

That's great news.

In his announcement to the nation, Biden outlined the updated process for getting the country immunized against COVID-19.



Part of what led to this announcement is a historic partnership between two pharmaceutical companies. News broke today that Merck & Co will be helping to manufacture more doses of its competitor Johnson & Johnson's vaccine. Merck had tried to create its own COVID-19 vaccine early in the pandemic, but was unsuccessful. It's unusual to see a company partner up with a fierce rival, but sometimes the good of the nation comes first.

"This is a type of collaboration between companies we saw in World War II," Biden said of the partnership.

With the help of the Defense Production Act, which Biden has invoked, Merck will be able to dedicate two of its facilities to manufacturing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It will take some time to get fully ramped up, but the hope is that the two companies will be able to manufacture double the number of vaccines that Johnson & Johnson could create alone.

Johnson & Johnson has had a slower start than anticipated in getting production ramped up; of the 37 million doses promised by the end of March, the company says it will only be able to provide 20 million. However, Pfizer and Moderna are both dramatically ramping up their mRNA vaccine production—a development that also contributed to today's end of May news.

According to the Associate Press, the president told governors to be prepared for a vaccine supply increase over the coming weeks. Additional doses will also be going to retail pharmacies for a federally backed program that will help get vaccines to more teachers, which will enable schools to open more safely. The White House announced a goal of getting every teacher at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of March.

The key now will be increasing distribution capacity to get more shots in more arms more quickly, a feat that lies largely in the hands of individual states. This news couldn't come at a better time. In states like Texas, where the governor announced today that he will be lifting the state mask mandate and opening up all businesses at 100% next week despite being one of the worst-hit states in the nation at the moment, a two-month difference in getting people vaccinated could save thousands of lives.

Good news all around. Go science go.

Here are Biden's full remarks from today: