Critical race theory, mass shootings, Kamala Harris on the border and other top columns

In today’s fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we’ve started in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some of the week’s top USA TODAY Opinion pieces. As always, thanks for reading, and for your feedback.

— USA TODAY Opinion editors

1. ‘Want a fair society? Stop treating people the same, and start treating them differently

By Robert Livingston 

“When I was in the fourth grade, I attended the high school track meet of my older cousin, Terry. I remember being confused and upset by the “head start” given to the other runners on the track. You see, Terry was on the inside lane so his starting point was several feet behind the runner to his right, with the “lead” steadily increasing for each runner in the adjacent outside lanes. In my eyes, all the runners should have had the same linear starting line, regardless of their location. How could the officials let this happen?”

2. With immigration and voting rights, is Biden setting up Kamala Harris for failure in 2024?

By Peter Funt

“What is Harris’ role? After a quiet start, President Joe Biden has put her in charge of two of the most radioactive issues facing the nation: immigration and voting rights. It prompted headlines like these: ‘Biden handed Harris a political grenade’ and ‘Kamala Harris Can’t Win.’ With a portfolio that undoubtedly has Republicans already designing attack ads in the event Harris is the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2024, a reasonable question becomes: Is Biden setting up Harris to fail?” 

3. Magnets, vaccines and the toll the conspiracy of misinformation takes on our ability to protect ourselves

By Connie Schultz

“This morning I walked around our house with a magnet to test a theory that had made its Ohio debut in our statehouse on Wednesday and quickly ricocheted across the country. By Wednesday evening, CNN’s Jake Tapper was on the air pretending to be serious as he tried to attach a metal pen to his forehead to see whether his COVID-19 vaccine had turned him into an electromagnetic force field.”

4.Critical race theory: My Texas public school sanitized history, facilitated injustice

By Kendra Hurley

“As one who grew up with an education McConnell would probably deem patriotic, I am here to point out the ridiculousness of such thinking. What divides us is not teaching the truth, but leaving kids to fill in the blanks for the vast inequalities they see around them. What divides us is allowing those kids to grow up into ignorant leaders.”

McConnel, Biden (Photo: USA Today Handout)

5. Do not come: Blowback would be worse if Kamala Harris had come off as soft on immigration

By Anushay Hossain 

“Now that Biden has put Harris in charge of this deeply political and complicated issue, as a woman of color, Harris would be getting much more intense and negative blowback if she had flung open her arms with a huge “Come to America” sign, and came off as soft on immigration on her first official trip to Guatemala and Mexico. The vice president’s debacle reminds us why positions are not enough to ensure change, and as a woman of color in power, you can’t make everyone happy.”

6. FBI subpoena for USA TODAY records serves as chilling reminder of fragile freedom of the press

By The Editorial Board 

“Yet the health of a democracy relies on accurate information – obtaining and disseminating it fairly. When any administration now or in the future weighs whether to pursue, in one-off fashion, one reporter’s source or a reader’s identifying information, it should err in favor of observing the First Amendment. Otherwise, it risks disassembling brick by brick a free press that’s a vital American institution.”

Opposing view: Biden policy complicates ability to investigate those who leak classified information

By David H. Laufman

“But our constitutional system must be flexible enough to accommodate competing interests. And here, the government has a legitimate interest in identifying, and holding accountable, individuals who disclose sensitive classified information to parties not authorized to receive it – including journalists. (Although reporters are rarely the target of prosecution.) That is because “leaks” of classified information can reveal, directly or indirectly, sources and methods of intelligence collection, thereby weakening our nation’s ability to learn about our adversaries’ actions and intentions.”

AR-15 Judge (Photo: USA Today Handout)

7. What the heck is going on in Israel? The Netanyahu show looks kind of like the Trump show. 

By Ruth Sinai

“On Wednesday evening, Israelis were waiting tensely to find out whether opposition leader Yair Lapid had mobilized sufficient support in the Knesset, the Israeli legislature, to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On television, Netanyahu’s character was making last ditch efforts to block Lapid. He offered to share power with his leading opponents if only they would abandon Lapid, promising the first three takers a set of luxurious beach towels.”

8. Hoisting heavy bins, racing the rush of orders, Amazon doesn’t keep employees like me safe

By Bobby Gosvener

“The pain grew slowly at first in my back. By the time I stopped to take a breath, I looked down to realize my light gray T-shirt was now dark gray with sweat. Then, I noticed a mix of numbness and shooting pains spreading from my back to my neck and right arm. My supervisor told me to take some ibuprofen when I got home and put some ice on it.”

9. I’m formerly incarcerated. We need world where more people can safely reveal stories like mine.

 By Ashish Prashar

“I am extremely lucky to be where I am. I am the chief marketing officer for a global branding company. I have worked for elected officials in the United Kingdom and the United States. I own a home in New York City. And, by the way, I’m formerly incarcerated. Incarceration has a profound effect on the person who is locked up, and the consequences reach far beyond the prison walls. When I share my story, I’m often reminded of the destructive nature of our justice system. I hear from people whose loved ones struggle to find work or get rejected from that dream job.”

Kamala Harris visits the border (Photo: USA Today Handout)

10. Why we don’t need to meet in the middle – but we can’t allow political polarization to fester unchecked

By Nathan Bomey 

“Bridge builders see solutions where the rest of us see problems. And they see nuance where the rest of us see caricature. Bridge builders are a rare species. And we have a lot to learn from them. But in writing this book, I spent nearly as much time deconstructing myths about the metaphorical process of bridge building than I did on elucidating the lessons bridge builders can teach us.”

11. Mass shootings turn America’s gun culture into a killing culture 

By The Editorial Board 

“There are more guns than people in the United States, with 121 firearms for every 100 residents, (although the weapons are concentrated in about a third of U.S. households.) America has less than 5% of the world’s population but about 40% of privately owned guns. War-torn Yemen holds second place, with 53 firearms per 100 people.”

12. Reagan daughter: What if new Alzheimer’s drug prolongs pain, fear in patients? 

By Patti Davis

“In the early stages of my father’s Alzheimer’s, his eyes were usually veiled with fear. His face would tense up when he struggled to remember something or identify an object he was looking at. Sometimes he would say, “I have this thing …” It was heartbreaking.”

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to [email protected]

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