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Letters to the Editor

There’s been a lot to learn about ourselves over this year of the pandemic

The last year has been, with little doubt, the most traumatic one in a century due to the pandemic and divisive politics. But we are breathing a cautious sigh of relief since late December due to the COVID vaccine and are starting to look back philosophically on the lessons we have learned. 

Many of us found ourselves spending much of our time at home, searching for ways to stay in communication with others as well as meet our material needs. A well-known local columnist prepared a list of lessons that she personally learned this last year. 

Just as in Shakespearean tragedies, there are always several scenes of comic relief. It is in the same vein that I write about a few lessons I learned. 

Everyone got excited, at least at first, about being able to spend the day in their pajamas. That got old, as did jigsaw puzzles and baking, not to mention the extra pounds. 

Some learned to appreciate the positive side of using Zoom. I no longer had to drive 50 miles round trip to go to my monthly book club meetings and the members of the book club could no longer pass notes or carry on side conversations when the discussions got boring.

Oh, and no need to clean your house and bake desserts for all the members. In fact, not having to clean your house at all was a big advantage to the stay-at-home crowd.

I saw some old friends I would probably not have seen thanks to Zoom. And only having to worry about what you were wearing on the top half of your body was a plus.

Also, it was definitely rewarding to be able to talk to your doctor from your living room.

My all-time favorite thing was having packages arrive on my doorstep, at least five or six a week, and getting to guess the contents of each. It still makes me wonder how a company can make so much money delivering very little individual packages instead of consolidating. But hey, I’m not a billionaire, so I can’t challenge the logic.

Wearing face masks hides a “multitude of sins” including bad makeup, no makeup and yes, facial lines and wrinkles. Everybody also got to see how they looked with long hair. And some of the “home” cuts were interesting. 

I got to see myself in long straight hair. But long straight “graying” hair just isn’t as attractive as the long straight hair of my college days!

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

There’s never a good time to share a message of hate

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a self-proclaimed white supremacist and antisemitic organization, distributed flyers in Newport Beach last weekend. 

Kudos to Mayor Brad Avery when he said, “My Council colleagues and I were disappointed to learn of the distribution of recruitment flyers by a hate group in a Newport Beach neighborhood. Unfortunately, this is a common tactic used by some hate groups today. We condemn the group’s ideology and assure our residents that the Newport Beach Police Department is actively investigating to determine the individual or group responsible for distributing these materials in our community.” 

This isn’t the first time the White Knights have raised their ugly heads in Orange County. Back in 2014, the organization distributed flyers in Orange. I had the following published in several Southern California newspapers.

The Ku Klux Klan’s method of recruiting new members may have changed with the times, but its message is rooted in 100 years of pure hatred. Here’s what a “rebooted” KKK is doing coast to coast:

It is leaving flyers on driveways tucked into plastic bags along with a membership application, the address for the KKK national office in North Carolina, a list of beliefs and three Jolly Rancher candies. I’m sorry, but neither their credo nor the candy make the Klan’s history any sweeter to swallow.

In Orange, residents received flyers last month in sealed plastic bags, according to KTLA News.

The message on the flyers was “Save our land, join the Klan” and included a phone number and the KKK’s website. The group claims it is focused on illegal immigration from Mexico. Not surprisingly, you will hear this voicemail message if you call the telephone number on the flyer: “Always remember: If it ain’t white, it ain’t right. White power.”

On a scale of 1 to 10 of things to worry about, like ISIS attacking America or the Ebola virus making its way to our shores, I’d say the Klan is a 1. It’s estimated that there are between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide, divided among dozens of divergent and warring groups. What unites them is their hatred of Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays, lesbians and Catholics. Who’s next, Barbie lovers?

Robert Jones, the “Imperial Klaliff” of something called the Loyal White Knights sect, recently said the KKK’s flyer campaign is part of its “national night ride” – a recruitment event that happens three times a year.

Jones said these drive-by, outreach efforts aren’t aimed at specific people and that residents who receive a bag on their driveway “shouldn’t be fearful unless they’re doing something that the Klan considers morally wrong.”

What does that mean? Is it morally wrong to drive a German car instead of a Chevy? Is it morally wrong to drink Kirin Beer from Japan instead of Coors from the Rockies? Is it morally wrong to believe in Buddha instead of Jesus? I’m guessing the KKK would say yes to all three. That not only is scary, it is un-American.

Today’s Klan may be embracing new ways of recruiting members, but the organization is fundamentally the same as it was a century ago. Despite the Jolly Ranchers, it’s no sweeter now than it ever has been.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

 

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