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Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down


Thumbs Up ... to Reverend P. Wonder Harris, of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in East Moline, who has created the Diamond Pledge, a way for us to put away our assumptions and look at people as valuable, no matter their color.

Barb Ickes wrote this week about the pledge, which was originated before the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis and the protests that have occurred since then.

The idea is to categorize yourself by color, and to take a pledge that, at its core, commits each of us to take a look at ourselves and others as people worthy of respect.

"I pledge to respect and honor my own value and the value of others," the pledge reads, in part. "I can achieve and succeed."

Thumbs Down ... to Illinois Commerce Commission Chair Carrie Zalewski, who presided this week over a hearing centered on Commonwealth Edison's admission that it offered what amount to bribes in order to gain favorable legislative treatment.

Zalewski is the daughter-in-law of a former Chicago alderman, Michael Zalewski, who has been linked to the scandal.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Zalewski wasn't specifically identified by prosecutors, but the newspaper says it has confirmed that he is one of the allies of Mike Madigan who got a subcontract in the company's efforts to win favor with the House speaker.

Zalewski defended herself, saying she hadn't done anything wrong and that she took "umbrage" when a fellow commission member, Sadzi Martha Oliva, suggested a conflict.

We believe that appearances matter, and Zalewski shouldn't have participated in this hearing.

Illinoisans have little faith in their government, anyway, and this just gives them more one more reason to doubt.

Thumbs Down ... to U.S. Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican. This may be one of the last times we'll comment on King, who lost a primary a couple months ago and soon will be exiting Congress. King, who represents the western part of the state, has a history of racist and offensive statements. And even though he is soon to leave office, he couldn't help but weigh in recently on — what else — the Confederate flag.

Sioux City Journal reporter Bret Hayworth this week wrote about King's defense of the flag as a symbol of "southern pride," not racism. King's evidence came in the form of a series of tweets. One of them: "Google 'Southern Pride'. Once you get past the BBQ grills, almost all the rest are stars & bars," King wrote.

As you'll recall, King, who lives in northwest Iowa, was once photographed with a Confederate flag on this desk. He also was among those who voted against a House measure last week to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.

Southern pride, indeed.

Thumbs Up ... to politicians of both parties who rejected President Trump's suggestion Thursday that the November election could be delayed. In a tweet, the president mentioned the possibility of a delay as he continued his attack on Americans' ability to vote by mail.

To be clear, it is not within the president's authority to delay the election. That is set in law. But the suggestion was so startling that it didn't take long before Senate and House Republican leaders joined Democrats in making clear there would be no delay.

"We’re a country based on the rule of law, so nobody’s going to change anything until we change the law," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said. "It doesn’t matter what one individual in this country says. We are still a country based on the rule of law and we want to follow the law until either the Constitution is changed or until the law’s changed."

Thumbs Up ... to the Figge Art Museum, which is marking its 15th anniversary with 15 days of virtual and some in-person events from Aug. 6-21.

Figge Executive Director Michelle Hargrave got it exactly right, when she said, "over the past 15 years, the museum has become a centerpiece of downtown Davenport."

The Figge succeeded the former Davenport Museum of Art, which was previously located next to the Putnam Museum near 12th and Division streets.

Since then, it not only has improved Davenport's downtown aesthetically, but its programs (including the wildly successful "French Moderns" exhibition in 2018-19) have engaged so many of us.

Like many organizations, the Figge's operations have been disrupted by the coronavirus. It closed in March, but reopened with additional guidelines in June. As Laura Anderson Shaw reported this week, the pandemic and the museum's planning for a "mostly virtual" anniversary celebration has been a challenge. Still, we're excited about the program, which includes virtual performances, a behind-the-scenes tour and question-and-answer sessions with artists.


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Thumbs Up ... to efforts by the nonprofit Nahant Marsh Education Center, which is restoring 40 acres at the preserve in west Davenport. The nonprofit purchased the land in 2018, and as Alma Gaul reported, it began excavating a piece of it earlier this year in order to create more wetland area.

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