Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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July 7

Savannah Morning News on former President Jimmy Carter and his wife celebrating their 74th wedding anniversary:

Finding good news in these dark days is like shining a beacon of hope in the darkness. Fortunately, there is still love and happiness in the world.

This week, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn — an iconic Georgia couple, if there ever was one — celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, the Carters’ longstanding, loving relationship is certainly something to celebrate.

They now hold the record for the longest presidential marriage in the United States. The previous record was held by George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, who were married for 73 years until Barbara’s 2018 death. In an era when the average marriage ends in divorce after eight years, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, the Carters’ relationship is truly epic.

A CHANGING WORLD

Jimmy and Rosalyn were married in 1946, when he was 21 and she was 18. Think about what they’ve seen over the course of their lifetimes: World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. The nuclear age, the Space Age and the age of the internet. The iconic moon landing in 1969 and the launch of private, for-profit rockets in 2020. The scourge of school shootings, mass casualty events and increasing gun violence. The Civil Rights era and the fight for women’s rights and LTGBQ rights. The Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Together, they fought Jimmy’s brain cancer and embraced old-fashioned Georgia values of family and community. Best of all, they still hold hands when they walk down the streets near their home in Plains, Ga., just as they did when they strolled down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., during Jimmy’s 1977 presidential inauguration parade.

Jimmy Carter was a four-year Georgia governor and a one-term U.S. president who received mixed reviews, largely due to his poor handling of a major national recession and the capture of American hostages in Iran. He stands apart as the longest-living president and has the longest post-presidency of any former U.S. leader. Since leaving the nation’s highest office, Carter has spent significant time building Habitat for Humanity homes by hand for families in need. He even won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.”

As America’s first lady, Rosalyn sat in on Cabinet meetings and championed the Equal Rights Amendment. She focused on removing the stigma of mental health and making mental health care available to all. Time magazine called her “the second most powerful person in the United States.”

Together, Jimmy and Rosalyn raised four children and have shared their love with grandchildren and great-grandchildren over the years.

A REMARKABLE COUPLE

So, what makes these two remarkable Georgians an even more remarkable couple? Factors that relationship and family researchers frequently cite as contributing to marriage longevity include college education, shared religious beliefs, marital fidelity and shared interests and separate interests pursued individually. The Carters, it seems, have checked all the boxes.

As the pandemic continues to spread across the United States, we are all living in uncertain times. We can choose to give in to despair, or we can get through the challenges each day presents with courage, dignity and commitment.

If we look to Jimmy and Rosalyn’s longstanding relationship, we certainly have a sterling example about how to persevere with grace and with love in our hearts.

Online: https://www.savannahnow.com

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July 7

Valdosta Daily Times on coronavirus death tolls:

When someone you love has died, percentages don’t mean anything.

When 12 people from Lowndes County have died, percentages don’t mean anything.

When 30 people have died at our hospital, percentages don’t mean anything.

When nearly 3,000 people in Georgia have died, percentages don’t mean anything.

When more than 3,700 people in Florida have died, percentages don’t mean anything.

When 132,000 people in the United States have died, percentages don’t mean anything.

When more than half a million people around the world have died, percentages don’t mean anything.

COVID-19 is bad. It is killing people and many of us are to blame because we simply refuse to take it seriously and take necessary precautions to protect the people around us, the people we know and love.

What could be more serious in this life than death?

How can any of us be so calloused?

We encourage our readers to just pause and think.

Reconsider.

Consider the fact that you may have been wrong.

All of us need to be humble.

There is a constant narrative on social media and in our community that COVID-19 is not all that bad because the percentage of people who end up dying from it is not all that high, so far as percentages go.

It is the most odd way of thinking.

It is such a selfish way of thinking.

It sounds like some of you are taking solace in the fact that younger people are being infected and that drives up the numbers of positive tests while the numbers of people dying are not going up as rapidly.

You must think about the fact that all young people have something in common: They know older people. They have parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. They may have a loved one in a retirement community or nursing home.

Once infected, no matter how healthy you are, you run the risk of exposing every person you come in contact with. Are you willing to take a chance on the percentages when among the percentage of people you could potentially infect, could be your parent or grandparent who could get very sick or even die?

We are facing the most contagious potentially fatal virus of our lifetimes and maybe in history. Even if the vast majority of people who contract the virus do not get very sick or are likely to recover if they do, there are so many people contracting it that the low percentage doesn’t mean that very few people die.

This disastrous pandemic has not proliferated because of how deadly the virus is, but rather because of how contagious it is.

The percentage argument, therefore is meaningless and calloused.

We beg you.

Take this seriously.

Socially distance when well.

Stay at home when sick.

Don’t meet in large groups, even if you don’t feel sick.

Wash your hands and use hand sanitizers frequently.

Wear a mask.

Online: https://www.valdostadailytimes.com

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July 7

The Brunswick News on flood preparedness:

The largest investment most Glynn Countians and other Georgians will make in their lifetime is home ownership. Most will ensure that lifetime investment is sufficiently covered by a reputable insurance company.

For many in Glynn County and in other coastal communities, that means purchasing a typical homeowner’s insurance policy that will pay for all or most of the costs of repairing structural damage and replacing ruined contents due to calamities such as fire and smoke. Most homeowners whose properties lie outside federal high risk flood zones tend to slight the acquisition of insurance against rising water. They regard it as unnecessary.

Now, new flood data recently released by a New York nonprofit organization may be cause for some rethinking. First Street Foundation says its study of data shows that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has missed areas of high flood concern by tens of thousands of households in Georgia alone, many of them in Glynn County and along the rest of the coast.

This becomes a major problem when flooding occurs and homeowners with regular policies are dealing with water damage. Suddenly they find themselves facing thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. In 2018, FEMA reported the average cost of repairing a water-damaged house at $43,000. There’s disaster declarations and low interest dollars available to qualified homeowners, but it’s money that must be paid back.

A lot of homeowners learned this lesson the hard way in 2005. That’s the year Tropical Storm Tammy nearly drowned Glynn County. People who never worried about flooding before were knee-deep in water in their own homes within hours after the first major storm in decades stomped through the Golden Isles.

Current flood maps proposed by FEMA do more than miss properties currently at risk, First Street Foundation warns. They also fail to take into account changing weather patterns. These changing patterns include more Atlantic storms, as well as more intense hurricanes and heavy rain events that can float an ark. Other contributors to greater danger skipped by FEMA include melting polar ice caps and rising seas, a factor ignored by some who view it as a fairy tale concocted by extreme environmentalists.

The end result will be thousands of more property owners waking up one day, a year or 10 years from now, and discovering a new threat to land and home.

Needless to say, many will question the validity of the data. Some won’t even do that much. They’ll just ignore it completely. Hopefully their inaction will stand the test of time.

For others who might be curious where they might stand today or tomorrow, the foundation offers a free website where they can type in their address to see what the organization predicts the future holds for them. It can be found at FloodFactor.com.

Online: https://thebrunswicknews.com