Mother’s Day, Liz Cheney, 2020 election lies, and other top Opinion reads this week

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. My mother associated Mother’s Day with Hitler. In May we celebrate V-E Day and her survival.

By Michael Brenner

“Henny Wolf was 9 years old in 1933 when Hitler came to power in Germany and declared Mother’s Day an official holiday, corrupting a centuries-old tradition of honoring mothers into a propaganda exercise about who could be accepted as authentically German and who could not. Decades later, for her the date still remained deeply connected with the Nazi celebration of the ‘Aryan’ woman and with her own degradation as a Jew who had to wear the yellow star, was exploited as a slave laborer, and lived in fear of deportation to a concentration camp – a fate my mother escaped by only a few terrifying months.”

2. Liz Cheney’s ouster should alarm all fact-based Americans who believe in our country

By Donna Brazile

“House Republicans, who love to complain about ‘cancel culture,’ have canceled Rep. Liz Cheney for the ‘crime’ of living in the real world rather than on the fantasy island where Donald Trump is the infallible king, cheated out of his throne. Bowing down to Dear Leader Trump’s wishes, they voted Wednesday to oust the Wyoming Republican from her third-ranked House GOP leadership spot.”  

3. COVID-19 new normal calls for new slogan: ‘No shirt, no shoes – no vaccination – no service’

By The Editorial Board

“Even the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission under Trump said it was lawful to exclude from the workplace an employee who refuses to be vaccinated. Clearly, in any instances where a service is denied to someone who isn’t vaccinated, exceptions should be made for those who cannot receive the shot for health reasons.”

Big Lie (Photo: Steve Sack/The Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

4. Republicans are counting on lies and brute force to win elections. Just like in 2020.

By Olivia Troye

“The Republican Party doesn’t have a governing agenda. It’s a pathetic predicament but obvious to anyone who stepped foot in Trump’s White House. One reason congressional Republicans are focused on cultural issues – Dr. Seuss, fake red meat regulations and a handful of transgender high school athletes around the country – might be to avoid judgment on how they used power: no health care reform, no infrastructure package, heading toward 600,000 dead from the pandemic, and the attack on the Capitol.” 

5. Does your first-choice college have you on the waitlist? You better come up with a Plan B.

By Sara Harberson

“As high school seniors come to terms with where they are going or hope to go to college this fall, colleges are swimming in an excess of students on their waitlist with little intention of admitting most of them. There are appropriate reasons for a college to waitlist a student. It is supposed to be done for a student whom the college wants to admit but might not have room in the class just yet. These students should be competitive for the college.”

6. On Mother’s Day, I mourn my firstborn son. Hold your children tight. Love them while you can.

By Sheree R. Curry

“My oldest son died in the summer of 2019 at the age of 18. This was before we ever uttered COVID-19, before the murder of George Floyd. My son died because he couldn’t breathe. A police officer didn’t kneel on his neck. A pandemic didn’t suck the oxygen from his lungs. Yet, I spend another Mother’s Day mourning the life of my firstborn. When people learn my son died unexpectedly, they ask how it happened. This is what they ask a grieving family? A mother. A brother. A father. Why ask? Isn’t it enough that we mourn?”

Liz Cheney (Photo: Daryl Cagle/

7.  Ban all cigarettes, not just menthols, and urge adult smokers to try less harmful options

By James K. Glassman

“The Food and Drug Administration announced late last month that it wants to ban menthol cigarettes, which are the overwhelming preference of African American smokers. But if a smoking prohibition is good for Black people, who comprise only about 1 in 7 U.S. cigarette smokers, why isn’t it good for whites and other Americans as well? A smarter policy would be to phase in an FDA ban on all products that burn tobacco and aggressively urge adult smokers who can’t quit to transition to alternative devices that deliver nicotine in a far less dangerous way.”

8. Racial equity is important, but it doesn’t trump the right to excel

By James S. Robbins

“Pursuing equity for historically disadvantaged groups should not come at the cost of denying others the right to achieve. Yet in practice the drive for equity is having a leveling effect – not just giving everyone an equal chance but punishing those who excel. This sends a bad message, especially for the potential high achievers in the most disadvantaged groups. Take the reaction to the results of New York City’s Specialized High School Admissions Test. Asian students dominated, taking over half the coveted specialized high school seats, despite being about 16% of the student population. Black teenagers, who make up over a quarter of students, passed in the low single digits.”

9. Vaccinated? CDC says it’s OK to ditch masks. But it’s not OK to harass people wearing them.

By Jason Sattler

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday in new guidance that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outside or in most indoor settings. What it didn’t say, however, is you shouldn’t wear a mask or you can’t wear a mask or you’re entitled to mouth off about other people’s masks.”  

R.I.P. G.O.P. (1854-2021) (Photo: Randall Enos/Easton)

10. States rebel against governors’ arbitrary COVID-19 powers. Pennsylvania is the latest.

By Charles Mitchell

“Across America, state legislators have risen up to curtail the emergency powers that their governors amassed during the coronavirus pandemic. This national movement is as bipartisan as it gets. In Massachusetts, Democratic legislators are fighting to rein in a Republican governor. In Kentucky, a Republican legislature has taken on a Democratic governor. Even Democrats are constraining a Democratic governor in New York, while Republicans in Ohio have imposed restrictions on their Republican governor.”

11. COVID-19 concerns sent thousands of inmates home. Give clemency to those who deserve it.

By Alice Marie Johnson and Ja’Ron Smith

“This spring, as more Americans are able to get vaccinated, there’s hope the pandemic is nearing its end and life is slowly returning to normal. But for 4,500 Americans, the end of the pandemic could instead mean returning to prison. The March 2020 CARES Act allowed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to expand the period of home confinement, which usually comes at the end of a sentence. As a result, thousands of incarcerated individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes were released from prison –where COVID-19 swept through cramped facilities – to home confinement. Many were able to reunite with their families and find jobs.”

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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