Derek Chauvin’s trial, 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. There’s zero chance Joe Biden will run in 2024. Why didn’t he dodge the question?

By Peter Funt

“In the White House press office they must have wondered when President Joe Biden would “get the question.” It came last Thursday from Nancy Cordes of CBS News: ‘Have you decided whether you are going to run for reelection in 2024?’ Biden could have sidestepped it by saying, ‘We’re still in our first 100 days with a lot of work to do. I’ll worry about a second term when the time comes.’ Instead, he opted for a seemingly decisive and confident approach. ‘The answer is yes,’ he said. ‘My plan is to run for reelection. That’s my expectation.'”

2.  Asian American students have a target on their backs thanks to critical race theory

By Asra Q. Nomani

“To understand what’s behind this conflict, look no further than the controversial ideology of critical race theory, which praises or blames members of a particular race solely because they happen to be that race. … This ideology has swept through America’s educational system at every level and is erasing our different narratives as Asian Americans from different backgrounds and — to our shock — marginalizing our children and us. The ugly truth about critical race theory is that it inevitably seeks to fight racial hierarchies by instituting new forms of racial hierarchies. And Asian-American parents are increasingly taking notice.” 

Easter treats (Photo: Dave Whamond/PoliticalCartoons.com)

3. Raffensperger: Baseless stolen election claims don’t justify federal takeover with H.R. 1

By Brad Raffensperger

“Here in Georgia, we have grown accustomed to dealing with baseless stolen elections claims. We rejected a federal elections takeover when H.R. 1 was first introduced after Stacey Abrams claimed, without evidence, that her 2018 election was stolen, and we reject that approach now. When I first took office in 2019, I moved quickly to shore up confidence in Georgia’s elections. Abrams’ refusal to concede and her dogmatic conviction that her election was stolen had done significant damage to trust in election integrity in Georgia.”

4.  ‘You are strong.’ Vice President Kamala Harris has a message for American women

By Suzette Hackney and Nicole Carroll

“The yearlong pandemic has only magnified America’s gender inequalities, all while stifling the decades of progress women have made. Women are leaving the workforce in alarming numbers. Female entrepreneurs find their shops shuttered or empty. Burdened with the brunt of child care responsibilities while children are learning from home, Black and Latina women in particular are falling deeper into poverty. Harris characterizes the regression as a ‘national emergency.'”

5. Joe Biden’s first press conference answers at least one question: Mastio & Lawrence

By David Mastio and Jill Lawrence

“When is the best time to have your first press conference? Probably never, but in a forest full of trees on fire, from immigration and guns to voting, China, Afghanistan, North Korea, the filibuster and his plans for 2024, President Joe Biden managed to avoid going up in flames himself. His triumphalism on COVID-19, while possibly justified, was less effective to me than statements like ‘I’ve been hired to solve problems’ and ‘I’m a fairly practical guy’ and ‘I want to get things done.’ In other words, I’m trying to seem dull and boring and eventually you will notice that I’ve knocked your socks off.”

6.  My patient got COVID and died. He thought life was back to normal, but we aren’t there yet.

By Dr. Thomas K. Lew

“I was out on the streets of San Francisco last weekend when I noticed something I hadn’t seen in over a year: The hustle and bustle of city life was coming back. People were gathered outside bars and restaurants, crowded and unmasked. There were handshakes and hugs as they moved from one group of friends to the next. It seemed so … normal. The difference was stark when I returned to work as a hospital physician the next day and witnessed my elderly patient with COVID-19 pass away after days of gasping.”

Not out of the woods yet (Photo: Dave Whamond/PoliticalCartoons.com)

7. Boulder police chief: Eric Talley died a hero, but we’ll have scars from his loss forever

By Maris Herold

“I was thinking of my mother on the morning of March 22. It was her birthday. Cancer took her 18 years ago. She was on my mind as I went about my day’s business. Finishing an early afternoon meeting, an active shooter text alert flashed across my phone. I desperately hoped the message was sent in error. A call to Deputy Chief Carey Weinheimer confirmed the message. The active shooter was still in the store. My grocery store, just three blocks from my home.”

8. Race is on trial in Chauvin case. And whatever the jury decides won’t be enough.

By Katharine Huffman

“It’s not just Derek Chauvin on trial in Minneapolis; it’s our nation’s values around race too. Can we provide any semblance of justice to Black and brown people who face violence at the hands of police officers? Will a guilty verdict even make a difference? We already know the answer: Whatever the jury decides, it won’t be enough. The only thing that will make a difference is meaningful change to the status quo. The good news is that there are real opportunities for action.”

Chauvin Trial (Photo: Steve Sack/The Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

9. Military must do more to weed out white supremacists, extremists

By The Editorial Board

“Extremism in the military is hardly a laughing matter, and evidence is mounting that it’s long past time for the Pentagon to take it seriously. ‘The military has a growing problem with white supremacy and extremism because our country does,’ Lecia Brooks, chief of staff for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told lawmakers last week. About every third service member surveyed told the Military Times in 2019 that they saw evidence of white supremacist and racist ideologies in the service, up from 1 in 5 in 2018.”

 ‘We are going to tackle this problem (of extremism) head on’: Adviser to secretary of Defense

By Bishop Garrison

“The vast majority of our men and women in uniform — and those civilians who support them — serve with honor, dignity and character as they defend our country. And we are grateful for their dedication to our core values, to the oath they all took. But we are also rightly mindful that extremism in our ranks is real, and though we may not have a full grasp on the extent of the problem — specifically the number who espouse these beliefs — we know it can have an outsized effect on our force. It doesn’t take many to impair our morale, health and readiness.”

10. The struggle to reopen George Floyd Square: ‘Injustice closed these streets; only justice should open them’

By Suzette Hackney

“No justice, no streets. That’s the mantra of community members who claimed the neighborhood where George Floyd died as their own. Until there is justice for Floyd’s death, they say, the area where a former Minneapolis police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck while he struggled to breathe and cried for his mother belongs to the people. Police officers, in particular, are not welcome. Some here call it an autonomous zone.”

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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