AND THEN AGAIN by Tamara Pettit

…Play Ball???Now that Oak Glen’s field will be ready for play, players, coaches and fans are holding their breath that there are no more positive COVID tests on either Oak Glen or it’s opponent for the next home game.  Fans are now upset about the color of the end zone, saying it is far from Columbia Blue.  When I saw the photo I thought the color really closely resembled that of the New Cumberland Fire Department building so maybe there is a move afoot to change colors (I am just kidding, seriously just kidding.)  I well remember when the Oak Glen classes of 1964, 1965 and 1966 all gathered in the auditorium of Chester High School in September of 1964.  We were attending classes there half days because another very large project was not completed on time ….Oak Glen.   

…..The students, many of whom were not happy at all to be there, were told we were going to get to pick our mascot and our colors.  So anyone who wanted to wrote down there nominations and they were passed to the front where they were then voted on.  The winning color combination took one color from each school.   Newell’s were green and white so we took white.  Chester’s were purple and gold so we took gold and New Cumberland’s were blue and white, so we took blue only it was changed to a lighter blue.  We all had a color from our originating school and the Democratic process allowed all students input.   That’s a great story and I bought in until I was talking to the then Principal of Oak Glen, E. Russell Slack who posed a question to me “Those football uniforms needed to ordered way in advance of the season didn’t they.”   Heck, yeah and they were white with Columbia Blue and Gold stripes. It was a paper ballot.

……We’re posting a little late this week because while the talk has been about breakthrough COVID, I have had breakthrough shingles.  That’s right, even if you have had the shingles vaccine (which I have) you can get a breakthrough case.  From what I read (and believe me over the past few days I have read a lot) 91 percent of those who get the vaccine are fully protected, but there is that small minority who still gets the disease.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is you get a much lighter case of a shorter duration.

…….Oak Glen didn’t get to play this weekend due to the COVID virus and it looks like it may not get to play next weekend.  The Governor is trying really hard with his “do it for Baby Dog” campaign, but I want to say to those who are reticent about getting their vaccination…”do it for your friends, your neighbors and your family!”   I don’t care if you don’t give a darn about yourself and think you can weather the virus, do it for them because they are scared and vulnerable and could die because you failed to get vaccinated.”

……The power of a word….a single word.  I’ve always believed that nowhere is the power of just one word more evident than when are laws are being made.   The addition or deletion of a word can change everything.  Those who write amendments are especially good wordsmiths and that why there is always the debate about “may” and “shall” and “will.”

…..The importance of knowing  exactly what a word means is important.  That’s why there is  a definition portion of a bill.  That was driven home to me very early in my legislative career.  A bill was before us which addressed our State Lottery system.  Now at that time all you could do is purchase lottery tickets at the store…paper lottery tickets.  The bill inserted one word -electronics – into the existing statute.  New to the process, I listened to the explanation on the floor and thought I got it.   “Electronics” would allow those folks in the State Lottery headquarters in Charleston to know when you purchased your ticket at your local grocery store.  Well, that made sense.   It would help the Lottery Department tabulate their daily revenue numbers.   So, I pushed green and voted for it.

…….Only it meant much, much, more.  That one word was what proponents of the original video lottery game “Mountaineer Magic”  would use to convince the Lottery Commission to establish “electronic video lottery games ” at Mountaineer.  We know from history that that the West Virginia Supreme Court would say the code wasn’t  specific enough to allow the game to continue and the passage of the West Virginia Video Lottery Act enabling a Constitutional Amendment would be necessary.    

…..But,  an even more stunning one-word amendment is the insertion of “sex” into the Civil Rights Act of 1964.     The addition of women into the bill that gave equal right to blacks had far-reaching impact on preventing discrimination against women. 

…..The Congressman that offered the amendment, Howard Smith (D-Va), had historically been an opponent against civil rights legislation.  Chairman of the Rules Committee, Smith had blocked civil legislation coming to the floor in the past.  He had, however, championed  equal rights legislation for women.

….The consensus of his fellow legislators at the time was that Smith had inserted the word to kill the bill.  Others thought he knew the Civil Rights bill was going to pass and wanted to ensure that women’s rights were included.  Whatever his goal was, he changed the lives of many women with that one-word amendment.