On Nov. 2, 1920, Americans elected Warren Harding to the White House in record numbers. But perhaps even more noteworthy than that day’s vote was the fact that, for the first time, some people could hear the results over the radio. On that night, Pittsburgh’s KDKA broadcast returns to the relatively small number of households that owned radios at that point. It can be argued that KDKA’s broadcast 100 years ago ended up having a greater impact than the event it was covering, since it kicked off a revolution in communications and how we receive information. People could hear voices from far away and receive news instantly on the “magic box” in their living rooms. Residents of this region can feel a sense of pride that something so momentous started here.
This week, Pennsylvania broke last week’s record when it reported the largest number of additional positive coronavirus cases in a single day. Unfortunately, the process of trying to bring the transmission of the virus under control is hindered by the fact that fewer than a quarter of commonwealth residents who tested positive have answered questions by contract tracers about where they have been or if they have attended a mass gathering. It needs to be underscored that people who respond will remain anonymous. According to Rachel Levine, the commonwealth’s health secretary, “I cannot stress enough how critical this information is for us and how important it is for people to participate fully in the case investigation and contact tracing process.” She added, “You might save a life by being honest about who you were in contact with and the places you visited.”
All too many Americans take the opportunity to vote for granted, but Fayette County’s John Wilson is not one of them. The 75-year-old has been in California holding a temporary job, and he found out that the mail-in ballot he sent back to Uniontown for this week’s election was rejected due to a mistake he made in filling out the ballot. When it became apparent that he would not be able to get a replacement in time, Wilson flew to Pittsburgh, spending $760 on a plane ticket and $60 on a rental car, to correct the mistake. You have to appreciate Wilson’s determination and doggedness when it comes to voting. He explained voting is “the one time I can be certain I have a voice in this country. I believe in the principles that our government was founded on ... My vote is as good as anyone else’s.”
Having some members of the Peters Township marching band appear in black, full-body suits at last Friday’s football game against Woodland Hills High School was clearly an embarrassing faux pas, even if no harm was intended. The majority of the student body in the Woodland Hills district is nonwhite, and it looked like the Peters students in the full-body suits were in blackface. Though Peters spokeswoman Shelly Belcher strenuously denied the district condones or permits discrimination, and band director Milt Barney reportedly apologized profusely, we have to agree with what Woodland Hills athletic director Ron Coursey told the Tribune-Review: “At the very least, it’s racially insensitive and poorly thought-out.”