As I've advised readers before, there are times I awake at night, then can't get back to sleep.

Recently, that happened, and my mind traveled back to 2001, when Orvileta and I spent 30 days visiting France. In Paris, we stumbled across a location that contained numerous sculptures by Auguste Rodin, including a large piece entitled "The Thinker."

Why that particular image came to mind, I know not. But, the answer to the age old question, "What is he thinking?", instantly popped into my head. I share it with you in the form of a cartoon inset with this column. Of course, such can't be verified, but I hope you find my latest attempt at cartooning amusing. As an artist, I never got into sculpture, but after seeing the original work, I would bet that Rodin was thinking: why the heck didn't I use a smaller piece of marble!


News from The Old Dominion State (Virginia) has indeed been saddening with the reports that there are now at least four public officials there who AREN'T perfect.

Gov. Ralph Northam has been roundly criticized by folks far and near for photos that appeared in his Med School Yearbook showing a person in "black face" makeup, and another wearing a Klu Klux Klan robe and pointy hat. The Guv now denies being either of the two masqueraded figures, but did acknowledge having once participated in a dance contest dressed and made up as Michael Jackson, performing the "Moon Walk" dance.

Many are clamoring for his resignation, including a plethora of Democrats who should know better. By most accounts, he has served his state well this past year and had been a model citizen since his college days, including presently belonging to and attending a Black church.

Actually, many of us have "stuff in our shorts" that doesn't smell or look good. But, the overall picture should be reviewed, including character and contributions to the greater good, before the mob starts out with torches and pitchforks, especially for things that are not criminal nor personally egregious!

Northam's resignation would turn the job over to the Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who faces serious allegations of rape from two women. The LG says it was all consensual, but resignation or impeachment, or conviction of a crime, may well conclude his time as an elected official.

Second in line after the lieutenant governor comes the attorney general, who has disclosed that he, too, appeared in black face makeup for some occasion years ago. But wait, there is more: Now the head of the GOP-controlled Virginia State Senate (the other three are Democrats) has revealed he once published yearbook material that would be similarly offensive.

Bottom line is that all of these things (those non-criminal) should be individually reviewed by each of us before rushing to judgment and calling for this or that action to be taken against the person with their "bosom in the wringer." And we need also to consider the experience and opinions of those who are offended by racial slurs or actions that clearly are a threat to the well-being of us all. Hateful speech or actions against any person or group on the basis of race or ethnicity is shameful and exposes those committing such acts as gravely lacking in understanding what our Democracy means!


We are extremely proud of our daughter-in-law, Trina, who, along with some other dedicated and tenacious gals, is actively trying to persuade the Virginia Legislature to pass the Equal Rights For Women Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Thirty-seven state legislatures have done this.

Approval from one more state is necessary to get a nation-wide vote to place this in our Constitution. Hopefully, the Commonwealth of Virginia will get it's act together and vote yes on this important and historic legislation!


Duane West has lived in Garden City since 1940 and is a former mayor.