Eyes Open #30
Welcome to the latest puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests.
It really is astonishing what cowardly rich white men in positions of power will deny to people who made the mistake of not also being cowardly rich white men.
For the crime of not voting for Republican candidates, Republicans everywhere are scrambling to make it harder for people of color to vote, because they’ve given up on actually trying to court their vote. They’re doing everything from closing polling centers and making already unreasonable ID requirements stricter to gerrymandering districts so preposterously that someone was able to make an actual alphabet out of Republican-drawn voting lines.
According to The Brennan Center for Justice, at least 19 states enacted 33 laws this year alone to make it harder for Americans to vote. These laws include major restrictions on voting from home, including facing criminal charges for returning ballots on behalf of voters with disabilities. In Georgia, you can be charged with a crime for handing snacks or water to people waiting in long poll lines.
Those are just the laws that were actually enacted. In 49 out of 50 states, a total of 425 bills have been introduced that restrict voting access.
And it’s true, I usually don’t call out Republicans by name in these writeups, but let’s face it. What’s the point of writing about repressive acts of cowardice and not naming the oppressors?
And speaking of oppressors, for the crime of being able to bear children, Texas and other states are punishing women by denying them the basic dignity and individual freedom to decide what happens to their bodies. And yes, as many other people have pointed out, these are the same states where people whine and cry “my body, my choice” over wearing a small piece of fabric over their mouths for 4 minutes at the grocery store.
And it’s more appalling that it’s still happening in this country after going on for centuries. Literal centuries.
The examples above are enormous issues. The right to vote. The right to control one’s body. These are battlegrounds that affect tens of millions of people, issues that should have been settled long ago. But they’re not, because cowardly rich white men, given even the slightest challenge whilst holding even the tiniest smidgen of power, will always show their true selves.
Even over the pettiest things.
I couldn’t dream of encapsulating everything that’s going on with Republican voting manipulation or the ongoing state-by-state battle over women’s reproductive rights in a single puzzle.
So today, I chose to highlight how absolutely petty and ridiculous cowardly white men in positions of power can be, and the simple things that people were denied because of the color of their skin.
These battlegrounds weren’t the voting booth or the operating table. They were a library, a post office, a public pool, and a local pub.
Today’s puzzle focuses on four times (out of countless examples) that life should have been easier, but it wasn’t, because cowardly white men in power arbitrarily decided it wouldn’t be.
I hope this puzzle serves to engage you as a solver and encourage you to step up, in big ways and in small ones, every time a fellow human being’s life, livelihood, well-being, and dignity are threatened by the overreaching petty influence of cowardly rich white men in positions of power.
You might have heard about one or two of these incidents, but definitely not all four. If you’d like to learn more about these moments in time that simply shouldn’t have happened, there are some links offered below for those interested in learning more.
[Click this link to download a PDF of this puzzle.]
If you have suggestions for more topics for me to cover in future puzzles, please let me know. If you’re a person of color and you’d like to share a puzzle of your own, or to collaborate with me on a puzzle, please let me know.
If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, and you have ideas, please let me know. If you’re a trans person, or a non-binary individual, and you feel underrepresented in puzzles, please let me know.
I would like this to become something bigger, but hopefully, this is at the very least a start.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for standing up, speaking up, and fighting the good fight.
Support LGBTQIA+ people.
Black lives matter.
AAPI lives matter.
Support mental health.