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Week 11/2/20

PUBLISHED: November 9, 2020

In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do. 


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There are facts and there are beliefs. Fact: the Hale-Bopp comet with an orbital period of 2,533 years, passed earth in 1997. Belief: Members of the religious cult, Heaven’s Gate, decided that if they put on new Nikes and killed themselves they could hitch a ride on it. Fact: Colorado does not border Mexico. Fact: More than 200,000 Americans have died from COVID. Fact: Frederick Douglass died in 1895. Fact: many of the figures currently touted about the economy and employment are incorrect. Fact: a good day on Wall Street doesn’t put food on the table. Fact: there is a long history of successful elections conducted by mail-in ballots.

Fact: election day is November 3rd, 2020 and the future direction of this country depends on it. Fact: Democracy as we know it is at stake. Fact: Our earth is at stake. Fact: Humanity is at stake. Fact: We need to vote like our lives depend on it. Belief: We need to vote like our lives depend on it. Because they do.

Reader Rob Shapiro
Excerpt from “As a Matter of Fact” in Aerosmith Journal


Folks, the last days of the campaign, I began thinking about a hymn that means a lot to me and my family, particularly my deceased son, Beau. It captures the faith that sustains me, and which I believe sustains America.

And I hope — and I hope it can provide some comfort and solace to the 230,000 Americans who’ve lost a loved one to this terrible virus this year. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. Hopefully, this hymn gives you solace as well.

And it goes like this: And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, and make you sign just like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hand. And now together, on eagles wings, we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do, with full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and each other, with love of country, a thirst for justice.

Let us be the nation that we know we can. A nation united, a nation strengthened. A nation healed. The United States of America, ladies and gentlemen, there’s never, never been anything we’ve tried we’ve not been able to do.

So I remember as my grandpa said when I walked out of his home when I was a kid up in Scranton, he said: “Joey, keep the faith.” And our grandmother, when she was alive, she yelled: “No, Joey, spread it.” Spread the faith.

Editor Paul Reyes
Excerpt from “Joe Biden’s Victory Speech, Annotated” in The Washington Post


I do not know how we move forward from this moment. I am optimistic, certainly. I am excited that Kamala Harris will be the first Black woman vice president. I am excited that Mr. Biden will not lead and legislate via social media, that he is competent and that he may not lead the revolution but he will, certainly, lead the country.

I am also worried. I am worried about what Mr. Trump’s court-packing will mean for voting rights, reproductive freedom and L.G.B.T.Q. civil rights. I am worried that my marriage is in danger. I am worried that the police will continue to act as if Black lives don’t matter, committing extrajudicial murders with impunity. I am worried that the yawning chasms between the poor and middle class and wealthy will grow ever wider. I am worried that too many people are too comfortable in their lives to care about these problems.

I’ll be honest. The past four years have shattered my faith in just about everything. I feel ridiculous saying that. I feel ridiculous that I was so confident in a Hillary Clinton victory, that I believed that if a terrible person was elected president, checks and balances would minimize the damage he could do.

Assistant Editor Heidi Siegrist
Excerpt from “I Am Shattered but Ready to Fight” in The New York Times


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