TODAY, June 13th: Join us for a (physically distanced) sign painting party!
In the spirit of Reduce Reuse Recycle, we’ll be painting over old signs from past elections & bits of cardboard with messages for November. Bring along your paint, old signs, cardboard boxes from your online shopping, or just yourself. We’d love to see you there!
We’ll be starting at 9am, at 1747 Handley Ave, Winchester VA 22601. Call Kate (540.533.7234) or Bill (804.690.5080) for more info
Systemic Racism Hasn’t Been Erased
In a June 24th Open Forum, Dave Stegmaier asserted that “racism no longer exists in any systematic way.” According to him, over the last 50 years systemic racism has been eliminated and that it is the paternalistic social programs of the Democratic Party that have left minority populations “without purpose or hope.”
Let’s look at the evidence.
Criminal Justice: According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Black people make up 41.6% of death row inmates but they make up 52% of those wrongly convicted and later exonerated. The Sentencing Project’s reported that “Federal prosecutors, for example, are twice as likely to charge African Americans with offenses that carry a mandatory minimum sentence than similarly situated white people.”
Health and Environment: In 2016, a University of Michigan study published in Environmental Research Letters found “a consistent pattern over a 30-year period of placing hazardous waste facilities in neighborhoods where poor people and people of color live.”
Jim Crow Laws: In 2019 Virginia instituted a Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law—they reported last December that they found nearly 100 racist laws that need to be removed from the books.
Education: In an article entitled “Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education” the Brookings Institution reported “Recent analyses of data prepared for school finance cases . . . have found that on every tangible measure—from qualified teachers to curriculum offerings—schools serving greater numbers of students of color had significantly fewer resources than schools serving mostly white students.”
Locally: In addition to these issues, Black people in our community must deal with the affront and indignity, at the heart of our city, of a statue honoring those who fought, whatever their intentions may have been, to preserve the cruel institution of slavery.
Sadly, far from being eliminated, systemic racism is still prevalent. The examples I have cited are current realities. In spite of these disadvantages, many African Americans have managed to thrive. Thankfully we have made progress, but it demonstrates we still have a long way to go.
I’m not sure which “paternalistic social programs” Mr. Stegmaier has in mind, but from what I can see the social programs of the Democratic Party have improved the quality of life for all races. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped nearly 400,000 uninsured Virginians procure health insurance. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), has helped low income people and is linked to improved nutritional outcomes and lower healthcare costs. In his 2021 budget President Trump has proposed cutting its budget by 30% over the course of a decade. Democrats are also strong supporters of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) which provides tax credits for low wage workers. Ronald Reagan said “the Earned Income Tax Credit is the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.” These programs do not rob ethnic minorities of “purpose or hope,” they foster it.
In order to end systemic racism, we must first recognize how deeply it is woven into our social fabric and begin dismantling it in all its multifarious expressions. And, blaming one political party, especially the party most ethnic minority persons believe represents their concerns, for the inequities so deeply ingrained in our nation’s history, is unfair and unhelpful.
John D. Copenhaver 7/4/2020
An Open Forum in Sunday’s Star from our Newsletter’s very own Kate Simpson
Undertaker in Chief — A new moniker for Donald Trump? Well, some 130,000 more Americans have died so far this year than would be normal. If the shoe fits . . . .
We have now far outstripped other “developed” countries in numbers of deaths and confirmed cases. But instead of an informed national strategy for dealing with the worst public health crisis in a century we’re left with a clown show, in which the president mocks and flouts expertise and persists in acts that threaten the lives of hundreds, if not thousands.
His “strategy” for addressing the crisis consists pretty much of buck-passing and wishful thinking. For example, “I think that at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear. I hope.” Seriously?!?!? He “hopes” it will all just disappear? That’s his plan? Imagine Roosevelt saying, “I hope the Nazis will just go away.” Or George Bush saying, “Well, I hope they don’t hit us again.”
Trump made this statement on a day when 37 states reported spikes in new COVID-19 cases over the preceding week. And, for the first time, confirmed cases in the U.S. exceeded 50,000 in a single day. He has repeatedly denied the CDC permission to brief the public, has encouraged armed vigilantes to “liberate” states that did try to impose serious (a la Europe) lockdown measures to stop the spread. He has pushed ahead with indoor rallies without insisting on social distancing or masks, at a time when ALL experts agree that wearing masks is the single most effective, and least costly, means of slowing the spread.
The result is that instead of “flattening the curve,” the curve has flattened us. The president has effectively yielded the field to the coronavirus, opting instead to divert the public’s attention by stoking the culture wars and attempting – at a time we normally celebrate our aspirations for unity and liberty – to further divide us.
As Anne Applebaum recently noted in “The Atlantic,” “The numbers of American sick and dead are a source of wonder and marvel all over the world. They also inspire fear and anxiety.” Americans are excluded from European Union countries because of fear of disease transmission. Uruguayans and Rwandans can go to Italy and Spain, Moroccans and Tunisians can go to Germany and Greece. But we can’t. Think about that. For the first time in living memory, Canada has kept its border closed with the United States. On July 3, the governor of the Mexican state of Sonora announced the temporary closure of the border with Arizona and banned Americans from Sonoran beaches. In short, we seem to have turned into one of those “s____hole countries.” So much greatness . . .
The continually rising infection rate and death toll are now entirely on Donald Trump owing to his utter fecklessness. Why anyone running for political office would want to consciously associate with the personality cult that used to be known as the Republican Party is a mystery. Call it the Undertaker Cult.
Save the date: September 12, 2020
Keep September 12th (1-3:00 pm) on your calendar! It’s our WFCDC GET-OUT-THE-VOTE EVENT with candidates and fun!
Reminder: our Back to School Bookbag Drive is still going on!
On July 25, FREE bookbags will be given out at Los Toltecos. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Latino & minority communities, and we need your help! The goal is to distribute at least 300 bookbags with necessary school supplies. Reach out to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to donate
COVID-19 Isn’t Over Yet…
As we head into our 4th month of physical distancing, most of us have probably been guilty of being less cautious about when and how we leave our homes (even though case numbers in the US still vastly outnumber many, many other countries). As with most things, there’s a psychological explanation for it: see below for a brief introduction to caution fatigue
CAHOOTS. In this case, it means “Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets”. It is an upstart program in Eugene, Oregon – a community about 6 times the size of Winchester – that relieves the police department of tasks for which they are not equipped. That covers mental health crisis, homelessness, substance abuse, threats of suicide, etc. These are problems that, in the hands of police, often turned violent. Now, other cities want to emulate it. Read more here.
FAKE DEMOCRACY. That is what many people call the Russian government and some insist it is what Vladimir Putin wants for the U.S., too. Read more here. It’s worse than you might think. Imagine a third of all votes cast being fake.
FEELS GOOD. Here is a short video that helps you feel good about the future. It is about how Native Americans are saving vegetables from extinction.
CLEAN AIR IN NC & VA. Energy companies have cancelled construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Read more here.
RALLY AGAINST PROGRESS. Since New Hampshire is one of the few states to have a current decline in the number of new coronavirus cases, trump decided he would “cure” that by holding a campaign rally there. This article tells you more.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. Voter Fraud is when one or more voters attempt to vote fraudulently, such as by submitting multiple ballots or voting where/when they are not permitted to vote. It doesn’t happen often and is extremely unlikely to alter the outcome of an election. Election Fraud is when the people running the election do so fraudulently, such as casting out large groups of certain ballots or rigging voting equipment. It, too, is rare and difficult to pull off (especially under Virginia processes), but is more likely to alter the outcome of an election.
QUOTE: True patriotism isn’t my country, right or wrong. It’s my country, if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. ~Carl Schurz
WHY DUDA LIKES U.S. This is not a story you will like, but it is one you need to read. This opinion piece tells us why democracy is faltering in Europe and on the brink of failure in Poland. Yes, trump is involved.
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS. Over 800 cases have been logged in California alone as hate incidents when Asian-American kids were told to go back to China, per this article, stating them as starting the current pandemic. Stupidity knows no bounds.
AMAZING WASTE. Here is another song by Founders Sing. Jesus reappears and felt compelled to set the record straight.
POOR DEPLORABLE TROLL. While we are on fun political songs, here is the latest Randy Rainbow video. You’ll enjoy it!
QUOTE: If Donald is afforded a second term, it will be the end of American democracy. The stakes are now far higher than they’ve ever been before; they are literally life and death. His failings cannot be hidden or ignored because they threaten us all. ~ Mary Trump
COULD YOUR FACE MASK KILL A WHALE? Per this short BBC video, it might. It seems people aren’t disposing of medical waste properly and since they beginning of the current pandemic, they started showing up in the oceans by the billions.
COVID-19 MYTHS FROM POLITICIANS. These myths simply are not true.
REPUBLICANS BACKING BIDEN. Yes, there are some, most notably The Lincoln Project. You may remember that Abraham Lincoln was a republican back when that party was on the right track. Learn more here. By the way, one project building within The Lincoln Project is to place television ads in states where people in Congress supported Trump with the objective of throwing out those, too. Think of people like Mitch McConnell.
THE INVENTOR OF THE FIREFIGHTER’S POLE. In 1878, Chicago fireman David Kenyon, a member of the all-African-American Company 21, invented and installed the first firefighter’s pole. Learn all about it here and more here.
MAGA = WHITE SUPREMACY. That seems to be what the U.S. Army thinks and I agree. Learn more here.
WHITE SUPREMACIST’S ROOTS. It may not be what you think. Check out this NPR article.
WHO REAPED BENEFITS FROM VIRUS AID? According to this article with some interesting details and names, the answer is Congress.
WHAT GOYA DID. Goya is a Hispanic-owned company that sells foods, mostly for the Latino market. However, since Goya managed to praise trump, many Latino families have decided to boycott the company. Learn more about it here. It’s complicated.
THE BOOK. You can learn a lot about what is in Mary Trump’s new book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, by reading this article. The book is currently in pre-sale (I’ve ordered one) for delivery early next month.
THE REAL AMERICANS. Beware the person who claims to know who’s a “real” American and who’s not. That is one of the lines in this great opinion piece.
MAKE RUSSIA GREAT AGAIN. That is the title of a new satirical novel by Christopher Buckley (son of William F. Buckley Jr.) who says his father probably would like trump. Learn more about it here.
QUOTE: The president ought not to have the power of pardoning, because he may frequently pardon crimes which were advised by himself. It may happen, at some future day, that he will establish a monarchy, and destroy the republic. ~ George Mason, Virginia Ratifying Convention
SELL PUERTO RICO? Never! However, trump considered doing just that after Hurricane Maria, per this article. Rather, we should work to bring them in as a new state. Besides, they would help Democrats in future elections.
Photo of our beautiful downtown Winchester by Tony Puglisi