Monthly Two Cents

The Case for Climate

by Bonnie Wood

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Current national climate plans – for all 193 Parties to the Paris Agreement taken together – would lead to a sizable increase of almost 14% in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. Getting to net-zero requires all governments – first and foremost the biggest emitters – to significantly strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions and take bold, immediate steps towards reducing emissions now.”

The latest report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that if we are to limit global warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius, greenhouse gas emission levels have to peak by 2025 and be reduced by a quarter by 2030. The report pointed out that it is not for a lack of money, knowledge or technology; it is politics that is standing in the way.

Climate change always takes a backseat to other issues that appear to be more immediately pressing, but we can no longer keep kicking the can down the road. The time to act is now. The United States is the second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. We owe it to the world and future generations to take accountability for our actions. This is why climate change policy needs to take center stage in the midterm election. It is entirely on the next class of legislators to pass meaningful and bold climate change policy.

Local Democratic Party organizations can create the groundswell and be the driving force to make climate change the most important issue of the election. We are the ones who volunteer, fund-raise and show up to every election. We can shape the narrative and policy goals of our politicians. Economic, political, and social instability will only be exacerbated by the devastating impacts of climate change.

Our house is on fire; all other problems that exist within the house are dwarfed by the fact that the house is on fire. Gas prices, inflation, the pandemic, inequality, healthcare and education, while they are important issues that need to be addressed, none of those problems will matter if Earth is uninhabitable.

RACISM IN TEA PARTY SIGNAGE

by Bill Butler

The yellow signs from the Tea Party I see around Mechanicsville, where I live, continue to offend me. Their messages are often dishonest and quite transparent. Take, for example, the sign on Studley Road near me, from George Orwell: "Who controls the present controls the past" This means to me that if they can elect a governor and a majority in the legislature, they can decide what we will learn about the past. A whitewash about slavery and Jim Crow, disguised as a defense against critical race theory, which isn’t taught anyway, would be one outcome.

So I wasn’t surprised when a yellow sign on Pole Green Road was changed. It had stated, "Veterans before refugees." As a veteran, I was offended each time I drove past it. But after a few days of Russia’s war on Ukraine, it became apparent that refugees could be White. The sign was then shifted to a different message.

The racism in all this is pretty obvious.

Note: Bill submitted this as a letter to the Times-Dispatch as well.

WHEN THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE ATTACKED A TEENAGER

by Ethan Lynne

“Ethan, you’re on in 3..2…” Right before the feed cut to me, I couldn't help but think about where I am now. Just a few months ago, I was registering my classmates to vote, and driving yard signs for delivery all over Ashland and Hanover. Just a few years ago, I was starting out as the youngest intern the Democratic Party of Virginia had ever had, having little to no clue about how the democratic party operates.

Now, I’m here. About to go on primetime CNN, to explain my reaction to being attacked by my governor on social media. Let me stop now, and walk you through this whole story.

This whole thing started Saturday, Feb.5, just after 3 p.m., to be exact. I noticed an article had been released from VPM, Virginia’s Public Radio, about how the woman tasked with teaching about slavery at the Virginia governor’s mansion had resigned. I immediately clicked on this story, as I remember reading earlier about her finding her classroom and office both cleaned out, and her future appearing unclear. As soon as I found out she resigned, I had to let the public know of this atrocity, especially during the first few days of Black History Month. So I tweeted in, then replied linking the article, so no one could accuse me of fake news.

The tweet exploded, getting hundreds of likes a minute, and I decided to get some fresh air, go for a walk and watch what people say. I was tweeted out by tons of activists, and even DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison. I then noticed that Gov. Youngkin's official press secretary responded to my tweet, emphatically denying it. Within minutes, the original reporter of the story finally received a comment back from the governor’s office, denying the situation. This was incredibly frustrating to him as he had been trying to get a comment for nearly two weeks. He corrected the story, and because only half of it was corrected, I kept my original tweet up, and replied with a link to the updated story.

That night, I remember seeing the unthinkable, for the first time in our nation’s history, the account of a sitting governor going after a minor, a high schooler, alluding to him being racist. I was taken aback and just shocked. Shock turned to anger, with me realizing this fits in perfectly with his agenda to endanger public school students, like he’s done with taking away our masks. Within minutes of me expressing my outrage, state legislators and people with national profiles had begun calling it out and drawing attention to it. I could hardly sleep that night, I was just in so much shock still about the whole thing.

I woke up to the tweet still being up, and was actually scrolling on it when it got deleted, shortly before 9 a.m. After it got deleted, loads of reporters started messaging me asking for comments, etc. As if Sunday wasn’t already turning out to be a whirlwind, I had a six-hour shift at work and a friend’s funeral to attend to. I went to work and the funeral, all while scrolling the internet and watching new articles pop up about the instance every second. Then that night, I finalized a CNN interview to happen on Monday.

When I went to school on Monday, all my friends and classmates were extremely supportive and asked me questions about the whole experience. My teachers were all checking on my mental health, and informing me of their plans to watch me on TV later that night.

I left school early to get ready, get through a press conference, and a photoshoot with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, all within a 3-hour period. I then recorded my CNN interview, and because of the delay, when it actually aired, I sat in my closet without my phone and could feel my heart beating out of my chest.

I remember being so nervous during the actual interview and panicking internally about his curveball questions, so I was extremely worried about what people would think once it aired. Luckily, I was inundated with thousands of messages of support from people all over the place, especially right here at home in Hanover.

The whole experience proved to me why I’m proud to be a Hanover Democrat. We never give up the fight and are never scared to face a Republican, as we’ve been surrounded by them our whole lives. I plan to use this new platform to further connect with the young people in our county because we have real momentum here, real, consistent, precinct swings, and if we can get the young people out to vote, there’s no stopping us.

Democrats Deliver

HDC's recently reelected chair reflects on the state of Democratic politics and our challenge 

by Daniel McGraw

Let us pray!

Thank you to all of the great Democratic believers. Through you, we are able to deliver the greatest expansion of health care to date. Because of your will, we are able to decriminalize activities that harm no one, yet historically penalize humans for being born. With your power, we are able to spread love and charity.

Please be mindful of the people in your circle who seek to destroy, rather than to build. I pray that you continue to provide me strength when I am weak, and that you are able to empower me to carry on the good fight, even if we should travel through dark times.

I believe in the goodness of the human condition. I believe that all worthwhile achievements have taken place under Democratic leadership. Together, we survived the Cult of POTUS, 45. In spite of the challenges, we have been able to increase access to communication and transportation.

I am proud to be a member of the “Yes We Can” movement that preserves our liberties, as opposed to the “Whatchamacallit” mafia that has consistently attempted to overturn democracy.

Through you, with us, and together we can achieve even greater feats. I pray that we all keep our faith in each other. We are the party of goodness. Let us now become the party of Greatness.

Remember that Democrats Deliver. And in these trying times, we need strong Democrats to work even harder.

We should be optimistic about our future. But, we must also be honest about our present condition. If you need a friend, call me. When I need reassurance, I WILL call you. Let's call upon one another as we strive to develop a Commonwealth that celebrates the achievements of our most vulnerable groups while exposing and ending the hateful hardships that have stunted growth for so long

I believe in humanity, and I believe in you. Thank you all for your confidence. This group of Democrats has saved me in times when I was lost. Now is the time to stay strong, Build Back Better, and withstand the tests that are still yet to come.

Our current state of affairs will pass. We will prevail. Our legacy is so great that future generations will know that Democrats Deliver.

Stay strong. Stay safe. Stay forever.

Amen!

Stand Up For Democracy

by Larry Fellerman

As a retired high school teacher, I have been stunned by the decision of the Republican Party to embrace the critical race theory put forth by extremists who wish to destroy democracy within the United States.

Their attempt to rewrite history so that young white children don’t feel “uncomfortable” about confronting the tragic racial transgressions against minorities (race, gender, place of origin, etc.) which permeate American history, is simply an attempt to base the study of our past upon a foundation of lies.

Republican opponents of critical race theory deny that massacres of African American citizens by white mobs in Tulsa, unarmed Native Americans by white soldiers at Wounded Knee, innocent Chinese-Americans in California and thousands of other incidents throughout this nation ever really happened. Many of these same Republicans deny that the Holocaust in Europe during the 1940s really occurred.

The same Americans who believe that these events are fictitious also deny that what millions of us witnessed on TV on January 6 was not really an insurrection against the U.S. Constitution, but rather was merely “tourists” who were taking a peaceful tour of the Capitol.

Let’s be honest. The insurrection on 1/6 was an attempt to destroy our democracy and to set up an authoritarian regime in its place. It is frightening that the extremists in our nation are willing to destroy the glue that has held our country together for 245 years. The basis for America’s greatness is its acceptance of the following principles:

1) Respect for the laws passed by “We, the People.”
2) An abiding faith that all people have unalienable rights.
3) Respect for truth and the laws of nature.
4) Belief in the golden rule (treat others as you wish to be treated).
5) Belief in majority rule with the protection of minority rights.
6) No person or political party is above the law.
7) Belief in governmental checks and balances.
8) Tolerance of all people’s views, even if different from your own.
9) Kindness is a virtue and not a sign of weakness.
10) Compromise is a way to resolve divisive issues and find common ground.

These are the political 10 Commandments that have united our people for nearly two-and-a-half centuries. It is wise to think about them in light of today’s descent into tribalism and authoritarianism. Democracy is a fragile thing and it has served us well for many years, We need to assure ourselves and the world that, in the words of Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, our constitutional republic, established by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.

This is the time for ALL Americans to stand up for freedom. This is the time for ALL Americans to stand up for democracy. This is the time for all Americans to get involved in our effort to preserve our values. Join the Hanover Democratic Committee today and fight for your future and the futures of your children and grandchildren.