Monthly Two Cents

Monthly two cents: the republican ideology

by Don Barth

Vote Republican if you

1. Believe that only white people should vote and the path for others to vote should be very difficult.
2. Believe that schools should not teach the true history of non-white people.
3. Believe that it is more important to be able to own an assault rifle than to lose the lives of innocent children who can be killed by them.
4. Believe that the minority should be able to override the wishes of the majority of Americans.
5. Believe love can only occur between two people of the same race and opposite gender.
6. Believe that religion does not include caring, helping, etc. of all people, religion is only for people like me who only care about me.
7. Believe that wealthy people should pay a lower percentage tax than lower and middle-income people.
8. Believe it is good for CEOs of big businesses to receive huge salaries, raises and bonuses while some of the actual working people who do the work don't make enough money to feed their families.
9. Believe it is more important for big oil companies to be able to pollute, endanger our health, cause a climate crisis and make huge profits than it is for the companies to care about the future of our planet, its people and the climate crisis.
10. Believe it is more important to be against abortion than it is to give proper pre-natal and post-natal care to children as well as their parents.
11. Believe it is more important to allow big pharmaceuticals to make huge profits while the people using these prescriptions must sometimes decide between taking life-saving drugs or paying the rent.
12. Believe it is more important to allow the legislators to pick their voters via gerrymandering than it is for the voting districts to be established scientifically to be fair to all.
13. Believe there are two genders, female and male, period. There is no such thing as transgender.
14. Believe that it is more important to be governed by a dictator than to live in a democracy where the government is chosen honestly by the people.
15. Believe once a person is elected they should only work for the citizens of their party not for all the people in their district.
16. Believe that no guns should be registered but all immigrants should be.
17. Believe that lying is OK when it helps me.
18. Don't believe in listening to others because that would indicate that you are weak and need others.
19. Believe in ending Social Security and Medicare
20. Believe in abolishing all or most civil service jobs and turning them into positions appointed by the president so everybody in government owes their job to the president and he can fire them whenever he wants, and turning our country into "Big Brother" and "1984".
21. Believe in more tax breaks for billionaires and corporations.
22. Believe in repealing Obamacare
23, Believe in killing the world's population via the "climate crisis."
24. Believe in requiring 10-year-old rape victims to carry their babies till birth.
25. Believe in banning contraceptives, making abortions illegal, and then once the baby is born to give no assistance to the baby nor parents and also having no plan for an over-populated world as Virginia's governor.

There is no way you nor I could vote Republican. If we don't speak up, we are complicit. Unless we all get out and work (there are many ways in addition to going door to door) our butts off for all of our Democratic candidates, we will see our world change drastically because the people who think the above WILL BE IN CHARGE. Fairness, caring and unbiased will mean nothing. Two perfect examples are electing Trump in 2016 and recently electing Youngkin.

monthly TWO CENTS doubled: DEMOCRACY AND REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM

'CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER"

by Ray Gryder II

Was that a movie? Yes, it was.

Harrison Ford starred as a fictional CIA agent, Jack Ryan. The 1994 film was based on the Tom Clancy novel of the same name, “Clear and Present Danger.” Where does the title come from? In the film, the President of the United States uses the phrase to describe the threat of foreign drug cartels to America. But the phrase is part of a real United States Supreme Court decision.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in Schenk v. United States, 249 US 47 (1919) declared that “the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing panic. [The] question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.”

Recently, at the January 6th Select Committee hearings, former US Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig opined that the past and ongoing actions of former President Donald J. Trump, his allies and supporters, represent, “a clear and present danger to American democracy."
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He further conveyed the seriousness of his assertion stating, “I don’t speak those words lightly. I would have never spoken those words ever in my life. Except that’s what the former president and his allies are telling us … the former president and his allies are executing that blueprint for 2024 in the open, in plain view of the American public.”

“I repeat, I would have never uttered one single one of those words unless the former president and his allies were candidly and proudly speaking those exact words to America.”

Judge Luttig’s obvious understanding of Justice Holmes's usage of the phrase, “clear and present danger” in Schenk v. United States conveys, here and now that no ambiguity exists for the American People and democracy.

As the 2022 mid-term elections approach, Democrats must diligently commit to reminding ourselves repeatedly about the importance of this November’s election. We face a clear and present danger and as Americans — believers in democracy — the choice for our nation, our commonwealth and our county is unequivocal. America will choose between candidates who are committed to the ideas and principles of representative democracy or those who are blatantly and perversely not.

America is in a deepening economic struggle brought on primarily by an unprecedented pandemic and, more recently, an unprovoked Russian war on democracy against Ukraine. As a result, supply-chain problems and now a violent war in Europe are causing daily economic hardships around the world. Pocketbook issues are front and center as campaigns begin to rev up. Based on history, pundits and poll prognostications, Democrats could lose control of both the House and Senate. But the clear and present danger is relying on stoking your fears. They will work to avert your eyes from their menacing goal.

The clear and present danger is not a joke. It is not a hoax or a Hollywood fabrication. It is not a conspiracy theory or an over-reaction. It is a serious reminder of how fragile American democracy is.

“A democracy, if we can keep it,” said Benjamin Franklin. This upcoming election lays before us the opportunity to prove that we want to keep it.

Because of the clear and present danger, Democratic turnout must be as strong this midterm election as it was in President Biden’s 2020 victory. A loss of either majority in the House or Senate will be devastating for American democracy. The stakes are higher than they have ever been. The future of the nation depends on it. It is time to get in the game, to make a difference. We must stay strong, vigilant and maintain awareness of purpose. It is clear the Republican party and conservatism have allowed themselves to be hijacked by a myriad of extremists, conspiracists and grifters.

They are committed to Trump and the perversion and eventual destruction of democracy and the administrative state. Do not forget, Hanover Democrats, we have extremists and insurrectionist residents within our midst. They clothe themselves in the flag and the cross. These so-called patriots seek to impose the MAGA Trumpian worldview locally — a transactional world of exclusion where election intimidation is allowed, voter suppression practiced and unacceptable outcomes overturned no matter the margin of victory.

But if you believe America is a transformational inclusive ongoing idea of freedom and justice for ALL, now is the time, to step up, step out and stand tall against this “clear and present danger.”
Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors. Support Democrats up and down the ballot to ensure democracy’s protection from fascist authoritarians at ALL levels of government. If we fail to communicate this vital narrative centerpiece, if we fail to convince voters that the “clear and present danger” is real, then all the important pressing policy matters, foreign and domestic, will not matter. The “clear and present danger” will have overturned democracy.

Finally, reflect on these respectfully submitted words from Judge Luttig’s official statement to the January 6 committee.

“Our democracy has never been tested like it was on that day and it will never be tested again as it was then if we learn the lessons of that fateful day. On the other hand, if we fail to learn the lessons that are there to be learned, or worse, deny even that there are lessons there to be learned, we will consign ourselves to another January 6 in the not-too-distant future, and another after that, and another after that. While for some, that is their wish, that cannot be our wish for America.”

In all seriousness, this is not a movie. This is as real as it gets. We know what lengths they will go to, to get what they want. They proved it violently on January 6, 2021. Do not become cynical or complacent. American democracy is depending on you. This November, vote Democrat.

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

by Rachel Levy

I was born in 1973 in Washington, DC to two civil rights lawyers. Like my many people my age, I took access to reproductive healthcare, birth control and abortion services as a given. I imagine many people my age have. Frankly, perhaps because of the controversy surrounding abortion, its articulation as a fundamental right initially gave me pause. As I’ve grown and learned more, I’ve come to understand that this was manufactured controversy.

Even in non-life-threatening circumstances, the decision to have an abortion can be a complicated one and the process itself can be a difficult one to navigate. However, many medical procedures are difficult to decide upon or can involve unpleasant or somber processes. Ultimately, managing the decision-making process and emotional landscape of any given medical care, illness, or reproductive event is and should be personal and private. It now stands out to me that abortion is uniquely not permitted to be a private or personal choice; to the contrary, it’s seen as a political, and even criminal, act.

Yet, since the 1970s, the vast majority of Americans have believed abortion should be legal, but carry some restrictions. This is no different from any other right that our Constitution grants us. No right is or was meant to be unrestricted. Until the late 1970s, evangelical leaders were indifferent to legal abortion and even in favor of allowing abortion under certain circumstances. What changed? The Nixon and then Carter administrations decided to start denying tax exemptions to K-12 segregation academies, and evangelical leaders needed a new moral outrage to build conservative (Republican) political power and rally followers. Segregation made for an unpopular moral rallying cry but religious freedom, and abortion, or being “pro-life” fit the bill.

Fast-forward to today. Republican political leadership maneuvered to deny President Obama the SCOTUS appointment that was his to make. That combined with the support of the criminalization of abortion as the litmus test to win appointment to our highest court by Republican presidents and senators. As of June 24, 2022, we’ve lost the federally protected right to an abortion, and we’re on the brink, state by state, of losing the right to make reproductive healthcare decisions and decisions about reproduction generally.

In more conservative Hanover, some people counsel politicians like me to remain silent on reproductive freedom and rights. This is something I’ve grappled with. But I have come to realize, as I pointed out earlier, that this manufactured outrage is having its intended effect.

I also see the big picture. The long-term effort to overturn Roe v. Wade isn’t just about abortion or women’s healthcare and autonomy; it’s about control and agency write large. It’s about controlling the definition of family, and who can form one, how, and when. If reproduction is fundamental to human existence (and I would argue that it is), then reproductive freedom and rights are the bedrock of human freedom and rights. There’s a difference between personally relinquishing the option to have an abortion, or even being opposed to it for oneself, and relinquishing the right to have the option of having one. When we give up the latter, or when it’s taken from us, as just happened, we lose so much more. Losing the right to have an abortion will lead to a much broader loss of control, agency, and ultimately, rights—such as the right to other reproductive freedoms and healthcare such as birth control, the right to marriage and co-habitation, the right to religious freedom, the right to travel freely.

I’m not willing to give up or lose any of those rights, and I will not give them up on my voters or constituents’ behalf. All of our human rights are now at stake and I will fight to maintain them—we all must.

Towards a Policy of Inclusion

by Kelly Carter Merrill

School’s OUT!

Soon my family will be celebrating the last day of school in Hanover County Public Schools — Thursday, June 16. It’s been a long year for us and several other families like ours.

I have two children who attend Hanover County Public Schools; one of them is transgender.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of challenges to being a transgender child in school. In addition to navigating their own identity development and the judgment and fears of others, transgender children are also faced with unprepared educators, school records that misgender them, and facility policies that don’t affirm their gender. It can all weigh pretty heavily on a kid and it certainly does on ours.

A recent state law mandated that, by the beginning of this school year, every school district in Virginia would adopt policies to protect transgender and nonbinary children in school.

But Hanover school board missed that deadline, then explicitly voted to NOT pass the full policy in November of this school year, thus violating the law. And worse, by March the school board voted to engage Alliance Defending Freedom, a known anti-LGBT hate group, with our Hanover public school policy. My child’s school board is failing him and other kids like him.

This past school year has been quite an education for ME. While advocating for transgender children, I have become more engaged in local governance than I ever have been in my life. I’ve spoken at multiple school board and Board of Supervisor meetings, participated in protest rallies, collected petition signatures, organized email blasts to local officials and I even joined a lawsuit against the Hanover school board.

I’ve become an activist and an organizer.

What I’ve found in Hanover is a RICH community of gifted contributors and allies. Our community has come together to create and fund signs, tshirts, stickers, buttons, postcards/stamps, and a half-page ad in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The visibility that we’ve created for LGBTQ issues in Hanover has fostered a space where transgender students have been speaking out and more and more Hanover families with transgender kids have been coming forward.

While being transgender is not common, it is natural, much like having red hair or being left-handed. It’s a human variation that just happens sometimes, and it’s OK. Families with transgender kids have done nothing wrong and there is NOTHING for them to be ashamed of. Speaking out is liberating for them and for our entire community. We are BEING the change we want to see in Hanover and it’s working.

So, while this school year will end without a full policy for transgender student inclusion in Hanover County, there is still PLENTY to celebrate during Pride month this June. I invite you to support LGBT Hanoverians this month by wearing Pride T shirts or buttons as you go about your lives in our county. Because we ARE Hanover.


Kelly Carter Merrill is a professor of leadership communication at Randolph-Macon and social innovation at the University of Richmond. Kelly plans to offer a speaker series to members of the Hanover Democrats this upcoming summer or fall called, Becoming an Activist. If you are interested in joining the movement to get a full transgender inclusion policy in our schools, please reach out to Kelly at hanovertransadvocate@gmail.com.

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.