Monthly Two Cents

black lives matter too!

By Daniel W. McGraw, Ed.D.

On Sunday, July 26, I joined a group of people on the lawn in front of the Town Hall in Ashland to discuss ways to improve our community. Noah Peterson had organized this group under the banner of #BlackLivesMatter. He placed signs, encouraged masks, respected social distancing, and had water available in the shade of a few trees. It was pleasant until a man, who seemed agitated, approached.

He demanded to see a permit. His volume escalated from a soft talk to nearly shouting. “Do you know what you are supporting,” he said. “Read the website; they are Marxists… Communists… their Socialist ideas are trying to brainwash everyone…” I had heard enough and interrupted him to ask one question before I would listen to any more of his opinions. It took several minutes before he calmed down enough to listen to my question. This man was genuinely agitated by the idea that a group of people was peacefully gathering to discuss community improvement next to the sign, “Black Lives Matter.”

“Sir,” I said. “I have not read all of the websites and documents to which you are referencing, but I can say this: I honor the ideals of the United States by the presence of our Flag (I was wearing an American Flag facemask). Does that mean that I have to support EVERYTHING that was EVER done under the banner of this Flag? Or, can we agree that the Flag stands for Freedom, even though there are many people both in this country and abroad who may say that the Flag (and even the National Anthem) represents oppression and tyranny?” He responded with, “I see your point… but do you know the history of this movement?” Since we were at a standstill, I encouraged him to have a conversation with me about his concerns at another time, and we could talk more after I read the things he referenced, but now was not the time. He agreed and left.

I do not know why the #BlackLivesMatter sign triggered him. However, I can go through a few points that he attempted to make. First, no one needs a “permit” to gather with friends/ neighbors on public property during daylight hours in Hanover County. Second, after the encounter, I did read through the website. I did not see anything that suggested the claims the man had made. It annoys me that so many people make false claims and then demand that other people disprove them. That is not how facts and laws work. The accuser must provide the evidence. Even if the website had communist or socialist undertones (which it did not), other thoughts would have arisen: Namely, it is just one website, out of many BLM movements, and the United States already has communist and socialist undertones in its tax structure, policing, public schools and housing, etc. (So what is the “revolution” he is referencing?). 

I dug deeper and watched some clips from activists from the past. I watched many of James Baldwin’s presentations. An interesting one is a conversation he has with a Yale professor who claimed that in 1969 the conditions of Black and Brown people were the same as White people. I read about many violent acts that were inflicted upon people of color. I did the best that I could to understand all sides of what the #BlackLivesMatter movement means. I concluded that when black lives matter, all lives matter.

I am not going to defend my full support for #BlackLivesMatter. I acknowledge that all lives matter. No one needs that reminder; we need to be reminded that the values which are supposed to be “self-evident… all men are created equal” includes LGBTQ+, foreign residents, American citizens, healthy, sick, rich, poor, women, men, et al.  That reminder starts with #BLM.

Furthermore, I am not going to allow someone to dictate to me what my beliefs mean to me. The fact is Black Lives Matter too. And, until we come together as a nation recognizing the significant contributions that Africans have made to the growth of America (North, South, and Central), “all lives matter” or “blue lives matter” will not equate to “all men are created equal” as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. We must right the wrongs of Jim Crowe laws, redlining, incarceration and the many other oppression tactics that make people feel unsafe growing up Black.

Supporting Black and Brown lives does not mean that I or anyone else is anti-White or anti-Police or anti-whatever. My birth father is Black, and my mother is White. But, I grew up in a White household after my step-father adopted me when I was six-years-old (My birth father gave up his parental rights to me).  I can relate to the words of young Barrack Obama. Growing up White is very different from growing up Black. But it shouldn’t be this way. It is not that we should stop seeing color. Instead, we must embrace the many colors with which our nation has been blessed.

Finally, no one has a “right” to hijack the show. When I spend money to see a comedian, I am not there to hear a heckler or listen to other people talk while the performance is underway. The heckler is not the show, the comedian is. When I go to the movies, I expect people to be silent because I did not pay to listen to them. Thus, when I attended the Black Lives Matter Community event, organized by Noah Peterson, I was there to hear, feel, and understand the Black and Brown experiences. I was not there to listen to the counter-argument to #BlackLivesMatter. I was there and will continue to be there in support of the community, which I love.

Dr. Daniel W. McGraw is the chairman of the Hanover County Democratic Committee


By Dr. Clara James Scott

I know you have heard or said it: “I can’t wait to get back to normal.” News flash: Things will never get back to normal. We will adapt to a new normal-pretty much like how life changed after 9/11.

Yes, these are stressful and anxious times as we juggle four (avoidable) major GLOBAL crises: racial and social justice protests, COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and the political climate.

The consciousness of racial and gender acceptance is at an all-time high. First, let’s talk about race relations because I believe it is the basis of many other problems. The public killing of George Floyd has confirmed what we as Black people have been saying forever. The systemic and institutional racism has “had its knee on the neck” of and suffocating Black lives since legal slavery (1619–1865) until today within the criminal justice system.

Two hundred forty-six (246) years of slavery built this country from the free labor in cotton fields to the architectural designs of buildings and inventions. In addition, Black people paid with the agony of brutal beatings, mutilations, rapes, separation of children and adults and ultimately death. In 1865, more than 10 million slaves were freed with no resources, creating a pipeline of plantations to prisons.

In spite of this hardship, during Reconstruction (1865-1877), Black people owned successful businesses and were elected to local, state and federal offices. The gains of Reconstruction were erased with ignorance that created fear by stereotyping Black people as stealing jobs from low-income whites, as animals and as rapists of white women.

With the birth of the Jim Crow era, many successful Black-owned businesses and towns like Rosewood, Fla., and Tulsa, Okla., were burned. Black people were lynched and whites received postcards with pictures of lynching to celebrate. I encourage you to research the term “Picnic”. Not only do we need to be educated about the contributions and mistreatment of black culture, but all cultures.

As for Black people, in spite of the countless acts of wrongness, many including myself have persevered and became successful members of society and accept all people. As Black people, we are exhausted with having to justify our existence. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you earn or whatever we accomplish in life; it is never enough to prevent us or our children from being subjected to racial slurs, denial to employment and promotions, playing time on teams and ultimately police harassment and brutality.

Children are not born hating or fearing others; it is a taught behavior.

Donald Trump and his fan base were taught to dislike others. He is in office as a backlash for having our first elected Black president. Because he does not like President Obama and his administration, he did not accept the playbook on how to prevent and handle a pandemic. This COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of loved ones. I hope people “REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER.”

The economy was doing well before COVID-19 as a result of things President Obama put in place. It will take a decade to recover what could have been avoided. Low-income individuals and people of color will be more negatively impacted than any group. My hope is that we realized that all races (Black people, Russians, Italians, Asians, Mexicans) of people commit crimes to feed their family even though the media only portrays a “thug” as a Black person. Many times, people are forced into survival mode because of systemic racism, like being mistreated in school and dropping out.

Our political climate is so toxic; everything is political. Being treated as a human being should not be political. Providing leadership during a pandemic should not be political. Providing health care and jobs should not be political. Wearing or not wearing a mask should not be political. “REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER.”

I would be remiss without acknowledging the dedication of the young people who are peacefully protesting and others who are writing letters/emails, joining organizations, making calls and having conversations. I personally need you to know how much I need you RIGHT NOW because like so many, I’m tired of fighting. Thank you for picking up the baton.

I look forward to you and your peers VOTING OUT the current arrogant and “knee on the neck” mentality Board of Supervisors that continues to tell their appointed school board member to vote to keep the names of those who committed treason on OUR schools.

It is an exciting time to be on the side of justice. I consider it an honor to share my two cents worth with you my fellow democrats. Now, let’s get to work! There is much to do before November 3. And whereas, I am tired, I’m determined to lock arms with you and fight until the end.

Remember hate is learned behavior!

Dr. Clara James Scott is a retired school administrator, educational consultant and speaker.


By Ashley Hall

Republicans define their opponents with a pinch of truth and a ton of lies to defeat them. But we can combat that.

The GOP playbook: Define, defeat. John Kerry: Truth — he was in the military and received many medals of honor. Republicans started a rumor that he was undeserving of his medals and somehow defined him as a kind of Benedict Arnold. And it worked.

Define, defeat. Hillary Clinton: Truth — she was a First Lady, a secretary of state, a U.S. senator. Republicans started a rumor that she was a underhanded witch that put the country in danger by using a private email server. They created such a fervor that FBI Director James Comey felt he needed to make a show out of “investigating a new set of emails.” And he felt he had to do this, I believe, because the country demanded it, Republicans and Democrats alike.

I remember hearing very, very little defense at the time for John Kerry, and even less for Clinton. And I feel one strong way of showing a united front is by not acknowledging every asinine thing that comes up about our candidates.

Let’s be real here. We are going to have to be prepared to advocate for and defend Biden. He’s going say poetic things and he’s also going to say doofy things. He will, and we can’t freak out about it. As Democrats, if we are looking for every excuse to call out Biden on the internet, in public or even among friends, then we can say hello to a second term of Trump.

Biden is a great candidate and we should say so every day. This is a fight, and we better believe the Republicans are going to say that Joe Biden caused the Challenger to explode and all sorts of other ridiculous nonsense. The news is going to cover it.

But we can’t take the bait. We have to defend him and we have to fight for him, because this is a battle we absolutely cannot lose.

Ashley Hall is director of outreach for HDC

Postpone the Wegman's Public Hearing

As published in the Local

We are hearing from many residents that they fear they must decide between their health, protecting their homes, and their right to attend and be heard at the upcoming Board of Supervisors’ public hearing for the Wegman’s rezoning application. The Hanover Democratic Committee stands against the suppression of speech and impairment of the right to participate in local government, especially on topics that are important to residents. Since Governor Northam has issued a stay-at-home order until June 10, 2020, it does not seem in line with public safety to hold a public hearing on the Wegmans’ project. There are many residents who deserve the right to attend and have their voices heard. Many residents feel it is important to hear and respond to Wegman’s position at the hearing since its representatives will be present throughout the proceeding. There are no deadlines that require the hearing now and there are no procedures that will allow citizens the ability to attend and fully participate in the hearing process. It seems the prudent thing to do is to postpone the May 6th public hearing on the Wegmans’ project until it is safe for Hanoverians to meet in public.

The Hanover Democratic Executive Committee

This feature includes different perspectives on who should be the Presidential nominee for the Democratic Committee.  We are committed to supporting the eventual nominee.  We also believe it is useful to share different points of view.

Progressivism is Necessary to Address Our Current and Future Challenges

By Chance Lee

Thanks in no small part to the work of politicians like Bernie Sanders, ideas with progressive roots like Universal Basic Income and curbing free markets, once considered beyond the pale by moderate voices, have gained firm footholds in the popular imagination. With COVID-19 spreading across the country, these proposals are finally achieving the semblance of political salience. We live under the thumb of a right-wing administration, yet Congress is cutting Americans direct checks while the President’s handpicked economic czar flirts openly with state-owned equity in private business. We live in strange times. This crisis is forcing us to test the limits of our political horizons, and it becomes ever more apparent that progressive change is not only within our reach but a matter of necessity.

At a basic level, progressives propose reorienting our societal investments to empower the real people and workers who create value. One argument, though, has haunted single-payer healthcare, publicly funded universities, and other progressive policies for decades: the proposed cost. Election cycle after election cycle, the same tired rejoinder of “how are we going to pay for it?” rises like a vampire from its coffin and drains Democratic enthusiasm for progressive change. The federal response to the global pandemic at our doorstep finally drives a stake through this Nosferatu’s heart as our federal reserve pumps trillions into markets through record-shattering bond-buying and repurchase agreements. It’s no longer tenable for our leaders to say the alternative course is a financial impossibility.

The situation itself exposes the true cost of our misaligned priorities and how vital it is we shift to a progressive course. None of the measures so far to cushion Wall Street have staunched the bleeding nor has our privatized health system left us with the capacity to address the virus’s human toll. The bets we placed on job creators and big businesses aren’t paying off; instead, we find ourselves relying on increasingly precarious essential workers to keep fragile supply chains intact while the number of nonessential unemployed creeps upwards.

Programs like Medicare for All ultimately put the country in a better position to combat crises, allowing our institutions to be proactive instead of reactive. The current strategy, delivering a one-time stimulus, or proposals to waive COVID-19 treatment costs, won’t prepare us for the inevitable next disaster. Emergency progressivism can’t fix the structural failures that lead us to this moment and facing the challenges the future holds requires us to tackle these problems with a comprehensive progressive agenda.

Why I’m Ridin’ With Biden

By Ethan C. Lynne (PHHS Sophomore)

Courage, that is the word I would use to describe Joe Biden. That cannot be said for most normal politicians, but Joe is not a normal politician. After being elected as the youngest U.S. senator ever at 29, he got sworn in in his son’s hospital room after losing his wife and daughter in a car accident. He served in that capacity for decades, giving him the much-needed government experience that is extremely helpful to become the President. When you’re president, you have to have a lot of allies, both in the country and around the world, and Joe already has that. In 2008, after agreeing to serve as Vice-President on one of the most historic presidential campaigns in history, he fully immersed himself in the political world. He has been a Democrat his whole life, never switching to an independent, unlike Senator Sanders. After seeing his margins on Super Tuesday winning almost every county in most states, and his huge percentage of the African-American electorate, it is clear, the candidate who can win is Joe. We must choose the Democrat with courage, and experience over the independent with widely controversial promises.

Don't Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good

By Ashley Hall

Let us not forget ... if we get a progressive Democrat in office, we can move him more to the middle. If we get a moderate Democrat in office, we can move him more to the left. We can call, we can march, we can shine a light on issues important to us, and these issues will fall on Democratic ears and the ears of their Democratic advisors. Not the case if Donald Trump wins a second term. So when it’s time to volunteer, time to call, time to vote, the Democrat on the ballot may not represent everything you want or need at the moment, but whoever it is, they are a HECK of a lot closer to your ideals than the current President in office. It’s a cliché, but clichés can be true. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.