News

New America

By Richard Coleman, Stafford County Democratic Committee Member

I have just read another article arguing the concept that white working middle-class America has been abandoned by the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party did not abandon them, white working middle-class America abandoned the Democratic Party. The reason, I think, is that white working middle-class America showed stagnant or declining opportunities while there were improved opportunities for some minorities. In response, that large segment of white America blamed minorities for their predicament. They chose to abandon the party because they felt that the Democrats devoted too many resources to groups in which they did not feel included.

The point is not whether the Democratic Party should reach out to these groups, but rather the proper messaging that should be used to pull the white middle-class back to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party works to divide Americans and offers a pro-business message. Their message is anti-worker because it maximizes profits at the expense of workers. The Democratic Party can utilize a pro-business message but needs to educate workers about the advantages of maximizing profits by increasing the spending power of workers.

Trump accelerated the transformation of the Republican Party into the monster that promised to advance the needs of one group at the expense of other groups. The Democratic Party worked to defeat that monster, not to takes its place. Divisive philosophies should not be used, and no group should be excluded from the support of the Democratic Party.

The availability of resources, advanced technology and social conditions were factors that built the America of the past. I think the party should reach out by demonstrating a willingness to use those factors today to build a better future for all Americans.

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

Peaceful Transfer of Power

By Michael Spragins, Stafford County Democratic Committee Issues Committee Chair

Joe Biden has won the Presidency. For that we are thankful. We are now in that “in-between” time when we have elected a new president, but he cannot take office yet and we are seeing the very worst of Donald Trump. From his false claims of electoral fraud and his incompetent legal team to his rage-filled tweets he is showing his true colors as an anti-democratic authoritarian. Does anyone now doubt that, if he could be helped by Republican legislatures in swing states or a compliant court, he would overturn the will of the electorate and install himself as “El Presidente” for another four years or perhaps longer? His war against democracy continues and the Republican Party is complicit.

Outside of a few Republicans who are in charge of the actual electoral processes in some swing states, the vast majority of elected Republicans in Congress and elsewhere are silent in the face of the most coordinated attempt at a coup that the United States has ever seen. This craven and cowardly group led by Mitch McConnell, who for years have been singing the praises of “constitutionalism,” have done more damage to our republic than any foreign actor. They have yet to learn that doing the right thing is always the best policy.

What is even more chilling is that there seems to be a constituency for authoritarianism. More than a few on the right appear to want a charismatic leader who flaunts the law and the popular vote simply to take over and take charge. In fact, Michael Flynn, the now pardoned former general and National Security Advisor, has suggested that Trump declare martial law and have the military run a new election. Others on the President’s side have asked that enemies be beheaded or drawn and quartered or shot. These are not the words of “constitutionalists.”

Republicans who believe in the rule of law should join Democrats to denounce these tactics and help the new administration show the world that we believe in the peaceful transfer of power to a duly elected president.

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

Will We End Racism, Bigotry, and Intolerance?

By Richard Coleman, Stafford County Democratic Committee Member

For all human history there have been robbers and murderers, yet society has not found a way to prevent robbery or murder. Society realizes that robbery and murder are undesirable, so society has come to an agreement that such acts should be discouraged. Recognizing that we or our loved ones can be victims has been sufficient motivation for even those who have never been victimized by robbery or experienced the loss of a loved one by murder to support actions to discourage these crimes.

I believe that all are victims when racism, bigotry and intolerance deny any member of society the opportunity to be a fully contributing member. But my belief is not the question. Nor is the question whether we will end these outrages. The question is, are we going to choose to be a society that considers such actions as undesirable, or will we ignore it when only others are affected. Tightly closing our eyes to avoid seeing, insulating our lives to muffle the stories, or being silent is no guarantee of protection. Even those who are not today’s victims of racism, bigotry, and intolerance, should realize that actions to discourage such practices are the best path to guarantee protection for all.

November 2020 is a pivotal point for our society. Either a majority of the country makes a statement that racism, bigotry and intolerance are undesirable, or we take a step towards more of the same. The concepts of liberty and justice for all as envisioned in the Constitution have not been perfectly implemented, but either this society stands ready to continue fighting for that perfect implementation or we surrender to authoritarian rule that condones these abhorrent practices.

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

Assurances

By Richard Coleman, Stafford County Democratic Committee Member

On election day most of us go into the voting booth with a select few issues on our minds. We seldom find a candidate that supports every issue we support, and with the same priority that matches ours, so we select the candidate that matches most of our issues with a priority order that we can accept. In today’s environment there are major issues that divide America, but I question if the greater divide is not the positions we hold regarding issues, but rather how we handle the fact that others have different positions.

A vigorous and passionate debate on what issues America faces, the priorities we set for responding to those issues, and the methods most appropriate for resolving each issue is needed. But fighting in support of issues is not the same as fighting against those with different positions. The tactic of attacking and destroying those with different positions is not the same as working to convince others that a selected position is a reasonable option to help some fellow Americans. Denying support for one segment of America is not the same as providing support for other segments of America. Going down a path that drives us into smaller and smaller warring camps, fighting for support, will rob us all of the strength found in unity.

There is no way to know which issues America will face in the future, but November 2020 is a point where we can give assurances that we want civility from our political leaders. We should refuse to accept leadership that tells us we need to choose between destroying fellow Americans and implementing policies we support. We must demand leaders who will put in the effort to both deliver on the needs of America and unity for Americans.

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

The Supreme Court and the ACA

By Michael Spragins, Stafford County Democratic Committee Issues Committee Chair

The recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has focused attention on the Supreme Court.  A case will be heard in the Supreme Court on Nov. 10 that will probably declare the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional. The conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has already declared the law unconstitutional in a suit filed by Republicans. Whether a new justice is confirmed in time for the arguments or not, the vote will probably be a majority against the ACA or, at best, a tie, which would leave the Fifth Circuit decision as controlling authority for the entire country.

What this means is that the ACA will no longer provide health care insurance for millions of Americans. It also means that the expansion of Medicaid around the country will be reversed. And all of this will happen in the middle of a pandemic.  Republicans do not have any replacement plans for the loss of your health care. This will throw the medical insurance industry into chaos as well as exposing millions of uninsured Americans to the ravages of Covid-19.

If Trump is re-elected along with a Republican senate you can expect more months of misery with no health insurance. Let me also remind you that our First District Congressman, Rob Wittman, voted against the ACA when it was first introduced and has voted to eliminate it ever since. You can expect no help from him on health care.

A Democratic president and senate will be able to provide legislation to remedy whatever the Court finds objectionable about the ACA. Republicans are incapable of doing anything for health care. If you want to keep your health care and want millions of other Americans to keep theirs, elect Joe Biden for president and Qasim Rashid for First District Congressman.

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

World View for the Future Generations

Image from: https://www.nature.com/news/future-generations-1.19430

By Richard Coleman, Stafford County Democratic Committee Member

When my children were teenagers, I made a conscious decision to deceive them. I believed that the world would be a better place if we all showed more kindness, more tolerance and more compassion. So, I did my very best to convince my children that the world was, in fact, a better place than my life experiences had shown. My hope was that if my children believed that the world was a better place, the way they conducted themselves would actually help make the world a better place. I wanted my children to recognize that the world is not perfect, and that there are cruel, intolerant, selfish people among us. But I also wanted my children to be aware that the personal character of a person is revealed by their actions and how they treat others. Your race or religion does not equal your personal character.

To a great extent, I think I was successful. My children are people who are kinder, more tolerant and more giving then I am, and they have passed their world view to my grandchildren. My grandchildren are in high school, college or are recently graduated. So, the question now is what world view is on display for my grandchildren, and what values are we going to pass on to my future great-grandchildren. Trump’s cruel, intolerant, and narcissistic policies are on display while he actively sows division based on race and religion. Come November, let’s remove Trump so the conduct of everyone can actually make the world a better place

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

The Convention is Over

By Michael Spragins, Stafford County Democratic Committee Issues Committee Chair

The Republican convention is over. As a taxpayer, I was appalled at the desecration of the White House, our house, the “People’s House,” as a backdrop for a political convention for a candidate with which I have profound disagreement. While the president and vice president are not covered by the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from campaigning on government time or property, the White House claims that there is no violation for the services of the many government employees used to prepare for the event or that it was happening on one of our most sacred and celebrated government buildings. This is corruption of the highest order. Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff, says that people outside the beltway do not care about this. The White House, I believe, has a different conception of “corruption.” To them, “corruption” is about corruption of purity, of the usurpation of the traditional order by those not considered “worthy” (read here minorities, non-Christians, immigrants, not those “real” Americans of the heartland). As long as “Republican values” are upheld, any law can be broken. This is the mindset of this administration. It will only get worse if Trump is re-elected.

I haven’t even mentioned the photo-op naturalization ceremony, whose participants were not aware they were going to be starring in a Republican convention, the pardoning of a criminal as part of the show, or the Secretary of State beaming in a partisan speech from overseas, or the blatant disregard of masking or social distancing on the White House grounds.

But, I digress. I was planning to write about their new platform, but the Republican National Committee has declared that they have no platform this year except for whatever utterance proceeds from the mouth of Donald Trump. I suppose that means that if Trump is re-elected we will have more of the same. More children in cages on the border, more immigrant families separated, more bans on Muslims, more tariffs, more insulting tweets, more cavalier breaking of laws, more pseudo-police sent into cities, more Covid-19 deaths, more love for Vladimir Putin, more pardons for the friends of the president, more unconfirmed and unqualified people in charge of government departments, more separation from our old allies in NATO and elsewhere, more authoritarianism, more lies, more incompetence, and more promotion of white supremacy. As I am writing this, the United States has had 182,000 deaths from Covid-19 and has 5,930,000 cases. Who can want more of this? The re-election of Donald Trump will give this and much, much more.

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

The Path We Walk

By Richard Coleman, Stafford County Democratic Committee Member

Someone told me that they voted for Trump in 2016. They felt that Trump’s economic policies were a good reason to support him. That made me think about a comment my eighth grade history teacher made back in 1963. She said that if Hitler’s path through history had ended in 1935, history books would reflect a very different view of him. He would be revered and remembered as the leader who restored the economic prosperity of Germany from the ashes of World War I. In Hitler’s rise to power, his promise of economic prosperity was based on demonetizing a minority group, unconstrained state control and the employment of authoritarian methods to intimidate opponents. The citizens of 1935 Germany were not planning to inflict horror on the world, but they closed their eyes to the horror being created along on the path they were walking. The horror along that path was Hitler’s establishment of a governmental structure that was intolerant of those who were different and invested with unchecked power. He staffed that structure with those willing to incorporate authoritarian methods into the defined legal framework of government. Germany achieved the economic prosperity that was sought, but the path allowed for the creation of an authoritarian monster that led to World War II. If Hitler’s path had ended in 1935, that monster may not have come to fruition and would not have been unleashed on the world.

Trump has always expressed his intolerance for minority groups. His ongoing actions to dismantle the impartiality in the structure of the federal Inspectors General is demonstrative of his quest for unchecked control. And now, his use of the Department of Homeland Security as a para-military force to intimidate opposition completes the trifecta. The question is not do we want economic prosperity for this country. The question for 2020 is whether we are going to close our eyes and walk the path that Germany walked in search of economic prosperity. Are we going to close our eyes and walk with Trump on a path that creates an authoritarian monster which endangers the world, or will we choose a different path?

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

Blessed are the Mask Wearers

By Michael Spragins, Stafford County Democratic Committee Issues Committee Chair

It appears that the federal government has given up the fight against the novel coronavirus. In light of this, it now falls on us as individuals to do the best that we can to make sure that the virus is contained. Wearing a mask is the best way we can do that. However, some feel that it is an imposition on their “freedom.” Let me offer a couple of arguments that may help. Namely, capitalism and Christian sacrifice.

First, we are all capitalists and want businesses to get back on their feet and reopen as soon as practicable, but it should be clear by now that the way to reopen is to limit the spread of the virus. Putting politics ahead of science has caused us to lose all the advantage we gained from the initial closing of businesses. In short, those who do not wear a mask have put others in danger and out of business. Employees of the stores and shops should not be targets of the wrath of those who feel masks are unnecessary. We must wear shoes and shirts to be served, why not masks? It may be required for a while, but the benefit will be more employment and fewer bankruptcies. If you think this approach is wrong, then take a look at every other advanced economy in the world. They are opening up without difficulty and without the spread of the virus. We are the worst in the world and some seem to be proud of this.

Second, Christians have said that it is better to put the interest of others ahead of your own. Self-sacrifice is the point. Christ was the suffering servant. Not wearing a mask is a supreme act of selfishness. The mask does not protect the wearer as much as it helps protect others by not spreading virus that even asymptomatic wearers may have. It may also be seen on social media that many so-called Christians have been acting very ugly to those suggesting that they wear a mask, even when the local law requires it. Some have come to blows and worse over this simple request. Is the “Love Thy Neighbor” commandment not in effect during a pandemic? What would Jesus do? He would wear as mask. Blessed are the mask wearers for they shall not spread disease.

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.

Muslim Cemetery

By Michael Spragins, Stafford County Democratic Committee Issues Committee Chair

When the Department of Justice, the Free-Lance Star editorial page and the Washington Post editorial page all agree that the Stafford County Board of Supervisors acted improperly, then you know something awfully bad must be afoot. And it is. The facts of what happened are clear and uncontested. The All Muslim Association bought 29 acres off Garrisonville Road in 2016 to be used as a Muslim cemetery. They were assured at the time of purchase by the county that there would be no problem with having a cemetery at that location. Until Crystal Vanuch became involved.

Vanuch, who was a county planning commissioner at the time, lived across the street. She complained to Wendy Mauer, the Board Supervisor in Vanuch’s district. After investigation, the County concluded that a 100-foot separation between the cemetery and water sources was necessary. However, the Board of Supervisors, knowing that the land was to be used as a Muslim cemetery, recommended a 900-foot separation. That effectively blocked the entire parcel from being used as a cemetery. The declaration of a 900-foot separation was entirely arbitrary and evidently was for the sole purpose of keeping the property from being used by the Muslim group. Additionally, Wendy Mauer did not inform the full Board that the County planners only recommended a 100-foot separation.

This entire process smacks of Islamophobia and hypocrisy. The DOJ lawsuit charges a civil rights and constitutional rights violation, and for once the DOJ is absolutely correct. The Stafford Board of Supervisors was made up entirely of Republicans in 2016 and they have shown their true colors with regard to religious discrimination. Republicans do not want a Muslim cemetery in their area simply because the people involved are Muslim. Additionally, they are being hypocritical on the issue of religious freedom. Republicans constantly complain that the expression of religion is being harmed by government action. Well, they fully agree to practice governmental discrimination against Muslims.

The Stafford Board of Supervisor should immediately remedy this injustice and allow the land to be used as a Muslim cemetery.

This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.