Evidently, Reynolds' petitions for candidacy were circulated on Sunday and notarized also on Sunday, the day after the firehouse primary that chose Sam Rasoul as the Democratic candidate. Reynolds has always been a Democrat in the past, but this time he is facing a duly chosen Democratic nominee as an independent. He ran against Robert Hurt for House of Delegates in 2003 and lost decisively. He also served as a aide to Tom Perriello when Perriello was in Congress.
All of this happens as the Democrats in the city have rallied behind Sam Rasoul, including the man who lost to him by 44 votes, David Trinkle. Trinkle hosted a unity rally at one of the restaurants he owns in Roanoke. Onzlee Ware, State Sen. John Edwards, the other candidates for the nomination all joined to support the nominee chosen by the people.
This development is certainly a stumbling block in the election for the only seat in the House of Delegates from Southwest Virginia still held by a Democrat. If Mr. Reynolds indeed is a strong Democrat, this is a srange way to show it. At worst, Reynolds will bleed off votes and elect Octavia Johnson, who is ill prepared to serve in the office. At best, he will just be a diversion for Sam Rasoul in his quest for the office. I can think of conspiracy theories to explain this whole thing, but I can't think of any logical explanation. Can you?
"We will live in peace. We will live in peace. We will live in peace one day.... Oh, deep in my heart I do believe we will live in peace one day." ("The last verse to We Shall Overcome," which we sang on Dr. King's birthday.
Each time I sing those words, I am moved (sometimes to tears) by the the distance yet to go juxtaposed to the promise of equality and peace. This year I am not so hopeful. It has been a year of national backsliding. No matter what, we try to keep the dream alive. No matter what, we believe that we can make progress toward the dream. In many was we have. But in important other ways we have not.
We have an historic president. But the truth is that the institutions of America have found subtle and un-subtle ways to sabotage this presidency and our national progress on race. Racism is alive and not well. And it makes the accomplishments of this President against such constraints all the more remarkable. Lowkell has enumerated many of these accomplishments on this front page today. Nonetheless, we have substantial racism in 2012 America.
If you doubt that, you have only to look at all the institutional efforts to purport that quotas are required under Affirmative Action (they are not only not required but forbidden unless there is a court order). Yet the myth is professed to rile white America. You have only to look as far as Prince William County and its codified xenophobia. You have only to look to the shrinking enrollments of African Americans in some universities or the incredibly (even staggeringly) high unemployment among African American youth. You have only to look at our prisons and the prison industrial complex's unwillingness to move beyond the faux justice ("need" for "finality") in favor of real justice of getting the right person in criminal cases. The incarceration of so many people of color should make all Americans reflect. My reflection brings me to the point of resolving to work in some capacity on innocence and sentencing reform projects. They are the civil rights problems of our time.