Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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Spoons and Small Brushes Not Bulldozers and Backhoes

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First African Baptist Church photo 140718FirstAfricanBaptistChurch_1_zps887db9c9.jpgUnfortunately for the preservation of Virginia's African American history, Richmond's Mayor, a man of color and the book, is either morally corrupt or benignly ignorant. Doesn't matter which, the result may be the same. It is not surprising that a typical American does not value the history of a place.

But failure to grasp his own heritage is a mortal flaw. There are a few stories here. The ground under Shockoe Bottom is one. The legacy of what went on there and in Jackson Ward and throughout Richmond is another. That legacy screams for every effort to remedy the high unemployment among blacks in Richmond and the accompanying fratricide. A properly funded and directed school system and full-time employment opportunities should be job one. Instead, places for games that feather already well-healed nests and half million dollar studies of half-cocked ideas consume Richmond City revenues. Great photo ops, though.

"...we are totally opposed to a stadium in Shockoe Bottom. Agreeing to this demand by Mayor Jones and the developers he represents would clearly state the following position: Yes, the history is important, but not so much that we can't play games on top of it. And that would be a continuation of the same disrespect that formed the basis for the acceptance of slavery and the slave trade in the first place." - statement by Phil Wilayto and Anna Edwards of the Sacred Ground Project

Compound this with the arrogant, aloof stance that Richmond is immune from federal Section 106 regulations which is even more insulting than any tea party nullification rant. If Jones were Mayor of Jerusalem, he'd solve that whole Temple Mount thing by razing both al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock then build condos and concessions surrounding a miniaturized, motorized laser show of popular myths: Abraham and alternating sons; Moses (I know, I know, but authenticity is not important) delivering an Ark of the Covenant emanating lightning bolts; Jesus in a fit turning over tables; Mohammad gliding in on his horse; you get it, something for everyone.

Maybe the race to succeed Virginia state Senator Henry Marsh (D-16th) whose former district includes much of Richmond's East End will provide a vehicle for Delegates McQuinn (D-70th), whose current district encompasses less and Dance (D-63rd) whose current district covers none to help crystalize the debate. McQuinn seems to be able to straddle both sides of the issue, which hasn't been helpful and could make it quite a tango for Dance. Both probably believe Jones' endorsement would be to their advantage in the contest. In reality, electoral influence is likely the only reason any politician patronizes Jones. Developers seem to believe there are other purposes.

Stoking Voter Fraud Paranoia in Virginia

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For some, the only rationalization for an electoral defeat is vote tampering. If they had substantive rather than anecdotal evidence there would be cause for alarm. Instead, the purveyors of this myth use innuendo and predisposition of their audience to convince. Where were these facts in Virginia's legislative debates?

"It is not the people who vote who count; it's the people who count the votes." - Josef Stalin

This is a cause celeb without a justifiable cause. If the integrity of elections were really the concern, the few individual voters who have been prosecuted would not be the focus. The largest Virginia case of tampering did not occur at the ballot box, but in a Registrar's office where 100 or so eligible voters were denied registration. That single case involves many more votes than the few individual cases not to mention the loss in the institutional basis for trust in the process. The legislature did nothing to protect us against the greater demonstrated threat to the legitimacy of the electoral process. Rather, Republicans are putting into practice Stalin's maxim.