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February is Black History Month. This year’s commemoration is special because we are still celebrating the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
I’ve visited the museum twice; my next visit is later this month. The museum can be overwhelming so I methodically focus on one floor at a time, beginning with the History Galleries.
It is as emotionally wrenching as you would imagine. It is also motivating and inspiring. I thanked the ancestors for surviving the brutality of slavery and maintaining their humanity, their “soul value.” I am empowered by their enduring legacy of struggle and resistance.
Last week, I checked out the Culture Galleries.
It was sheer joy to experience black culture in all its glory – music, fashion, dance, culinary and visual arts, as well as the performing arts.
I ended each visit at Contemplative Court where I sat and, well, contemplated how we got over.
As an advocate for social justice, I celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. every day. On the official observance of his special day, I will join thousands for a ceremonial tapping of the Liberty Bell in his honor.
Afterwards, I’ll join the March for a Better America.
The march will begin at the slave quarters on Independence Mall and conclude at Mother Bethel AME Church, where POWER: An Interfaith Movement will unveil their 21st Century Declaration of Rights. They will call on elected officials, community leaders and ordinary citizens to support human rights. It sounds like a party for a drum major for justice.
Happy birthday, Dr. King.
I am a founding member of the Election Verification Network. The membership includes University of Michigan computer science professor J. Alex Halderman, the computer science expert who sparked Jill Stein’s petition for a recount in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Since its founding, EVN has pushed for voter-verified paper ballots and a forensic audit of every election. So it’s not surprising that Alex and other members have latched on to calls for recounts in three states.
But Jill Stein’s vanity recount is not advancing election integrity. Instead, it’s setting back electoral reform.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized, it smacks of a “vanity project”:
Maybe ‘democracy’ will be served by Jill Stein’s quixotic moralizing. More likely, Jill Stein and the Green Party will be served.
Jill Stein may actually believe that demanding a recount of presidential tallies in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will ensure that “democracy” is served.
More likely, she believes the Green Party will be served by her audacious PR stunt.
Either way, the Stein recounts are a colossal waste of money and energy when there is not a shred of credible evidence of fraud or error and when the final vote in these three states likely will not change very much.
Stein’s quixotic moralizing damages the credibility of the very institution she claims to protect — the sanctity of the ballot box.
Those who donated to Recount 2016 did so voluntarily. Stein paid the state of Michigan $787,500. But taxpayers could end up paying $5 million in additional costs. So Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a lawsuit to halt the “dilatory and frivolous” recount:
Michigan voters rejected Stein’s candidacy by massive margins but her refusal to accept that state-verified result poses an expensive and risky threat to hard-working taxpayers and abuses the intent of Michigan law. We have asked the court to end the recount which Stein is pursuing in violation of Michigan laws that protect the integrity of our elections. It is inexcusable for Stein to put Michigan voters at risk of paying millions and potentially losing their voice in the Electoral College in the process.
Meanwhile, the Green Party has withdrawn its lawsuit for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania. Although Stein has raised over $7 million, they claim the petitioners “cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the Court.”
In a tweet, Stein asks, “How odd is it that we must jump through bureaucratic hoops and raise millions of dollars so we can trust our election results?”
What’s really odd is that the candidate who received less than 1% of the vote is pushing for a recount in Pennsylvania rather than the candidate of the 1%, Hillary Clinton.
Facing long odds in Pennsylvania, the nutcase is taking her case to federal court. If the case winds its way through the federal court system and makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court, President Trump’s pick will be there waiting for Dr. Jill Stein.
In 1852, abolitionist Frederick Douglass asked, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”:
What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful…
…But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?
For me, July 4, 2016 means that in a little over two months, I will join thousands of African Americans for the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The museum has been 101 years in the making. At last, everyone will now know that when we celebrate black history and culture, we, too, sing America.