Today America commemorates Juneteenth as a national holiday for only the second time. I’m willing to bet it will sneak up on a lot of Americans who wonder why there is no mail and many offices are closed. I will offer that it is a day to be cognizant of our political environment and not let something insidious sneak up on us.
Juneteenth was first celebrated as a national holiday last year. I can understand where that caught many of us by surprise. The enabling legislation was just signed into law a few days before. When it comes to holidays, we are all “old dogs” and it takes some time to learn “new tricks”. This year most of us are still learning. In fact, the commemoration is still far from uniform and all encompassing. I have to think racism has something to do with that.
1/6 was certainly a surprise to all but a handful. (“It will be wild.”). Yet the spirit lives on and is more dangerous than ever. The odds always were that a handful of right wing terrorists abetted by a band of useful idiots were not going to topple American democracy. Make no mistake, unwittingly in the case of the useful idiots, that was the true target. Now their game has shifted to a much more dangerous inside one.
A story from last week that did not get enough press was that of the Otero County (NM) County Commission. The three members, all of whom are Republicans, refused to certify the primary vote. They had no cause and citied gut feelings based on long debunked right wing mythology. The New Mexico Supreme Court interceded ordering them to certify. In a Friday revote two commissioners changed their vote to the affirmative but Couy Griffin remained a no vote. Griffin cast his vote via phone because he was in Washington, DC being sentenced for his part in the insurrection of January 6th. (Side notes: If Keith Olbermann still had his show Griffin would have been a prime candidate for Worst Person in the World. Griffin’s sentence was a slap on the wrist when compared to some of the sentences minor drug offenders receive.)
On the surface this seems like a minor matter. It dealt basically with a Republican primary in a very small, obscure county. Why not just throw out all the votes? That is the precedent they were trying to establish. What happens if a county like Wayne in Michigan, Fulton in Georgia or Wake in North Carolina just throws out all their votes in 2024? The answer is that it would likely negate any Democratic win. You see those are all very populous blue counties in swing states.
The Trump-led Republicans aren’t just “working the refs” they are trying to replace them with people who will negate your vote. In too many cases voter apathy is allowing that to happen. I write about national, international and in some cases statewide politics. In reality local elections very much matter. The forces of evil – and while in some cases also misguided, evil they are – are taking over slowly and surely starting at the local level very much including school boards. Voter apathy is enabling them. Have you ever looked at the totals in many local elections? A few hundred votes is often the margin of difference and the total vote cast is astonishingly small.
I know many eligible voters sit it out because they feel that their vote gets lost in the massive totals. In local elections, particularly runoffs, few people actually bother to vote so if you do your vote carries tremendous weight.
Commemorate Juneteenth today and defend democracy on all primary and general election days. Don’t let the forces of evil sneak up on you!
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