WATER BALLOONS DAMPEN CIVIC DISCUSSION
It was all set. Richmond residents, local elected officials, and community organizers gathered on the medians on Monument Avenue to discuss citywide issues, including public safety and criminal justice, mental health and healthcare, housing, and education. Four canopies, or “conversation stations,” were pitched on the east side median near the traffic circle at Monument and Allen avenues, each with a large notepad on an easel to display the tent’s topic and give participants a chance to write questions and talking points. BUT . . . the police never showed.
Why? According to a Richmond Police tweet, because of a water balloon fight scheduled at the same time. Yes, you read that right. Another police tweet from the “Constructive Conversation Team” said that they received indications that they would not be welcome, and “decided to wait for another time” to participate in inclusive dialogue. Officers did, however, arrive near the Robert E. Lee memorial later requesting the removal of a tent, but left shortly after drawing the attention of several event attendees and reporters.
JUSTICE CAN BE SWIFT
A Virginia man who identified himself as a leader of the Virginia Ku Klux Klan drove through a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7 in Richmond. On August 10, he was sentenced to six years in jail. Only sixty-four days following his crime and boast.
The individual was convicted of six misdemeanors and sentenced to a year in jail for each charge; he still faces three felony charges in connection with the incident.
Far too many instances of this type of mayhem against protesters seem to have become common following the 2017 riot in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer. There is, sadly, no vaccine for hate.
LURAY MAYOR FAVORS AUNT JEMIMA FOR VICE PRESIDENT
The 12-year mayor of Luray, Va., in a tweet before Joe Biden announced his choice of Kamala Harris for VP: “Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.” After the inevitable outcry, the mayor argued, “I don’t understand why it’s offensive. But that seems like the popular opinion, so I guess they are right.”
But sometimes what looks like bigotry may only be simple, incomprehensible ignorance. He asserted the comment “was not about any living woman, but was referring to the actual Aunt Jemima,” believing “someone would get a laugh out of it because I did last week,” and posted it because “Joe Biden said he’s gonna pick a black woman to be his running mate.” As a matter of fact, Biden did not commit to naming a Black woman. To ensure that all were clear about his point and the depth of his vision, the mayor continued, “The only ones I even know of are Condoleezza Rice and Kamal (sic) Harris but they can’t stand to the stature of Aunt Jemima.”
How many Luray voters have lost confidence in the mayor’s leadership qualities? A protest march morphed into a political rally for an opponent by the name of Leah Pence. Her namesake would likely feel right at home.
CUCCINELLI: UMBRELLAS ARE TERRORIST WEAPONS
Virginia’s gift to the nation, Ken Cuccinelli, keeps on giving. The acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security recently told a small crowd at a police appreciation picnic in Berryville that some people peacefully protesting police brutality are aiding violent protesters whom he accused of “terrorism.” “Let’s not kid ourselves, some of those peaceful protesters are the shield. You don’t show up at a protest with an umbrella to hide people behind you if you’re going to be peaceful.”
Cuccinelli added that violent protesters in Portland, Oregon, were guilty of terrorism. He said it was “out of bounds” for protesters to exercise their First Amendment right to protest at the houses of public officials. [Does our Constitution have such boundaries?]
Speaking of boundaries, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) just ruled that both Cuccinelli and Acting DHS head Chad Wolf are ineligible under federal law and may be illegally serving in their top DHS roles. The matter to the DHS inspector general for further review and potential action.
Cooch may need more than an umbrella to stay dry at DHS. The rest of us need one to protect us from his ideas.