Newspaper Archive of
Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
January 10, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
PAGE 7     (7 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 7     (7 of 20 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
January 10, 2018

Newspaper Archive of Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

F I' PERSPECTIVES A7 Wednesday, January 10, 2018 CHRISTINE SNYDER The federal holiday paying tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King is nearly here and whatever your skin color or political persuasion, the life and work of this peaceful civil rights leader ought to be viewed as inspiring. Born in the Deep South only a few decades after the Civil War finally ended slavery, King grew up under the harsh constrictions' of Jim Crow - the threat of lynchings, no access to voting or serving on juries, sep- arate schools, separate public wa- ter fountains, separate entrances at shoe stores and Other businesses if blacks managed to get served at all, seated only at the back of the bus, and on and on. Rather than be swallowed up by bitterness toward such an unfair system or left paralyzed by the con- stant denials of his basic rights as a citizen, King devoted himself to making our country better, a place where each of us would be judged not by the color of our skin, as he famously said in front of the Lin- coln Memorial in his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech, but by the content . of our character. We're sure not there yet. Decades after King's call for a more equal America - April will mark a half-century since an assas- sin's bullet brought an end to his leadership as he stood on a balco- ny in Memphis, Tenn where he'd traveled to help sanitation work- ers striking over poverty wages and dangerous working conditions -we're living ina time when overt racism is on display like many of us have never seen. Less than five months ago, the president of the United States held an impromptu news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower where 'he defended the mob that had ral- -lied around Confederate memorials " in Charlottesville, Va. He expressed sympathy for those who demon- strated against the removal of a stat- ue of Confederate Robert E. Lee. Even though the angry mid-Au- gust gathering ended in deadly vio- lence - James A. Fields, a 20-year- old who grew up in Kentucky, a Trump supporter involved with the fascist group American Vanguard, has been charged with deliberate- ly ramming a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year- old counter-protester Heather Heyer of Charlottesville and injuring oth- ers - Donald Trump looked at the revolting collection of neo-Nazis, KKK members and white national- ists marching in the streets with tiki torches and shouting, "Jews will not replace us!" and "Blood and soil!" - the English translation of a Nazi slogan - described them as includ- ing some "very fine people." The months after Charlottesville brought non-violent, but still ugly confrontations over the legacy of the Confederacy here in Jefferson County. Though West Virginia was formed in 1863 by citizens who did not wish to follow Virginia into the Confederacy, many here - including three Republicans on the Jefferson County Commission, Peter Onosz- ko, Josh Compton and Caleb Hud- son - would not entertain the idea that the entrance to Charles Town's main public building, a place of jus- tice, ought not to feature a Unit- ed Daughters of the Confederacy plaque thanking Confederates who served from Jefferson County and ignoring those who fought to pre- serve the nation. The effort began in mid-August when Linda BaUard, who grew up in Charles Town when schools, stores, the library and other aspects of life here barred African-Ameri- cans from participation, and a small cadre of like-minded African-Amer- ican women asked to come before the JCC asking that the plaque be relocated "without fanfare." Instead, before Ballard had even addressed the JCC, Onoszko gave a lengthly recounting of what he sees as racial progress in the United States and labeled Ballard's group as "radicals" intent on what he de- In Charleston for Martin Luther King Day celebrations in 2007, Claire Ford poses with her poster featuring people of all colors, ages and backgrounds. scribed as "division." He and the other white men who make up the JCC majority never tried to see the plaque issue from anyone's point of view but their own. Likewise in Charleston, there's been no serious consideration of requests to relocate a statue of Stonewall Jackson from the Capi- tol grounds or to rename Stonewall Jackson Middle School, where mi- nority students, mostly African- Americans, make up 45 percent of the student body. Yes, Jackson was born in present- day West Virginia, but his claim to fame is his military work with the Confederacy - not a noble achieve- ment, but a stain. Rather than hailing Jackson, why not put up a statue honoring his younger sister Laura Jackson Arnold, also a native of present- day West Virginia, but who hated the practice of enslaving African- Americans and cut off ties with her brother after he sided with the Con- federacy? Or choose to honor Katherine Johnson, the 99-year-old African- American math genius born in White Sulphur Springs who found a way to get an education when Green- brier County offered high school only for white students, a math ge- nius whose contributions to NASA were finally revealed in Margot Lee Shetterly's book and 2016 hit film "Hidden Figures." Educator Booker T. Washing- ton - enslaved as a child in Virgin- ia who relocated with his family to Kanawha County then toiled in the salt mines outside Charleston be- fore attending college at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Va and going on to forge the landmark Tuskegee Institute in Alabama - would be a much better choice for a statue at the Capitol or a school namesake than Stonewall Jackson. Or honor J.R. Clifford of Martins- burg, the first African-American li- censed as a lawyer in West Virgim ia who made history in 1898 when he argued before the West Virginia Supreme Court that "discrimina- tion against people because of col- or alone as to privileges, immunities and equal protection of the law is unconstitutional." He won the case, though school segregation would go on in West Virginia and elsewhere until after the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954. West Virginia could put up a stat- ue of Clifford standing with Car- ne Williams, the African-Ameri- can teacher in Tucker County who reached out to Clifford after Tuck- er school officials sought to save money by holding classes for Afri- can-American students for just five months out of the year rather than Rather than hailing Stonewall Jackson, why not put up a statue honoring his younger sister, also a native of present-day West ! Virginia, but who hated the practice of enslaving African-Americans and cut off ties with her brother after he Sided with the Confederacy? the eight months afforded to Tuck- er's white students. Put up a statue at the Capitol of abolitionist John Brown, execut- ed in Jefferson County in 1859, but vindicated by history for his insis- tence that African-Americans were not property, but people. Heck, I'd even back a statue of Don Knotts on the Capitol grounds rather than keep the one of Stone- wall Jackson. A comic actor from Morgantown who made it big is worthy of more praise than a mil- itary leader and enslaver who died for a cause that could not be more despicable - going to war in hopes of keeping millions of African- Americans and their future descen- dants in chains. Eleven years ago, I was thrilled when my daughter Claire Ford won recognition from the state Mar- tin Luther King Jr. Day Commis- sion for an essay she'd composed. At the MLK Day luncheon, Claire, just a first-grader, stood (on a stool) behind a podium in the rotunda of the Culture Center to share her un- derstanding of what MLK tried to teach us about living as brothers and sisters. "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew the key to living in peace - you have to meet hate with love," she began. "Is it easy to be kind when some- one is mean? No! N-O! But the Bi- ble tells me, 'Always try to be kind to one another.' Dr. King knew the Bible very well and that helped him live in peace. "Dr. King used words to change the world. He dreamed of a world where all people would be treat- ed equally. Today, we can speak up when we see something that's wrong or someone who isn't be- ing treated properly. When we see (See HONOR Page A8) NANCY MacLEAN Editor's note: This column, used 'with permission, originally appeared in The Hill on Dec. 26. Why doesn't the GOP seem to care that its tax bill will drive up the defi- cit by $1.5 trillion? After all, for most of its modem history, the Republican party has campaigned on controlling the debt. Many answers have been of- fered, some quite illuminating. Here's one that hasn't been considered, and it may be the most urgent to under- stand. Running up the deficit so extrava- gantly would serve two strategic pur- e poses: One, as many have pointed out, is to create a fiscal emergency that justifies massive cuts to and even possible privatization of Social Secu- rity, Medicaid and Medicare. But there's a second reason you likely haven't heard about: sealing the case for a constitutional conven- tion. And the real action on this front will not be in Washington, but out in the states, where almost no one is looking. While the eyes of most journalists and citizens have been fixed on the White House and Congress, scores of organizations and elected officials funded by Charles Koch and his do- nor network have quietly achieving control over state governments. With the aid of the powerful lobby group American Legislative Exchange Council, 28 of the 34 states needed to call such a convention have passed measures calling for one. Many state legislatures were persuaded in part by the lure of a Balanced Budget Amendment. A ballooning deficit could help get the remaining six on board. First, some background. Article V of the U.S. Con- stitution provides two routes to amendment: through Congress or two- :ii:iI thirds of the states. The for- mer has occurred 33 times now; the latter, never. The untried route stip- ulates that two-thirds of the states can call a con- stitutional convention. Delegate George Mason of "Virginia urged inclusion of this option in 1787 and won as- sent. As coincidence would have it, George Mason University is today the core academic base camp of the Koch political operation. In fact, it was a GMU faculty mem- ber and Nobel Laureate in economics, James McGill Buchanan, who taught Koch and his grantees that what Bu- chanan called a "genuine revolution in constitutional structure" would be needed to control citizens' appetites for government spending. Why a revolutionary change? Be- cause libertarian radicals like Buch- anan and Koch believe property rights are the core human right and that gov- ernment should have the right to tax - and therefore to spend - to ensure only one of three national objectives: the rule of law, social order, and the nation's defense. e There is no place in their vision of good governance for programs to protect citizens in old age, infirmity or hard times. As Charles Koch put it, the radical right agenda aims to "get government out of the business of giving goodies." In short, this cause wants to radically change the rela- tionship between the people and their government. ' Buchanan argued that the only way to secure the liberty and property rights of the wealthy minority was to perma- nently change the nation's governing roles. He referred to this as enchaining the Leviathan, a government that, he said, would otherwise only grow. He urged the leveraging of state power to achieve this. And it's working. In 2009, the GOP had full control of the legislatures of 14 states. Since the 2010 midterms, a radicalized Republi- can Party has gained total control of 26 states (the legislatures and the gov- ernorships), compared to the Democrats' seven. The party has control of the legislatures of another six. In short, the shrewd Koch-GOP strategy of achieving domination at the state level puts a par- tisan constitutional con- vention within view. So how does all this lead to the passage of a tax bill that would radi- cally mn up the debt? By inflating the debt, the tax bill helps convince the American people that you can- not trust either party when it comes to spending. That in turn strengthens the case for a Balanced Budget Amend- ment, which has long polled well (un- til people learn that it will destroy programs they like and depend upon, like Social Security and Medicare). And here's the kicker: the prom- ise to balance the budget at a consti- tutional convention is like the loss leader sale in the grocery store. It gets you in the door and the rest follows. As the conservative Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger once warned, "There is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a constitutional convention." Should a constitutional convention take place, it could easily become a "runaway convention." Attend- ees would be free to consider a wide range of "Liberty Amend- ments" that have been list- ed in a book by that title by the radio talk show host and attorney Mark Levin. They include an end to the direct election of U.S. Senators by the people. Here's the really scary thing. There are six states in which the GOP controls both houses of the Legislature that have not yet authorized a convention: Idaho, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, South Carolina and Virginia. Six could line up in short order. "We're close to winning," observed Mark Holden, the head of Koch Industries' gov- ernment and public affairs op- eration to a Koch donor sum- mit in late 2015. "They [the Koch network's critics] don't have the real path." America, pay heed? - Nancy MacLean, the author of "De- mocracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radi- cal Right3' Stealth Plan for America," is the William H. Chafe professor of his- tory and public policy at Duke University. Her latest work was one of five finalists for the 2017 National Book Award