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A lesson Civil Rights and Personal Freedom

A lesson Civil Rights and Personal Freedom

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Dear Sen. Dodd: Since you used taxpayer funds to invade my private email with your “District Report” (aka political message), I believe it is my prerogative to respond in public.

I’ll keep it simple, focusing on two areas where I believe you cause harm in the name of doing good, namely, Civil Rights and Individual Freedom. I don’t question your motives – only your means.

Civil Rights: Your report promotes the celebration of Juneteeth, a “holiday” which hardly anyone heard of until last week. You find the 2½ year delay between Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth “as disturbing as ever.”

Let’s review American history. It will clarify my objection. This stuff may not be taught in our newly-woke schools.

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862 following the Battle of Antietam. An historic proclamation by all accounts, it did not end slavery. It was simply an executive order pronouncing that all slaves in territory still in rebellion would be declared free on Jan. 1, 1863. More was required.

Lincoln then correctly pursued a Constitutional amendment to permanently end all slavery, unalterable by a future Congress or president. The Senate passed its version in April 1864 but there was a battle in the House of Representatives. It became clear that a Republican victory in the 1864 presidential election was needed to guarantee passage because Democrats favored language which would retain the possibility of maintaining slavery. Lincoln won and the House passed its version of the amendment in January 1865.

A problem remained: The Civil War was still raging. If the Confederacy prevailed, all would be lost. On April 9, 1865 Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox but this didn’t end the war. Southern generals remained intact and Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered them to keep fighting.

In Texas, on May 12, Confederate forces even defeated Union troops in the Battle of Palmito Ranch, the last land battle of the Civil War. But the die was cast. A month later, on June 19th, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to begin controlling the state and to free any remaining slaves. A mop-up operation. Good day for Texas, sure, but not the stuff of a national holiday. In fact, it was not until Aug. 20, 1866, over a year later, that President Johnson formally declared hostilities over.

Meanwhile, the task of ratifying the amendment proceeded. On Dec. 6, 1865, when Georgia provided the final vote for ratification, the institution of slavery officially ceased to exist in the United States. This is the historic date. Our Constitution prevailed as designed to end a great injustice. Let’s celebrate the real deal and not patronize and virtue-signal with a segregated holiday. “Juneteenth” trivializes the issue.

Your report also supports a state constitutional amendment restoring Affirmative Action in college admissions. I refer you to the writings of Shelby Steele, Ward Connerly and other brilliant civil rights scholars who provide abundant proof that since the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, white-guilt motivated programs such as Affirmative Action have had the unintended effect of stigmatizing the black scholar, essentially telling prospective students that they are not good enough to gain admission without white benefactors – ultimately resulting in lost self-esteem and motivation, greater segregation and increased economic inequality. Affirmative Action means well but causes harm.

One of the most popular protest signs prior to the death of Martin Luther King read simply, “I am a Man!” This said it all. The content of one’s character is what matters, not skin pigment. Affirmative Action is the opposite. Let’s treat people equally and on their merits. It will make a better world.

Freedom: The totalitarian mindset first described by Plato, romanticized by Rousseau, expanded by Hegel, classified by Marx and embraced by Progressives holds that the interest of the collective, e.g., the “common good,” transcends the interest of the individual. This justifies tyranny.

Our government’s heavy-handed reaction to COVID falls precisely into this category. Sure, COVID is dangerous and precautions must be taken. But your website shows a misleading graph depicting exponential disease spread “without intervention” compared to modest growth with – the inference being if we don’t follow government-dictated measures, everyone will die.

Scaremongering to frighten the public into compliance is wrong and demonstrates tyrannical hubris on the part of our government. We can and should take care of ourselves. Your actions should be informative and consultative, not dictatorial.

We understand that prior to COVID, Democrats were in trouble. Our economy was the strongest in our country’s history and historically depressed minorities were enjoying miraculous improvements, in large part because they were coming off the dole and being treated as equals.

While this may represent an existential threat to the success of your party, please don’t throw out basic American ideals of individual liberty just to advance your political career.

David Forstadt

Napa

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