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November is our chance to wipe out Trumpism, not just Trump

The Washington Post, June 18, 2020

November is our chance to wipe out Trumpism, not just Trump

Brian Klaas

Voters are finally waking up to the dangers of Trumpism, as America lurches from crisis to crisis. The United States needs a serious, unifying leader who can rise to meet the moment. Instead, we’re stuck with a deranged, racist conspiracy theorist who rises only to live-tweet “Fox & Friends.” 

Thankfully, poll after poll shows Americans abandoning President Trump. In some battleground states, former vice president Joe Biden has racked up double-digit leads. Of course, a few months is an eternity in a presidential campaign, so much could still change. But at the moment, Trump’s ship is sinking. He is currently on track to lose in November.

Unfortunately, Trump losing is not enough. Yes, for the United States and the world, a narrow victory for Biden would be exponentially better than a narrow victory for Trump. But we don’t need a narrow victory. We need a landslide that sends Trumpism to the dustbin of history — and forces the Republican Party to change.

Consider two scenarios. The first is a mirror image of the 2016 electoral college: Biden wins by recapturing Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, or loses one of those swing states but picks up Arizona instead. Biden scrapes together 278 or 279 electoral votes and heads to the White House.

If that happens, Trump will almost certainly contest the results. As I’ve written previously, given that he tried to discredit the election that he won with false claims of voter fraud, what would he do with an election he narrowly lost? If it’s close, the potency of those claims would be dangerously amplified. It could lead to sporadic violence, as Trump sends out tweets claiming he was robbed of victory by “the deep state.”

But the damage wouldn’t just be confined to the perilous months between a Trump loss in November and Biden’s January inauguration. The Republican Party would likely attribute a narrow Trump defeat to tactical errors; Trump had the winning formula right, they might say, but just botched it a bit. Conclusion: Tinker with Trumpism, don’t replace it.

That dynamic would likely give birth to a Trump 2.0 — still racist and xenophobic, but subtler and more strategic. The new candidate relies on racial dog whistles rather than bigoted bullhorns. And he or she begins implementing an authoritarian agenda that is systematic rather than just the destructive fantasies of a wannabe strongman. Given the way that people such as Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) are positioning themselves as Trumpian acolytes, it’s clear they’re eager to wriggle into a Trump-like costume for 2024.

After three and a half turbulent years, we have experimented with Trumpism. Voters will now decide the experiment’s outcome. And what we decide won’t just determine who is in the White House next year, it will determine what the Republican Party looks like for at least a decade.

But there’s also a more optimistic scenario. If we assume that the latest battleground state polling averages from FiveThirtyEight are correct (yes, a big assumption), then Biden would win 367 electoral votes (picking up Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan compared with 2016). Right now, Trump is still leading in Texas and Iowa, but only by about a point. If he lost those (which is still unlikely), it wouldn’t be just defeat for the Republicans, it would wipe them out electorally.

If that happens, Trump’s bogus claims of voter fraud would largely fall on deaf ears. All but the most deluded MAGA fans would realize Trumpism had been rejected. Crucially, the Republican Party would be forced to reform. If Biden can beat Trump in such demographically diverse battleground states, then a Trumpian party is doomed to fail. And if Texas is even close come November, then Republicans will really get a wake-up call. There are few paths to the White House for Republicans without those 38 electoral votes.

This is precisely why any Republican voters on the fence should think not just about 2020, but about the future of the Republican Party for a generation. A Trump victory ensures that the Republican Party endures as the Party of Trump. A narrow defeat for Trump, sadly, would have the same effect.

America desperately needs two functioning political parties that are rooted in reality and firmly believe in an inclusive democracy. The only way to force the Republican Party to exorcise its demons of racism, authoritarianism and conspiracism is wholesale destruction at the ballot box.

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Supreme Court says gay, transgender workers are protected by federal law forbidding discrimination on the basis of sex

From The Washington Post, June 15, 2020

by Robert Barnes

Daniel Goldman of Arlington, Va., holds the transgender flag at a demonstration outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 8.
Daniel Goldman of Arlington, Va., holds the transgender flag at a demonstration outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 8. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees, a major gay rights ruling written by one of the court’s most conservative justices.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s liberals in the 6 to 3 ruling. They said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex,” includes LGBTQ employees.

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear,” Gorsuch wrote. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Read the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on LGBTQ worker protections

Gorsuch and Roberts were joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

“This is a huge victory for LGBTQ equality,” said James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union. He added:

“The Supreme Court’s clarification that it’s unlawful to fire people because they’re LGBTQ is the result of decades of advocates fighting for our rights. The court has caught up to the majority of our country, which already knows that discriminating against LGBTQ people is both unfair and against the law.”

For 50 years, courts interpreted Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex to mean only that women could not be treated worse than men, and vice versa, not that discrimination on the basis of sex included LGBTQ people.

The Supreme Court ponders: Is it legal to fire someone for being gay?

The dissenting justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Brett M. Kavanaugh — agreed with that view.

“If every single living American had been surveyed in 1964, it would have been hard to find any who thought that discrimination because of sex meant discrimination because of sexual orientation — not to mention gender identity, a concept that was essentially unknown at the time,” wrote Alito, who was joined by Thomas in his dissent.

The dissenters said their colleagues were amending the law, not interpreting it.

“The court has previously stated, and I fully agree, that gay and lesbian Americans ‘cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth,’ ” Kavanaugh wrote, quoting a previous case.

But he added: “Our role is not to make or amend the law. As written, Title VII does not prohibit employment discrimination because of sexual orientation.”

Gorsuch, President Trump’s first nominee to the court, said that was wrong. The text of the law makes clear that gay and transgender workers who are fired are fired because of sex, he wrote.

“It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex,” Gorsuch wrote. “Consider, for example, an employer with two employees, both of whom are attracted to men. The two individuals are, to the employer’s mind, materially identical in all respects, except that one is a man and the other a woman. If the employer fires the male employee for no reason other than the fact he is attracted to men, the employer discriminates against him for traits or actions it tolerates in his female colleague.”

It was exactly the message that lawyers for the gay and transgender employees had made, and was striking that it came from one of the court’s most conservative justices.

Gorsuch acknowledged that lawmakers in 1964 were likely not protecting gay and transgender workers. But the words of the statute they wrote do that, he said.

“Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees,” he wrote. “But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands.”

He said how the decision might affect religious employers were for future cases, since it was not an issue in the cases before the court.

The court combined two cases to consider whether gay workers are protected under the law. Gerald Bostock claimed that he was fired from his job as a social worker in Clayton County, Ga., after he became more open about being gay, including joining a gay softball league. Donald Zarda said he was fired as a skydiving instructor after joking with a female client to whom he was strapped for a tandem dive that he was gay. (Zarda died in 2014.)

The transgender case was brought by Aimee Stephens, who worked for years at a Michigan funeral home before being fired after informing the owners and colleagues of her gender transition. Stephens died of kidney failure in May, after seeing her case argued at the Supreme Court in October.

Before her death, Stephens prepared a statement through the American Civil Liberties Union in anticipation of a possible ruling in her favor.

“Firing me because I’m transgender was discrimination, plain and simple, and I am glad the court recognized that what happened to me is wrong and illegal,” she said. “I am thankful that the court said my transgender siblings and I have a place in our laws — it made me feel safer and more included in society.”

The cases were the first the court heard since the retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. He had written the majority opinion in all of the court’s major cases that advanced gay rights, including the 2015 decision that said gay couples had the constitutional right to marry.

Supreme Court rules gay couples have constitutional right to marry

The issue was one of the most consequential of the term. More than 70 friend-of-the-court briefs were filed, dividing states, religious orders and members of Congress. More than 200 of the nation’s largest employers are supporting the workers.

The Trump administration sided with the employers, a position that put it at odds with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which decided in 2015 that gay and transgender people were federally protected.

Treating a man who is attracted to men differently from a woman who is attracted to men is discrimination, the EEOC reasoned.

The commission also looked at a 1989 Supreme Court decision that said federal law protected against discrimination based on stereotypes; the court found for a woman who had not been promoted because her employers found her too aggressive and her manner of dress not feminine enough.

That is analogous to discriminating against a transgender person for not conforming to norms expected of a gender, the commission said. Discrimination because of sexual orientation is the same thing, the EEOC said, because it relies on stereotypes about to whom men and women should be attracted.

A transgender woman’s letter to her boss led to her firing, and a trip to the Supreme Court

Most appellate courts had come to agree with the EEOC, even when they had not done so in the past.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled for Zarda, and said its contrary past decisions on the issue were wrong.

Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann wrote that “sexual orientation discrimination is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination.” (Zarda’s case is being carried forward by his sister and partner.)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit came to a similar conclusion in Stephens’s case. The panel found it “analytically impossible to fire an employee based on that employee’s status as a transgender person without being motivated, at least in part, by the employee’s sex.”

But in Bostock’s case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit went the other way, ruling for Clayton County, a suburb south of Atlanta, that Title VII did not protect on the basis of sexual orientation.

Gay rights leaders say “married on Sunday, fired on Monday” is a possibility in more than half of the United States, where there is no specific protection for gay or transgender workers. The states that prohibit discrimination are not uniform — some protect only gender identity or transgender status, and some differentiate between public and private employment.

Since the case was argued, Virginia became the most recent state to extend protection on its own.

The sexual orientation cases are Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga. and Altitude Express v. Zarda. The other case is R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC.

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Election Workers Needed for June 16th Marblehead Town Elections

Election Workers Needed
For the Town of Marblehead Annual Election
Tuesday, June 16, 2020


Are you home from college or high school?
Have you been stuck at home and looking for something to do?
Be part of the election process and work at the polls on Election Day!
In order to be a poll worker in any community, you must:
 Be a registered voter of Massachusetts; OR
 Be 17 years old, United States Citizen, and have permission from your guardian.
Training for poll workers will be provided by the Town Clerk For more information contact townclerk@marblehead.org or
call 781-631-0528.
Be part of the democratic process!

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Meet the Candidates for Marblehead Municipal Light Commission

Lisa Wolf

Michael A. Tumulty

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What ‘defunding’ the Boston Police Department really means

What too many white people still don’t understand about racism

Seeing racism as a relic of the past is a problem — a deadly problem. And it is a part of why we protest.

By Linda ChaversUpdated June 9, 2020, 2:25 p.m.

Demonstrators at a June 2 rally in Boston face off with a police vehicle.
Demonstrators at a June 2 rally in Boston face off with a police vehicle.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Many white Americans looking at the news over the last few weeks think they are seeing the most inappropriate expressions of personal despair and outrage. They see protests, then riots, then looting, and even well-intentioned white people might think, That’s not the best way to be heard, as if there is one way to disobey civilly. Some might even feel fear for themselves, or more likely, for their property. After all, the destruction of property gets more time on the news than speakers voicing righteous anger at the violence enacted on Black bodies.

Still, here’s the truth: You have not seen outrage until you have seen the face of a white person being called a racist. You would think seeing the image of Emmett Till’s mutilated corpse in an open casket in 1955 or Michael Brown’s body lying dead in a Missouri street in 2014 would evoke extreme shock and horror. But, actually, white people get the most worked up when they or someone they know have been labeled a racist. Witness Laura Trott, a Conservative member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, finding it “extremely offensive” that a Black counterpart, Dawn Butler, called Boris Johnson a racist. Same goes for Donald Trump’s “I don’t have a racist bone in my body,” or liberal whites with what Martin Luther King Jr. called their “polite” racism. This kind of outrage comes because people see racism as a relic of the past. To them, racists are Klan members or old relatives to be tolerated over the holidays. How can anyone these days possibly be racist?

Because you still don’t know.

And this is a problem — this is a deadly problem. And it is a part of why we protest.

What I’ve learned teaching a course at Harvard on African-American literature is that society at large considers Black history to be this, and only this: slavery – Abraham Lincoln – Martin Luther King Jr. – President Barack Obama.

Those four topics are what’s collectively taught, discussed, and shared as the entirety of what took place and continues to take place in this country. By the time students reach me — and my course, like many of the same nature, is an elective — their knowledge about this country’s past and present terrorization of Black people is grossly insufficient.

They don’t know that the lowest point in Black history was not during slavery — deadly and violent and atrocious and horrific as that was — but at the turn of the 20th century. That’s when Black people experienced a lethal racist backlash to our gained independence, particularly to our presence in Congress. The Black Lives Matter movement did not occur in a vacuum, nor because there was a Black man holding the highest office in the land. It began in response to the rise in violence against Black people after a Black man was elected to hold the highest office in the land. Assaults against Blacks increased by both police and white civilians.

Are you beginning to see the thread?

Black people know intimately that America’s history on race is complex, but it doesn’t matter much when it is not a widely held belief but rather a point of contention. This national ignorance leads white people to take offense at being called a racist or, worse, to declare the election of Barack Obama as the cause of racial strife or, worse still, to see extrajudicial executions of Black people as outside the norm.

It is absolutely the norm. Only now, lynching postcards, widely shared among white communities well into the 20th century, have been replaced by Twitter and YouTube.

It is why I love the writings of Harriet Jacobs, William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Gayl Jones, Claudia Rankine, and Kiese Laymon. If you don’t know the full, bloody history of this country, you can only have a superficial appreciation of their works. If you don’t understand how deeply the American Dream is built on white maleness and power, you’ll miss seeing that Donald Trump is a Faulknerian creation come to life, a descendant of Thomas Sutpen in Faulkner’s most complex work, Absalom, Absalom! (Sutpen, after being slighted by an enslaved Black man, spends the rest of his life proclaiming a greatness that cannot exist and using deception to pursue it because, well, that is the American way.)

Of course, we are currently seeing multiracial groups loudly protest the killings of Black Americans. In some ways, it’s a continuation of the Black Lives Matter movement. But the killing of George Floyd has gained what seems to be more attention, traction, and conversation than the murders of Michael Brown, Renisha McBride, Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin.

Why is that?

After all, we’re supposed to have moved beyond race — slavery-Lincoln-MLK-Obama is supposed to be a progression. But white Americans cannot deny the truth and reality of lethal violence toward Black people. They cannot say, “Oh, that doesn’t happen” or “That’s only a few bad apples” or “Let’s wait until we have all the facts.” We have literal bodies of evidence now in plain sight, a grim parade of them so large that to deny its occurrence becomes ridiculous.

So now what?

Here is where I see some hope: When my students realize how little they actually know, they don’t take it lightly. They get angry, righteously so. I’ve had students write to me months and years after my course to express their continued outrage that they didn’t know and that, as they walk through life, most folks still don’t know. And they feel compelled to take the extra time and energy to make it known.

This is what I tell them: Keep going. And for the rest of you, start listening instead of arguing, and be ready to live with being uncomfortable.

__________

Linda Chavers is a writer and a lecturer in African and African-American studies at Harvard University. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.

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Graduates, ‘Don’t ever, ever let anyone tell you that you’re too angry’

(Illustration by Robert Generette III for The Washington Post;
based on a photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)By Michelle ObamaJUNE 7, 2020   Add to list

Given the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, schools across the country have canceled their in-person commencement exercises. To celebrate the graduates whose final years of school have been upended, former first lady Michelle Obama and former president Barack Obama are taking part in a YouTube special. This is Mrs. Obama’s address to the Class of 2020. President Obama’s remarks are available here.

Hey everybody. It is an honor to be here with you to help celebrate this amazing milestone in your lives.

Graduation from college or high school is a culmination of years of hard work. So please enjoy this moment. You deserve this celebration! Congratulations!

This is an important time of transition.

In light of the current state of our country, I struggled to find the right words of wisdom for you today. So, I am here today to talk to you not as the former first lady, but as a real live person: a mother; a mentor; a citizen concerned about your future and the future of our country.https://15dccf0d6d1578679d413983a6cc0a46.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Because right now, all that superficial stuff of titles and positions, all of that has been stripped away, and a lot of us are reckoning with the most basic essence of who we are.

Over these past couple of months our foundation has been shaken — not just by a pandemic that stole too many of our loved ones, upended our daily lives, and sent tens of millions into unemployment, but also by the rumbling of the age-old fault lines that our country was built on: the lines of race and power that are now, once again, so nakedly exposed for all of us to grapple with.

So, if any of you are scared, or confused, or angry, or just plain overwhelmed by it all, if you feel like you’re searching for a lifeline just to steady yourself, you are not alone.

I am feeling all of that, too.

I think we all are.https://www.youtube.com/embed/VXDTmAYsFxQI am here today to talk to you not as the former First Lady, but as a real live person … Because right now, all that superficial stuff of titles and positions, all of that has been stripped away, and a lot of us are reckoning with the most basic essence of who we are. 

So, I want you to know that it’s okay to be confused. It’s okay if you don’t understand exactly what you’re feeling. We’re all sorting through this in real time. But here’s the thing: While this period is certainly unprecedented, it is not a complete anomaly, simply some random coincidence to be dismissed.

No, what’s happening right now is the direct result of decades of unaddressed prejudice and inequality.

The truth is, when it comes to all those tidy stories of hard work and self-determination that we like to tell ourselves about America, well, the reality is a lot more complicated than that. Because for too many people in this country, no matter how hard they work, there are structural barriers working against them that just make the road longer and rockier. And sometimes it’s almost impossible to move upward at all.

Because if you’re required to work during a pandemic, but don’t have enough protective equipment or health insurance from your employer, or paid sick leave, what is more essential: your work or your life?

If you don’t feel safe driving your own car in your own neighborhood, or going for a jog, or buying some candy at 7/11, or bird-watching — if you can’t even approach the police without fearing for your life — well, how do you begin to chart your own course?https://15dccf0d6d1578679d413983a6cc0a46.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

And as so often is the case, these questions compound upon themselves. See, if you’re struggling already just to keep your head above water, if you’re living in a constant state of fear, how much further behind will you be after months in quarantine and without a job?

These are uncomfortable questions, questions that have dogged this country for generations but are now staring us in the face every time we look at our phones or hear helicopters circling our neighborhoods.

And the tough part is, nobody has all the answers — if my generation did, trust me, we’d have fixed all of this a long time ago.

But that doesn’t mean we should feel hopeless.

Just the opposite, because what we finally do have is focus — we see what’s happening in stark relief; we see how these inequalities are playing out on our streets.

And it’s not just the communities most affected by these challenges that see it now — it’s folks all across the country who for too long have had the luxury and privilege of looking away.

We all have no choice but to see what has been staring us in the face for years — for centuries.

So the question is: How will we respond?

Like I said before, I don’t have any easy answers for you.

But I do have some lessons I want to share about how to move forward in these tumultuous times.

The first is this: Life will always be uncertain.

It is a lesson that most of us get the chance to learn over the course of years and years, even decades, but one that you’re learning right now.

This is a time in your life when it feels like everything is turned upside down, and perhaps you’re wishing that things could just go back to the way they were.

Look, I’ve been there many times in my life.

I felt it most profoundly when my father and my best friend died within a year of each other.

I was in my late 20s, and it felt like my whole world was collapsing in on itself.

I would have given anything — anything — to bring them back. But that experience gave me a kind of clarity.

With everything in pieces around me, I had to forge a new path — a path fortunately more focused on meaning and service.7m

Read the full text of President Obama’s address to the class of 2020. 

So, graduates, I hope that what you’re going through right now can be your wake-up call, that it pushes you not just to think about what kind of career you want to build, but what kind of person you want to be.

And here’s the thing: You have the opportunity to learn these valuable lessons faster than the generations before you, and you can learn them together, as a cohort of young people ready to take on the world, no matter how tumultuous it may be.

And that leads me to my second lesson: In an uncertain world, time-tested values like honesty and integrity, empathy and compassion — that’s the only real currency in life.

Treating people right will never, ever fail you.

Now, I’m not naive. I know that you can climb a long way up the ladder selling falsehoods and blaming others for your own shortcomings, shunning those with less privilege and advantage.

But that is a heavy way to live.

It deadens your spirit and it hardens your heart.

It may seem like a winning strategy in the short run, but trust me, graduates, that kind of life catches up to you.

You rob yourself of the things that matter most — deep and loving connections with others, honest work that leads to lasting contributions to your community, the vibrancy that comes from a diversity of ideas and perspectives, the chance to leave this world a little better than you found it.

Don’t deprive yourselves of all that. There is no substitute for it.You can climb a long way up the ladder selling falsehoods and blaming others for your own shortcomings, shunning those with less privilege and advantage. But that is a heavy way to live. It deadens your spirit and it hardens your heart. 

Instead, make a decision to use your privilege and your voice for the things that really matter, which is my third lesson today — to share that voice with the rest of the world.

For those of you who feel invisible: Please know that your story matters. Your ideas matter. Your experiences matter. Your vision for what our world can and should be matters.

So, don’t ever, ever let anyone tell you that you’re too angry, or that you “should keep your mouth shut.”

There will always be those who want to keep you silent, to have you be seen but not heard, or maybe they don’t even want to see you at all.

But those people don’t know your story, and if you listen to them, then nothing will ever change.

So, it’s up to you to speak up when you or someone you know isn’t being heard. It’s up to you to speak out against cruelty, dishonesty, bigotry — all of it.

It’s up to you to march hand-in-hand with your allies, to stand peacefully — with dignity and purpose — on the front lines in the fight for justice.

And here’s the last part.

It’s up to you to couple every protest with plans and policies, with organizing and mobilizing and voting.

And that’s my final piece of advice.

Graduates, anger is a powerful force. It can be a useful force.

But left on its own, it will only corrode, and destroy, and sow chaos — on the inside and out.

But when anger is focused, when it’s channeled into something more — that is the stuff that changes history.

Dr. King was angry. Sojourner Truth was angry. Lucretia Mott, César Chávez, the folks at Stonewall — they were all angry.

But those folks were also driven by compassion, by principle — by hope.

And so they took advantage of whatever resources they had in their own time — thundering from the pulpit and the convention floor, penning letters from a jail cell, standing up for their rights in the face of police violence.

They built coalitions with folks like them and different from them. They got fluent in the language of power. They sat down with leaders they disagreed with.

Because they knew that if they wanted their vision to be made real, it needed to be made law. It needed to be voiced not just on the streets but in the halls of power. It needed to be carried not just by the housekeeper and the shift worker but by the senator and the congresswoman, and yes, the president of the United States.

So, graduates, it is your time now. And look, our democracy isn’t perfect. But I have traveled the world and seen the governments and people in so many other countries. And I can tell you that our democracy is sturdy, and yes, it still works.

But it doesn’t work if you silence yourselves. It does not work if you disengage from the process, and we’re seeing the consequences of that right now.

But if you hold strong with the same faith that carried all those giants before you towards real, measurable progress — you will change the course of history.

So, what does that mean for your time?

It starts where change always starts — in your own home, in your own social circles, in your own neighborhoods. At your own dinner tables.

Sometimes it’s easier to stand with strangers at a protest than it is to challenge someone in your own backyard.

So if you hear people expressing bigoted views, or talking down to “those people” — it is up to you to call them out.

Because we won’t solve anything if we’re only willing to do what’s easiest. We’ve got to make hard choices and sacrifices in our own lives.

So, if you’re spending a lot of time just hashtagging and posting right now, that’s useful, especially during a pandemic.

But it’s only a beginning. Go further.

Send all your friends a link to register to vote. Text everybody you know to join you in exercising their constitutional right to protest.

Ask yourself: Do you know where your polling place is?

Do you know when your primary elections are held?

Do you know how to request a mail-in ballot?We won’t solve anything if we we’re only willing to do what’s easiest. We’ve got to make hard choices and sacrifices in our own lives. 

Who are the incumbents and the candidates at every level of government — not just president, but state representative, city council, prosecutor, sheriff?

And don’t just ask yourselves these questions: Ask your friends, your family; ask everyone you see in your neighborhood.

And while we’re reaching out, please let’s give everyone who’s working toward progress space to be themselves.

Everybody’s got to vote when the time comes, but the activism that leads up to that day comes in many forms.

Some want to march right up in front; others prefer to stay back. Some kneel in the pews; others on the street corner. Some canvass their neighborhoods; others run for office.

Some do an honest day’s work and raise good kids; others choose to focus on their education and use that degree to address these issues and build a better life for themselves and those around them.

Graduates, it’s all important, and we need every bit of it.

So we cannot allow our hurt and our frustration to turn us against each other, to cancel somebody else’s point of view if we don’t agree with every last bit of their approach.

That kind of thinking only divides us and distracts us from our higher calling — it is the gum in the wheel of progress.

Graduates, this is how you can finish the work that the generations before you have started: by staying open and hopeful, even in the tough times; by channeling that discomfort you feel into activism and a democracy that was designed to respond to those who vote.

And here’s the thing: I know you can do it, because over these many years, I’ve seen exactly who you are.

I’ve seen your creativity and your talent and your resourcefulness. I’ve seen you speaking out to end gun violence and fight climate change. I’ve seen you gathering donations for those in need during this pandemic. I’ve seen you marching with peace and with purpose.

And that is why, even in tough times like these, you continue to be what gives me hope.

Graduates, you all are exactly what we need right now — and for the years and decades to come.

You’re learning so much, so quickly. And I know that not only can you do better than those who came before you — you will.

So it’s your time.

I love you all. I believe in you all. I want you to be safe. And I can’t wait to see you take the reins.

Congratulations again on your graduation. God bless you.

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Class of 2020, ‘You don’t have to accept the world as it is.’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/07/barack-obama-class-2020-you-dont-have-accept-world-it-is/?arc404=true

Barack ObamaJune 7, 2020

Given the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, schools across the country have canceled their in-person commencement exercises. To celebrate the graduates whose final years of school have been upended, former first lady Michelle Obama and former president Barack Obama are taking part in a YouTube special. This is President Obama’s address to the Class of 2020. Mrs. Obama’s remarks are available here.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Some of you have graduated already; some of you still have finals; all of you should be very proud.

Graduation is a big achievement under any circumstances. Yours comes as the world is turned upside down by a pandemic, and by a country that has been swept up by protest.

I can barely imagine how head-spinning these last few months have been for you. Just as winter was thawing and you were thinking about spring break, those of you who were away at college were either whisked home or stayed behind on a shuttered campus. Most of you had to finish semesters online — which had its ups and downs. You didn’t have to worry about what you wore to class, but watching your teachers and professors try to work Zoom wasn’t always pretty either. Either way, none of this is how any of you imagined finishing your final spring at school.

Even if we can’t all gather in person, I want you to remember that a graduation ceremony doesn’t celebrate just a moment in time. It’s the culmination of all your years of learning — about the world and about yourself. The friends and family who supported you every step of the way — they aren’t celebrating a piece of paper. They’re celebrating you: how you’ve grown, the challenges you’ve overcome and the experiences you’ve shared. You can see that love in all the amazing ways that families have come up with their own at-home graduations, from drive-by parades to handmade yard signs.

The point is, don’t let the lack of a big, crowded ceremony take anything away from what your graduation signifies. Go ahead and bask in the glory of your achievement. And wherever you are, take lots of photos — although when I look at my graduation pictures, the main thing I realize is that I should have gotten a haircut more often.

Now, as was true for generations before you, graduation marks your final passage into adulthood — the time when you’re expected to fully take charge of your life’s direction. It’s when you get to decide what’s important to you. The career you want to pursue. The values you want to live by. Who you want to build a family with. That can be intimidating even under normal circumstances. And given the current state of things, let’s face it — it can be downright scary.https://www.youtube.com/embed/NGEvASSaPyg

It’s fair to say that your generation is graduating into a world that faces more profound challenges than any generation in decades. It can feel like everything’s up for grabs right now. 

It’s fair to say that your generation is graduating into a world that faces more profound challenges than any generation in decades. It can feel like everything’s up for grabs right now. A lot of this uncertainty is the direct result of covid-19 — the 100,000 lives it’s taken from us, the economic disruption it’s caused. No can say for sure how much longer the crisis will last — a lot of that will depend on the choices we make as a country. But it will eventually end. Vaccines and treatments will emerge. The economy will begin to heal. Life will start returning to normal — and you’ll still have your whole life ahead of you.

The thing is, Class of 2020, what these past few weeks have shown us is that the challenges we face go well beyond a virus, and that the old normal wasn’t good enough — it wasn’t working. In a lot of ways, the pandemic just brought into focus problems that have been growing for a very long time, whether it’s widening economic inequality, the lack of basic health care for millions of people, the continuing scourge of bigotry and sexism, or the divisions and dysfunction that plague our political system. Similarly, the protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and Nina Pop aren’t simply a reaction to those particular tragedies, as heartbreaking as they are. They speak to decades worth of anguish and frustration over unequal treatment and a failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system.

These shocks to the system that we are seeing right now — just as you prepare to go out into the world — they remind us that we can’t take things for granted, that we have to work to make things better. They also remind us that our individual well-being depends on the well-being of the community that we live in, and that it doesn’t matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick. It reminds you that our country and our democracy only function when we think not just about ourselves, but also about each other.

So as scary and uncertain as these times may be, they are also a wake-up call, and they are an incredible opportunity for your generation. Because you don’t have to accept what was considered normal before. You don’t have to accept the world as it is. You can make it into the world as it should be and could be. You can create a new normal, one that is fairer, and gives everyone opportunity, and treats everyone equally, and builds bridges between people instead of dividing them. Just as America overcame slavery and civil war, recessions and depression, Pearl Harbor and 9/11 and all kinds of social upheaval, we can emerge from our current circumstances stronger than before. Better than before.

But, as has always been true at key moments in history, it’s going to depend on young people like you to go out there and rewrite what’s possible.

Now, I’ll admit that it’s a little unfair to lay such a heavy burden on you. I wish that my generation had done more to solve some of our country’s big problems so you didn’t have to. But the good news is that I know you’re up to the challenge. You’re the best-educated generation in history — and a whole lot more technologically savvy. You’ve been exposed to more knowledge and perspectives than my generation ever was; you’re more tolerant and empathetic, entrepreneurial and environmentally conscious. Even before graduation, many of you have already started to make your mark — feeding the hungry, mentoring kids, fighting racial injustice, helping veterans, battling climate change. And now, to see so many of you participating in peaceful protests, to see so many of you of every race and background raise up your voices on behalf of justice for all — well, it’s been unbelievably inspiring.

You make me optimistic about our future.:

Read the full text of Michelle Obama’s address to the class of 2020. 

So as you prepare for the next stage of what I know will be a remarkable journey, I’ll leave you with a few quick pieces of advice, for what they’re worth.

First, do what you think is right, not just what’s convenient or what’s expected or what’s easy. While you have this time, think about the values that matter to you the most. Too many graduates who feel the pressure to immediately start running that race for success skip the step of asking themselves what’s really important. Too often they end up as adults who only do what’s good for them and say to heck with everybody else, and then they end up not having a lot of meaningful relationships or not really feeling as if they really made a serious contribution to the world. I hope that, instead, you decide to moor yourself in values that last — like responsibility, fairness, generosity, and respect for others. That will make you part of the solution instead of part of the problem. And, if experience is any guide, it actually makes for a happier life.

Second, listen to each other, respect each other, and use all that critical thinking you’ve developed from your education to help promote the truth. You are the Internet generation and the social media generation — it’s not just how you shop or listen to music or watch videos, but it’s part of your social lives and it’s the new town square where you all come together and meet. In many ways, it’s been an amazing tool — in your pockets you have access to more information than any group of people in history. It’s allowed movements of like-minded people to mobilize on behalf of worthy causes.

But what’s become clear is that social media can also be a tool to spread conflict, division and falsehoods — to bully people and promote hate. Too often it shut us off from each other instead of bringing us together — partly because it gives us the ability to select our own realities, independent of facts, or science, or logic, or common sense. We start reading only news and opinions that reinforce our own biases and start canceling everything else out; we let opinion masquerade as fact and treat even the wildest conspiracy theories as worthy of consideration. And the irony is that usually the people who are peddling falsehoods on the Internet or social media are doing so for their own purposes — either to sell you something or to distract you from the real issues that matter.

You can change that. If a friend tells you covid-19 is a hoax, politely correct them. If an older relative cites some video to promote a racist stereotype, show him or her why that video is a sham. As a generation that understands social media and technology a lot better than anyone, it’s going to be up to you to create online cultures and communities that respect differences of opinion and freedom of speech, and also restore the kind of honest, informed and fact-based debate that is the starting point for tackling the challenges we face.

Finally, even if it all seems broken, have faith in our democracy. Participate — and vote. Don’t fall for the easy cynicism that says nothing can change — or that there’s only one way to bring about change. In the midst of recent protests, I’ve noticed that there have been some debates among young people about how useful voting is compared to direct action and civil disobedience in ending discrimination in our society. The fact is that we don’t have to choose; we need both. Peaceful protests and demonstrations are patriotic — they shine a light on injustice, they raise public awareness, and they make the folks in charge uncomfortable in a way that is healthy. After all, we’re a nation that was founded on protest. Eventually, though, your aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices, — and that only happens when we elect good people, at every level, who are responsive to our demands — and that includes the local offices like the office of the mayor or the office of the district attorney that don’t get as much attention as a presidential race, but have the most direct impact on issues like how communities are policed.

In fact, you don’t even have to be an activist to make a contribution to our democracy. If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, go build a company that is a model for paying its workers a fair wage. If you’ve dreamed always of being a doctor, think about working in a community that is short on doctors. There are so many ways to serve — the important thing is to recognize that this nation needs your talents, your passions, your voice, to make it better.

Hope is not a lottery ticket; it’s a hammer for us to use in a national emergency; to break the glass, sound the alarm, and sprint into action.

It’s not always pretty, this democracy of ours — trust me, I know. It can be loud and messy and sometimes depressing. But because citizens took seriously the mandate that this is a government of and by and for the people, bit by bit, generation by generation, we’ve made progress — from cleaning up our air and water, to creating programs that lifted millions of seniors out of poverty, to winning the right to vote and to marry who you love. None of these changes happened overnight, or without sustained effort. But they did happen, usually because young people marched, and organized, and voted, and formed alliances, and just led good lives, and looked out for their families and their communities and their neighborhoods and slowly changed hearts and minds.

America changed, and has always changed, because young people dared to hope. Democracy isn’t about relying on some charismatic leader to make changes from on high. It’s about finding hope in ourselves, and creating it in others. Especially in a time like this. You don’t always need hope when everything’s going fine. It’s when things seem darkest — that’s when you need it the most.

As someone once said: Hope is not a lottery ticket; it’s a hammer for us to use in a national emergency — to break the glass, sound the alarm and sprint into action.

That’s what hope is. It’s not the blind faith that things will get better. It’s the conviction that with effort, and perseverance, and courage, and a concern for others — things can get better.

That remains the truest part of our American story.

And if your generation sprints into action, it will still be true of America’s future.

Congratulations, Class of 2020. Make it mean something. And keep making us proud.

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The Marblehead Board of Selectmen decries the tragic murder of George Floyd

The Marblehead Board of Selectmen decries the tragic murder of George Floyd. This senseless, brutal act has horrified and devastated us. George Floyd is the latest of many victims of brutality against people of color in our country. We all need to work together to effect change.


Former President Obama’s words of May 29th resonate. He said:
“It’s natural to wish for life to ‘ just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’. But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station- including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day- to work together to create a new ‘normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”

Over 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King said:
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable . . . Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

We sincerely hope, in the spirit of Dr. King, that we can continue to depend on the courage of ‘dedicated individuals’ to turn away from violence and effect change with love and reconciliation in our hearts.

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‘They saved me’: How protesters protected a lone cop, a moment captured in powerful photos

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Okay, America. It’s Time to Organize.

Rand Paul battles Kamala Harris and Cory Booker on anti-lynching bill.

This rare fight on the Senate floor between Paul, Harris, and Booker comes as killings of black people by police roil the nation. The takeaway? People of conscience need to take action on legislation.

Change comes with awareness, understanding and action. All of the protests, marches, and consciousness raising in the world will only deliver incremental cultural change. We need to enact legislation to create new laws and revise or replace some laws that are already on the books. Legislation is the source of real and lasting change.

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MA lawmakers offer expanded voting options

https://www.massvote.org/post/lawmakers-offer-expanded-voting-options

Every registered voter in Massachusetts would receive an application by mid-July to request a ballot to vote by mail in the 2020 elections under a plan released Friday by House and Senate Democrats intended to create more options for voters to safely participate in the electoral process during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Great Awokening: A hidden shift is revolutionizing American racial politics — and could transform the future of the Democratic Party.

The Great Awokening

A hidden shift is revolutionizing American racial politics — and could transform the future of the Democratic Party.

https://www.vox.com/2019/3/22/18259865/great-awokening-white-liberals-race-polling-trump-2020?campaign_id=56&emc=edit_cn_20200601&instance_id=18981&nl=on-politics-with-lisa-lerer&regi_id=62333779&segment_id=29768&te=1&user_id=411bf59e07e1884d70d18a84714d668d

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Get Republicans to Vote Against Trump? This Group Will Spend $10 Million to Try

Get Republicans to Vote Against Trump? This Group Will Spend $10 Million to Try

A new organization, Republican Voters Against Trump, is testing the premise of whether there are really any persuadable voters left.

Annie Karni

By by Annie Karni, The New York Times, 5/28/2020

  • May 28, 2020

WASHINGTON — Four years ago, 50 of the country’s most senior Republican national security officials signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump would put the country at risk if he was elected president and that they would not vote for him.

But the collective voice of former cabinet officials and top aides to Republican presidents denouncing their party’s nominee did little to move the needle with regular Republican voters across the country, who were not swayed by opposition from the establishment.

Now, a new effort called Republican Voters Against Trump is hoping to chip away at Mr. Trump’s support from white, college-educated Republican voters in the suburbs, hoping a more surgical approach will help to elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., his expected Democratic opponent.

The new group is set to begin a $10 million digital and television advertising campaign that will use personal stories of conservative voters giving voice to their deep — and sometimes brand-new — dissatisfaction with the president.

The group will test the premise of whether there are really any persuadable voters left in a deeply tribal moment in American politics, in which views of Mr. Trump, both positive and negative, have only been hardened over the past four years.

“What was missing in 2016 was a real concerted effort to take the voices of real people who have deep reservations about Trump, but who identify as Republicans, and allow them to be the messengers,” said Sarah Longwell, a lifelong conservative and a prominent Never Trump Republican.

The new initiative is the brainchild of Ms. Longwell; Bill Kristol, the conservative writer; and Tim Miller, a former top aide to former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida. Together, Ms. Longwell and Mr. Kristol have also worked on an initiative called Republicans for the Rule of Law, which has begun its own ad blitz against Mr. Trump.

After almost three years of conducting focus groups and intensive research on messages that would work with persuadable voters, the founders have created a cache of 100 testimonial videos, most shot on smartphones, with voters explaining why they are making the sometimes painful choice to break with their political party.

Some of the videos are hardly rousing endorsements for Mr. Biden. In one testimonial, Wayne from Dallas says to the camera, “I could not bring myself to vote for Hillary, so I voted for President Trump.” But he said he believed the president had “gotten worse” and that “everything he’s done has been to enrich himself.” With a note of resignation, he says: “I will not be voting for him here in 2020. I suppose I’ll be voting for Biden.”

Sitting on his couch in Brooklyn, Dan Eckman, a self-described lifelong conservative, says of Mr. Biden: “This guy has one term written all over him. Let him win. We’ll have four years to rebuild the base, re-educate the party, bleach out the Trump cult stain and then come back.” He adds, “I wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump with a gun to my head and neither should you.”

Some of the testimonials, like one from Gary, a lifelong Republican from Florida, describe Mr. Biden as “not a perfect candidate” but a “decent man.”

Ms. Longwell said the expression of lukewarm feelings about Mr. Biden made for a more authentic pitch for a Republican audience than a rousing endorsement.

“People who have been Republicans their entire lives aren’t super excited about voting for a Democrat,” she said. “The way they talk about it is more in sorrow than enthusiasm.”

But she said a Biden candidacy, and the lack of a well-known third-party candidate where voters can park their ballots, had created a bigger opportunity to persuade Republican voters to switch parties than there was in 2016.

“You can’t overstate what the Clintons represent for Republicans,” Ms. Longwell said. “Donald Trump’s corruption was offset by what they saw as her corruption.”

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, dismissed the effort in a one-word email: “irrelevant.”

Kevin Madden, a former top adviser to Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, said the universe of Republican voters who might be opposed to Mr. Trump — who consistently has approval ratings in the high 80s or better from his own party — was too small to make a difference.

“Given the razor-thin margins in several key battleground states in 2016, it’s easy to convince yourself that Republican nose-holders will make or break 2020,” Mr. Madden said. “But they are a smaller universe of voters when compared to Democrats over 60 who voted for Trump in 2016. Same with women voters with high school degrees who previously supported Obama but voted for Trump in 2016. Political operatives getting together to run a few ads targeted at that smaller sliver of voters won’t have much of an impact.”

The ad campaign, set to blitz the swing states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona through the summer, is primarily aimed at college-educated white voters in suburbs.

Ms. Longwell said her focus groups had shown that there were still persuadable voters out there.

“I was surprised by how many people had just decided because of the coronavirus response,” Ms. Longwell said. “They for the first time started watching the press conferences.”

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The president is showing signs of panic. Yet Democrats seem no less jumpy about November

Author Headshot

By James Bennet

Editorial Page Editor, NY Times Opinion Today 5/27/20

Donald Trump is an unpopular president, and it’s hurt his party. Since he took office, the Republicans have lost the House of Representatives and several governorships. Democrats have substantially improved their standing in traditional battleground states like Michigan and Pennsylvania and in southern and southwestern states like North Carolina and Arizona.

And now Republican leaders are pushing for some unpopular policies, from threatening the Postal Service to granting new legal immunity to corporations, that seem likely to cause them problems in the fall, note the political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.

The president is showing signs of panic — his rage-tweeting seems like a cry for help. Yet Democrats seem no less jumpy about November.

Hacker and Pierson argue that to overcome their apparent political liabilities, Republican leaders are counting, among other things, on a “tribalized voting base” that they can stoke via right-wing media. This made me think of an argument that Politico’s John F. Harris advanced last week about what he called the Trump Trap. Trump’s outrageous behavior is intended to draw condemnation, Harris wrote, to rally his supporters against what they see as the priggish left.

Continue reading the main story

How will Joe Biden handle this? It’s a little surprising that we still don’t know. Normally, a presidential race comes into focus around Memorial Day, but the pandemic is blurring everything.

Biden’s campaign quickly cut an ad over the weekend attacking Trump for golfing while Americans are dying, and Biden has experimented, clumsily, with the put-down “President Tweety.” But he seems to be trying to avoid falling into the Trump Trap by neither campaigning on the president’s terms nor in his smashmouth style.

Hacker and Pierson argue that, besides seeking to raise racial and cultural tensions, Republican leaders are out to stack the electoral process itself by making it harder to vote. They point, for example, to the decision by the Republican National Committee to sue California to stop it from sending mail-in ballots to all voters.

It’s a dismal prognosis (and I continue to hope that we’ll see more constructive campaigns from state and local candidates of both parties). But given how drastically the world has already changed this year, we shouldn’t expect today’s political dynamics to stay stable. Already, some are predicting an economic bounceback that, come the fall, could give Trump bragging rights to the fastest monthly growth in history.

There’s certainly good reason, in other words, for both political camps — and all the rest of us — to be jumpy.

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MDTC Recently Sent This Letter to MA Joint Committee on Election Laws

The MDTC Legislation Committee worked with MDTC Chair, Renee Keaney, to provide input for a Congressional hearing on instituting mail-in voting in MA. On May 14th, 2020, this letter was sent to the Joint Committee on Election Laws prior to the hearing. MDTC members also sat in on the virtual hearing.

MDTC Letter to Joint Committee on Election Laws

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Obama says White House response to coronavirus has been ‘absolute chaotic disaster’

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Everyone in MA Can Vote Absentee Until June 30, 2020

Get Your Absentee Ballot Now! Here’s How!

To request an application for an early voting ballot, click on the link below and follow these steps:

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How to Safe Vote on Tuesday, June 16 in our Marblehead town election

Covid-19 updates related to voting, can be found at the Secretary of State’s website:http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/covid-19/covid-19.htm

  1. The Commonwealth has allowed anyone voting in a municipal election to request an early vote ballot. Early vote – Mail in Ballots can be requested NOW up until Noon on June 15, but since you have to allow time for them to be mailed to you and they must be returned by election day, it is good to request them asap. 
    To request an early vote ballot. Download this Early Ballot Application and mail to:Town Clerk, Abbot Hall, 188 Washington St., Marblehead, MA 01945.https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2020-Municipal-Early-Ballot-Application.pdf

2. Anyone concerned about taking precautions related to COVID 19, may request an absentee ballot from the Town Clerk or download this form and mail it to: Town Clerk, Abbot Hall, 188 Washington St., Marblehead, MA 01945.  
http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/absentee/English-Absentee-Ballot-Application.pdf

So what is the difference then between early vote and absentee vote? Early Vote is FINAL, Absentee – you are allowed to change your mind up until election day, as long as your absentee vote did not go through the tabulator.

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A Chronology of Incompetence: Trump’s Response to Corona Virus

Thanks to Brandilywn Apana who posted this timeline. 

Dec 18th – House Impeaches Trump

Jan 8th – First CDC warning

Jan 9th – Trump campaign rally

Jan 14th – Trump campaign rally

Jan 16th – House sends impeachment articles to Senate

Jan 18th – Trump golfs

Jan 19th – Trump golfs

Jan 20th – first case of corona virus in the US, Washington State.

Jan 22nd – “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

Jan 28th – Trump campaign rally

Jan 30th – Trump campaign rally

Feb 1st – Trump golfs

Feb 2nd – “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

Feb 5th – Senate votes to acquit. Then takes a five-day weekend.

Feb 10th – Trump campaign rally

Feb 12th – Dow Jones closes at an all time high of 29,551.42

Feb 15th – Trump golfs

Feb 19th – Trump campaign rally

Feb 20th – Trump campaign rally

Feb 21st – Trump campaign rally

Feb 24th – “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

Feb 25th – “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

Feb 25th – “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”

Feb 26th – “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

Feb 26th – “We’re going very substantially down, not up.” Also “This is a flu. This is like a flu”; “Now, you treat this like a flu”; “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner

Feb 27th – “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

Feb 28th – “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”

Feb 28th – Trump campaign rally

March 2nd – “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”

March 2nd – “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”

March 4th – “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”

March 5th – “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”

March 5th – “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”

March 6th – “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”

March 6th – “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”

March 6th – “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

March 6th – “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

March 7th – Trump golfs

March 8th – Trump golfs

March 8th – “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”

March 9th – “This blindsided the world.”

March 13th – [Declared state of emergency]

March 17th – “This is a pandemic,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

March 18th – “It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”

March 23rd – Dow Jones closes at 18,591.93

March 25th – 3.3 million Americans file for unemployment.

March 30th – Dow Jones closes at 21,917.16

April 2nd – 6.6 million Americans file for unemployment.

April 3rd – 259,750 cases, 6,603 deaths in the U.S.

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MDTC Zoom Meeting April 7 to Elect Officers

This notice and a Zoom invitation to the meeting are only for Regular and Lifetime MDTC Members eligible to vote.

Dear MDTC,
I hope you are well and staying safe. As you know on the March agenda, besides our speaker Adam Eichen, was the election of officers. While we will try to reschedule Adam for another date, the election is mandatory and there are no plans to change the MA law, which states that our elections of officers must occur before April 12. 

Using Zoom, I met “virtually” with our Executive Team on March 31. We agreed that we would hold a Zoom meeting next Tuesday, April 7, at 7 PM. We wanted to give you advance notice then we are into Passover and Easter, so there were not many options for days. Nevertheless, since everyone’s schedules are pretty free right now, hopefully the date won’t be a problem.

Only Regular and Lifetime Members eligible to vote are receiving this notice and Zoom invitation. As for the election, I will be serving as your temporary Chair, while we elect a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Everyone is invited to run for every position. Your energy, commitment and talent could make a difference in a leadership role and offer a new perspective. If you have any questions about the duties, responsibilities of any position, feel free to contact me, but it is not required to do so before the election.

The rules are you may nominate yourself or have someone nominate you. Every nominee will have an opportunity to address the Committee before the vote is taken. 

In addition to our election, the Program, Scholarship and Picnic Chairs will give an update as to how we will proceed, given the uncertainty of extended social distancing. Also, there is a new Sub-Committee headed by Owen Mathieu, which will be focusing on issues, legislation, and advocacy, which are of special interest to the Committee and where we can have an impact.

As you know our secretary Jane Casler did a great job setting up our website, but now we need to use it and what better time to drive traffic toward the site than now. We need truth in the time of Trump, good info in the time of disinformation. If you come across a great column, report or podcast send it to Jane and she can post it to FB or share on the website. Show your appreciation to Jane by pitching in to keep content fresh, smart &  interesting. Forward your content ideas to janecasler@gmail.com

Many thanks also to Lee Mondale, who has contributed so much in her role as Vice Chair, but has decided not to run for Office again.

Taking this next step into Zoom meetings will be harder for some than others. I know this will definitely be a learning experience for me and I will appreciate your patience. It’s not easy, I get it,  but we have to try, because we are just 7 months away from the election of our lifetime. We are at war, not just with coronavirus but with an Administration, whose actions will cost many lives. For 3 years, since Nov. 2016  we have been saying, “Can it get any worse? Now, it is as “worse” as it gets and about to get more so. We don’t have a candidate yet, we don’t know how we will organize, get our message out or when this national emergency will end. Everything, everywhere, even life seems uncertain, but that is exactly why we need to make a special effort to find ways to keep moving toward and stay connected even in the time of distancing – SO LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER!
Renee Keaney, MDTC Chair

If you are a Regular or Lifetime MDTC member and you did not receive the Zoom invitation, contact reneekeaney@gmail.com.

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Marblehead Democratic Caucus to Elect State Convention Delegates, March 7

MEDIA ADVISORY For Saturday, March 7, 2020 Marblehead Democratic Caucus
 CONTACT Renee Ramirez Keaney, Chair Marblehead Democratic Town Committee (MDTC), , 781-962-6577reneekeaney@gmail.com
TO ELECT DELEGATES TO THE DEMOCRATIC STATE CONVENTION Registered Democrats in Marblehead  will hold a caucus at 10:30 AM on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at the Abbot Public Library,235 Pleasant St., Marblehead (Basement Meeting Room)  to elect Delegates and Alternates to the 2020 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention. This year’s state convention will be held May 30th at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, where thousands of Democrats from across the state will come together to discuss Party business and celebrate our successes as we prepare for upcoming elections. The caucus is open to all registered and pre-registered Democrats in Marblehead. Pre-registered Democrats who will be 16 by February 15, 2020 will be allowed to participate and run as a Delegate or Alternate. Marblehead can elect 12 Delegates and 4 Alternates to the Convention. Youth, minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals who are not elected as a Delegate or Alternate may apply to be an Add-on Delegate at the caucus or at www.massdems.org. Those interested in getting involved with the [Marblehead Democratic Town Committee should contact Renee Ramirez Keaney at reneekeaney@gmail.com or check out their website at https://marbleheaddems.com/  and https://www.facebook.com/MarbleheadDems/

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This is a 10.

  1. Don’t use his name.
  2. Remember this is a regime and he’s not acting alone.
  3. Do not argue with those who support him–they will not change their minds.
  4. Focus on his policies, not his mental state.
  5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow.
  6. No more helpless/hopeless talk.
  7. Support artists and the arts.
  8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it twice.
  9. Take care of yourselves; and
  10. Resist!
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How to Register People to Vote

We need to rescue our democracy from the authoritarian grip of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. That means voting a Democrat into the White House—and flipping the Senate to blue.

It’s a proven fact that Democrats tend to win when there is a large turnout of voters. The fewer the voters the more likely Republicans are to win. You can help ensure a Democratic victory simply by registering people to vote. Especially young people!

The last day to register to vote for the March 3rd, 2020 Presidential Primaries is February 12, 2020. But there is still plenty of time to register people for the Presidential election in November.

When you register voters, you are helping guide Democrats to victory. You can join with others to do voter registration—or you can do it on your own. Here’s how…

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Great Turnout for January 2020 MDTC Meeting

About 50 people, including Rep. Seth Moulton’s mom, joined us to hear member Frank Kashner’s talk, “unchaining Our Democracy,” a deep dive into how the Koch Network is undermining our democracy. We also heard from Jamie Belsito, candidate for Congress, and Keith Sonia, Regional Field Director for Joe Kennedy III, Senate candidate. It was an evening focused on threats to democracy and the power of the vote.

Photo: MDTC members Jack Weltner and Frank Kashner, with Rod Kessler – “anti-Koch” activists behind Unchaining our Democracy.

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Marblehead High School Dems Are In Good Company

The 17 Members of the Marblehead High School Dems are in good company.

Among their recent activities…

-Voter registration 

-Putting together a Youth Activism Guide

-Running a civic engagement forum to get more kids politically involved

The MDTC has put aside $500 in the treasury to support them.

AND THEY ARE NOT ALONE.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/01/20/nation/high-school-democratic-clubs-multiply-young-people-worry-about-their-future/

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Ranked Choice Voting Coming to MA Soon?

In 2017 the Marblehead Democratic Town Committee endorsed Ranked Choice Voting.

  • The ballot initiative was filed with the office of Attorney General Maura Healey (D) on August 7, 2019.[1]
  • The initiative was cleared to circulate on September 4, 2019.[13]
  • The sponsors of the initiative reported submitting 130,000 signatures to local registrars on November 20, 2019.[14][15]
  • The sponsors of the initiative submitted 111,268 signatures on December 4, 2019. Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin verified that more than 80,239 signatures were valid. The legislature has until May 5, 2020, to pass the ballot measure, or petitioners may gather a second round of signatures to place it on the 2020 ballot.[16]

Supporters

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Getting Unsolicited Political Text Messages?

Texting is personal, right? When I get a text ping on my cellphone I react like one of Pavlov’s dog. You know, those canines that salivated whenever he rang a bell to feed them. Pretty soon, just ringing a bell made the dogs salivate.

For me, a text ping is like that bell. It grabs my attention. Gotta get at it RIGHT NOW. It means something important, something personal, something “nutritious,” is coming my way. A “Let’s get together” from a friend. A “Did you get my email” from my daughter. A “See you at noon” confirming a meeting.

But months ago, I started getting political texts from people I don’t know—campaign volunteers soliciting me to donate, attend a rally, phonebank, whatever. It was like the bell ringing without the food reward. At first I was mystified and then a little miffed. How’d they get my number? Is this legal? Is nothing sacred in the digital world? 

How do you stop these unsolicited texts?

Well, it turned out to be pretty easy peasy. Just type STOP—all caps—in response. It usually works.

On the other hand, getting texts from a candidate you like or support may be a plus. Or if you want to get out the vote, which is usually a good thing for Democrats , you might appreciate the potential value of political text messages.

New research suggests that the hundreds of millions of texts campaigns sent really did boost voter turnout — and that means you’ll get even more in 2020.”

Food for thought😊

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Time to Brush Up on the Candidates

Update 1/14/2020: Cory Booker dropped out on January 13, so now there are 12 candidates left.

Julian Castro dropped out of the campaign on January 2. So at the moment there are 13 Democratic candidates for the Presidency. FOURTEEN! We watch the debates. We try to research the candidates. But sometimes we can all use a little refresher. If so for you, you might want to check this out. Click on a candidate’s photo and you’ll get a concise description of who they are, even where they stand in the polls.

Kennedy for MA Campaign for the Senate

The North Shore team for Joe Kennedy hosts phone banks on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 5-7:00pm. There are many other volunteer opportunities, including lawn sign distribution, small phone call commitments, and neighborhood visibility events! 

North Shore Field Organizer is Liam MoreheadEmail: liam@kennedyforma.comPhone Number: (512) 496-7801.
Regional Field Director is Keith Sonia Email: keith@kennedyforma.comPhone Number: (781) 346-8416.

Beacon Hill Tackles Police Reform

Beacon Hill tackles police reform

Good intentions are rapidly finding their way into actual legislation. This moment must not be lost.

By The Editorial BoardUpdated June 12, 2020, 4:00 a.m.

Elected officials of color in Massachusetts government marched on June 2 from the African Meeting House on Joy Street to the nearby Mass. State House to hold a press conference to voice support for those protesting police brutality against Black Americans. The group stands on the State House steps and includes state Representative Russell Holmes (left), DA Rachael Rollins (center) and US Representative Ayanna Pressley.
Elected officials of color in Massachusetts government marched on June 2 from the African Meeting House on Joy Street to the nearby Mass. State House to hold a press conference to voice support for those protesting police brutality against Black Americans. The group stands on the State House steps and includes state Representative Russell Holmes (left), DA Rachael Rollins (center) and US Representative Ayanna Pressley.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The pain and anguish that has reverberated from the streets of Minneapolis around the nation and the world has spurred an unprecedented level of soul-searching about the role of police in a civil society — about the training and conduct of police officers, and about how governments decide who is fit to put on a uniform in the first place.

That conversation has now begun on Beacon Hill — and good intentions are rapidly finding their way into actual legislation. Ideas big and small have emerged in the House, the Senate, and from the governor’s office. Institutions not accustomed to moving with any great sense of urgency are doing just that, giving every indication they have heard the demonstrators who have gathered in the shadow of the State House since the police killing of George Floyd was caught on a harrowing video.

Too many acts of police violence that have captured national attention have faded without true reform; previous protests have ended without real results. The state’s lawmakers must ensure that this moment is not squandered, that it is not lost.

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House Speaker Robert DeLeo, in a joint announcement with Representative Carlos González, chair of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, put the weight of his office behind at least four proposals as a “first step along the long road to ensuring the promise of equal justice for all citizens of the Commonwealth.”

And DeLeo imposed his own deadline — July 31 — for getting an omnibus bill addressing racial justice issues in policing to the governor’s desk. Its current goals are fairly straightforward:

▪ Creation of an independent Office of Police Standards and Professional Conduct that would be tasked with looking at police procedures, including the use of force, police certification, and training.

▪ Abolishing the use of chokeholds by police.

▪ Establishing an affirmative obligation for all law enforcement officers to intervene if a fellow officer is improperly or illegally using force.

▪ Create a special legislative commission to examine civil service law, with an eye toward enhancing the recruitment of minority officers.

The devil, of course, is always in the details — and thus far there are few.

Massachusetts, which licenses some 167 trades and professions, is one of only a few states not to have a statewide police certification program — no doubt yet another testament to the influence on Beacon Hill of police unions. And key to any certification program is what it would take to decertify a police officer, effectively barring that officer from employment. Presumably any program worth the effort would set the bar higher than simply the commission of a felony; it should be possible to decertify an officer with repeated substantiated complaints, even if none of them lead to a criminal conviction.

Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday that he has also been in talks with the Black and Latino Caucus for the past “six to nine months” on a certification program and said he would file legislation shortly on the issue, noting “there needs to be more transparency around law enforcement.”

And he added, “I’m very excited about the fact that a lot of these issues will be resolved before the end of the session.”

On the Senate side, President Karen Spilka named her own advisory group on racial justice, which held its first meeting Wednesday. She too vowed action “on policing and racial justice this session.”

Meanwhile, Senate majority leader Cynthia Creem of Newton filed a bill with Representative Liz Miranda of Boston that would also ban chokeholds and create a “duty to intervene” for police who witness misconduct by fellow officers, similar to the House effort. But Creem would make the attorney general’s office a repository for all reports on any officer-involved incident involving injury or death, making the AG a kind of uber-civilian review board. 

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, in the national spotlight, has called for aggressive reforms that also ought to be seriously considered here, including charging the attorney general with investigations of officer-involved deaths, greater oversight and disciplinary reform, and investing in community services and groups that can serve as alternatives to policing.

Legislators and Baker need to aim for ideas that can have a lasting impact on policing in this state and on a police culture that cries out for change. For decades Beacon Hill has been in thrall to the political might — real or imagined — of police unions. Now it must answer to new voices. How quickly and effectively it does that will ultimately be the measure of lawmakers’ sincerity.


Editorials represent the views of the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Follow us on Twitter at @GlobeOpinion.