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Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII

Vote like your pants are on fire !

I have been angry, sad, demoralized, frustrated and now ENERGIZED ! 


Let’s take a deep breath ….

This is the first topical blog post from the Staunton Democratic Committee (SDC).  We will try to publish and discuss a specific topic weekly and detail what you can do locally and nationally to counter the threats to our democracy, personal freedoms and values.   Many of these issues are intertwined so please bear with me.

Where to start ?  Clearly many people (including myself) are very angry about some of the most recent Supreme Court rulings such as Dobbs 1 (Roe), West Virginia v. EPA 2, etc.  But initially I want to talk about voting (including voter suppression and election subversion) and why the rest of our progressive agenda depends on 2 pieces of Democrat sponsored election legislation blocked by Republicans in Congress.

Consider the current US Congress.  Democrats currently have a slim majority in the House and a technical majority (the 51st vote is the Vice President in cases of a tie) in the Senate although our agenda is rendered mostly impotent by the maintenance of the 60 vote filibuster.

If the Democrats can retain House majority and gain 2+ seats in the Senate in the November 2022 elections, we can kill the Senate filibuster and start passing MAJOR legislation including codifying Roe3, Build Back Better4, and other pieces of legislation that are helpful to all.  

However, the most important pieces that MUST be passed include the John Lewis Voting Act5 and the For the People Act6.  The For the People act sets national standards for voting and elections, will automatically register all eligible voters in the US, prevents gerrymandering, requires a code of ethics rules for the 3 branches of government and contains many other changes that ensure a free and fair electoral process.  The Brennan Center has an excellent and very long analysis of the For the People Act.

Why is this important?  For decades the Republicans have been trying to suppress voting7, commit electoral subversion8 9 and gerrymander voting districts so that they can have and maintain a PERMANENT majority or super-majority in all levels (local, state and federal) of government.  This gives them complete power even though most of their policy positions are supported by only a minority of Americans. Republicans control the majority of Governorships and state legislatures and are trying to elect more election-denying Republicans into positions such as the Secretaries of State to control the outcomes of elections.  

For example, Doug Mastriano (Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor and election denier), previously urged the PA Republican-controlled legislature  to throw out the 2020 election results and name their own winner.  He also said that if he is elected Governor then he would appoint a Secretary of State who would require all voters to re-register before they vote.  If PA is in Republican control, then the 2024 election there is likely to be subverted.10

The BOTTOM LINE is that we must win in the November 2022 federal elections.  If we do not win a functional congressional majority in November and cannot pass election reforms then 2024 will be a further nightmare with further Republican entrenchment.  Also we will not be able to codify Roe and other important legislation and the Republican agenda will advance for the next 2 years and further into the future.

This is what you can do to prevent this catastrophe for American democracy and restore our democratic values of equality (for all including Republicans), fairness, a civil society, etc.11


  • Join the SAW Democrats and join a committee ! (Links below)

  • Register to vote and then vote in every election (like your pants are on fire !)

  • Help someone else to register and help them vote (it is easy).12  

  • Talk to friends and family about a democratic value that is important and personal to you.  

  • Contribute any skill or time to your local Democratic Committee. (Links below)

  • Contribute money to a campaign (see links below). 

I know what it’s like to feel like you cannot do anything.  I felt the same way but now I have contributed monetarily (I gave $25 to Tim Ryan for Senate (Ohio) and just found out people like me helped him raise a total of $9.1 million last quarter.  We are not alone in our beliefs and efforts), I am writing for the SDC Newsletter and blog, I have finished the voting registrar training, I am Chair of the SDC Publicity Committee, and I am trying to contact my neighbors for a chat about our common values.  

Best of all, I have been able to meet many very kind and welcoming people.  

ANYTHING that you can do is helpful !




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Other upcoming topics (no particular order)


  • Why Ben Cline is a terrible representative

  • Roe, women’s bodily autonomy

  • Disappearing rights – LGBTQA+

  • Guns

  • Medication and insulin costs

  • Your representatives voting record

  • Health care (physical and mental)

  • Follow the election money

  • The environment

  • Supreme Court

  • Living wage and poverty

  • Inequality

  • Disinformation

  • Justice

Supporting documents:


1 - Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization


2 - West Virginia v. EPA

3 - S.4132 - Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022

4 - The Build Back Better Framework

5 - S.4 - John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021

6 - H.R.1 - For the People Act of 2021

7 – Voter suppression is defined as any legal or extralegal measure or strategy whose purpose or practical effect is to reduce voting, or registering to vote, by members of a targeted racial group, political party, or religious community The overwhelming majority of victims of voter suppression in the United States have been African Americans.

8 – Examples of election subversion include legislatures interfering with nonpartisan local election administration and consolidating power to administer and determine elections results themselves. Lawmakers proposing or initiating costly, highly partisan election reviews that undermine election security and erode trust in our election system. Legislatures accelerating the mass exodus of experienced election officials by imposing chilling criminal penalties, crippling civil penalties, and parroting disinformation that results in serious safety threats.

9 - The Independent State Legislative Theory to be tested in SCOTUS next term

10 - Who is Doug Mastriano, the GOP nominee for governor in Pennsylvania?

11 - The Staunton Democratic Committee Platform

12 - Virginia Voter Registration Drive Training  - SDC may offer training classes but you can do it online by watching the training video (forty minutes) and completing the sworn affidavit.  


Links for contributing whatever skill or time you have:

Local:








Donate to Democratic campaigns:







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Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII