Civil Liberties At Risk


images-2During the first 9 days of the 45th U.S. President’s Administration the White House website indicates 5 Executive Orders and 10 Memorandums but there are many more that are not yet posted on the site.  The most recent and controversial Executive Order is titled “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States.”  The primary purpose of the Executive Order, is to bar all people from “terror-prone” countries from entering the United States for 90 days and it also suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated “only for nationals of countries for whom” members of Trump’s Cabinet deem can be properly vetted.

A Muslim based ban which I believe to be a ban based on religion is unconstitutional and should be questioned. Families and individuals who have legally lived in the United States with green cards are being detained for 90 days if currently traveling outside the U.S. People who have jobs or are attending school cannot gain entry back into the country where they give back to society. Mind you these are people who don’t necessarily identify as Muslim but can be Christians or of other faiths. They are impacted merely because of their native country. This is authoritarian behavior by the current Presidential Administration.

Upon signing of this order chaos ensued around the world.  This impacted not merely the nations listed in the order, which are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, but individuals who may be traveling from other countries.  In order to put in place campaign promises this current Presidential Administration is becoming more authoritative and less democratic with the signing of the numerous Executive Orders and Memorandums.  With the chaos ensuing at airports it is obvious that this very controversial order restricting entry of people from countries deemed as Muslim was not properly vetted.

As a U.S. Citizen it greatly concerns me to have restrictions based on religion.  I do not believe this to be within the guidelines of the U.S. Constitution.  America is a nation of immigrants and on their backs a great nation has been formed.  A nation with a President who is pushing the boundary of civil liberties requires all those that believe in the democratic process to speak up!  In the nation where democracy was born it is imperative that we the American people give our voice.  If you like me are opposed to this controversial Executive Order it is important to contact your representatives in Congress and the Senate regardless of the their political party. Yes it matters and now is the time to call or write members of Congress go to house.gov or senate.gov to find contact information. I have contacted Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi; Congressman James Clyburn; Senator Lindsey Graham; and Senator Tim Scott just as a start.

Finally, we also must keep an eye on legislation being drafted within Congress. While many of the Executive Orders signed by the 45th President are detrimental, what a Republican Congress is doing may be just as restrictive. Find sources like C-Span and other sites to watch &  understand the legislation being drafted and give your input.  Those of us with a conscious must speak up and push back when civil liberty of others and not only ourselves are at risk. Staying silent is not an option. We see what only one week of the 45th President’s Administration has brought.  I’m greatly concerned about the destruction of democracy and I hope you are as well.  Remember democracy includes the voice of citizens and not merely political leaders, give your voice to the process.

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Democracy Is Delicate


Tomorrow, January 20, 2017 a transition of power will take place in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC.  The 58th Presidential Inauguration will take place when the President-Elect will take the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States.  It is this peaceful transition of power that has occurred for centuries that identifies the United States as the birthplace of democracy.

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Meeting of U.S. President-Elect Trump with U.S. President Obama

Democracy is how Donald J. Trump a businessman was elected.  In simplest form democracy is when the citizens or group of a nation or organization seek to elect the people who represent them.  However, even within a democracy things can go wrong and the foundation can shift.  It is of my concern that the President-Elect will cause cracks within the foundation of democracy.  Due to lack of any governmental experience by Trump and those of his Senior Staff selections, I am greatly concerned.

Private and public sectors are unique and managed differently for various reasons.  The idea that the soon to be 45th President’s sons can run his businesses and there not be a conflict of interest is ludicrous.  His behavior during the Presidential election cycle and past behavior is deplorable.  And most recently the continuous juvenile tweets sent in response to anyone who disagrees with him are pitiful.  I often wonder if at his advanced age of 70 might there be some mental issue?  However, not releasing his medical records details cannot be known.

On Saturday, I with women from around the state of South Carolina will meet for a Women’s Rally at the State House.  This corresponds with the Women’s March on Washington that will bring women from around the United States to the nation’s capital to in part show their displeasure with Trump.  Upon completion of the rally in South Carolina there will be a summit to discuss how to be active during a Trump Administration.

The four key elements of democracy can survive but only with citizens staying aware.  These elements are 1) political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections, 2) active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life, 3) protection of the human rights of all citizens, and 4) rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.  If any of these components are threatened then the democratic structure can form cracks.

I am overall an optimist but I am also a realist and I believe the next four years will be rocky for the United States.  However, I do know that I will be active within my local Democratic Party and community ensuring I do all necessary to be sure hard fought freedoms are kept intact.  I must be honest I do not trust that the 45th President will be able to keep the many false promises that he has made on the campaign trail.  I believe time will prove all those who do not have faith in his ability will be proven right.

The division of three main parts of the federal government executive, legislative, and judicial will in part help to possible refrain the overreach of the next President.  But only if the legislative and judicial branches are firm and ethical in their decisions.  Many believed that President Obama over reached with his authority via Executive Orders, however, this was by a man who was a U.S. Constitutional Law professor.  With legal experience and prior legislative experience Obama was able to give insight into the office and understand the impact of laws of society.  We can all agree that the Affordable Care Act had issues that needed adjustment but for it to be fully repealed is not best for U.S. citizens.

Finally, I want end on a positive note listing some of the accomplishments made by the 44th President.  I will miss President Obama because I believe that he cared about the duties of the office of President much more than he cared about self.  Here are some of the many things that were done over the last eight years.  Note that on Friday, January 20th the new twitter handles for the Obamas will be @BarackObama and @MichelleObama; in addition, ObamaWhiteHouse.gov will contain the information that is now found on the WhiteHouse.gov specific to the Obama’s.  Now for the list:

Economic Depression Averted

Longest Streak of Job Growth on Record

11 Million New Jobs Created

20 Million More Americans Insured

Deficit Cut by Over $800 Billion

Exports Up by 28 Percent

Corporate Profits Up by 144 Percent

Stock Market Nearly Tripled

Middle Class Tax Cuts Preserved

American Auto Industry Saved

Wall Street Reform Enacted

Oil & Natural Gas Production at All Time High

Solar & Wind Power at All Time High

Reliance on Foreign Oil at 40 Year Low

Graduation Rates at All Time High

No Child Left Behind Replaced

Pell Grants Doubled

New Federal Student Loan Payment Plan

New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

New Mortgage Refinance Program

New Patient’s Bill of Rights

Newly Protected Lands & Waters

New Limits on Carbon Pollution

New Arms Control in Russia & Syria

Iranian Nuclear Program Curtailed

U.S. Cuba Diplomacy Restored

Torture Banned

Osama bin Laden Taken Down

U.S. Boots in Iraq & Afghanistan Reduced

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed

Education & Job Opportunities for Veterans

Healthcare for 9/11 Heroes

Equal Benefits for Married Gay Couples

Deferred Action for DREAMers

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act

21st Century Cures Act

Veteran Homelessness Down

Abortion Down

Illegal Immigration Down

Violent Crime Down

Net Neutrality Protected

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Why I Love The Obamas


There have been 43 White men as U.S. President.  President Obama finally broke up the club of whiteness and added some diversity.  He is truly in all aspects of the term African-American; since he was born to a White mother from the Midwest and an African father from Kenya.  When running for office there was a dichotomy of opinion whether he was Black enough or if he was too Black.  Some wondered would the White House now become the Black House?  During all the negative rhetoric I watched not with despair but with pride to see a Black man take the oath of office to become the 44th U.S. President.  Wait, let me correct, I listened while on Pennsylvania Avenue standing in Freedom Plaza along the Inauguration Parade route just around the corner from the White House on January 20, 2009.

My journey began way back with the Obamas in 1996, when as a Clinton-Gore volunteer, I was tasked with phone banking and making down ticket calls for Barack Obama.  I didn’t know much about him except he had done organizing within his community.  He was a lawyer at that point having graduated from Harvard Law School.  He also taught constitutional law these were snippets of information provided over the course of the ’96 campaign.  It was a joyous time when on November 5, 1996, President Clinton and Vice President Gore were re-elected and Barack Obama won his first election for the Illinois State Senate.  During the Victory Party at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, getting my first hugs from Senator-elect Obama and his wife Michelle was heart-warming, yes they’ve always been huggers.

I relocated in 1997 to South Carolina, so Barack Obama was my Senator only for a short while.  However, I watched with pride when he was introduced to the world at the 2004 Democratic National Convention during the speech heard around the globe.  The most recognized part of the speech is:

“There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”

However, one of my favorite parts of the speech is:

“If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child.  If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent.  If there’s an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.  It is that fundamental belief — it is that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family: “E pluribus unum,” out of many, one.”

After hearing this phenomenal speech everyone wanted to know who is this State Senator and candidate for U.S. Senate?  I already knew and watched from that point waiting for the moment for when he would run for U.S. President.  It wasn’t a question of if but when.

Following many rumors in February 2007, in Springfield, Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama announced his run for U.S. President.  Among other U.S. Senators running were Joe Biden and Hillary Rodham Clinton.  In May 2007, I stopped by the South Carolina Obama Campaign Headquarters in Columbia, SC located on the corner of Calhoun and Assembly streets and began my volunteer efforts.  Starting off doing phone banking I knew my talent was better used in other capacities.  And over time soon became what I am known best as Data Goddess.  The Obama Campaign recreated how data as well as digital media was used during a campaign.  He created via his experience of community organizing a new mold for how to run a Presidential campaign.  With the blowout win of the South Carolina Presidential Democratic Primary, Obama and not Clinton became the candidate to beat.

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Taken by Staff Photographer in Manning, SC – November 2007

Upon becoming elected as the 44th President even during a campaign where rocks and stones were thrown his way, he pushed for an agenda passionate to him.  Unlike any other President before him his cabinet was filled with powerful and capable women.  Showing the importance of women, the first piece of legislation he signed was the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act Bill.”  Over the last 8 years, President Obama has signed approximately 1,350 pieces of legislation into law.  His most famous and the piece of legislation marked for repeal by the 115th U.S. Congress is The Affordable Care Act.  Coming into the White House with a dysfunctional banking system and an auto industry near bankruptcy he made tough decisions in bailing both out with federal assistance.  Even when detractors thought this was not the better solution but time has shown it was the best solution.

There are far too many things to list regarding why I have such admiration for the Obama Administration.  However, I most respect the humanness of the President.  During addresses after shootings at Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT and last year at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida we saw a very human and compassionate President.  We also saw this when speaking about the killing of Trayvon Martin and during the numerous addresses made upon unjustified shooting of Black men and women by law enforcement across the nation.  It is the humanness, dignity, and intelligence that I most admire about President Obama.

With the incoming 45th President, I am greatly concerned about the openness and dignity that President Obama brought to the White House.  I do not have confidence in the leadership to come this is based on the vitriol hate displayed during the 2016 Presidential campaign by the Republican Presidential nominee.  I admit I am a staunch liberal and a leader within the South Carolina Democratic Party, so to many of course I admire and support President Obama.  However, I am fair and try not to pre-judge but what I have seen thus far from the U.S. President-Elect does not give me great confidence in the next four years.  I do not see an inclusive or diverse White House or one open to the public in the way the Obama Administration engaged the public.

I admit as a Black woman I have watched with pride the initiatives put in place by First Lady Michelle Obama.  She has worked for military families to getting young people moving and eating healthy to fighting for girls right to education around the globe.  Being a part of history also puts a smile in my heart.  On June 1, 2016, on behalf of the Columbia Museum of Art as their Community Member, I attended the ceremony and reception for 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.  It was hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama in the East Room of the White House.  And to the surprise of us all while in the Blue Room we saw Marine One land and take off on the White House lawn!  This opportunity seemed to be a full circle moment from when I first met the Obama’s in Chicago, Illinois.

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2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service Program

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Karen Brosius, Michelle Obama, Joyce Rose-Harris – White House East Room           June 2016

Finally, I say thank you President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for your leadership and dedication to the American people.  Seeing a Black couple occupy the White House makes me proud not merely because they are Black but because they worked hard to get to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  There was no silver spoon for them during their childhoods but there was the knowledge of how important it is to get an education and then to uplift their communities.  I will miss the weekly addresses by President Obama and the many initiatives of First Lady Obama but I know now they will take their work to Chicago, Illinois in a year or so, putting their knowledge and activism in the Obama Presidential Library and Center.  I know there is much more awesome things to come for the Obama family.  Thank you President and First Lady Obama for showing citizens of the United States and the world how to rise higher.

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Trump Not Fit For Presidency


Donald J Trump is not fit to be President of the United States.  A few days ago a video of the Republican Presidential candidate was released where he was overheard making lewd comments regarding women.  Even with the video being from 11 years ago, it adds to numerous prior reasons including his lack of experience in the public sector to why Trump should not be allowed near the Oval Office.  When asked about his comments, he merely made a lack luster attempt at apologizing to anyone he offended.  We humans make mistakes, however, learning from them and owning up to them is a necessary trait of a great leader. Trump seems to lack this trait.

When Trump initially ran for President during the Republican primary, he was in the running with a variety of other candidates.  They included business people as well as elected officials.  However, due to the number being 16 other candidates his earning an average 40% of votes was enough to continually provide him wins.  Due to the inability of the Republican Party leadership to come together and have a maximum of five diverse candidates we now have Trump as a Presidential candidate.

Those who support Trump are frustrated with the current system of government; and many of his supporters are not traditional Republicans.  This frustration has led to supporting a candidate that is the furthest from any standard elected official.  Many have said that Trump is honest about what is on his mind, however, I don’t believe that is necessarily a positive.  Saying what is on your mind without a filter is actually a sign of narcissistic and ignorant behavior…it doesn’t do anyone any good.  Honesty can be done without blurting out derogatory  comments.

In addition to his mouth and lack of respect for women there is his lack of respect for practically everyone else.  His disrespect has included African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, Gold Star Families, Veterans dealing with PTSD, the obese, the disabled and the list goes on.  He doesn’t show any real understanding of foreign policy or domestic issues for that matter.  Nor does he understand or have any experience within the public sector.  Even if you desire to reform government you need to understand how it works.

Truth has come out regarding millions of dollars in cede money, which was the primary way that he is in real estate is via the deep pockets of his late father.  The so called Trump empire he built is somewhat of a mirage.  Left to do it on his own accord, I doubt we would even know him.  With numerous bankruptcy filings and not releasing his tax records that every Presidential candidate has done over the last 40 years, we cannot trust him to run the United States.

Finally, it is time for Trump supporters to re-evaluate and understand that he just is not the person to run this nation.  During this campaign in addition to disparaging comments, he has alluded to a foreign government hacking into another candidate’s computer system.  And he has encouraged potential violence against his opponent, which he brushed off as a joke.  We are just 30 days from the General Election and many states are open for early and absentee voting.  It is no joking matter Donald J Trump just is not fit to be President of the United States.

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A Library Nerd’s Birthday


Today 50 years ago, I was born.  I was a few weeks early and my mom thought she had indigestion, until her water broke.  I believe from the day and hour in which I was born, until the various dates of my parent’s deaths that I was loved.  My dad wasn’t there for my birth but he was always there for my life.  Birthdays were always special and involved a chocolate marble cake with the most delicious chocolate icing created by his hands.  It is from my parents that I learned to love books and reading.  Our house was always filled with all types of books novels, non-fiction, magazines, comic books, newspapers, if it had words we read it…and hoarded it.

Due to the genetic love of books it is no surprise where I came to write this blog today.  I sit in one of my favorite places.  The United States Library of Congress, specifically in the Main Reading Room.  I have had a library research/reader card for a few years now but it still felt magical to walk through the researchers only and accessed limited hallway.  Taking the reserved elevator and entering into the beautiful and majestic space that is the center of the universe of all U.S. libraries still gives me tingles.

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View from desk 334..Main Reading Room

Yes, I know most people want to spend their 50th birthday on an island or far away destination; however, I chose my nation’s capital city for this blessed day and week.  And purposely this space to write this blog post.  Washington, DC is a pivotal place for democracy even though lately there has been a stale mate among political parties.  However, I believe democracy is the better form of government.

Those who’ve followed my blog know that I support the Democratic Parties Presumptive Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.  Today the FBI advised that there were no findings to indicate malice or ill intent regarding to deleted or missing emails.  This translates to know recommendation of criminal charges by the FBI to the U.S. Justice Department.  I never thought there would be anything found.  It is frustrating to see all the rocks that have been thrown toward former Secretary Clinton.  My belief is that strong women and ironically even those who stand by their spouses still are given grief.  I am not going to go into why I support her…you can read that on my blog “Why I Support Hillary Clinton for President”.  My reasons have not changed.

Now, I know why not talk about something other than government?  Well being born the day after the nations 190th birthday, I get giddy about government and democracy.  Oh yes and fireworks as well as good ribs and family cookouts.  Yesterday there were cloudy fireworks but awesome cannon sounds.  My husband and I attended “A Capitol Fourth” produced and aired live by PBS.  Well interestingly the fireworks broadcast were not those we witnessed.  This was a big slight on PBS for omitting this information and not being upfront.  Still I saw many amazing entertainers including Smokey Robinson, Yolanda Adams, and Kenny Loggins.

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View of the Main Reading Room Dome

Looping back, I am sitting in the Library of Congress because I love libraries.  They are filled with so much knowledge and information ready for you to find and read.  I know if I lived in the DC area this would be my primary place to write and study.  I plan to return during this week but today the 50th anniversary of my birth, I had to come to this place.  I can close my eyes and smell the scent and hear the crinkle of books at my childhood library.  Fredrick Douglass Chicago Public Library in North Lawndale community is where I received my first library card.  I don’t know where the card is today but the memories are still within me.  And my love for libraries is even stronger.

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Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling


Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropThe 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution passed in the Senate on June 4, 1919, this was 97 years ago.  The amendment reads “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.  Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”  Specifically, this amendment allowed women the right to vote.  This June history occurred, when Hillary Clinton became the first woman named as the presumptive Presidential nominee for a major political party.

Previously the closest a woman has come to being anywhere near the Presidency was when Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.  The invisible glass ceiling referring to women seeking to move up in business, government, or other leadership roles has been shattered.  I am happy, truly and honestly happy about a woman being a major party’s nominee but I wonder if the ceiling is self-healing?  Will the pieces come together again like in a sci-fi movie?  Or will there remain a clear opening for other women to rise through?

For females young and older around the U.S. I do believe that Clinton is a beacon of hope.  She has shown that even when mud and something else is slung her way she can take it.  This was shown back in October 2015 during an 11-hour hearing on Benghazi, like a true leader Hillary responded to the pounding of questions from the House Committee lead by Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC).  Most recently Clinton showed Presidential poise when she gave her speech on foreign policy.  In response to her speech and the comments around the instability of Donald Trump the presumptive republican nominee, Trump came back with random comments none of which related to his foreign policy plan.

Under constant investigation from when she was First Lady of the United States, U.S. Senator, and most recently Secretary of State, her record has and continues to be picked apart.  Just as President Obama faces obvious racism as the first African American President, Clinton will continue to face scrutiny if elected as the first woman President.  Sadly, the U.S. has issue with what is different and out of the norm and the norm are white males in leadership.  I would like to note that while giving her speech the night of major wins on June 7th she complemented her opponent Bernie Sanders.  Upon her comments there was respectful clapping of her supporters.  Yet when he complemented Clinton during his speech there were boos from the crowd.  Sanders did not even blink nor did he admonish the negative response.

Finally, I want there to be a day when we don’t have to focus on the fact a woman is in a position of power.  Whether it is the CEO of a major corporation or the nominee of a major political party.  The U.S. is merely catching up with other countries who have had female leaders for decades now.  Great Britain, Germany, Norway, India as well as many more nations have and have had female leaders in the highest offices or within the monarchy.  Now that this history has been made let’s move forward to the issues.

Content originally published by The MinorityEye on June 9, 2016

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Watching A Bill Become A Law


Collage of EventsThis week the theme song from Schoolhouse Rock animated special “I’m Just A Bill” which explained the legislative process has been on continuous loop in my head.  On Monday, July 6th debate on a controversial and historic South Carolina Senate Bill began.  Bill S. 897 introduced by Senator Vincent Sheheen was for removal of the Confederate battle flag from the SC State House grounds.  Senator Sheheen while campaigning for Governor in 2014 brought up the subject of removing the flag.  Now months into a new year, it seemed that the idea had passed.

On Wednesday, June 17th the horrific massacre of nine members of Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC helped to bring the Confederate battle flag debate to the forefront of South Carolina and the nations conscious.  There were strong connections shown with regard to the Confederate battle flag and white supremacy propaganda by Dylann Roof the 21-year-old charged with the nine murders.  It is believed that the act of true Christian behavior by the families of Rev. Senator Clementa Pinckney and eight of his parishioners: Sharonda Coleman-Singleton; Cynthia Hurd; Susie Jackson; Tywanza Sanders; Myra Thompson; Ethel Lance; DePayne Middleton-Doctor; and Daniel Simmons helped to make it necessary that the divisive symbol be removed from SC State House grounds.  Hearing the families forgive Roof and pray for his soul moved the world.

During a press conference on Monday, June 22, 2015 SC Governor Nikki Haley stated, “It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds.” Haley a Republican had stated just weeks prior that she saw no need for removal of the flag. However, upon massacre of a former Senate college and eight others the need had become apparent.  On June 23rd Senator Vincent Sheheen drafted Senate Bill 897 for permanent removal of the Confederate battle flag.  The flag had flown on the SC State House dome and grounds since 1962, initially flying in memory of the Civil War.  Many have contended that the flag flew in defiance to the Civil Rights movement.  Those against removal of the flag toted that it represented Southern Heritage, which I point out included an economy with a labor force of enslaved Africans and their descendants.

Debate of the S. 897 began on Monday, July 6th in the Senate Chambers.  Realizing the significance of this Bill, I decided to visit the SC Senate Gallery to witness the beginning debates.  Three Republican Senators Bright, Peeler, and Verdin all from the Upstate known for it’s Republican stronghold voted against the Bill during the 2nd vote.  However, there were 37 votes for the Bill and that was a strong indication that it would pass.  As was expected on Tuesday, July 7th after very little additional debate the 3rd vote passed 36 to 3, well over the necessary 2/3 vote.  The Bill then went to the SC House for debate.

On Wednesday, July 8th the Senate Bill reached the house and immediately had 12 amendments made to it by Representative Quinn who like his three Update Senate counterparts was a conservative Republican.  Over the course of the day there were 60 total amendments made to the Bill.  Feeling that Wednesday would be a historic day, I headed to the SC State House for the second time that week after work.  I sat in utter amazement at the stubborn ignorance of some Representatives with regard to the need to pass the Bill without amendments.  There was push and pull as House members for and against the Bill spoke.  I was witness to the passionate cry for passing the Bill made by Rep. Jenny Horne from Charleston, SC, where she represented the families of the Charleston 9.  But more importantly Rep. Horne is a direct descendent of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.

A recess was given around 7:45pm and realizing that I was seeing history in the making, I decided to find a quick dinner and return for the continuation of the debate at 8:30pm.  There was more pushing and pulling as well as side discussions.  The Speaker of the House seemed to have to constantly bang the gavel to get order of the House Chambers.  We sitting in the House Gallery wondered if the Bill would ever pass.  Eventually most of the amendments were tabled and there was a stronghold on amendment 56, which provided detail for placement of the Confederate battle flag upon its removal.

Late in the evening, Rep. Ott proposed a resolution that had the same wording and purpose of amendment 56.  It seemed like a simple solution that would allow S. 897 to be passed as a clean Bill, which was the request of the Senate.  Near midnight Rep. Quinn recalled all the amendments that he had made to S. 897 and a call for a vote was made.  The second vote earned 2/3 of yes votes, which meant there was hope that the Bill would ultimately pass.  The third reading was made and the Bill passed without amendments.

Again the song “I’m Just A Bill” looped through my mind.  It was very much like the legislative process as taught by Schoolhouse Rock.  Only the animated Bill started with an idea and a member from US House of Representatives created a Bill for debate; and upon passing in the House it went to the US Senate.  It was a joyful day to know that the next step was for the Bill to be ratified by the SC Speaker of the House and then signed by Governor Haley.

It was announced that Governor Haley would sign the Senate Bill 897 at 4:00pm on Thursday, July 9th and the flag was scheduled for removal on Friday, July 10th.  While sitting at work I thought it would be enough to see the signing via streaming video or the news.  However, I had witnessed debates by the SC General Assembly and realized I needed to be present for this historic moment.  Driving like a mad woman and using my familiarity with the area around the SC State House I found a parking spot and rushed through the blazing heat to the third floor that overlooked the lobby area set up for the signing.

There was media, citizens, and legislatures packed in to witness the moment as well.  Also present were family members of the Charleston 9 victims including the widow of the Rev. Senator Clementa Pinckney.  In addition, were three former SC Governors including two who had previously tried to discuss removal of the Confederate battle flag.  Specially Governor David Beasley lost his re-election do impart to this debate. Watching the signing of the Bill was emotional because it did show that bi-partisan leadership and agreement can occur.

On Friday, July 10, 2015 thousands of citizens were present to witness the removal of the Confederate battle flag from SC State House grounds.  People poured into the street and around the grounds for a look at history.  There were those in support of the removal as well as those not supporting the removal.  I for one was happy to see the flag removed.  As I have stated I saw its presence as being divisive and conjuring a past of hate.  Just as the reality that the Nazi flag is negative to those of Jewish decent so is the Confederate battle flag to me.  Unable to attend in person, I watched on television with tears flowing from my eyes.  I felt my ancestors rejoicing.  I know that removal of the flag will not make racism and hate disappear.  However, it possibly will help bring discussion and progress toward better race relations.

Finally, some immediate changes that occurred was NCAA is now considering South Carolina for future conferences and tournaments.  The NAACP also has raised its boycott of the state.  During debates of removal of the flag in the Senate and House major corporations submitted letters in support of its removal.  It seemed that people looking in could see that it was long past time for the symbol of an oppressive past to be taken down and put in a museum.  I do believe we must remember history including the ugliness of some of the past…hence we forget.  However, I don’t need to see history blowing in the wind to remember it.

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