Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Blogger Candidate Forum: Veepstakes 2020, The Democrats



Covid-19 Information & Initiatives - The Keyword
blog.google
Hello Everyone:

It is a lovely Wednesday and guess who is back?  The Blogger Candidate Forum is back with the 2020 edition of Veepstakes: the Democrats.  Before we get started, a friendly reminder.  Election Day is November 3, 2020.  Are registered to vote?  If you are, good on you.  Make sure you show up to the polls on the day, drop off or mail in your ballot in time.  If you are not, Stop reading and go to usa.gov and click on the link to your state's Secretary of State's office to register.  When you are done come back to read this post.  Thank you and onward

Way back in March of this year, before COVID quarantine forced VPOTUS began campaigning in his basement, he made a promise to select a woman running mate.  Some of the political talking heads worried that the Gentleman from Delaware was too narrowly focusing his search for a running mate.  A woman running mate?  The last candidate to chose a woman was the late Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ).  The late Senator chose former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  On paper, she sounded great: a conservative Christian woman with a nice photogenic family.  Unfortunately for the late Senator, Ms. Palin was not very well versed on the domestic and foreign issues of the moment.  Prior to that,  former Vice President Walter Mondale (D-MN) chose former New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY) for his running mate.  Not up on ancient political history?  Allow The Candidate Forum to fill you in.  The Gentleman from Minnesota was former President Jimmy Carter's vice president.  In 1984 he unsuccessfully (he lost by huge landslide) against the late President Ronald Reagan.  VPOTUS Mondale decided to go with the unorthodox (for its time) choice of a woman running mate.  Here we are again, another Democrat is in the position to choose a running mate. Who will it be? Will he suffer the same fate as Senator McCain and VPOTUS Mondale or will the third time be a charm?  Shall we gaze into the electoral crystal ball and see what the future holds?

Biden praises potential veep picks Whitmer and Abrams - Los ...
Potential running mates
latimes.com

VPOTUS Biden is a lucky luck candidate because he has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to honoring his pledge to select a female running mate.  Each of the ladies on his list bring a wealth of experience, strengths as well as weaknesses to the ticket.  Let us get a couple of things out of the way: First, choosing a running mate is a little like a blind date.  You put two people together and hope it all works out.  Second, there is no such thing as "the perfect running mate."  For that matter, there is no such thing as "the perfect presidential candidate."  Get rid of those ideas and focus on which ticket will be the best choice to further your main concerns.

Biden's VP list, with multiple women of color, is a milestone ...
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-MN) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
latimes.com

Everyone has a favorite candidate for the job.  The Candidate Forum has a favorite as well but what is the rest of the voters think?

According to a recent USA Today/Suffolk Poll, "Seven of 10 Democrats...say it is important to them that the presumptive nominee Joe Biden picks a woman of color as his running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket this fall" (amp.usatoday.com; July 1, 2020).  In light of current events, the choice there is more urgency to select someone such as California Senator Kamala Harris (D) or Florida Representative Val Demmings (D).  Others have suggested former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.  Yet others have proffered Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) but despite her sterling resume, she is also in her seventies and there is question whether or she would be able to fulfill the primary role of the vice president, be able to assume the office.  Also wee problematic is a ticket of two white people and whoever the one is, would be considered the presumptive nominee in 2020.  How so?

Coronavirus: Joe Biden will not hold campaign rallies - BBC News
Presumptive Democratic nominee VPOTUS Joe Biden
Wear a mask
bbc.com

Consider this, one in five US presidents have not complete a full term.  This is not to in any way suggest the Gentleman from Delaware is in ill health, merely a statement of fact.  VPOTUS is 77-years-old and if elected, he would be 78 on Inauguration Day, breaking the record set by the current president who was 70 the day he took the oath of office.  Further, VPOTUS has not committed to running for a second should he be elected on November 3, 2020.  Therefore, whoever he chooses will be automatically considered the presumptive nominee should VPOTUS decline to run for a second term.  Will it really matter who VPOTUS' running mate is?

Stacey Abrams openly applies to be Joe Biden's running mate ...
Stacy Abrams
dailymail.co.uk

Honestly, not really.  In an Op-ed for bloomberg.com, Jonathan Bernstein writes, "Political scientist have long looked for any sign that running mates affect the outcomes of presidential elections, and while there's not exactly a consensus, the evidence suggests that there's normally no effect at all" (bloomberg.com;  June 30, 2020; date accessed July 1, 2020).  Even the candidate at the top of the ticket has little effect once party affiliation and events (eg. pandemic and protests) were accounted for.  This applies to the incumbent party.  Essentially, people who like the current president will vote to give him another term and those who do not will show him the door.  One thing is certain, "no one who thinks Trump is doing a great job but would for for Biden anyway because of his running mate..." (Ibid).

Why Val Demings May Be the Best Running Mate for Joe Biden Right ...
Florida Representative Val Demmings (D)
vogue.com

With that said, how does the Gentleman from Delaware avoid a running mate disaster.  The first rule is pick someone who has been nationally vetted and dealt with opposition scrutiny.  Senators Harris, Warren, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kirsten Gillbrand (D-NY) tick off that box.  The Lady from Minnesota has dropped out of consideration and there has been no mention about the Lady from New York.

Other than that, it make sense to choose someone that will not put a congressional seat in jeopardy.  The Seventeenth Amendment to the  United States Constitution states,

...When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies; Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct...(law.cornell.edu; date accessed July 1, 2020)

This would not be an issue for favored potential running mate Senator Harris.  California's governor is a Democrat and could appoint another Democrat to fill her seat until 2022, when her seat comes up for re-election.  It would, however, be a problem for Senator Warren.  If she is chosen for the number two position, her seat could be filled by the Republican governor, unless the Democrat-majority state legislature in Massachusetts changes the law (bloomberg.com;  June 30, 2020).

A good running mate will be able to listen and work with party actors, particularly for any sign that any of the obvious choices are unacceptable to key constituencies.  While it is impossible to make everyone happy but a good running mate should avoid alienating any one significant group (Ibid).  Finally, a good running mate should appear to be capable of being an adequate president (Ibid).

The main thing for VPOTUS Joe Biden is to avoid disaster or doing harm to the Democratic party.

VPOTUS will announce his choice at the beginning of August, prior to Democratic National Convention.  The Candidate Forum has its fingers and toes crossed for its candidate.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Only The Beginning



Hello Everyone:






Cabinet of curiosities - Wikipedia
People are calling for museums to be abolished. Can whitewashed ...
Statue of President Theodore Roosevelt (removed)
American Natural History Museum, New York City, New York
It is a lovely end of June, almost July, early summer afternoon.  Yours Truly is troubled by stories of people flipping the double bird at local and state face covering orders. Face coverings are cheap effective ways to slow down COVID-19 transmission.  What could possibly be the problem?  You have difficulty breathing through the mask?  Yours Truly had some difficulty at first, especially on the morning run.  The solution was slowly get used to it.  It violates your constitutional rights?  Where does it say in the United States Constitution that a person has the right to disregard ordinances intended to protect your health and welfare?  Rhetorical question, it does not.  Government overreach you say?  Putting yourself at risk for a virus with no known effective treatment or cure is a form of protest better?  Finally, is wearing a face covering demonstrating your disapproval for Mr. Donald Trump?  Seriously?  Cover your nose and mouth when you go out.  It does not take that much effort to tie a scarf over your nose and mouth.  Onward


Should museums be abolished?  This is one of the many questions now being discussed in the wake of Black Lives Matter protest.  This question has Blogger wondering if   Can problematic exhibits be re-contextualized?  If museums are abolished, what do you do with work on display?  Before we consider these question, let us take a very brief look at the origins of museums.

The word museum comes from the ancient Greek word mouseion meaning the "seat of Muses" whose purpose was to be a place for contemplation. (historyofmuseums.com; date accessed June 29, 2020).  The modern word comes from the Latin museum, "which was used to describes something similar to modern museum was in the 15th century for collection of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence" (Ibid).  Until the 17th century, museum was the name given to a collection of curiosities--"cabinet of curiosities" or "wonder rooms" (Ibid)--such as the Ole Worm's collection in Copenhagen (Ibid).

Over time, other versions of museums began to appear in order to accommodate a variety of artifacts.  In general, all museums start from the same places: "a collection of curiosities" (Ibid).  Over time they shift focus different ideas, cultures, and goals.  The earliest museums were private collections, available to a select group of people.  The oldest known museum was Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum, curated by Princess Ennigaldi dating to 530 BCE.  It was located in Ur (in present day Iraq) and contained Mesopotamian artifacts.  Public museums first opened during the Renaissance but the important museums opened in the 18th century.  The oldest public art collection is housed in the Capitoline Museum, established in 1471 with a donation of sculptures from Pope Sixtus IV (Ibid).

A trip to the museum can be a fun and educational way to spend some or all of your of day.  What happen if they were abolished?

People are calling for museums to be abolished. Can whitewashed ...
Protest calling for the removal of the Theodore Roosevelt statue
American Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York
cnn.com

Why should we abolish museums and why now?  The now part is we are in a moment where our institutions are under intense scrunity and events on the ground are shifting very fast.  Early in June, a group of current and former museum professionals from the multiple cultural institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and other institutions around the United States published an open letter accusing the museums of unfair treatment of employees of color.  They wrote,

...We write to you to express our outrage and discontent of consistent exploitation and unfair treatment of Black/Brown people at these cultural institution.

We write to you to inform you that will no longer tolerate your blatant disrespect and egregious acts of white violence toward Black/Brown employees that reflect the oppressive tactics to keep Black/Brown employees maintained and subordinated (fortheculture2020.com; date accessed June 29, 2020)

Richard Armstrong Named New Director of Solomon R. Guggenheim ...
Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim Foundation and Museum
guggenheim.org
Within days, staffers at the Guggenheim and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art explicitly accusing the institutions' leadership of racism.  Richard Armstrong, the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, emailed his response to CNN:

As a society, we are confronting sustained injustices never resolved, and feel today the pain and anger of previous moments.  The Guggenheim addresses the shared need of great reform, and long overdue equality, and want to reaffirm that we are dedicate to doing our part.

In this period of self-reflection and reckoning, we will engage in dialogue with our staff and review all processes and procedures to lead to positive change,... We are expediting our going...efforts to produce an action plan for demonstrable progress (cnn.com; June 26, 2020; date accessed June 29, 2020)

Other museums, like the J. Paul Getty Trust and Museum in Los Angeles, have been criticized in recent days for issuing bland platitudes that failed to mention George Floyd and Black Lives Matter; while promising "to do better."

Although many American museums have moved towards creating diversity, equity, and inclusion (Ibid), Decolonize This Place organizer Marz Saffore wants greater change.  Ms. Saffore told CNN,

It's not enough to hire an indigenous curator.  It's not enough to have on Black person on your board.  Museum as we know them have to be abolished.  I don't want my voice to be added to  museum that often trophy cases for Imperialism (Ibid).

Nigeria's stolen Benin art to return from British Museum on loan ...
Benin Sculptures (in process of being returned to Nigeria)
British Museum; London, England, UK
qz.com
Amin Husain, the organizer of DTP, spoke to CNN over the phone telling the media organization, that the removal of the Theodore Roosevelt was one three demands the group placed on the American Museum of Natural History.  Mr. Husain said,

Many of the museum's galleries contain indigenous remains and objects,... Those things need to be sent back to the people they were taken from, and the exhibitions overhauled in consultation with, and with the active participation of, the relevant stakeholders (Ibid)

Others have posed the question "whether these monuments could, rather than being destroyed or removed, be altered by, for example, adding contextualizing information" (Ibid).  In an interview with National Public Radio last Tuesday, historian Manisha Sinha posited that the statue, commissioned to pay tribute to the late president's nature conservation efforts, could remain in place but with the subjugated African American and Indigenous figures removed.  DTP was quick to point out that the land President Roosevelt "conserved" was stolen from Indigenous people, removing the figures was hardly an acceptable solution (Ibid)

Confederate Statues Are Being Removed Amid Racial Injustice ...
Confederate monument being removed
npr.org

This brings us to the ongoing issue of Confederate monuments.  In the wake of the Charlottesville protests that resulted in the tragic death of activist Heather Heyer,  cities around the Southern United States began removing monuments to Confederate soldiers.  The monuments were erected in the early 20th-century as part of the romanticism of the soldiers who took up arms against the country to protect a way of life predicated on the kidnapping and enslavement of African men, women, and children.  In a statement, then-New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said,

...The historic record is clear, the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but as part of the movement which became known as the The Cult of the Lost Cause.

This "cult" had one goal--through monument and through other means--to rewrite history to hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity...

It is self-evident that these men did not fight for the United States of America.  They fought against it.  They may have been warriors, but in this cause they were not patriots (time.com; May 23, 2017; date accessed June 29, 2020)

Some have suggested leaving them in place but including a didactic that reflects current scholarship on the American Civil War.  However Michael Diaz-Griffith, the executive director of the New York-based Sir John Soane's Museum Foundation, which support the Soane Museum in London, presented a different solution.

Q&A: Michael Diaz-Griffith  
Michael Diaz-Griffith
antiquesandhearts.com
Mr. Diaz-Griffith is the author of the pamphlet "The Anti-Racist Preservationist's Guide to Confederate Monuments: Their Past and a Future Without Them" (cnn.com; June 26, 2020).  In it, he lays out an argument for removing them from public view, writing that "...such monuments have a foundation in white supremacy" (Ibid).  He told CNN in a phone,

In the case of the Confederates there's no public legacy to detach from their wrongdoing,... The Confederacy was an immoral enterprise. (Ibid)

Michael Diaz-Griffiths imagines a future that will eventually be free of problematic tributes.  He speculates,

I think that all named buildings, all named places, will end up being reevaluated,...Who should they be name after?  Do we continue to focus on those who were recognized in their own times, or do we shift our attention to those who fought for justice but weren't publicly honored when they were alive?  Since all people are fallible, it may be a good idea to erect monuments to principles, like justice, rather than to individuals (Ibid).

The monuments dedicated to principles, suggested by Michael Diaz-Griffiths, are a nice idea, albeit romantic, idea and maybe it can happen one day but they too are problematic.  Mr. Diaz-Griffith fails to recognize that past depictions of noble principles such as justice have used indigenous figures whose features have been altered to look more European.

Perhaps abolishing museums is too drastic a step.  Instead museums could do what Decolonize This Place wants and create exhibits in consultation and with the participation of the stakeholders.  Yours Truly does agree that having a token person of color on the curatorial staff or on the board is wrong.  People want to go to museums to enjoy and learn from exhibits that are more accurate reflections of themselves.  The number of students of color studying art history and museum studies needs to expand and there needs to be greater equal access to internships and meaningful employment.  The past is over and the future of museums is uncertain.  The present discussions is only the beginning.