The plans for Virginia’s commemoration of 400 years of democratic governance on July 30 were proceeding without too much drama — until President Trump decided he would attend and speak at the event. He’s arriving after one of the most bizarre months of his presidency. This has led to some creative arranging for those of us who want to commemorate this important milestone for democracy, but would prefer not to participate in an event where Trump is on the program.
DIVERSITY OF PURPOSE
The events of this month include a commemoration of the origins of Democratic institutions in this hemisphere, which, though imperfect, have provided inspiration for future generations, and impetus to create a better nation and world. Specifically, on Tuesday we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first meeting of what became Virginia’s House of Delegates, the oldest representative legislature in the Western hemisphere. Importantly, events are also planned that acknowledge our nation’s history of racial oppression, a fact that has been with us since the first slaves set foot in the Jamestown settlement. The emphasis on both themes is important, and Trump’s presence will make that not only impossible, but potentially derails the power of the event. I understand why some may attend the Jamestown events with the President out of respect for the office, but I have chosen, out of respect for democratic institutions, to reject the normalization of Trump’s behavior. I will be attending many of the Jamestown events, but will forego those where the President is present. [Read more…]