~ Dr. Bennis Blue

Editor's Note: This article was written prior to the passing of

Justice Ginsburg

This letter is written in response to Dr. Dawn Karima Pettigrew’s request that I write an article about Native American Veterans and at the suggestion of Rose Davis that I share my views regarding the election process and my concerns for “All Lives Mattering. It is also a response to a spiritual urge to speak out as I am reading the Book of Ezekiel in the Bible. While many ministers speak of the end times of Revelation, many ministers are not taking the best care of their congregations during the pandemic and some even join the hue and cry to join up with the masses and insist upon their buildings being re-opened.

In an open letter to the press, I thank The Honorable Roy Cooper, Governor of the State of NC and support the positive work you and Mr. Cal Cunningham have done for the citizens of NC. A North Carolina Native American citizen, Female, Disabled Army Veteran, and retired teacher who worked 49 years and served the US Army Active and Reserve for 24 years, I personally have appealed to Mr. Tillis, Mr. Burr and other NC Republicans for assistance with negative results. In fact, the only NC Republican who listened and attempted to help me, Congressman George Holding is not seeking re-election. All of the NC Republicans in the 116th Congress voted six times against Medicare, and only Mr. Tillis and Mr. Burr voted yes on the seventh vote. I suspect that “Yes” in the seventh vote was an attempt to secure re-election votes from Medicare dependent voters more-so than a sincere concern for the healthcare needs of that group of people. My personal experience is that Republicans voted for cuts to healthcare funds and offered no help when I sought their assistance.  

I look at my 86-year-old sister cry as she sees little children dragged from their parents' arms because a petty tyrant wants to build a wall and NOT LET FREEDOM RING! And I share this message with any God-fearing person who believes America is ONE NATION UNDER GOD.  

As I read what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg says about the Supreme Court and voter suppression I had an epiphany. Trump is violating the rights of deployed service-members and family who can only vote by absentee ballots. Further, he is wreaking havoc for those in “protected groups” and people with disabilities whose doctors have ordered them to stay home in this pandemic. His mishandling of the USPS for his anticipated personal and political gain rises to the level of criminal and a neglect of the duties he swore to perform. As we speak, the N.C. person he appointed as Postmaster to accomplish his aims to disrupt the voting process is being investigated for financial misconduct. Mr. Trump even came to N.C. and urged people in this state to commit a felony and vote twice. I abhor watching a person sitting in an elected position feloniously telling voters in NC to vote by absentee ballot and then turn around and vote again in person. Our State’s Attorney General was quick to correct this misinformation by telling the public that they would be caught and have to pay the penalty for such an act.  

VOTING RIGHTS: Literacy, Poll Tax and Indigenous People
I would appeal to Justice Ginsberg and any others rallying to the aid of indigenous and other under-represented voters to find ways to assist those who want to vote but are challenged by literacy issues that the Voting Rights Act was supposedly enacted to protect those who were denied access to the ballot by literacy tests and poll taxes. 

One of Donald Trump’s first acts was to order himself a military parade at taxpayer expense. He never served a day in the military, but ordered the military out for marshal law as he walked to a church to pretend he was worshipping there. His henchmen made a scurrilous attack on the Naval Commander who spoke out in support of his crew to prevent COVID spread. He has made negative references. He commented that soldiers “love” him; yet he does not understand what the oath is that he and soldiers take to protect and defend the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Fidelity to an oath is something Donald Trump does not understand and mistakes as “love” for him. Now Mr. Trump is ordering the military to discontinue diversity training saying it is divisive. 

My closing comment has to do with involuntary sterilization and involuntary commitment actions in N.C. and elsewhere in the United States. the US Army. My nephew, a Native American male was hospitalized at Walter Reed Army Hospital pending discharge when I was a patient there to deliver my son almost 39 years ago. His letters to me, speak of his spiritual conversion and he pleads for help gaining his freedom from his 39-year incarceration in N.C. I suspect he may have had untreated mental issues, but I do not have any further knowledge of or access to his service records.  

On a personal note, I can call to mind the recount of a Baker Act attempt to involuntarily commit me in Virginia. It traumatized me and triggered dormant PTSD. Thank God the police did not shoot and murder me as they recently shot and murdered a Veteran of color on his own property in NC. That man had PTSD and his family supposedly reached out to the VA with no success I personally was traumatized by law enforcement and EMS personnel in another state when they roughly seized me and attempted to involuntarily commit me. I was horrified to see a Black male Veteran with PTSD was murdered by law enforcement officers at his NC home during a similar involuntary commitment attempt a few weeks ago. An NPR article by Julie Rose recounts NC Eugenics history of involuntarily sterilization of Black men, women, and children.  She attributes these sterilizations to poverty and mental health concerns. This and other “legal” acts of violence against people of color seem to be an underlying motive for Republicans targeting NC, and especially Charlotte for their racist and anti-women rallies and election campaign.  Most significantly, it makes me question visits to NC by Mr. Pence and Mr. Trump.

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