Mifflin House lessons timely and needed

York Dispatch editorial board

Thumbs up for renewed efforts to preserve the Mifflin House, the historic Hellam Township structure with ties to the Underground Railroad. 

York County Commissioners voted 2-1 last week to provide a $1.75 million loan toward the estimated $13.4 million purchase of the 18th-century farmhouse and an adjoining 62 acres. The goal is not only to preserve the landmark but use it as the centerpiece of a regional visitors center that would include tourist, entertainment and educational components.

More:York County to help preserve Mifflin House, a historic stop on the Underground Railroad

More:Hellam Township residents sharply criticize proposed Route 30 truck stop

That last element is key. Efforts are underway across the country to undermine public-school instruction regarding racial issues and historical events. More than two dozen states — including Pennsylvania — have either passed or are considering bills that would limit academic discussion under the guise of protecting students from being made to feel “inferior” by such topics.

How better to counter this type of hypersensitive nitwittery than by exploring some of the nation’s racial chapters at the very site where they were written? Slavery is America’s original sin, one whose reverberations continue to be felt to this day. Its history and aftermath cannot be unwoven from the fabric of the nation and, as such, should be neither dismissed nor diminished.

Even though it would be several years in the future, a renovated Mifflin House with a strong educational focus would be a welcome and worthy addition to the region’s historical offerings, and an antidote to the antieducational restrictions being foisted on public schools.

Thumbs down for new voting restrictions in Texas, which saw a jaw-dropping 27,000 mail-in ballots flagged for rejection in the state’s March 1 primary.

It was the first test of the Republican-controlled state legislature’s new voting laws, which are unnecessarily complicated — not to mention unnecessary, period, given that the excuse for implementing them was nonexistent voter fraud. 

More:Fringe theory cited in Pa. redistricting case could give legislatures unchecked election power

More:'Things come at you fast,' new elections director says as primary looms

Under the new law, an identification number must be included on the return envelope and that number must match county records or a mail-in ballot is flagged. Is this step necessary? Of course not — unless the goal is to create additional burdens for voters. And not just any voters. “In Harris County, which includes Houston and is the state’s most populous county, areas with large Black populations were 44 percent more likely to have ballots rejected than heavily white areas,” reported the New York Times.

No wonder President Joe Biden slammed these types of insidious voting laws, which have been rammed through by GOP majorities across the country, as “Jim Crow 2.0.”

A voting law that puts 17% of mail-in ballots at risk of rejection would, by most accounts, be labeled a failure. Except, of course, unless that was the intended outcome.

In Texas, that’s clearly, shamefully, the case.

Thumbs down, on the topic of shameful Texans, to the state’s Attorney General Ken Paxton, who last week took a hateful swipe at Assistant Health Secretary Admiral Rachel Levine.

Levine, the first openly transgender person to serve in a Senate-confirmed federal office, was recently named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year. The paper cited honorees’ ability to “inspire, promote and fight for equity” and lauded them for being “strong and resilient.”

More:'Hateful': Twitter flags Texas attorney general's tweet about former Pa. Health Secretary Rachel Levine

Levine has to be, what with imbeciles like Paxton eager to share their ignorant hostility.

Republican Paxton posted a message calling Levine, Pennsylvania’s onetime physician general and secretary of Health, “a man.” That’s called misgendering and it’s a form of bullying. It also ought to be beneath an elected official, but there don’t seem to be many depths today’s GOP won’t stoop to.

In fact, after Twitter flagged Paxton for “hateful conduct” (but didn’t remove the post; so thumbs down to Twitter, too!), he not only defended the statement but attempted to fundraise off it.

This isn’t very difficult, Mr. Attorney General. Rachel Levine isn’t a man. And neither are you.