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"The Problem for Democratic Voters in 2016 Wasn't Their Lack of Effort" Michelle Obama Speech at Democratic National Convention

By Julia Craven of Slate.com

On the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, former first lady Michelle Obama issued a powerful, sweeping call for voters to support Joe Biden’s presidential bid while she laid out the Trump administration’s failings. She detailed how a lack of seriousness given to the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in substantial harm to human life, and how the president threw gasoline on an already volatile social climate by encouraging law enforcement to act violently toward anti-racist protesters.

“Let me be as honest and as clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she said. “He has had more than enough time to prove he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He simply cannot be who we need him to be. It is what it is.”

But her message was not entirely about Trump’s failings. Obama also mentioned Democrats’ lower-than-desired voter turnout in 2016. 

“Four years ago, too many people chose to believe that their votes didn’t matter. Maybe they were fed up. Maybe they thought the outcome wouldn’t be close.  Maybe the barriers felt too steep,” said Obama. “Whatever the reason, in the end, those choices sent someone to the Oval Office who lost the national popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.” 

There was a bit of a conceptual disconnection between the image of those misguided nonvoters and the fact that 3 million more people had voted for the losing candidate than for the winner. Later in the speech, Obama tied a bow on the argument by detailing the sweeping voter suppression tactics utilized by the GOP.

“We’ve got to vote early, in person if we can,” she said. “We’ve got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately and follow up to make sure they’re received. And then make sure our friends and families do the same.”

She’s not wrong. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Trump administration is willing to do whatever is within its power to remain in office, and a nationally synced effort to vote early might help combat this. Still, it’s worth picking apart the framing often used by Democrats in these calls to action, with its mixed message that the voting system is stacked against you but you’re responsible for the outcome.

Let’s start with 2016. Sixteen million people, or 12 percent of voters, encountered at least one form of difficulty while voting in that year’s election, according to a study from MIT. Voter ID laws, long lines, and problems with registering cost at least 1 million votes, according to researchers. The impact of voter ID laws was seen acutely in Wisconsin, which had the second-highest voter participation nationally in the prior two elections. In 2016, participation fell to its lowest since 2000. The largest decline happened in Milwaukee, a predominantly Black constituency, that Hillary Clinton was carrying significantly. Similar barriers to voting occurred in other states with large Black constituencies, including battlegrounds that went red on razor-thin margins. Not to mention the Electoral College. 

The Democrats’ position, in the face of these results, is to argue that the game is stacked against the voters, so everybody just has to play harder. It’s evident that, this year especially, voters do wish to engage, but it remains incredibly difficult to do so. And while there isn’t much that could be done about the barriers as long as the Trump administration is in office, going forward it’s imperative that the party’s talking points shift from focusing on voter responsibility when the evidence largely suggests that isn’t the crux of the problem. The crisis for American democracy in 2020 isn’t that people think or feel they don’t get a fair chance to make a difference by voting. It’s that they’re right to think that.

Message From Our Pastor

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

I pray this newsletter finds you and your family safe and in good health. Many of us are concerned about the state of our nation and wonder how we can make a difference. This can feel like a daunting task when we considered the climate of our culture, public policy, health disparities, and social unrest. We can feel like David preparing to face the giant from Gath named Goliath. David’s brothers and even King Saul did not believe that he was up for the challenge. However, they did not know that God had been preparing David his whole life for that moment. David had already faced and overcome both the lion and the bear while tending his father’s sheep. He had already experienced God’s presence and power in his life and now he was prepared to trust God one more time. Although our world can seem unpredictable,  unsettling, and unnerving at times we must be willing like David to trust God to see us through every obstacle and opponent that stands in our way. As we trust God in faith to help us let us hold on to words of David in 1 Samuel 17:37, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” My prayer is that our faith will not waver and we will remain confident that God will be with us and see us through the battles we face in life.

In His Service,

Rev. D. Alvin T. Armstead, Jr.

Weekly Virtual Schedule

Sunday: Live Sunday School via ZOOM & GoToMeeting.  Interested? Email

Sunday: Live Streamed Message from the Senior Pastor (10:00am)

Tuesday: Prayer Call (6:00am (605) 475-4886 Access Code: 763201#)

Wednesday: Bible Study

Friday: Check-in

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Tithes and Offerings

There are several ways for you to give. 

  • TEXT 2 GIVE by following these steps: 1. Text ummbcgive to 73256, 2. Complete your information 3. Complete your gift. 
  • ONLINE GIVING through our website.
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  • DROP OFF your envelope in the mail slot opposite the Fourth Street Doors. We appreciate your generosity; however you choose to give we are extremely grateful. 

Sunday School

October is NATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL MONTH. Sunday, October 18, is National Sunday School Appreciation Day. We send special thanks to all of our devoted and diligent Sunday School teachers. During this season especially, we have been able to offer classes continuously each Sunday, and we thank God for the opportunity to expand our reach, which has resulted in growth in attendance. More important, we are growing spiritually as we study the Word of God, practice it in our daily lives, and demonstrate His love in the world. 

PROMOTION SUNDAY was held on August 30, 2020. Congratulations to the following students who were promoted to the next Sunday School class level. Promoted to Juniors Class are Ashley Cockerham, Aahlei Oates, and Syan Pittsley. Those promoted to the Middle School class are Cedric Hicks II, Ariana Madrey, Jiyai Parre-ott, Ayden Pittsley, Drew Lamar Puryear, and Kayla Snipes. Jordyn Denise Curtis was promoted to the High School class. 

UMMBC Book Discussion Group

The book discussion group meets quarterly (February, May, August and November) on the fourth Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. We are still following our book discussion schedule but now via Zoom. The book discussion title for November 24 is For Your Love, the sixth in the series of Blessings novels (ten novels and a novella) by Beverly Jenkins This series of books focuses on family, friendship, and blessings in the fictitious small town of Henry Adams, Kansas. The discussion group is open to all. For inquiries, feel free to contact the church office at 336-761-1358. 

Stephen Ministry News

  • Our Candlelight Service of Remembrance will be virtual (via Zoom) this year on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 7:00pm. 
  • DivorceCare will host Surviving the Holidays (via Zoom) on Monday, November 2, 2020 at 7:00pm. You may register online.
  • GriefShare will host Surviving the Holidays (via Zoom) on Monday, November 9, 2020 at 6:30pm. You may register at online or contact the church office. 
  • GriefShare will also host Surviving the Loss of a Spouse (via Zoom) on Monday, November 16th at 6:30pm. You may register at online or contact the church office.

Sick and Shut-In


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South Fork Assisted Living

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Golden Lamb Rest Home

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Salemtowne Rehabilitation Center

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Sick and Shut-In: Hospital or at Home

  • R. Colin Brown
  • Reginald Brown
  • Thurman Clayton
  • Laura Cooley
  • Eva Howell
  • Dorothy Jones
  • Jennie Jones
  • Veronica Wright

October Birthdays


Ruth Easley

James Kennedy


Kim Davis

Bonnie Henderson


Tannan Hardy


Deanna Wynn


Yolanda Cropps

Betty Garvin


Herman Brunson

Alexander Marshall


Lamont Dubose

Jamie Reaves

Cassius Smith


Bertina Duncan

Brandon Stewart


Marcus Anthony

Jilian Palmer

Bernice Witherspoon


Stephonia Davis

Richard Miller

David Smith Jr. 


Ruby Covington

Stephanie Palmer


Marie Hoyle

Jaleesa Robinson


Andrais Brandon


Nancy Brown


Bertha Carter

Braxton Hairston III


Elaine Bevels


Carolyn Botley

Iris Brandon

Yolanda McClure


Clinton Crawley

Lola Franklin

Sterling Vaughn


Amber Brooks

Margaret Fulton

Harold Martin


Charles Blackwell Jr. 

Mary Davis

Gaired Jordan

Verschello Nelson


Beth Hairston


Gloria Jackson

Melinda Terry


Charles Bethea

John Gist

Albernette Keitt


Rashaun Rousseau

Lisa Scarfi

Roberta Simms

Richard Stewart

Antonia Sunday


Saundra Amos

Mariah Moore

Claudia Turner


Vicki Cuthrell

Iola Hill


Teresa Bradley


Michelle Scott

Cetta Thompson