Category Archives: History

The Trail Forward

I’ve written lots of words, and read even more, about the ongoing Trail of Tears controversy. I’m going to try to make this the last blog I write on the subject and the topic is how to move it forward, how to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Based on what I’ve read in the local newspapers the school’s path forward is to take a couple of class periods and teach the story of the forceful removal of Indians during the early 1800s. This was ordered by president Andrew Jackson, in defiance of a Supreme Court order, and resulted in the tragic deaths of thousands of Eastern Native-Americans.

Additionally the cheerleaders involved met with Hillsboro’s cheerleaders where an apology was offered.

Continue reading The Trail Forward

This is a Test!

There’s been no shortage of opinions expressed lately about Greenfield’s cheerleaders and their Trail of Tears banner. The majority, in my eye, seems to be supportive of the girls but somewhat critical of how they didn’t know about the historical episode or weren’t aware that their actions would be seen as hurtful.

Well, it so happens that this mess up took place right in the middle of a major confrontation between various government agents and our Native American population over the use of tribal lands. It’s also true that of the two teams playing in this year’s version of the World Series, one is named the Cleveland Indians and their mascot is a huge, bright red, buck toothed and happy, Indian named Chief Wahoo.

Continue reading This is a Test!

America’s History; Good & Not So!

As a follow-up to the Trail of Tears controversy lots of people have tried to explain it as an act of ignorance. Others have voiced that ignorance is no excuse. I haven’t seen anyone suggest it was an act intended to bring hurt to our Native-American citizens. In my mind the truth involves admitting that we don’t teach enough history in our school and we don’t spend enough time considering the consequences of our actions. Both of these can be addressed by our public school systems.

 If I were made King of Schools for a day I would wave my magic chalk holder and do at least these two things:

 1. Create more time in which teachers can teach. So much time is wasted by our political obsession with mandatory testing that not enough remains for teaching and developing critical thinking. Students don’t have time to think about anything when all they are told is they must absorb facts so they can pass a test that both they and the school will be graded on. 

 2. The public at large needs to ease up on its desire to limit what history is taught. Several years ago I had a coffee drinking friend who went to his granddaughter’s 11th grade US History class in Hillsboro and raised hell because the class had a discussion on some aspect of history he thought wasn’t appropriate. He thought it wasn’t appropriate because it caused students to consider aspects of our history that challenged what he believed.  To me that teacher was doing exactly what I would want all teachers at all levels to do, encourage independent thinking with the arrival at an independent truth. In a word that is called, education.   Continue reading America’s History; Good & Not So!

Why Tuesdays?

The law in the United States says that nation elections will be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of November. Ever wonder why?

Well it’s not in the Constitution  but it can be found in an 1845 law that established Tuesdays because it didn’t interfere with the Sabbath or market day, which was traditionally Wednesday.

So if you have a problem with Tuesdays blame it on Christian farmers having too much power.

Ironically John Oliver, who is British, explained this on his Sabbath night HBO program, Last Week Tonight.

The Trail of Tears & Teaching History

My hometown made the national news and in a way that doesn’t reflect well on it. Our cross-country sports rival is known as the Indians and this past Friday evening we played our annual “county championship” football game against them. Our cheerleaders, not realizing the historical significance of the infamous “Trail of Tears” painted a large banner warning the Indians they were about to face Trail of Tears #2.

This caught the attention of a local student who took a photo of the banner and posted the event online. The story was picked up by area news outlets and from there it went national. It’s no surprise the matter has become the subject of local discussion and our school board has scheduled a meeting to investigate what happened and hopefully use it as a teachable moment and not a lynching of those involved. I know many of the people involved and I know for positive that their purpose was not to make light of one of the most horrible incidents in America’s long and nasty history with Native Americans.

Continue reading The Trail of Tears & Teaching History

McClain’s Trail of Tears Fiasco

Timothy Burke is the video director of something called Deadspin. I came across a post of his regarding the Trail of Tears controversy that resulted from last night’s Hillsboro Indians – McClain Tiger football game. There is at least one long thread about it on FB today. The thing about what Burke said that bothers me the most, having taught American History and Government at McClain for 26 years, is this statement.

“Hillsboro and Greenfield are rural cities east of Cincinnati, and since it seems they don’t teach history in Greenfield—which, having spent time there, I’m pretty sure they don’t.”

Continue reading McClain’s Trail of Tears Fiasco

Sex in the Capital City

I went looking for information about the sexual misconduct of Newt Gingrich and found a Wikipedia article titled, List of Federal Political Sex Scandals in the United States. After finding what I was looking for I scanned the results from 1900 to the present. To be honest I was hoping to find that most sexual scandals involved Republicans and not Democrats. Here’s what I did discover:

  • 1900-1969: There were only four scandals and half were D and half were R. I’m thinking there were lots more but they either didn’t get caught or didn’t get reported.
  • 1970-1979: This decade witnessed six scandals, all involving Ds.
  • 1980-1989: There were twelve scandals during the 1980s and once again there was a tie. Each party scored a six.
  • 1990-1999: Fifteen of our elected officials got their tail caught in the ringer during this span of time with the Rs racking up an impressive ten scandals.
  • 2000-2009: During this decade another fifteen politicians bit the dust with the winner being the Rs with a total of eleven adventures.
  • 2010-2015: Only half way through the decade and we’ve already witnessed seven politicians misbehaving. The score so fare is four to three with the Rs in the lead.

Draw your own conclusions, make out of this what you will, but I’m pretty sure we’re destined to see these numbers increase until the politicians come to realize that today there are eyes and ears unlike anything they’ve ever known.

Freedom of the Press

In today’s American politics the media has become a major target for every politician who doesn’t like what the media is reporting about them. And while the media does say a lot of things about a lot of people many lose sight of that being exactly what the Founding Fathers wanted to happen. That’s why they established the almost unabridged right of the media to do what it does best, be critical of politicians and government.

You’ve probably heard that, “power corrupts and total power corrupts totally.” It’s one of the basic truths about government and our founders knew that preventing total power was imperative. The Constitution establishes three competing branches of government along with a system of “checks and balances” to help limit power of each branch. Our free press has been called the fourth branch of government and given the role of being a set of eyes that exist outside of government and having the freedom to report on what government is up to.

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America Isn’t Post Anything

Look, the simple truth is that most of us have some racist tendencies but we make every effort to whittle them down and try to get better.  There are too many, however, who are openly racists and seem to take some overt pride in it. Then there are those, lots of those, who say and believe things that really are racists but they don’t see themselves as being racists.

I remember being in an pizza parlor in Cincinnati once and a black family came in and sat at a nearby table. My mother, who I never thought of as being racist, said, “Huh, you wouldn’t think those people would like this kind of food.” I don’t think mom thought she was saying anything bad but in my mind she might as well of said, “Shit, I thought all they liked was fried chicken and watermelon.”

Yesterday the nation and world witnessed Kathy Miller, a Trump campaign leader from Ohio, claim that racism in America didn’t exist before president Obama came along. She went on to insist this nation had no racist past, no civil rights movement, no racial riots in Detroit in 1967, or no one named Rodney King was beaten by an out of control pack of Los Angeles cops in 1991.

Continue reading America Isn’t Post Anything

Observing Unconstitution Week

This is Constitution Week in America. We are “a nation of laws” and it is the US Constitution that makes us such. One of the great divides in America is over what the Constitution requires of the government and we the people. The historical division has been between strict and liberal construction. It’s like the Bible, is every word to be taken literally or are many things parables that set a general course of behavior?

Strict constructionists believe that if abortion isn’t mentioned in the original words it is then something the federal government has no control over. The 10th Amendment therefore gives the power over abortion to each state to decide for itself. Liberal constructionists believe the original work sets a basic framework that is meant to be flexible as time evolves. You see this in the 2nd Amendment fight over arms. The stricts believe they have a right to own any and all firearms while the liberals believe the authors of the Constitution would never have authorized the civilian ownership of today’s military style weapons.

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To The Victor

Donald Trump was interviewed recently about America’s involvement in the Middle East. He said that he always believed we should have pumped all the oil out of Iraq and brought it home before we left that nation. His claim is that not doing so helped lead to the rise of ISIS.

There is absolutely nothing about this statement that doesn’t disturb me. For over one hundred years the US has not followed a to the victor goes the spoils policy. We have instead tried to see that first, wars are prevented and secondly, they conclude in such a way that vengeance isn’t necessary. The Marshall Plan following WWII is but one example of an attempt to prevent the kind of hatred that ended WWI and fed directly into causing WWII. Just imagine the need for vengeance in the Arab world if America had raped Iraq of its wealth.

Donald Trump has said any number of things that make him a war monger. He has said he wouldn’t rule out nuclear weapons, he has advocated for the spread of nuclear weapons, he has many times advocated for a policy that places American interest before those of other nations. He has given tacit approval for American boots on the ground in Syria. And he recently called for and unfunded $15 billion overhaul of the US military. He has even stated that he favors war if it results in an American victory.

Continue reading To The Victor

The Late Great GOP

Michelle Bachmann announced recently that the election of 2016 would be America’s last. After reading here full remarks what she really said was that since so many ethnic Americans vote Democrat the GOP has lost its chances for future wins. She is ruing the passing of the late, great, white voting majority.

There is a basis for her thinking whites will cease being the majority. Several demographic research groups have stated that Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians will outnumber whites by 2050.

But, there is nothing in their collective DNA that dictates they vote Democrat. They are very supportive of the Democrat Party now because the GOP has so alienated themselves from youth and minorities.

Continue reading The Late Great GOP