Tag Archives: HISTORY

Let’s Get Ready to Duck & Cover

Here’s a short version of a very long, complicated, and dangerous story. At the end of WWII a civil war broke out in China between the communist forces of Mao Tse-tung and the established forces of Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang wasn’t a good buy but he wasn’t a communist so we supported him. The eventual winner of this conflict was the communist dictator, Mao Tse-tung.

In order to save himself and what remained of his army, Chiang Kai-shek left mainland China and occupied the island of what we know as Taiwan, which had been a province of China. The mainland Chinese government still insists that Taiwan belongs to them.

In this dispute over Taiwan the US sided with Chiang and offered military and economic assistance. For may years the US officially considered the nation of China to be Taiwan and literally ignored the presence of the mainland. We used our power to seat Taiwan in the UN’s China seat. If you looked at a world map showing only those nations the US recognized, the entire mainland of China might have been colored blue, as if it were just ocean.

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Update on Welch, WV

A few days ago I wrote a piece about the future of coal in WV and mentioned the community of Welch, WV, the county seat of McDowell County. I know just a little about Welch because of once having some amateur radio friends in the area and by selling the local school system a bunch of computers back in the early 1990s.

The assistant superintendent of schools told me that Welch was one of the most economically depressed areas of WV and a large percentage of the residents were on some sort of welfare or relief. There was so much welfare money coming into the county that K-Mart built a brand new store on the edge of town to keep the money from going to Walmart in neighboring Bluefield and Princeton.

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Lots of Hands

hands-across-americaHaving recently written a piece about demonstrations and riots it got me thinking about something the family participated in that was a little more legal and family friendly, the 1986 event called Hands Across America.

On May 25, 1986 we loaded up the station wagon and headed to someplace near London along US 40. There we donated some money to help fight hunger in Africa and joined hands with 6.5 million other people in an unbroken line stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Supposedly there were plenty of hands to make the stretch and together we raised $34 million for charity. I don’t think we came close to ending hunger or solving any world problem. But, we did give our kids a lesson in helping out, introduced them to a major world issue, had a reason to go to the Dairy Queen for a sundae, and make a memory that has lasted for thirty-years.

Sittin’ Here Thinkin’ About Riots

Sitting here reading the bitches and complaints from those who really don’t like it when Americans exercise their rights to protest. My conclusion is that there can be a million person march against racism and if one guy sets fire to a garbage can the bitchers and moaners instantly label the whole event a riot of morons, goons, and unpatriotic thugs.

Anyway it got me thinking about an anti-war protest I took part in back in the 60s. It went without incident but many of the protest marches and demonstrations of that era didn’t. Especially following the killing of four students at Kent State in Ohio. Cal-State Fullerton, where I was just finishing my degree, wasn’t immune from it. Most were peaceful but one, on February 9, 1970, turned ugly.

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You’re Gonna Change or I’m Gonna Leave

Prior to the Democratic convention my son tried to convince me that the DNC was involved in a conspiracy to keep the nomination away from Bernie Sanders. I’m not much into conspiracy theories and didn’t pay much attention. I still tend to believe that Bernie wasn’t the party’s nominee because he simply didn’t get enough votes.

Whichever, he didn’t win the nomination, Clinton did, and the Democrats lost their asses. In the days after the election my son and I have talked a lot about the results and I think we agree that Sanders would have taken Trump had he been the Democrat in the race. We also agree that we’d like to see the Democratic party reform itself more along the progressive lines of Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. That it should become the true party of the working classes of Americans. That Sanders won in twenty-three states is proof enough there is a place for progressive politics in America.

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Sorry Amber!

On Wednesday after the presidential election I ran into a former US Government student at the dentist office. We didn’t discuss politics but she did recall my telling her after the 1992 Clinton victory that regardless of how much you disagreed with the president-elect, the people had spoken and the office demanded your respect and support.

When I said that I meant it. But never did I imagine anyone like Donald Trump being elected to the White House. Trump’s choice challenges so much of what I’ve held true about American democracy, American politics, the two-party system, and the basic intellect of the American people.

I’m no rookie when it comes to losing elections. My good friend and fellow Democrat, John Baal, and I many times commiserated with a six-pack over getting our political butts kicked. Being a liberal Democrat is a lonely life in Southern Ohio.

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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.

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Update; Social Studies @ McClain

Since it’s been a long time since I knew for sure what was being taught by McClain’s Social Studies Department so I made some enquiries. To my pleasure I discovered that both US History (10th grade) and US Government (11th grade) are still being taught on a two-semester basis. World History is also being taught at the 9th grade level for two-semesters. Two electives, Psychology and Ancient History, are offered for a full year during the 11th and 12th years.

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The Need for More Empathy

I’m going to wade into waters that some of you won’t find sweet enough. For a long time it’s been generally accepted that conservatives are not as empathetic as liberals. You won’t find this carved on any of the stones Moses brought down from the mountain but it is a generally accepted truth.

Certainly you’re aware that conservatives like to call liberals, bleeding hearts or crybabies. I once heard a conservative comic say that, “When a man is down the best way to get him up is to kick him.” When a liberal takes exception to that thought they are looked down on as being a bunch of gullible mamby-pambies. Many believe reaching out and offering the hand of government weakens individual self determination and makes people wards of government and not self-sufficient individuals.

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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.

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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!