In my lifetime been a witness to much of the efforts to weaken or eliminate segregation in America. Unfortunately, I’m now witness to the reemergence of those forces that contributed to American segregation in the first place. I came across this short video covering the highlights of post Civil War race relations and I think we all might benefit from a refresher course.
I took an afternoon nap, watched a little news, and found myself angry enough that I just have to hold a little American History class. This nation is not and has never been perfect. But our basic documents give us goals and a purpose to believe in. The Declaration of Independence addresses the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of liberty. It also speaks to all men being created equal. The main document, the US Constitution speaks in its Preamble the reasons we formed a government. It clearly states that one reason is to create a more perfect union. While we at times have made great progress with all these things, we have also failed miserably. Mixed in with all that is bright and shiny are some pretty damned dark and shameful events.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III couldn’t have a more fitting name. He is a true son of the South and about as conservative as they come. For years I’ve listened to him speak in the US Senate and so far haven’t heard a thing I agree with. To me he’s just another product of a Bible belt state, Alabama. A person ironclad whose ironclad views cannot accept that there are Americans who disagree and are different from him. He has trouble accepting that those who are different are still entitled to the same rights and protections that he is.
There is adequate evidence to support the claims that Sessions is a racist and opposes LGBT rights. He is steadfast against a woman’s right to choice. He denies this even though he has said, “It is not legitimate that an American citizen feels that they are more likely to be arrested or held to account or stopped and searched than someone else simply because of the color of their skin…” How can anyone with an open mind and clear understanding of reality say that it’s un-American to claim people of color are treated differently? It’s been reported that Sessions once remarked about the KKK, ““I thought those guys were okay until I learned they smoked pot.
Sarah Sanders repeatedly lied in a recent news briefing that the Trump administration was simply enforcing existing (ten-year old) laws that require separation of parents and children at the border. I just did some fact checking on that and she is not telling the truth. There are laws about retaining people illegally entering the US but the separation of families and incarceration of children is a policy ordered by Trump and carried out by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
It is a heinous policy that violates the core of both morality and America’s historical claim of supporting human rights. Even when the US immorally incarcerated Japanese citizens during World War Two we at least had the decency to keep families united.
In her press briefing Sanders was called out about the administration’s lying about the separation policies. Both she and Jeff Sessions are being challenged and both have resorted to every argument in the book to support their behaviors. Most recently they both have turned to the Bible. Citing Romans 13 they claim that the law is the law and it is God’s will that the law be obeyed.
My father’s family was centered in Northwestern South Carolina. I was born in Charleston, SC and lived for several years of my early life in Columbia. My Uncle and Aunt owned a grocery store in the heart of a large black Columbia neighborhood and on several occasions I spent the summer with them and my cousins.
At the time segregation was the rule and the rule was total. I was too young to understand why the rules but I soon learned what the rules were. The last summer I spent in SC was 1954 and I was fourteen. They say things are different today but I not always convinced of that.
Back then it was common to hear Southerners talk about The Southern Way of Life and that Yankees and liberals were determined to interfere with it. I came across the following video and as I watched it I was taken back to the 50s and it all was so familiar. While I never heard my family members talking like this it wouldn’t surprise me if in private they supported the basics of the Southern Way.
If your state is possibly the poorest, least educated, most conservative state in the nation; well, that’s what’s wrong with it. It also doesn’t help if your state’s flag still includes a version of the Confederate flag. Having too many of the people portrayed in the attached video also doesn’t speak well.
I’ve been to Mississippi many times and things are slowly changing. The state and local governments have done some amazing things in creating a blues and music based tourist economy. But despite the steps forward there are too many people who would take it back to the pre civil rights era. Mississippi’s overwhelming support of Donald Trump is a strong statement to this.
Couple of years ago I heard a black Mississippi judge speak of the new Mississippi. The fact that he was black and a judge speaks to things new. Unfortunately there’s too much old in Mississippi.
Fifty-two years ago today John Lewis, Martin Luther King, and a number of other civil rights leaders and marchers set out to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma, AL. On arrival they were violently set upon by city police, state troopers, police dogs, water cannons, tear gas, and nightsticks. Unfortunately there were those, then and now, who argue that the wrong side, Lewis’, won.
Many of you know I’m a huge fan of Playing for Change. The effort to bring the world’s people together through the universal language of music. I cut my liberal teeth on the protest music of the 1950s and 60s and PforP just today released a new video containing a y. If ever the need for continued protest was appropriate, this is it.
Enjoy, pat your feet, clap your hands, and then somehow join the resistance movement. We have a long way to go!
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.
I still haven’t figured out what to think about Trump supporters. Michael Steele is black, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and one time lieutenant governor of Maryland. He has announced that he will not be voting for Trump because of the candidate’s appeal to racists. He told a magazine that Trump, “captured that racist underbelly, that frustration, that angry underbelly of American life…” and gave it voice.”
Even though many Trump supporters deny that he has made any racist and misogynist statements the reality is, oh yes he has and he has done so long and strong enough to earn the endorsement and support of most of the white supremacist in America. He’s damned near the poster child for the KKK and American neo Nazis.
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.
So, this Hispanic Trump surrogate comes on TV and warns America that if we don’t stop Mexican immigration we’ll have a taco truck on every corner. My first reaction was that I’m just a few hundred yards from the corner of SR 138 and WMRd and I can’t wait for our neighborhood taco truck.
This kind of nativist nonsense has occurred every time a large immigrant group has arrived at our shores. There’s always dire warnings about how America is going to be destroyed or weakened by their arrival and we good Americans need to “cut them off at the pass.”
While none of those warnings would have been welcomed it is true that none of them were ever realized. Each group, some quicker than others, found their place in America and added to the richness of our gene pool.
This current warning, however, is different. Never have we been threatened with something that would be welcomed. Again, Janet and I can’t wait for our taco truck. And maybe we could get some Syrian refugees running a falafel wagon out this way. We’re getting tired of all these fresh Amish grown organic vegetables and homemade noodles.
I was going to stay out of the debate involving the San Francisco quarterback’s refusal to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. But then too many Americans opened up with the overly worn crap about “love it or leave it” and not being able to resist, into the fray comes running the Constitutionally ignorant Donald J. Trump.
As much as to anyone, I’m aiming this at my fellow veterans of the US military. Think back to that moment when you raised your hand and said these words:
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
At the time you first said these words you may have been too young to fully comprehend what you were avowing to do. But give it some hard thought. You took an oath to uphold the law of the land, the Constitution. To be fair, your promise legally ended on the date of your discharge. But for me, it never did end, all these years later I still feel as honor bound to support and defend the Constitution as I did as a seventeen year old.
We seem to be living in a words don’t have meaning, words don’t have consequences, truth doesn’t count, facts don’t count, science doesn’t matter, post rational world.
Yesterday’s news provides the example. Hillary made a major speech about the racism and bigotry of the Trump campaign and Trump responded by calling Hillary a bigot. My question is, doesn’t there have to be some evidence of truth when you call someone a seriously inflammatory name, especially when you’re running for the presidency?
Here’s the facts behind Hillary’s claim that Trump is a racist.
Let’s begin with the knowledge that both Trump and his father, Fred, were charged with violating the civil rights of blacks by denying the opportunities to rent Trump properties. Trump has lied about these charges and falsely claimed they paid any penalties.
He spent five years demeaning our first black president by insisting he wasn’t an American, that he had no birth certificate, that he was likely Islāmic, and that his educational credentials were questionable.
The day he came down the escalator to announce his candidacy he began by attacking Mexicans as being rapists. Admittedly he acknowledged a few might be okay, but he seem positive.
He spent the entire primary season saying things that were offensive to Latinos, blacks, Asians, immigrants, military heroes, LGBT, and women.
The consequences of his words were such that he increasingly attracted the attention and support of various far-right anti-government groups as well as the majority of white supremacists hate groups.
For some time he did nothing to disassociate himself from these groups. Remember how long it took him to take David Duke’s pork chop away? He even said he didn’t know anything about white supremacy.
And now, to ice the cake, Trump has chosen as his campaign’s chief executive officer Stephen Bannon, the leader of one of the most verbal and powerful extreme right-wing entities in America, Breitbart News. This is a man who hates minorities, has a record of domestic violence, is extremely anti-government, wants to destroy the traditional Republican Party, is super nationalistic, and who is an almost textbook perfect example of a fascist.