Upon waking this morning the news seemed focused on Bubba Wallace, Confederate flags, and Bubba’s need to apologize to his fellow NASCAR drivers. The truth is, until a noose was discovered in his garage I wouldn’t have known Bubba Wallace from Bubba Gump or some guy who runs a gasper goo catch, clean, and cook show on YouTube (now you have something to Google). But, it got me thinking about hangman’s nooses and how I came to become proficient in tying them.
I grew up in the 1940s and 1950s when the main recreation for young boys was listening to Tom Mix on the radio and going to double feature Saturday matinees at the Lyric or Rand theaters. Most cowboy shows had plots that focused on some crooked rancher or banker who had a gang of thugs doing his evil deeds and at its worse, a hero always rode into town and saved the citizenry from these evildoers.
It’s been a little teary-eyed around here lately. I’ve noticed that as a part of aging I find myself experiencing periods of sadness more frequently and I’m sure it’s attributable to witnessing the normalcy or familiarity of life fading away. I don’t know who the popular entertainers are, I couldn’t tell you the name of a professional baseball player, I don’t know what a “Karen” is, and I’ll never understand why anyone would give up beer in favor of flavored seltzer water.
Sunday I watched a PBS documentary about Jewish-Americans who fought in the American military during World War II. So many were first-generation immigrants whose families had escaped the horrors of Hitler’s Europe only to find themselves fighting to free the very places their families had fled from.
One of the most important days in the annual calendar of African Americans is June 19, 1865, or what has become known as Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day). Even though the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery was declared in 1863 it wasn’t until after the war had officially ended that word of the proclamation reached the far corners of the Confederacy, such as Texas where the Union General in charge announced it on June 19, 1865.
For decades defenders of the Confederacy have argued that the secession of the South had little to nothing to do with slavery. It was all about protecting a way of life, a history, a culture, the purity of Southern ladies, or the political idea of states versus national rights.
It is generally claimed that the beginning of the American Civil War began with the bombardment of the Union Fort Sumner in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. This occurred on April 12, 1861, but the succession of Southern states from the United States began when South Carolina seceded in December of 1860. When the war began depends on which action you choose.
Donald Trump and those he brought to his White House are possibly the most historically ignorant group of people ever assembled. There have been many events the Trumps have announced but later were informed their date conflicted with some historical event and that going ahead could harm their campaign. Just this week Trump announced he was jumpstarting his campaign with a rally in Tulsa, OK on June 19. Then he rescheduled the GOP’s national convention for Jacksonville, Fl in late August.
I laid down for a short nap this afternoon and when I awoke the news was on my TV and they were reporting a bit about National Guard units being removed from WDC. The report included a tweet from Trump claiming that he had ordered the action because “everything was under perfect control.”
I got a brief chuckle from it because it reminded me of Iraq’s famous Minister in Information, Baghdad Bob, who insisted his nation had
The United States Attorney General was recently criticized for justifying his actions with a supposed quote from Winston Churchill, ” History is written by the victors.” In fact, Churchill didn’t say that and the identity of who did isn’t known.
In the movie, The Report, the main character attributed the statement to Nazi Germany’s leader of the air force, Hermann Göring, but that has never been proven.
I just find it ironic that our right-wing conservative AG would possibly borrow from a right-wing historical villain.
It wasn’t too long after the 1970s 10-speed bicycle craze got going strong before a number of Americans decided they wanted to beat the gasoline lines with a motorized vehicle rather than something that was leg powered. Well, along came the moped.
Mopeds were already popular in Europe and Asia but were somewhat new to America. The simplest of them weren’t much more than a bicycle with a small 2-cycle motor. Back in the 1950 kids played around with a motorized bike called a Whizzer. Well, mopeds weren’t much more than a slicked up Whizzer.
When the original 13 colonies declared their independence from England the Continental Congress decided it needed a document of governance. So in 1777, they approved our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation After several years of debate the Articles were ratified and became the law of the land on March 1, 1781.
The new nation was called the United States of America but there wasn’t much united about it. The national government has almost zero power because the individual states reserved power for themselves. What America really was was a very loose association of independent nation-states. If you remember anything from government or civics you may recall that each state coined its own money, formed its own militia, and discounted the problems of other states unless those problems threatened them somehow.
Think back to September of 2005 when thousands of New Orleans were trapped in football stadiums or atop their flooded homes without food, safe water, or the slightest creature comforts. President Bush flew over in Air Force One and then disappeared over the horizon leaving the desperate in the hands of Brownie and FEMA.
Finally, a ruff and rugged old US Army general named Russell E. Honorè rolled into town and took charge. Where Brownie and others were doing it by the numbers and not getting it done, Honore′ said, screw the numbers, get in that helicopter and fly those pallets of water to the roof of that convention center. Take those amphibious vehicles and haul food to the people trapped on that freeway overpass. Honore′ was exactly the person needed for Katrina and someone like him is what’s needed in this Covid-19.
In the last week, many traditional gatherings have been canceled or postponed, and with strong historical justification. Not everyone knows about the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919 but there are many lessons there that could apply to today.
A major flu-related tragedy took place in Philadelphia in September of 1918. It was during the midst of World War One and over 200,000 people gathered in the city’s streets to observe a huge war bond rally and parade.
Ultimately there were thirty-nine white, mostly educated, mostly wealthy, and mostly propertied men who signed the US Constitution in 1787. In spite of this commonality they differed in many ways, one of which was how much power the typical American citizen should have.
How trustworthy was the common man when it came to making correct political choices for the nation? Should each man’s vote count the same as another man’s vote? The answer to this question is what gave us this thing we call the Electoral College.
For this final day of Black History Month, I went to blackfacts.com looking for a topic. I quickly noticed that Hattie McDaniel became the first black actor to win an Academy Award on this day in 1940. McDaniel won the Oscar for her performance of Mammy in Gone With the Wind.
As I began writing about her the names of other black performers who’d became famous playing racially stereotypical characters came to mind and I went to YouTube and watched some videos of Stepin Fetchit, Pigmeat Markum, Moms Mabley, and Eddie Anderson. I’m old enough to remember when these people performed on radio and in the movies and that I remember them as really being funny. Such is not the case today. I think with age and education our awareness and sensitivity have been attuned to what was behind it all and how offensive it must have been for those who were forced to make their livings from playing these parts.
It could be argued that the modern desegregation movement began with the 1954 Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown v. Topeka. A decision in which the court ordered public schools to desegregate with, “all deliberate speed.” The immediate problem became, not everyone was on the same page about the meaning of all deliberate speed.
Sixty-six years after Brown racial segregation still exists throughout America and many will argue that the conservative segregationist crowd is taking us backward with the widespread use of educational vouchers.