Show me the spot where American blood was shed on American soil

(Photo Credit: Rose McGowan/Instagram)

“Show me the spot where American blood has been shed upon American soil.”
Abraham Lincoln
The Spot Resolution

  • On Saturday, eleven people were killed in a shooting Saturday morning at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, by 46-year-old Robert Bowers, and that the suspect made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting.
  • On Friday Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, was charged with five federal crimes related to the 7 pipe bombs the White Male Christian sent to Democrats who had been criticized by Donald Trump. Attorney general Sessions says Sayoc ‘appears to be partisan’ and FoxNews echoed those descriptions.
  • On Wednesday, two African-Americans, Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones, were shot in the grocery store and the parking lot, respectively, by Gregory A. Bush, 51. Bush, who is a White Male had tried to enter a predominantly black church just minutes earlier.
  • Two weeks ago, on Friday, October 12th, members of the far-right men’s group Proud Boys violently beat three apparent protestors after a protestor knocked a hat off one Proud Boy’s head. According to a local photojournalist, Shay Horse, who filmed a widely circulated video of the incident, approximately 30 members of the group participated in the alleged assault, after being escorted out of the club along with other event attendees by members of the NYPD following a speech by Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City. The NYPD has stated it has enough evidence to charge nine members of the right-wing group, as well as three protesters, with rioting, assault, and/or attempted assault.

Yes, violence is wide-spread and know no one race, religion, or gender.

  • On April 3, 2018, at 12:46 p.m. PDT, a shooting occurred at the headquarters of the video-sharing website YouTube in San Bruno, California. The suspect was later identified as 38-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam, who entered through an exterior parking garage, approached an outdoor patio, and opened fire with a Smith & Wesson 9 mm caliber semi-automatic pistol. Aghdam wounded three people, one of them critically, before killing herself.
  • In July, Jonathan Copeland Jr. assassinated Milwaukee Police Officer Michael J. Michalski shooting him once in the head from a pile of clothing as the officer climbed a rear staircase.

However, sadly it seems an aspect of being human that we divide ourselves into tribes, whether those tribes be national, racial, ethnic, religious, or -increasingly- political neotribalism.

  • The Unabomber: White Male
  • The Austin serial bombings (March 2 and 20, 2018), five package bombs exploded, killing two people and injuring another five. The suspect, 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville, Texas, blew himself up inside his vehicle after he was pulled over by police: White Male
  • And now the Florida-NY Political Pipe Bomber: White Male

Moreover, we seem to have an inherent expectation that demographic tribes share a hive mind. Those other demographic tribes are blinded by their identity politics, but when members of my demographic tribe disagree, well there must be a self-hating Uncle Tom ruining our tribal cohesion.

Humanity’s inexhaustible ability to judge other demographic tribes is matched only by our ability to judge the demographic loyalty of our own tribes. “Can you believe those Americans won’t stand for the National Anthem?”; “Do you see that African-American Republican, what an Uncle Tom!”; “Those Catholic Democrats obviously aren’t really Catholic, they’re baby-killers!”; “Log Cabin Republicans, they’re just traitors to the gay community.” And so on, and so on…

One of the limitations of the human condition is our propensity to remember history as a series of ethnic or national accomplishments and defeats. “We” won wars against England and Germany, even though most Americans have German and English ancestry. Our identity construction also seems to limit our ability to objectivity; instead, we say, “Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,” at the same time we have a plank in your own eye (Luke 6:42)? The voices that talk of Nazi atrocities in Germany, or Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide, are often silent about the treatment of Native Americans and enslaved Africans.

More recently, the voices that complain about White Supremacists in Charlottesville are often silent about Antifa violence, and those who complain about AntiFa ignore violence by the Proud Boys or other alt-right organizations. Rural thugs like the Sovereign Citizens movement and anti-BLM terrorists are treated like heroes by the very people who decry urban violence by brown and black gangs.

What’s my point exactly?

My point is that rhetoric points the finger at African-Americans. It points its ugly finger at immigrants and Muslims. The prevailing wisdom of the mob, I mean public opinion, is that Muslims terrorists and Latin American gangs are behind all the violence in America. In fact, the president has labeled all asylum -seekers as MS-13 and, more recently regarding the caravan of Central Americans heading norther through Mexico, now the President has said that ISIS has infiltrated the caravan.

As the facts continue to erode the narratives that protect White America, then the narratives shift: it must be a lone wolf or mental health, yeah, that’s it, mental illness. How come it’s never ‘lone wolf’ or mental illness’ when the perp is not a White Male Christian?

The three terrible crimes committed this week were not committed by women, nor Hindus, nor immigrants…. and not by Jews either… in fact, the victims this week we Jews and African-Americans. The phenomenon is a uniquely male, Caucasian, Christian, problem. This is not opinion, not conjecture; it simply is true that the perpetrators of mass shootings, bombings and political terrorism in America are statistically likely to be Caucasian, Male, Christians. To my knowledge, for example, until the YouTube Shooting, the only female school shooter was Brenda Spicer. And neither the Unabomber nor Austin bomber was female. And now we know that the Anti-Democrat Pipe Bomber was an angry White Male as well. That’s right, not only are the perpetrators of political terrorism in America likely to be Caucasian, Male, Christians, they are also more likely to be conservative. Again, not that there is not leftwing violence, but it is more likely that acts of recent political terrorism are conducted by self-described conservatives. Ted Kaczynski in his manifesto Industrial Society and Its Future, criticizes leftists and rightists both. James Hodgkinson is the only recent liberal political terrorist that comes to mind at the moment. the Weather Underground and extremist elements of the Students for a Democratic Society. Between 1973 and 1975, the Symbionese Liberation Army was active but has ebbed since the end of the Cold War.

According to George Michael, “right-wing terrorism and violence has a long history in America”. The term “white terrorism” is used by scholars to label terrorism committed against African Americans during the Reconstruction era. Right-wing violent incidents began to outnumber Marxist incidents in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s  Michael observes the waning of left-wing terrorism accompanying the rise of right-wing terrorism, with a noticeable “convergence” of the goals of militant Islam with those of the extreme right. Islamic studies scholar Youssef M. Choueiri classified Islamic fundamentalist movements involving revivalism, reformism, and radicalism as within the scope of “right-wing politics”.

During the 1980s, more than 75 right-wing extremists were prosecuted in the United States for acts of terrorism, carrying out six attacks. In 1983, Gordon Kahl, a Posse Comitatus activist, killed two federal marshals and he was later killed by police. Also that year, the white nationalist revolutionary group The Order (also known as the Brüder Schweigen or the Silent Brotherhood) robbed banks and armored cars, as well as a sex shop,  bombed a theater and a synagogue and murdered radio talk show host Alan Berg.

The April 19, 1995 attack on the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols killed 168 people and it was the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States. McVeigh stated that it was committed in retaliation for the government’s actions at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Eric Rudolph executed a series of terrorist attacks between 1996 and 1998. He carried out the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing—which claimed two lives and injured 111—aiming to cancel the games, claiming they promoted global socialism and to embarrass the U.S. government. Rudolph confessed to bombing an abortion clinic in Sandy Springs, an Atlanta suburb, on January 16, 1997, the Otherside Lounge, an Atlanta lesbian bar, on February 21, 1997, injuring five and an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama on January 29, 1998, killing Birmingham police officer and part-time clinic security guard Robert Sanderson and critically injuring nurse Emily Lyons.

As of August 2018, the New America Foundation placed the number killed in terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11 as follows: 104 killed in jihadist terrorist attacks, 73 killed in far-right attacks, and 8 killed in black separatist, nationalist, or supremacist attacks. The politically conservative Daily Caller News Foundation using data from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), found 92% of all “ideologically motivated homicide incidents” committed in the United States from 2007 to 2016 were motivated by right-wing extremism or white supremacism. According to the Government Accountability Office of the United States, 73% of violent extremist incidents that resulted in deaths since September 12, 2001, were caused by right-wing extremist groups.

New America’s tally shows that since September 11, 2001, incidents of right-wing extremism have caused 73 deaths. Incidents causing death were:

  • The Murder of Blaze Bernstein (2018)
  • The murder of MeShon Cooper-Williams (2018)
  • The University of Maryland stabbing (2017)
  • The Unite the Right rally (2017)
  • The Portland train attack (2017)
  • The Stabbing of Timothy Caughman (2017)
  • The Shooting at a showing of the film Trainwreck (2015)
  • The Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, CO (2015)
  • The Shooting attack on worshippers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (2015)
  • The attack on Pennsylvania State Police barracks (2015)
  • The Ambush attack on Las Vegas police officers (2014)
  • The Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting (2014)
  • The Los Angeles International Airport shooting attack on TSA officer (2013)
  • The Double murder committed by Jeremy Lee Moody and Christine Moody (2013)
  • The Ambush attack against St. John the Baptist Parish police (2012)
  • The Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting (2012)
  • The Tri-state killing spree by white supremacists David Pedersen and Holly Grigsby (2012)
  • The FEAR group attacks (2011)
  • The murder of James Craig Anderson (2011)
  • The murder committed by Aryan Brotherhood members (2010)
  • Shooting at bookstore cafe perpetrated by Ross William Muehlberger (2010)
  • The murder of Todd Getgen (2010)
  • The Austin (TX) Suicide attack by airplane (2010)
  • The murder of sex offender by white supremacists in North Palm Springs, California (2009)
  • The murder committed by Charles Francis Gaskins (2009)
  • The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting (2009)
  • The assassination of George Tiller (2009)
  • The murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores (2009)
  • The shooting of Pittsburgh police officers (2009)
  • The Woodburn bank bombing (2009)
  • The Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting (2008)
  • The Murder of a homeless man by Aryan Soldiers (2007)
  • The Murder committed by John Ditullio (2006)
  • The Tulsa Bank Robbery (2004)
  • The Salinas, California, Torture, Abduction, and Murder (2003)

~~~

And Mass-Shootings?

How do you want to slice the data? Top 10? Twenty largest mass shootings? Only include school shootings? Top 30? 35? 50? The data is consistent:

  1. Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock, American-born, Caucasian male.
  2. Orlando, Omar Mateen, American-born, Afghan male
  3. VA Tech, Seung-Hui Cho, Korean-born male
  4. Sandy Hook, Adam Lanza, American-born, Caucasian male.
  5. Sutherland Springs, Devin Patrick Kelley, American-born, Caucasian male.

Analysis: 4/5’s American-born. 4/5’s Raised-Christian. 3/5’s Caucasian male. 0/5’s female. 1/5 Muslim. 0/5 African-American. And, sadly, 3/5’s in the past 3 years.

  1. Luby’s Shooting, Georges Pierre Hennard, American-born, Caucasian male.
  2. San Ysidro McDonald’s, James Huberty, American-born, Caucasian male.
  3. University of Texas, Charles Joseph Whitman, American-born, Caucasian male.
  4. Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Nikolau Jacob Cruz, American-born, Caucasian male.
  5. San Bernadino, Syed Rizwan Farook, American-born Pakistani male, and Tashfeen Malik, Pakistani-born, Pakistani female.

Analysis: 8/11’s American-born. 8/11’s Raised-Christian. 7/11’s Caucasian male. 1/11’s female. 3/11 Muslim. 0/11 African-American. And, sadly, 6/10’s in the past 6 years.

  1. Edmond, Oklahoma, Patrick Sherrill, American-born, Caucasian male.
  2. Columbine High School, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, American-born, Caucasian males.
  3. Birmingham, New York, Jiverly Antares Wong, Vietnam-born male.
  4. Camden, New Jersey, Howard Barton Unruh, American-born, Caucasian male.
  5. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, George Emil Banks, American-born, African-American male
  6. Fort Hood, Nidal Hasan, American-born, a Palestinian male
  7. Washington Naval Yard, Aaron Alexis, American-born, African-American male
  8. Aurora, James Eagan Holmes, American-born, Caucasian male.
  9. Geneva County, Michael Kenneth McLendon, American-born, Caucasian male.
  10. GMAC, James Edward Pough, American-born, African-American male
  11. Atlanta, Mark Orrin Barton, American-born, Caucasian male.
  12. Red Lake, Jeffrey Weise, American-born, Native American/Caucasian male.
  13. Umpqua Community College shooting, Chris Harper-Mercer, American-born, Caucasian male.

We can play games of statistics; we can play games of per capita ratio. We can redefine ‘mass shootings’ and shift the focus to gang violence and inner-city shootings. Does it matter? Does it make the victims of mass shootings lie calmer in the graves we’ve wrought? We can dance the dance; we can play the demographic game. Did you see what *they* did? ‘They’ did it first!! ‘They’ did it worse! Or we can own the facts. White male Christians kill. The mass killers in American society are not foreign-born; they are not Muslims, they are not Black or Brown. The Americans with a propensity to shoot other American indiscriminately tend to be young, male, Caucasians.

When suicide vests detonate, and bombs explode, I often read and hear: “If Muslims are so innocent, when are they going to denounce their own?!” When gang-bangers shoot each other and catch a passerby, I hear: “We need tougher punishments, no parole!!” I read of violence by the destitute poor and hear resolute disdain: “Lock them up! They should get a job!”

But when it comes to mass shootings, it must be mental illness, isolated incidents… it’s so sad, how could we have known? No, no, the President didn’t cause this, and by the way, what about Maxine Waters and that crazy Dem who shot up the Congressional Softball practice?

But we do know. We’ve known for a long time before, but now it’s impossible to ignore. Instead of telling Turks to apologize; Russia and Mexico too, perhaps it’s time to recognize the role Americans play, in the death of Americans too.

I’m not just a “Self-Hating” White male; I’m the father of one too. I guess I’m just an Uncle Tom ruining my White male Christian tribal cohesion. It’s time to own our demographics, and not just label the others we see stumble and fall. Doesn’t White Christian American expect the same of other American and non-American demographic groups? The thing with snowflakes is that, at some point, they brake the tree branch and fall. Let’s own the weight of each snowflake big and small; let’s take responsibility for our own tribes as easily as we blame the other tribes. Acknowledge and build-up, rather than rip apart and talk down. No demographic tribes ought to own the narrative high-ground.

To White America, I say, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Luke 6:42).

Selected Sources

798 Americans Killed by police in 2018

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2018/07/30/milwaukee-police-officer-michael-michalski-man-charged-shooting/862820002/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/26/us/kentucky-kroger-shooting/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/28/black-clad-antifa-attack-right-wing-demonstrators-in-berkeley/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.bfbfaa41f770

Uighars and other Stateless Peoples

(Photo Credit: Public Domain file shared by QuartierLatin1968.)

Happy Labor Day

Labor Day; What the heck is Labor Day anyway? I know the banks are closed, and the stock markets too. Labor Day is considered the traditional end of summer, but that’s really September 21st. It used to be the end of summer vacation, but may schools start in mid-to-late August these days. I know! It’s a fashion date! Can’t wear white after Labor Day, right?

On Labor Day weekend, social media is usually inundated with meme’s honoring teachers, law enforcement, fire professionals, etc. For most of us, I suppose the holiday has become thought of as a celebration of public sector workers, or all workers in general. But it’s not. Its neither.

Labor Day is the workers’ movement in the United States and around the world. What? Does that sound socialist or too Communist? I don’t know and, honestly, I don’t really care. Because that’s exactly what Labor Day is: a celebration of blue-collar workers and the solidarity of unionization. Interesting, however, the US intentionally placed our celebration of workers solidarity in September to avoid identifying the holiday with International Worker’s Day which is May 1st every year and has a significant history with the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago and the pan-Communist movement of the late 19th century.

I say I don’t care if the holiday sounds too socialist or Communist because I’m tired of how we seem to ignore or rewrite history. It is a day to celebrate the labor movement, not the general and vague concept of work. Those social media memes I mentioned, notice that professions honored are unionized professions. Again, law enforcement, fire professionals, teachers, and nurses. We usually don’t give shout-outs to doctors, lawyers, and hedge fund managers on Labor Day, do we?

The first Labor Day was celebrated in Oregon in 1887. At the time, as now, it was a recognition of trade unions and the labor movements. It’s a recognition of the workers who took an UNPAID day off work on September 5, 1882, so that nowadays, many of us receive a PAID day off of work.

I mentioned the rewriting and watering down of history? Go to the Department of Labor’s website, and you’ll see no mention of unionization, union-busting, or strikes. You will read a few references to two unions in particular, but the site glosses over the reasoning that unions were necessary in the first place. Indeed, the site begins and concludes with empty jingoistic phrases about the “the greatest worker in the world – the American worker.” Might as well stand while reading the diatribe while placing your MAGA hat across your heart.

If this holiday is about the American blue-collar worker, why is it that the banks, government offices, and financial markets are closed, while Wal-Marts, Chic-Filets, Hobby Lobbys are open. Fun fact, Costco is closed on Labor Day. You’re welcome…

In an era where many are suspect of the government deep state and the liberal media bias, it’s amusing that it’s the Department of Labor’s version of the history of Labor Day is so biased and whitewashed (I wonder if its whitewashed on the warm cycle of the washing machine with all those white-collars?).

For a more honest and raw recollection of the origins of Labor Day, take a look at history.com:

Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters.

In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages.

People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Others gave rise to longstanding traditions: On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.”

~~~

So, I guess, to me, Labor Day has taken its equal place at the table of hypocrisy with so many of the other watered down and revisionist federal holidays. Sure, we have a wonderful vanilla-ly quaint and boring holiday on January 1st to celebrate New Years Day on the Gregorian Calendar, right? Well, at least its been New Year’s Day in the British Empire and former colonies since 1752, but I digress…

Then we have the other nine federal holidays (one more aside, why wouldn’t we have 12 federal holidays in twelve months, instead of 10 federal holidays in 8 months…) What was I saying? Oh, right, our wonderful other nine federal holidays:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, when we celebrate the Civil Rights’ Movement and its leader, even while limiting black suffrage through voter ID laws, George Washington’s Birthday, which isn’t even on his birthday, Memorial Day which most people can’t distinguish from Veterans Day, Independence Day, which isn’t even the day that the Second Continental Congress voted for independence, or signed the Declaration of Independence, our beloved Labor Day that we celebrate even while spreading “Right to Work” anti-union legislation across the country, Columbus Day to honor an Italian who worked for the Spanish to discover the Bahamas, Hispaniola, and Cuba and then proceeded to rape, pillage, enslave, and murder. Great guys, so proud to celebrate a guy who has nothing to do with American history, or if we want to extend his legacy to the United States, I suppose we’re celebrating the genocide of the Native American peoples? In November, we celebrate Veterans Day Part II. Actually, in all seriousness, Veterans Day honors the living veterans and was specifically established on November 11th to replace Armistice Day which ended World War I, whereas Memorial Day was established as a Civil War holiday to honor deceased soldiers. Both holidays are worthy, but I wonder what it says about us as a country that we have two federal holidays about war, why not celebrate December 10th which is recognized internationally as Human Rights Day? Finally, we have the eighth and ninth federal holidays: Thanksgiving Day which celebrates neither the first Thanksgiving (the first actual feast of Thanksgiving in what was to become the United States occurred on April 20, 1598, in the area of present-day El Paso, Texas, when Juan de Oñate offered a feast of thanksgiving for the bountiful food and water that saved his expedition), nor is it the first English colony, that would be Virginia, but for some reason we celebrate the second English colony of Plimouth [sic] and the goodwill of the New England Native Americans, who were then repaid by the stealing of their lands and even enslavement and deportation after King Phillip’s War. And then there’s the final federal holiday of the year, when the country that ratified the First Amendment barring the establishment of any state religion, celebrates the second most important holiday in the Christian religion. But, hey, that’s just my take on the 10 federal holidays of the United States.

~~~

Today is one of those federal holidays. Let’s not lose sight of our history as we water-down the celebration the US labor movement and minimize the history of unions in America. After all, we don’t celebrate Cesar Chavez on Martin Luther King Day, and we don’t celebrate UPS drivers on Veterans Day, nor do we celebrate Moses, Kristna, Buddha, or Mohammed on Christmas Day, so why have we taken Labor Day away from the unions?

Unions are important to the long-term health of the American economy and those who would say otherwise are lining their pockets with disproportionate income. Those would include not just the backers of Right to Work legislation, and the reduction of Capital Gains Taxes, etc., etc., but also the bloated compensation receiving CEOs.

The famous or infamous (depending on your political perspective) Dodd-Frank Act requires businesses to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay in their annual proxies. 2018 was the first year that this provision came into force, so what have we learned?

For example, Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis was awarded almost $31.3 million in 2017. Meanwhile, the median worker at the company earned $6,271. The ratio? 4,987 to 1.

For comparison, At Berkshire Hathaway, the pay ratio is roughly 2 to 1. CEO Warren Buffett makes $100,000. The median worker at his company makes $53,510. That’s right, one of the two richest Americans, Warren Buffet, has a compensation ratio of 2-1 to the average employee.

Now, some may argue with me by talking about how well the stock market is doing, but remember, blue-collar workers do not invest in the stock market, except through their retirement 401Ks, so the day-to-day successes of the financial markets do not trickle down to the workers but do benefit the white-collar workers who are more likely to have stock options as part of their compensation packages.

Why does this matter? What does this have to do with unions and Labor Day? Well, in 2016, in terms of raw numbers, there were 14.6 million members in the U.S., down from 17.7 million in 1983. Statistically, union workers average 10-30% higher pay than non-union in the United States after controlling for individual, job, and labor market characteristics. Hence, for example, government jobs are pretty good, right? And, unsurprisingly 35.3% of government employees are unionized, coincidence? Meanwhile, while only 6.7% of private-sector employees are unionized.

Now, if you don’t mind me geeking out a bit, consider these two other pieces of fun facts:

Percentage-wise, 10.7% of American workers belonged to a union in 2016, compared to 20.1% in 1983. And, if you take government employees out of the picture, the current union membership in the private sector has fallen under 7% — levels not seen since 1932. You know, the time of the Great Depression?

Income disparity, deficit-spending by the government, and the static wages of the average American-worker (adjusted for inflation) are all related to the decline of union power in the United States. And that decline is intentional. I have mentioned these so-called Right to Work states. The argument goes that workers should be able to choose whether they belong to a union or not; of course, one could argue that they chose to belong to a union when they chose their profession, right? I mean, when I join the army, I know I’ll have to do physicals. When I join air-traffic controlling, I know I have to take drug tests, etc., etc.

But back to R-T-W; the more appropriate legislation would pass a Hyde Amendment for unions to limit political spending of individual dues to the union, not to block the union dues themselves. The R-T-W is about union-busting, not the rights of workers or free speech.

And Labor Day? Labor Day is a holiday to celebrate the history of the unions in this country, the obstacles that unions and their blue-collar workers had to overcome, and the benefits that almost all American workers take for granted these days: the 8 hour work day, not 12 or 14; the five day work week, not 6 or 7; the prevention of child labor; and the right to collectively bargain for fair wages and benefits.

Honor our Veterans on Veterans Day, honor our Civil Rights leaders on MLK, honor our Founding Fathers on Washington’s birthday and the 4th of July, and honor labor unions on Labor Day.

~~~

My name is Tom Keefe, and I’m your Babbling and sometimes blasphemous Professor,

Happy Labor Day everyone!

~~~

 

References, Links, and Resources

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/labor-day

https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history

https://books.google.com/books?id=bIFIAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA443#v=onepage&q&f=false

https://money.cnn.com/2018/05/22/news/economy/ceo-pay-afl-cio/index.html

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TUD

Persistance, Conviction, Bravery, and Compassion

You know, looking back at history can contextualize our current events, and it can also restore hope.We can look at those who have gone before, those who had endured the struggle, and persevered. I look, personally, to heroes like Judy Shepherd. The mother of Matthew Shepherd who has never given up.

  • The Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act, introduced on April 3, 2001, by Rep. John Conyers and was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime.
  • The bill died when it failed to advance in the committee.
  • It was reintroduced by Rep. Conyers in the 108th and 109th congresses (on April 22, 2004, and May 26, 2005, respectively). It failed to advance out of committee.
  • In the Senate, similar legislation was introduced by Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R–OR) as an amendment to the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (S. 2400) on June 14, 2004. Though the amendment passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 65–33, it was later removed by conference committee.
  • The bill was introduced for the fourth time into the House on March 30, 2007, again by Conyers.
  • The bill passed the subcommittee by voice vote and the full House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20–14. The bill then proceeded to the full House, where it was passed on May 3, 2007, with a vote of 237–180 with Representative Barney Frank, one of two openly gay members of the House at the time, presiding.
  • The bill then proceeded to the U.S. Senate, where it was introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Gordon Smith on April 12, 2007, and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • The bill died when it failed to advance out of committee.
  • On July 11, 2007, Kennedy attempted to introduce the bill again as an amendment to the Senate Defense Reauthorization bill (H.R. 1585). The Senate hate crime amendment had 44 cosponsors, including four Republicans. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ultimately dropped the amendment because of opposition from antiwar Democrats, conservative groups, and Bush.
  • For the 5th time, Conyers introduced the bill into the House on April 2, 2009.
  • The bill was immediately referred to the full Judiciary Committee, where it passed by a vote of 15–12 on April 23, 2009.
  • The bill passed the House on April 29, 2009, by a vote of 249–175, with 231 Democrats and 18 Republicans supporting. And on October 8, 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was rolled into the conference report on Defense Authorization for fiscal year 2010. The vote was 281–146, with support from 237 Democrats and 44 Republicans.
  • Back in the Senate, the bill had again introduced by Kennedy on April 28, 2009. The Senate version of the bill had 45 cosponsors as of July 8, 2009. The Matthew Shepard Act was adopted as an amendment to S. 1390 by a 63–28 cloture vote on July 15, 2009.

READY FOR THIS:

  • At the request of Senator Jeff Sessions (an opponent of the Matthew Shepard Act), an amendment was added to the Senate version of the hate crimes legislation that would have allowed prosecutors to seek the death penalty for hate crime murders, though the amendment was later removed in conference with the House.
  • The bill passed the Senate when the Defense bill passed on July 23, 2009. As originally passed, the House version of the defense bill did not include the hate crimes legislation, requiring the difference to be worked out in a Conference committee. On October 7, 2009, the Conference committee published the final version of the bill, which included the hate crimes amendment; the conference report was then passed by the House on October 8, 2009. On October 22, 2009, following a 64–35 cloture vote, the conference report was passed by the Senate by a vote of 68–29.
  • The bill was signed into law on the afternoon of October 28, 2009, by President Barack Obama.

Persistence. Judy Shepherd, John Conyers, Ted Kennedy, Gordon Smith. Persistence.~~~And how about, bravery and conviction too? We never know how strong we are to our convictions until those convictions are tested, right? Like Judy Shepherd an opponent to the death penalty, who stuck by that conviction, and demanded life sentences for her son’s murderers.And conscience objectors, like Desmond Doss, now immortalized in (2016) Hacksaw Ridge. And Guy LaPointe too…

~~~On this day, July 2, 1948, Joseph Guy LaPointe Jr. was born in Dayton, Ohio. LaPointe (July 2, 1948 – June 2, 1969) was a medic in the United States Army. Patrolling Hill 376 in Quảng Tín Province, his unit came under heavy fire from entrenched enemy forces and took several casualties. LaPointe, a conscientious objector, ran through heavy fire to reach two wounded men. He treated the soldiers and shielded them with his body, even after being twice wounded, until an enemy grenade killed all three men. LaPointe was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Vietnam War.~~~And then, there are the feel-good stories of compassion: On this day, July 2, 2016, Bono invited Adam Bevell onto the stage to jam with U2 during their U2 360 tour concert in Nashville, Tennessee. Adam Bevell’s brother-in-law had sketched out the small sign for him right there in the stadium and Adam held it over his head for the entire concert “BLIND GUITAR PLAYER. Bring me up.” at the end of the concert Adam’s wish was granted. The crowd hoisted him up on stage at the band’s request and Bono took his hand to lead him over to a guitar.” The guitar was strapped onto him and Adam chose to play his and his wife’s wedding song, “All I Want Is You,” while Bono sang along. Bono’s compassion for Adam brought out by Adam’s brother-n-law’s compassion for Adam as well.

~~~Persistence, bravery, conviction, and compassion…On this day, July 2, 2016, a man died who exemplified all those attributes and more.On July 2, 2016, Elie Wiesel אליעזר ויזל‎ died in New York, New York. Wiesel was a writer, professor, and political activist. He was the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. Wiesel was involved with Jewish causes, and helped establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In his political activities, he also campaigned for victims of oppression in places like South Africa, Nicaragua, and Sudan. He was outspoken against the Darfur Genocide and silence surrounding the silence surrounding the Armenian and Darfur genocides.

Weisel once said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Yes, we must take sides. Sides for the Medicare recipients who lost dental and vision today because KY Gov Matt Bevin didn’t get his way….

We must take sides, when innocent children are separated from their parents, and caged in the name of law enforcement.We must take sides when our Muslim sisters and brothers are banned from entry to the United States because of their nation-of-origin.

Yes, yes, we must take sides again White Supremacists who stage rallies in Portland and Charlottesville, and tie men to the back of trucks and drag them through Jasper, Texas.

We must take sides when a 21-year-old college student is beaten and left to die, simply because he loved differently from Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson.

Yes, The L.A. Times called Elie Wiesel “the most important Jew in America” and, in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called Wiesel a “messenger to mankind” when it awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize.Guy Lapointe was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

~~~The rest of us? Who knows whether we’ll ever get any awards, accolades, or recognition. Heck, we might actually get arrested instead of getting awards. But what would we lose if we didn’t try? We might lose a bit of ourselves…Yes, looking back at history can contextualize our current events, and it can also restore hope. And perhaps reinvigorate our persistence, bravery, conviction, and compassion.

Leon Mugesera and Donald Trump

On this day, July 1, 1962, the Belgian-administered region of German East Africa was granted independence. From the Belgian support of the racist “Hamitic” origin theory of Tutsi superiority to the creation of two states with Hutu majorities (rather than more homogenous nation-states), sadly the seeds of the Rwandan and Burundi Genocides were already sown.

Belgians defined “Tutsi” as anyone owning more than ten cows (a sign of wealth) or with the physical feature of a longer nose, or longer neck, commonly associated with the Tutsi; the physical distinctions were explained by postulating a partial descent from Hamitic peoples of the Horn of Africa or even European Caucasians.

Thirty years later, in 1992, Leon Mugesera gave the most famous speech in Rwandan history. Mugesera was an official in President Habyarimana’s MRND Party (Movement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développement). In his speech at a party conference in Gisenyi, Mugesera called on Hutus to kill Tutsis and to dump their bodies in the rivers of Rwanda…  To send them back to Ethiopia where they came from….

~~~

Shereen Marisol Meraji recently had a new episode on her podcast Code Switch and interviewed a neuroscientist, a sociolinguist, a philosophy professor, and a historian about the use of term animal and animal metaphors to describe people.

Now, there is this Godwin’s Law; it says that the longer a conversation goes on, the more likely someone will be compared to Hitler or Stalin. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. The fact is that Hitler used derisive language to describe people. Does that make Hitler unique? No. Does that make anyone who uses derisive metaphors of animals, am I calling that person Hitler? No. But the fact of the matter is that language matters. Skilled orators can inspire people, but it is much easier to use code language to galvanize a mob.

In the podcast, Meraji and historian Ibram X. Kendi discuss the history of referring to enslaved West Africans as animals and beasts….

And David Livingstone Smith, a philosophy professor, who wrote “Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, And Exterminate Others,” he continued the discussion and reminded listeners of that famous “nits make lice” by John Chivington (a Methodist minister on top of everything else!).

The podcast also mentioned how, in WWII, the Japanese were referred to as devils, when the genocide-committing Germans were not? I wonder why?

~~~

There is a history of interconnection between White Privilege and the language of dehumanization

On March 21, 1861, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens spoke in Savannah, Georgia, and referred to the new Confederate government whose “foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

Another example that just saying something is a philosophical or moral truth doesn’t make it truth. But, perhaps more to the point, repetition will convince many people of a truth, even if it’s not…

Like on April 20, 1968, when British MP Enoch Powell delivered his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech in which he recounted the belief that, within “15 or 20 years’ time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.” Incidentally, Powell’s district in Parliament is now represented by Eleanor Smith, a daughter of Barbadian immigrants who, as a young girl, was taunted after Powell’s speech.

And then, there’s John Blake’s recent piece on the “M-Word.” US Senator George Allen, cruising to a re-election victory in Virginia in the summer of 2006” as Blake writes, and the 18 words that ended his political life: “So welcome, let’s give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America, and the real world of Virginia,” Allen said to an Indian-American in the mostly European-American crowd.

Blake continues:

“Jimmy the Greek,” lost his job when he said that blacks were superior athletes because of breeding from slavery

Trent Lott resigned as Senate majority leader in 2002 after he seemed to suggest that the United States could have avoided “all these problems” if it had remained segregated.

Blake argues that overt racist speech went underground in 1968, the year that MLK, Jr. was gunned down and the year that George Wallace shouted Segregation Forever.

But now overt racist speech, dehumanizing language, and the language of violence is all back. Yes, there are pundits and politicians from both parties using violent language now, but it is clear who brought the language mainstream again. Arguing otherwise is simply the diversionary tactic of the Godwin Law Inverse.

The inverse of Godwin’s Law is a false declaration of victimization designed to immune our selves from responsibility. It goes like this, “Can you believe it? THEY’RE calling me/us/Trump Nazis! Nazis killed millions of people, I can’t believe THEY’RE insulting the memory of the Holocaust victims.”

It’s a logical conceit to protect the speaker and anything he or she might say, from criticism. The conversation then becomes about the accusation (inferred or otherwise) and not about the content of the offensive language in the first place.

~~~

Just last week, on June 24, 2018, Ed Henry of Fox News’ had a segment on TV with the onscreen banner which read “PUNDITS CALL TRUMP SUPPORTERS RACIST, NAZIS.” During the segment, Trump’s deputy campaign manager told Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who is African-American, that Payne was “out of your cotton-picking mind.” Yup, he said that. While, as I said already, the onscreen banner said, “PUNDITS CALL TRUMP SUPPORTERS RACIST, NAZIS.”

~~~

David Bossie, the Trump surrogate did apologize. I even have the feeling he didn’t realize the loaded-language which he had used. Rosanne Barr was held accountable, the Netflix Exec. But….

 

Ronald Reagan has been called the Teflon President, but I think its time to pass that baton to the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Donald Trump has mainstreamed insensitive language, conspiracy theories, and replaced fact-based journalism with self-serving opinions of perceived reality.

The Donald’s Art of the Deal is the art of making destructive language fashionable while remaining beloved by his base, perhaps even beloved because of the dehumanizing discourse. After all, it wouldn’t resonate if it wasn’t already in so many of us already, right?

Blake concludes his piece by suggesting that the increase of dehumanizing language could be a new norm. Let us hope it is not, let us hope we will not become desensitized to it like violence and inappropriate language in music, movies, and TV.

~~~

In my book, This Day in Donald: The 140 Character President, I wrote, “Words matter.  Language is a neutral reality; it can be used to hurt or to mend, to shame or to love, to tear down or to raise up.” The book is a collage of tweets, speeches, and statements by the 45th President of the United States and weaves together an overview of the how the 45th President of the United States chooses to communicate, represent himself, and represent the Office of the President.  Each entry catches his choice (and indeed the current American capacity) to tear down others and his propensity to equivocate moral and personal condemnation of persons with whom he disagrees with on policy.

~~~

Yes, Leon Mugesera called for Tutsi’s to be killed and sent up river. Other Hutu extremists called Tutsis “cockroaches” that needed to be stamped out. Presumed racial superiority and hate, whether it be Hutu, Nazi, or White American must be relegated to history. Otherwise, if we embrace the language of dehumanization, we are replacing US President Abraham Lincoln with Confederate VP Alexander Stephens, replacing Bobby Kennedy with George Wallace, and replacing US Representative Tom Lantos, who survived the Holocaust, with the former White House strategist, Steve Bannon, who said to wear the label of “racist” as “a badge of honor.”

~~~

On March 15, 2016, I posted the following parody of Martin Niemoller’s famous poem on Facebook and submitted it to the Providence Journal. I received back an email from Ed Achorn, the editor of the Journal, arguing that the parody if invalid since no one has yet ‘come for the Mexicans.’

The New America?

In America, they came first for the Mexicans,

And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Mexican;

And then they came for the Muslims,

And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Muslim;

And then they came for the African-Americans,

And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an African-American;

And then they came for me . . .

And there was no one left to speak for me….

~~~

We have lost the understanding that at the other end of each sound bite, text, tweet, email, and phone call, at the other end there is a person. It is not about “The” Blacks, “The” Jews, “The” Gays, “The” Muslims, “The” Liberals, “The” Democrats, “The” Republicans, or “The” Conservatives. It is about, and always should be about our fellow Americans and, indeed, our fellow humans.

There is still time to reject racist rhetoric and return to respectful discourse.

And the time is now.

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/28/624416635/what-happens-when-groups-of-people-are-described-as-animals

https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/04/20/603884872/an-anti-immigration-speech-divided-britain-50-years-ago-it-still-echoes-today

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/29/us/racial-rhetoric/index.html

 

Hope: Looking Back at June 2018

The Supreme Court:

  • Masterpiece Cake v CCRC
  • National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra
  • Trump v. Hawaii

Trump, Canada, and North Korea:

  • The 44th G7 summit was held on 8–9 June 2018, in Quebec, Canada… Trump feuds with the other 6 members, and suggests Russia should be let back into the G8/G7.
  • In fact, the summit was dubbed the “G6+1” by the Government of France and political commentators. This resulted from the United States withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and from the Paris Agreement, American tariffs, and trade-related disputes between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau…

Trump-Kim Summit:

  • Trump and Kim signed a joint declaration at a summit in Singapore on June 12 and pledged to work toward peace and to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. “We’re ready to write a new chapter between our nations,” and called his meeting with Kim “honest, direct and productive.”
  • Then, on June 21st, satellite images show the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center upgrading its nuclear facilities. That’s less than two weeks after Trump boasted of a diplomatic breakthrough with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program after decades of hostility.

Immigration News:

  • June 15: For the first time, the Department of Homeland Security says how many children have been separated during the zero-tolerance initiative: Nearly 2,000 children from April 19 to May 31.
  • June 18: Nielsen says the administration “will not apologize” for separating families. “We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job,” she says. “This administration has a simple message — If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you.”
  • June 19: Iowa’s GOP governor calls the separation of immigrant families “horrific” and says the government shouldn’t treat children as “pawns.”
  • Also, Methodists sign a formal denominational complaint against AG Jeff Sessions for his role in causing the separation of families.
  • Later, Maryland’s GOP governor recalls his national guard troops from the border.
  • June 20: Facing a national outcry, and after blaming Democrats in Congress (who control neither the Senate nor the Houses), Obama/Bush/and Clinton, as well as saying it was a policy he could not reverse, Trump signs an executive order designed to keep migrant families together at the U.S.-Mexico border, abandoning his earlier claim that the crisis was caused by an iron-clad law
  • And, of course, on June 21st, The First Lady wears a jacket making it clear she really doesn’t care; about what we’re not too sure.

Russia? How about some Russia news:

  • Later, Trump announces summit with Putin and reminds us all that Russia says it did not interfere in the 2016 Election…
  • Perhaps the highlight of the Russia probe this month was when Jim Jordan (OH-4) called Rod Rosenstein a Democrat. He’s not. And it shouldn’t matter regardless.

But The Biggest News:

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement.

  • Citing his so-called swing vote, moderates and liberals have suggested same-sex marriage, abortion, and other issues are endangered.
  • However, Kennedy voted with the conservative majority in Bush v Gore, and the travel ban, so he’s hardly the Saint of Liberalism.
  • In fact, the court has only taken away rights once that it had recognized. The right to be free of cruel and unusual punishments.

~~~

On this day, June 30, 1934, the Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler’s violent purge of his political rivals, occurred in Germany.

Operation Hummingbird eliminated Gregor Strasser and his leftist wing of the Nazi Party, as well as prominent German conservatives including former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Gustav Ritter von Kahr as well as Hitler’s own supporters when he eliminated the Brownshirts (SA) and its leader, Ernst Röhm.

~~~

On this day, too, nine years later, on June 30, 1943, the Częstochowa Uprising was ended with additional 500 Jews burned alive or buried beneath the rubble. Another 3,900 Jews were captured and put to work in the labor camps of Apparatebau, Warthewerk, and Eisenhütte. A random selection of 400 people were shot and, in December that year, 1200 prisoners were transported to Germany. The men were sent to Buchenwald, the women to Dachau… all perished.

~~~

Truly dark days on this day in history, and the history of June… But there is hope, amid struggle as well…

~~~

On this day, June 30, 2001, as the deadline of the international body overseeing decommissioning paramilitary (terrorist) weapons  approached, David Trimble threatened to resign as First Minister if the deadline was not met. The next day, July 1, 2001, David Trimble resigned as Northern Ireland First Minister.

~~~

In a shout-out to my Rhode Islander listeners:

On this day, June 30, 1983, Vinny Pazienza (December 16, 1962) defeated Keith McCoy in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was The Paz’ second career win; the bout was called in the 3rd Round by KO. His career total is 50-10, with 30 KO. Pazienza held world titles at lightweight and light middleweight; Bleed for This (2016) is based on his comeback from a spinal injury.

But good things happen too:

And, on this day, June 30, 2007, Peter Rometti sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, during Disability Awareness Day. Rometti had autism and halfway through, he started to struggle… stammering, laughing nervously, and losing some of the words. 38,000 Red Sox fans responded and carried Rometti through the remainder of the Star-Spangled Banner.

~~~

The United States has weathered the disenfranchisement of women, the attacks on Native Americans, the enslavement of West Africans, the internment of Japanese Americans, and discrimination against immigrants and gay human beings before.

For every John Chivington, Roger Taney, George Wallace; we have many more Sojoioner Truths, Frederick Douglasses, Elizabeth Katy Stantons, Susan B Anthonys, Fred Korematsu and Yuri Kochiyama.

We have lost Harvey Milk and Matthew Shepard; we have lost Trevonn Martin, Freddie Gray, Stephan Clark and just this month Antwon Rose too.

~~~

“Yes, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

And, yes, We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter… because [we’ve] been to the mountaintop [already]…

We’ve seen John Adams defend the crew of the Amistad… who can tell me the name of the plaintiff in that case?

We’ve seen Teddy Roosevelt denounce the San Francisco segregation of Chinese children,

Who can tell me the name of that Mayor of SanFran?

Who can tell me the name of the judge who found Susan B Anthony guilty of voting?

Tell me, please, what was the name of the bus driver who ordered 2nd Lt Jackie Robinson to move his seat on the bus, or the driver who told Rosa Parks to move?

We can bury the Andrew Jacksons in the annals of white privilege and arrogance; while raising up Thurgood Marshall, Ruby Bridges, and Leroy Collins.

This country has weathered the Alien & Sedition Acts, we will survive Russian interference and recalcitrance of our own politicians to find the truth; the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Japanese-Internment, we will survive the current administration’s border policy and travel bans.

That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt. That’s not to say that there won’t be lasting pain and consequences for these immoral decisions.

I dare say more people know the name Barack Obama, than George Wallace.

~~~

“And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.” Its not about our personal comfort, its about what side of history do we want to be on, do we want to look back with regret that we didn’t stand up to bigotry and vile verbal rhetoric?

[I’m not perfect, not at all, but I know God is with me.] “And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. [I may never see the Lion lay down with the Lamb, but]…  I’ve seen the Promised Land [in glimpses here and there, in the faces of our children]. I may not get there with you. [you might not get there either]. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, [we] will get to the Promised Land!”

~~~

We’re better than the Alien and Sedition Acts, we’re better than the Know-Nothings; we’re better than Jim Crowe and McCarthyism… Every time we have been challenged from our believe in this New Jerusalem, every time we have been knocked down like the Second Temple itself, we have stood up taller, and held our hands out to more people, bringing those huddled masses yearning to be free. Amen, we will rise, we will rise. This is our country and we will make it better, with more hope, and more love, for more people and stare down the voices of fear and xenophobia… 12 score and two years ago, our Founding Fathers set forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all white male landowners were are created equal… but we didn’t stop there, we rose higher, we stood taller and recognized that landowner or not, free or slave, male or female, we are all created equal.

~~~

Now we are engaged in a great civil [debate], testing whether this nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated to protecting the freedom and liberty of people we might not like, who might look differently than us, that might pray differently than us, we are being tested to see how can long endure. We meet daily on a great battle-field of that war: social media, partisan news, blind following of our ideological politicians.

We have to dedicate a portion of that battlefield, as an oasis of peace, a final resting place for those who gave their lives that that nation might live in harmony. Amen, tt is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. [But it is a lot harder to do than to say.]

But, in a larger sense, we cannot stop. Think of those who have gone before, who struggled here, before us. The world will little note, nor long remember what I say here on podcasts or social media, but the world can never forget what we have done together already as a nation. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which our forebearers fought for already and have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored aliens among us, those too who love differently and pray differently. We must take increased devotion to that cause for which others gave the last full measure of their devotion—that we here highly resolve that the women, Native Americans, West Africans, Catholics immigrants, Japanese-Americans, African-Americans and Gay Americans shall not have struggled and died in vain

—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

NFL Kneelers, 4,645 Dead Puerto Ricans, and Native American Citizenship

Citizenship

On this day, June 2, 1924, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.

It was enacted partially in recognition of the thousands of Indians who served in the armed forces during World War I. The Fourteenth Amendment already defined as citizens any person born in the U.S., but only if “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”; this latter clause excluded anyone who already had citizenship in a foreign power such as a tribal nation.

So what do Native Americans, Puerto Ricans, the District of Columbia, African-Americans, and the NFL kneelers have in common?