EVIL MATH!!! 👿

In another 20 years or so, there won’t be a young Floridian who is able to get and hold a job, other than perhaps one pushing burgers through the drive-through window at Wendy’s.  Why?  Because in Florida, there will soon be nothing left to teach in public schools.  First there was the bill that banned the teaching about lessons touching on race or gender.  Only whitewashed history – false history embellishing the good and hiding the bad – is allowed to be taught.  And the latest?  Florida has just banned 54 math textbooks, saying they touched on critical race theory and other ‘prohibited topics’!  MATH textbooks!!!  So … the next generation in Florida will not be able to balance a checkbook, let alone count back change to a customer or do their own taxes!

C’mon people … critical race theory has become a dog whistle for Republicans … something they use to raise the fears of people in their state, even though the damn lawmakers writing these laws don’t have the foggiest notion what CRT actually is.  It is not taught in schools, and it damn sure isn’t found in math books!  Have these people lost their bloody minds?  Do they really want to raise a generation that cannot think, that has no idea how to even think for themselves?  Oh, they’ll know how to shoot a gun, but anything else is likely to be beyond their realm of capability.

But wait!  There’s a solution … if you’re wealthy, that is.  You can spend lots of money to send your children to private schools where they might actually learn something useful and be better prepared for college and eventually a lucrative career!  For several years now I have thought that schools were being ‘dummied-down’ in order to ensure a future where the only people educated enough to hold high-level government offices would be the offspring of the ultra-wealthy … children of corporate executives and the like.  Laws being passed in Florida and numerous other states seem to be playing into that scenario.  Right now, the wealth in this nation is concentrated, owned by a relative handful of people while that handful pays money to members of Congress to ensure that we peons are kept working for a relative pittance!  The minimum wage was last raised in 2009 … how much wealth has Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk accumulated in those 13 years while the average Joe has struggled to simply pay his rent and put food on the table?  I bet my life’s savings … all $14.96 of it … that the offspring of Bezos & Musk do not attend public schools in Florida or anywhere else!

Those who work for a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour cannot possibly afford to send their children to private schools so that they can get a good education instead of the brainwashing Florida and other states are determined to provide in public schools.  This trend began with Betsy DeVos being put in the position of Secretary of Education under the former guy with the sole goal of ensuring that only the wealthiest are availed of the opportunities that will take them far in life.  She’s gone now, but the trend to keep children from being educated continues at the state level in states where Republicans dominate the state legislatures and governor’s offices.

Heck, before long even such classes as Literature, Science and Art will be taboo.  Think about it … Literature is filled with stories of struggle by various races and the tales of rich vs. poor — can’t have that now, can we?  And Science … well, we surely cannot allow our children to understand such things as ecosystems and how humans are destroying the environment!  Why, it could put the fossil fuel barons out of business!  And Art … well, what if some unsuspecting child were to draw a picture of a Black kid and a white kid playing together!  GASP!!!

Florida is not alone … it is, however, the first that I’m aware of to ban math books claiming they promote Critical Race Theory!  This is the most ridiculous pile of garbage I’ve ever heard and it is to be hoped that the good people of Florida will take the very next opportunity to throw the entire lot out of office and elect people who care about the future of this nation and future generations!

Rewriting History

So, considering history … if we determine to no longer teach about slavery, about Jim Crow … what will we replace it with? We cannot simply ignore the fact that Black people existed. Young people aren’t stupid … don’t you think they will ask questions? And what about books and movies like “Gone with the Wind” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”??? Will we destroy all copies of those? What do we replace the now-illegal facts of history with? Our friend Michael Seidel has written an excellent, thought-provoking post … thank you, Michael!!!

Michael Seidel, writer

In the Smithsonian Magazine’s excerpt of Narrative Tension, Inc.. From the forthcoming book Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past by Richard Cohen to be published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed by permission, Richard Cohen writes this:

‘Around the same time, between 1934 and 1936, the Politburo, or policy-making body, of the Russian Communist Party focused on national history textbooks, and Stalin set scholars to writing a new standard history. The state became the nation’s only publisher. Orwell had it right in Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the Records Department is charged with rewriting the past to fit whomever Oceania is currently fighting. The ruling party of Big Brother “could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened—that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death.”’

He is writing about the old U.S.S.R., the Soviet Union, and how…

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Snarky Snippets From The Wee Hours

As I lay in bed in the wee hours, trying to shut my mind down so that I could catch a bit of sleep, a song popped into my head.  No, not the Bee Gees, not Lionel, not even Stevie Wonder.  Ernie.  Yep, Ernie of Sesame Street fame singing … Rubber Ducky!  And so, at 4:34 a.m. I lay in bed singing softly …

And that confirms my suspicions … I am losing my marbles!  Don’t ask how that leads into today’s Snarky Snippets, but somehow it does.


On Tuesday, the United States set a record … we flew past the one-million mark in COVID deaths.  No, I never said it was a record to be proud of … but who didn’t see this one coming?  Initially, scientists predicted we would set this record in late spring or early summer, but by January it was plain to see that it would happen sooner.  Mask mandates?  Gone.  Vaccine mandates?  Gone.  And yet, the pandemic is still very much with us and not likely to leave anytime soon.  The death toll slowed somewhat for a week or two, but it is very much on the rise again and I won’t be surprised to see it go back to an average of 2,000 as it was last year and into the first part of this year.


Today, March 24th, marks one month since Russia first invaded Ukraine.  Since then …

  • Some 3.2 million refugees have fled from Ukraine,
  • 150,000 people are stuck in the northern city of Chernihiv with little hope of aid after Russia cut them off from the capital, Kyiv,
  • 13,000 – 14,000 Ukrainians have been killed,
  • Between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed,
  • Cities have been nearly leveled, leaving many homeless and without food or water

Putin denies claims of war crimes, saying that civilians were not targeted and civilian deaths and injuries were merely ‘collateral damage’.  Seems to me he doesn’t understand the definition of ‘collateral damage’.  Collateral damage is when you bomb a munitions factory and the night watchmen are killed in the process.  When you intentionally bomb an apartment complex where people live, as Russia has done in Ukraine, that is a war crime.  There is really no grey area here.  Those in this country who support Dictator Putin can never lay claim to being humanitarian!


Last month, two top prosecutors leading the criminal investigation into Donald Trump and his business resigned after the Manhattan district attorney said he was not prepared to authorize an indictment against Trump.  One of the two, Mark F. Pomerantz, was a prominent former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer who had come out of retirement to work on the case against Trump.

One part in particular of Mr. Pomerantz’ letter of resignation dated February 23rd  stated in no uncertain terms that …

“The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did.”

So why did Manhattan District Attorney Alan Bragg basically drop the investigation?  I don’t know, but frankly it seems highly suspicious to me.  Bragg claims that the investigation is ongoing, but he damn sure doesn’t appear to be putting the effort into it that his predecessor, Cyrus Vance, did.  Someday, somehow, the truth will be known.  I just hope it isn’t too late to keep a megalomaniacal madman from overtaking the nation in 2024.


Our friend Keith mentioned a John Oliver video about ‘Critical Race Theory’ that he had found particularly interesting.  I found the video, watched it, and I concur fully with Keith … it is a ‘must see’!  It is 28 minutes long and if you’re like me, that’s a big chunk of time that you cannot often afford, but please do take the time to watch this one … John Oliver makes some excellent points and I think you’ll find it noteworthy, but also humorous.  Thanks, Keith, for pointing me in this direction!

Confirmation Hearing Or Political Circus?

Who could have seen it coming, eh?  Yesterday was day #2 of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.  She answered questions for the better part of twelve hours … heck, five minutes of talking does me in.  I have no doubt that Ms. Jackson wished, on more than one occasion, that she could fire back at some of the questions she was asked, but to her credit, she proceeded with dignity and respect, only letting out the occasional sigh to indicate a bit of frustration.

Barring some dramatic revelation that I cannot foresee, I strongly believe that Ms. Jackson will, indeed, become the next Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.  I even think a few of the more … shall we say ‘honest’ Republicans … will vote to confirm her … perhaps Senator Collins of Maine, Senator Murkowski of Alaska, and Senator Romney of Utah.  Others are likely to vote ‘Nay’ for a number of stated reasons, but the main reason being that Judge Jackson has two strikes against her:  she is Black, and she is a woman.  Period.

I did not watch the 12-hour confirmation hearing … I really haven’t got either the time or the patience … but I have read numerous accounts of the questions and answers from the day.  The first one to come to my attention was, unsurprisingly, from Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.  Among Blackburn’s false or distorted accusations, she …

  • linked Jackson to the controversy over transgender athletes and women’s sports
  • suggested Jackson would trample parental rights
  • accused Jackson of wanting to put dangerous criminals on the street
  • accused Jackson of saying every judge has a hidden agenda
  • said Jackson praised the 1619 Project
  • said Jackson thinks judges must use ‘critical race theory’ when sentencing criminals

Blackburn went so far as to suggest to Jackson, a Black woman, that white privilege doesn’t exist in America, a country where of the 114 justices to have been confirmed to sit on the highest court in the land, only two have been Black.  She also asked Judge Jackson to “define the word ‘woman’”.  When Jackson told her she couldn’t, at least “Not in this context. I’m not a biologist,” Blackburn responded with acidity … “The meaning of the word woman is so unclear and controversial that you can’t give me a definition?”  Sigh.  Seriously, is this what we’re paying our lawmakers to do?

And then there was good ol’ Ted Cruz, never one to mince words, or even to attempt to make his words sensible. Noting that the judge is a board member of her kids’ private school Georgetown Day, the senator began pulling out books, including Antiracist Baby, in order to claim the school is definitely teaching CRT. “There are portions of this book that I find really quite remarkable. One portion of the book says babies are taught to be racist or anti-racist,” Cruz bellowed, displaying an enlarged page from the book. “Do you agree with this book that is being taught with kids that babies are racist?”  Her response …

“I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less-than. That they are victims. That they are oppressors.”

 She also noted that her understanding was that “critical race theory is an academic theory is taught in law schools.”

I’m not sure what got into Lindsey Graham … I seriously believe that man has some mental issues!  In the middle of his questioning Judge Jackson, he asked … “What faith are you, by the way?”  Say WHAT???  Since when is religion a qualifier for a seat on the bench???

Then Lindsey began berating Judge Jackson for defending detainees at Guantanamo Bay back in her days as a public defender.  He went on a verbal diatribe, spouting …

“We’re at war, we’re not fighting crime! This is not some passage of time event. As long as they’re dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they’re going to go back to kill Americans. It won’t bother me one bit if 39 of them die in prison. That’s a better outcome than letting them go and if it cost $500 million to keep them in jail, keep them in jail because they’ll go back to the fight. Look at the freaking Afghan government made up of former detainees at Gitmo. This whole thing by the left about this war ain’t working!”

And then he stormed out of the hearings without waiting for a response.

John Cornyn, who I typically think of as one of the less toxic Republicans in the Senate, questioned Judge Jackson about her stance on LGBTQ rights, claiming that granting equal rights to LGBTQ people conflicts with the religious beliefs of some people. To which Jackson responded, “Well, senator, that is the nature of a right. That when there is a right, it means that there are limitations on regulation, even if people are regulating pursuant to their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

From everything I’ve read and the video clips I have seen, it appears that Judge Jackson handled herself well through the entire ordeal … far better than I would have in similar circumstances!  It’s just too damn bad that the confirmation of a Justice who will serve on the highest court in the nation for life has been turned into a political circus in recent years.  The Supreme Court are the people who will make the decisions we have to live by.  They will decide if women have the right to control their own bodies, whether LGBTQ people should have certain unalienable rights, whether a single religion will force us all into a small, airless box, and whether we have the right to vote.  And yet … the Republicans in Congress seem to care more about the colour of a potential justice’s skin and about her gender.

Note to readers:  This just in from the New York Times“Conservatives are pressuring Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat, to oppose Judge Ketanji Brwn Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

What IS a ‘Divisive Concept’???

Just what constitutes a “divisive concept”?  No, seriously … for some people, pineapple on pizza is a divisive concept, so I think if states are going to ban the teaching of ‘divisive concepts’, there must be some agreement, some definition as to what, exactly, a ‘divisive concept’ is!

Last week the Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill that would ban the teaching of “divisive concepts” in K-12 history.  Alabama is not the first, nor will it likely be the last state in the Union to pass such an open-ended law, so it’s imperative that we understand exactly what it is they are even talking about.  And further, once ‘divisive concepts’ are defined, that definition needs to be in writing for every single person in the state to understand, lest teachers and even parents go to prison for simply trying to be honest, to ensure children are getting an actual education!  Most teachers at this point are throwing their hands up, not knowing what they are or aren’t allowed to say in the classroom.

According to Law Insider …

Divisive concepts means the concepts that

  • one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;
  • the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist;
  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;
  • an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex;
  • members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex;
  • an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex;
  • an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;
  • any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or
  • meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.

The term “divisive concepts” also includes any other form of race or sex stereotyping or any other form of race or sex scapegoating.

So, look at #2 … it is not to be taught that the U.S. has and has always had a racist, homophobic element?  We cannot teach about the KKK or the murders of Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Emmett Till, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many, many others?  We cannot teach that for four centuries, certain white people held the belief that they were somehow superior to Black people?  We cannot teach how people from Europe came to this continent, took advantage of the civilization of Indigenous People who were already here, then drove them off their land and murdered many of them?  We cannot, I suppose, even teach about Hitler’s execution of some six million Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and others?  Is Dr. Martin Luther King’s name and his contributions to our society to be kept a secret?

It seems to me that this push to stop the teaching of the past is naught but a ploy to further demean Black people, to erase the past history that helps us understand why BlackLivesMatter is so important, so relevant.  If the next generation grows up not understanding about the KKK and how many Black families were destroyed by them, then how can they understand our outrage when a white cop kills an unarmed Black man?  Are they to be taught that Blacks, whites, and even Indigenous People have all had the same opportunities and been treated equally throughout the history of the United States?  That, my friends, is naught but one damned BIG LIE!  Do people in Texas, Virginia, Alabama and other states really want their children to grow up on a foundation of lies?  Do they want them to repeat the past because they are ignorant of it?  We do have some pretty ugly things in our history but hiding them and pretending they never happened will only lead to more ugly things … things that will result in death and devastation.

I know I have written on this topic before, and please forgive me if I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but this is so damn important and every time I hear of another state embracing stupidity while whitewashing our past, I feel a white-hot rage run through me.  We cannot … CANNOT … afford to simply let this one slip to the back of our minds … we MUST continue to fight for the proper, fact-based teaching of ALL history … not just that which makes white Christian males look like the guys in white hats!    

In the past few months, residents in Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have found KKK fliers in their driveways and yards.  The fliers read, in part …

The lack of White pride is truly a sad and strange thing, because no group has more to be rightfully proud of than the White people of the world. The glories and greatness that the men and women of our race have won over the centuries should serve as a source of eternal pride and inspiration to White people everywhere.

Since the dawn of history, we have been a mighty race of builders, explorers, artists, warriors, inventors, philosophers and cultivators.

We are the race of Shakespeare, Leonardo, Beethoven and Homer. We are the sons and daughters of Leif Ericsson, Columbus, Magellan, and Lindbergh. We are the folk of Alexander, Caesar, Arminius, Roland, Frederick, Napoleon, Washington, Franklin and Lee. We are the heirs of Sophocles; Heraclitus and Plato, of Rembrandt; Rubens and Durer, of Dante; Goethe and Gutenberg; of Vivaldi, Back, Mozart, and Wagner. We are the descendants of Pythagoras, Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, and Nietzsche.

Just to list the great achieves [sic] of our race would require the work of a lifetime.

No one has more to be proud of that [sic] we do!

Ignorance is bliss … for the ignorant.  For the rest of us, it is pure hell.  Teach the children the truth … let them grow up with actual spines and functional brains so that they might make the world a better place, might finally set aside contests of race, gender, religion, skin colour and just become one people trying to do good in the world.

And by the way … personally, I like pineapple on pizza!

Your Children’s Future — Fight For It!!!

There are a large number of things happening in the world today that keep me awake nights – the trampling of our voting rights in nearly every state in the U.S.; the great divide between followers of the two political parties in the U.S. and the lies being told; the lack of interest on the part of Congress to act in the best interest of the people of this nation; the war in Ukraine and the potential for world-wide disaster; the increase in racism and homophobia; climate change and our abysmal failure to address it in any meaningful ways; the failure of people to understand that COVID is NOT over; the alarming increase in the ownership of guns and their use, and much more.  However, the one that kept me awake last night was the whitewashing of history in the nation’s schools, prompted by racist individuals and supported by government and the courts.

Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill is just the tip of the iceberg.  Many states are rebelling against the teaching of actual history and would prefer that schools teach only the more ‘noble’ moments in our history, leaving out or altering the facts about those moments that white Europeans were unconscionably cruel and murderous.  I well remember when I first learned in school about Christopher Columbus, the settlers who came here to escape religious persecution in Europe, and how the Indigenous People taught the settlers how to fend for themselves, how to grow food, and then on that first Thanksgiving, how they sat side-by-side and broke bread together.  A lovely story, only … it’s just a small part of the story.  Back in the 1950s, we weren’t taught about how the white settlers then turned on the natives, killed them and ran them off of their lands.  Slowly but surely, education began coming ‘round to the idea of teaching the facts, but suddenly in the last decade or so, that situation is reversing yet again!

I was in high school before I learned of white man’s treachery against the natives, and even then it wasn’t dealt with in any depth, but merely skimmed in the textbooks.  Today, in the 21st century, an increasingly large number of people are claiming a notion called ‘white supremacy’, the concept that people with whiter skin are somehow mentally and physically ‘superior’ to others.  You and I know this is bullshit … if anything, the reverse is true.

The history of the U.S., although shorter than that of most other nations, is fraught with the evil of humans and if we cover that up, bury it like dog poop, or whitewash it to make it seem just a blip, then we are committing a crime against future generations, for they will not have the opportunity to view history through a clear glass, to make their own judgments, draw their own conclusions, and learn the lessons that history has to teach.  They will be ill-prepared, as are many of today’s politicos, to understand the world they live in, to understand for instance the anger of Black people when one is killed for no good reason.

Ask a teenager today if they know why the BlackLivesMatter protests happened?  Do they understand that the murders of George Floyd and so many others make it apparent that we are heading back to the days before Civil Rights legislation, the days of Jim Crow, the KKK, and Black people being treated as if they were dirt?  Do they know what the Trail of Tears was, what happened, and why?  Do they know that after the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, the United States government dispossessed thousands of Japanese-Americans, sent them to camps where they barely survived after losing their homes, their jobs, and all their worldly goods?

And more recently, do they know about the massacre at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida, in 2016?  Do they understand that crimes are being committed against people just because of who they love?  Do they know about the Charleston church shooting in 2015?  Or the one in Sutherland Springs, Texas in 2017?  All acts committed by those who believe their white skin, religion, or gender somehow gives them the “right” to kill people simply for looking, acting, or thinking differently than they do!

I no longer have school-age children, but if I did, I would be demanding that my child be taught the true history of the United States, which is not quite as pretty as the history that Governor DeSantis and other lawmakers across the nation would prefer to be taught.  Teach them yourselves if you have to, but please … do not let the next generation grow up stupid, foolishly believing that the history of white people in the U.S. is somehow noble.  The truth matters, even when it’s painful, and if we ignore the truth, then we will only devolve, never evolve.  What the schools are doing is a form of censorship … censorship no different than what we’re seeing done by the Russian leader today, denying people the truth.

Rather than banning books, buy them, place them in your child’s hands, read them yourself if you haven’t already.  Knowledge is power and we are depriving our children, grandchildren, and all future generations of that power, destining them to continue down the path of ignorance.  The fate of the world hinges on what our children learn today.

The Shameless Exploitation of Critical Race Theory

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written an excellent post on how Republican candidates for Congress are using that bogeyman “CRT”, about which most of them know nothing, to intimidate and strike fear into the hearts of their voters. A must-read for all!!! Thank you, Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

Once again, harkening back to the days of the Willie Horton ads used by the George H.W. Bush campaign for president in 1988, the GOP stands ready to use race, specifically critical race theory (CRT), as the new bogeyman in the 2022 mid-term elections.

Over the past several years, we’ve learned that the GOP will use social issues such as race, gay marriage, and transgender rights to piss off as many people as possible to win elections.

Rather than put forward a platform of ideas and policies that would benefit the American people, they’d rather divide and conquer. The party lacks any meaningful policy proposals, which was reflected in its 2020 convention. For the first time in memory, the party didn’t even bother to put forth a platform of any kind — instead basically reiterating the goals of their 2016 proclamation.

And while that proclamation reflected the usual GOP…

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A Chuckle For The Day

I thought a bit of timely humour would be good today.  Alexandra Petri is a Washington Post columnist offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.  While there isn’t much to laugh about in the news these days, sometimes I think we need to laugh anyway … or at least chuckle.


‘Let’s ban algebra, too!’ adds Fla. legislator who is clearly not three kids in a trench coat

By Alexandra Petri

Columnist

TALLAHASSEE — Florida legislators are working hard to pass a bill that, as the Associated Press observed, would “prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel ‘discomfort’ when they teach students or train employees about discrimination in the nation’s past.”

“This is good,” added one legislator, in a trench coat and hat, whose voice sounded somewhat muffled, as though it came from around his rib cage. “But it doesn’t go far enough.” His whole body swayed and undulated strangely.

“Yes!” his head added. “It is good, but we need to pass more laws.”

“More?” one of his colleagues inquired, handing him a drink of water. He missed grabbing the water the first time and then poured it all over his face and body, and a voice from beneath his belt said, “Stop it, Jeremy!”

“History is good to ban, but it is not enough,” the legislator said, when he had composed himself. “History is actually way less discomfortable than lots of other subjects, and if we are really serious about ending discomfort, we should ban those first.”

“Go on!” his colleague said excitedly. A small crowd was beginning to form around him.

“The book bans are good,” the legislator’s midsection went on, while his hands attempted to straighten his hat but knocked it off instead. “Less reading is good. English is a big source of discomfort.”

“Yes!” one of his colleagues agreed, picking up the hat and handing it to him, which only took three tries. Several other legislators nodded aggressively. “They are trying to indoctrinate our youth with critical race theory, and we won’t let them! They want White people to learn about events that happened in the past, which causes discomfort, and we will not have it!”

“It’s not just learning about events that happened in the past that makes you feel discomfort,” the mysterious legislator in the trench coat said. “Algebra actually causes way more discomfort than history.”

“And geometry,” his rib cage added.

“And biology!” his face continued. “The law is good because it sounds like history is pretty much banned, but what about math? What about science? What about the part of science where sometimes they make you dissect a frog?”

“Or P.E.!” his midsection shouted.

“We should have clearer laws against all of those, so that people don’t feel discomfort. White people, Black people, people in general.”

“And pop quizzes,” said his head. “And French. And book reports!”

His colleagues nodded uncertainly.

“We’ve got to protect everyone from discomfort at all costs,” the legislator went on. “That’s the most important thing. That’s what people need to do right now. Make clear laws against any subject that could possibly cause discomfort.”

He produced a list that was written in pencil on a sheet of graph paper that said, “More Subjects To Ban To Preserve Freedom,” which appeared to be just a list of every subject taught in middle school, with a crudely drawn picture of Naruto in the corner.

“Thank you for this,” his colleague said. “We are going to give this the consideration it deserves.”

Another legislator looked puzzled. “But then, what will they learn?” he asked.

But the legislator in the trench coat with the good ideas had already vanished as mysteriously as he had come.

Sixty-Six Years Ago …

It was sixty-six years ago today that a 14-year-old boy, Emmett Till, was brutally murdered for the crime of being Black in a town called Money, Mississippi.  You all know the story, but allow me to just quickly refresh your memories …

Emmett was from ‘up north’ in Chicago, but his mother had sent him to Mississippi to spend the final two weeks of summer with his beloved grandfather before returning to school.  One day he went into a small store to buy some candy and as the cashier returned his change, his hand accidentally and briefly touched hers.  That, my friends, was all it took to get this young man killed.

By the time the story had been spread and embellished on, it was said that he caressed the clerk … a woman much older than Emmett who he would likely have seen as being the age of his own mother … had wolf-whistled and flirted with her.  While none of these are crimes, more importantly, he did none of the above as witnesses would later recall.  But this was Mississippi in the 1950s, the Jim Crow era.

Long story short, his assailants—the white woman’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, John Milam—dragged young Emmett from his grandfather’s home and made him carry a 75-pound cotton gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men then beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head and then threw his body, tied to the cotton gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.

In September a trial was held for the two murderers and on September 23, the all-white, all-male jury deliberated 67 minutes before acquitting Bryant and Milam. Jurors later admitted in interviews that although they knew Bryant and Milam were guilty of Till’s murder, they did not think imprisonment or the death penalty were appropriate punishments for white men who had killed a black man.  The white woman, Carolyn Bryant, later recanted her testimony.

Why do I rehash this story today?  This is one of thousands of tragic stories from that era, but it is one that has received the most attention, one that we can point to and say, “That is who we used to be.”  Or … can we?  I have fairly recently come to believe that it is still who some of us are today.  I don’t think it’s a long stretch of the imagination to think of a similar atrocity happening in 21st Century Mississippi … or Alabama … Louisiana … Texas.

This is why we MUST teach about Emmett Till and the others in our schools today.  We must open the eyes of our young people to the past in order to ensure we don’t repeat that sordid past.  Just a few weeks ago, before Afghanistan took the spotlight, there was a big brouhaha about teaching ‘Critical Race Theory’ in the schools.  There is an element of our society who would have future generations believe that the U.S. was founded only on compassion and altruism, that the nation’s history is all rosy and beautiful.  It isn’t.

Every single schoolchild by the age of 12 should be aware of the story of Emmett Till, as well as Thomas Moss, Will Stewart, Calvin McDowell and thousands of others. Don’t recognize those names?  Look them up!  Some 6,500 Black people were lynched in the United States between 1865 and 1950 – and that’s only the ones we know about.  No, this is not the ‘pretty’ part of our history BUT … it IS part of our history, part of what has made this nation what it is today.  To hide it, to sweep it under the carpet, is criminal and ultimately will lead us right back to that dirty, dark place of the Jim Crow era.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go back there.

A Republican voter sent the following letter to the editor

We often make the mistake of categorizing people by their religion or political affiliation, and I’m as guilty as the next person. But our friend Keith has posted a letter to the editor that appeared in his local paper by a lifelong Republican, that makes so much sense, that shows us not every Republican is willing to follow their leaders off of a steep cliff. It is my hope that there are many more Republicans who feel this way and aren’t afraid to say so! Thank you, Keith, for sharing this!

musingsofanoldfart

The following letter by a “lifelong registered Republican voter” appeared in my newspaper’s Letters to the Editors. I agree with what is said by someone who is as disillusioned and concerned as I am about the direction of the Republican party. It was under a banner of “GOP Censorship.”

“I’m a lifelong registered Republican voter disturbed by the GOP’s elitist push for censorship. From the manufactured outrage over Critical Race Theory to tortured justifications for unconstitutional voter suppression legislation, Republican conservatives are showing themselves to be thin-skinned, intolerant and frankly ignorant about the basic ideas of what makes America great.

This reflexive obedience to elite authoritarianism by millions of Christian Republican conservatives didn’t start with the Trump administration. Sadly, it doesn’t look as it will end with it, either. The majority of patriotic Americans must stand vigil against this tide or repression and fear.”

I will leave his name off…

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