Your vote counts. Every vote counts, but your vote counts for you.
Your vote counts. Every vote counts, but your vote counts for you.
U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke reaches out to every Texan in his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Ted Cruz. O’Rourke already visited all 254 Texas counties, listening to Texans tell him what is important in their lives.
Now Beto conducts town hall meetings.
Recently a Texan asked him about NFL players’ kneeling during the national anthem.
Does his answer surprise you? It reveals the thought he’s put into issues.
Not sure if everybody got their Bogus History from Dinesh D’Souza, but a lot of people have the same wrong ideas about what party supported civil rights in the post-World War II era. These crappy distortions of history are showing up on Facebook and all over Twitter. Worse, people believe them.
The crappy claim is that Democrats are the party of racism and support for the Ku Klux Klan. Historically, that was once so; but it has not been so since 1948 as the two main parties in the U.S. switched positions, with Democrats taking on civil rights as a key cause for Democratic constituencies, and the Republican Party retreating from Abraham Lincoln’s work in the Civil War and immediate aftermath, and instead welcoming in racists fleeing the Democratic Party.
Think Strom Thurmond, vs. Mike Mansfield and Lyndon Johnson.
Kevin Kruse corrected D’Souza in a series of Tweets, and you ought to read them and follow the notes. Kruse is good, and better, he is armed with accurate information.
This is solid history, delivered by Kruse in a medium difficult for careful explanations longer than a bumper sticker.
Mr. Kruse made a key point early in the thread.
First of all, the central point in the original tweet stands. If you have to go back to the 1860s or even the 1960s to claim the “party of civil rights” mantle — while ignoring legislative votes and executive actions taken in *this* decade — you’re clearly grasping at straws.
Anyone who reads newspapers would know that. Alas, one of the campaigns of conservatives over the past 40 years has been to kill off newspapers. They’ve been way too successful at it.
I’ll include mostly the Tweets for the rest of this post.
It’s a big tell. See my earlier posts on the 7 Warning Signs of Bogus History.
You can view the entire thread in one unroll, which I find difficult to translate to this blog platform — but you may find it easier to disseminate:
February 1 was the 58th anniversary of the Greensboro sit-in. Be sure to read Howell Raines‘ criticism of news media coverage of civil rights issues in a 2010 article in the New York Times: “What I am suggesting is that the one thing the South should have learned in the past 50 years is that if we are going to hell in a handbasket, we should at least be together in a basket of common purpose.”
This is mostly an encore post; please holler quickly if you find a link that does not work.
Four young men turned a page of history on February 1, 1960, at a lunch counter in a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Ezell A. Blair, Jr. (now Jibreel Khazan), Franklin E. McCain, Joseph A. McNeil, and David L. Richmond, sat down at the counter to order lunch. Because they were African Americans, they were refused service. Patiently, they stayed in their seats, awaiting justice.
On July 25, nearly six months later, Woolworth’s agreed to desegregate the lunch counter. One more victory for non-violent protest.
News of the “sit-in” demonstration spread. Others joined in the non-violent protests from time to time, 28 students the second day, 300 the third day, and some days up to 1,000. The protests spread geographically, too, to 15 cities in 9 states.
Part of the old lunch counter was salvaged, and today is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History. The museum display was the site of celebratory parties during the week of the inauguration as president of Barack Obama.
Notes and resources:
Student video, American History Rules, We Were There – First person story related by Georgie N. and Greg H., with pictures:
Associated Press interview with Franklin E. McCain:
It was a long fight.
As on every federal holiday, citizens and residents of the U.S. should fly their U.S. flags today, on the holiday marking the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fly the U.S. flag today for the holiday for the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in January.
King’s actual birthday is January 15. In 2018, the legal holiday and King’s actual birthday are the same day. It’s becoming common for Americans to fly their flags all weekend for a holiday on Friday or Monday.
Many Americans will celebrate with a day of service. Perhaps you will, too.
In 2017, days before the inauguration of a new president, remembering and honoring the life and struggles of Martin Luther King, Jr., and serving others in real and symbolic ways, is more important than ever.
What is wrong with you?
I am a 67-year-old American white woman. My parents enlisted in World War II to fight fascism. They both served; my mother was a nurse, my father navigated bombers. They lost friends in that bloody war so that all the world could be free of fascism. They did not fight so that some white people could claim supremacy or that Nazis could openly walk the streets of America.
White person to white supremacist person: What is wrong with you?
People of European heritage are doing just fine in the world. They run most of the world’s institutions, hold much of the world’s wealth, replicate as frequently as other humans. You’re not in any danger here. The world is changing, that’s true. Others want a piece of the pie. They work for it, strive for it and earn it. Technology (robotics) is having a greater effect on your job prospects than immigrants. Going forward, tackling corporate control and climate change will need all of our attention, ideas and energy. Put down your Tiki torches and trite flags and get involved in some real work.
By the way, the world won the war against Nazi fascism in the 1940s, just as America won the war against the Confederacy in the 1860s. Aligning with two lost causes just labels you as profound losers.
And finally, white person to white person: Like my parents before me, I will not stand idly by nor give up my rights or the rights of other Americans because you think you are better than some of us. It doesn’t work that way. All Americans stand shoulder to shoulder against your hatred and bigotry.
Salt Lake City
Kathryn found the letter on Facebook somewhere. Since we both have Utah roots, and anchors sometimes, the venue alone made it interesting.
On Facebook it came with a link to Leigh Melander, who turns out to have an affiliation with the Joseph Campbell Foundation (JCF). You remember, Campbell’s series of interviews with Bill Moyers a few years ago became a hit television series. Melander seems to be an interesting voice in her own right.
(Who is Jonna Ramey?)
How did Melander chance across that image from the paper version of the letter in the Salt Lake Tribune?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if supremacists paid more attention to Joseph Campbell’s informed and hopeful outlook on use of myth to bring peace and happiness, instead of inventing false claims to drive hate?
Hate and discrimination are expensive. We can’t afford them.
August 7 is the 53rd anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the resolution which authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to move troops into South Vietnam to defend U.S. interests.
The resolution passed Congress after what appeared to be attacks on two U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. At the time, and now, evidence is weak that such attacks took place.
Most historians today think the evidence for the attacks is inconclusive; many argue it is unlikely North Vietnamese gunboats would have opened fire on a vastly superior U.S. Navy warship. Debate is complicated because the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution effectively substituted for a declaration of war, in a war the U.S. arguably lost, which divided Americans as rarely before, and which cost more than 58,000 soldiers and civilians their lives.
How will we view the Tonkin Gulf resolution in 50 years, with the history of two much longer wars in the Middle East factored in? What do you think?
Quick summary from the National Archives:
On August 4, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced that two days earlier, U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin had been attacked by the North Vietnamese. Johnson dispatched U.S. planes against the attackers and asked Congress to pass a resolution to support his actions. The joint resolution “to promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia” passed on August 7, with only two Senators (Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening) dissenting, and became the subject of great political controversy in the course of the undeclared war that followed.
The Tonkin Gulf Resolution stated that “Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression.” As a result, President Johnson, and later President Nixon, relied on the resolution as the legal basis for their military policies in Vietnam.
As public resistance to the war heightened, the resolution was repealed by Congress in January 1971.
Santayana’s ghost looks on in wonder.
Considering its powerful effect on American history, the document is very, very brief. Here’s the text [links added]:
Eighty-eighth Congress of the United States of America
AT THE SECOND SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the seventh day of January, one thousand nine hundred and sixty-four
To promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia.
Whereas naval units of the Communist regime in Vietnam, in violation of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of international law, have deliberately and repeatedly attacked United Stated naval vessels lawfully present in international waters, and have thereby created a serious threat to international peace; and
Whereas these attackers are part of deliberate and systematic campaign of aggression that the Communist regime in North Vietnam has been waging against its neighbors and the nations joined with them in the collective defense of their freedom; and
Whereas the United States is assisting the peoples of southeast Asia to protest their freedom and has no territorial, military or political ambitions in that area, but desires only that these people should be left in peace to work out their destinies in their own way: Now, therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.
Section 2. The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. Consonant with the Constitution of the United States and the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with its obligations under the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the United States is, therefore, prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.
Section 3. This resolution shall expire when the President shall determine that the peace and security of the area is reasonably assured by international conditions created by action of the United Nations or otherwise, except that it may be terminated earlier by concurrent resolution of the Congress.
And on that authority, “Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression,” the U.S. spent the next 11 years in all-out warfare in Vietnam, with up to 500,000 military troops in the conflict, and losing the lives of more than 58,000 men and women. Can we ever know what really happened, or what motivated President Johnson to ask for the resolution, or what motivated Congress to pass it?
U.S. engagement in Vietnam continued well after the repeal of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1971. In 1973 a peace treaty was signed between the U.S., North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The provisions of the treaty did not hold; a final North Vietnamese military push in April 1975 crumpled the South Vietnamese government and army. The few remaining U.S. forces made an emergency withdrawal as Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops entered Saigon. Vietnam was reunited by force, under a communist government.
Attacks on the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy — if they occurred — took place early on August 4. President Johnson might be excused for having done nothing on the issue at the time. That was the same day that the bodies of three civil rights workers were discovered by the FBI, murdered by a pro-segregation mob with clear ties to the local Ku Klux Klan. Either event, the Gulf of Tonkin, or the Mississippi civil rights murders, could be a major event in any presidency, testing to the utmost the leadership and peace-making abilities of a president. Johnson dealt with both events at the same time.
Three American civil rights’ workers, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner, were lynched on the night of June 21–22, 1964 by members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County‘s Sheriff Office and the Philadelphia Police Department located in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The three had been working on the “Freedom Summer” campaign, attempting to register African Americans to vote.
On a commission from the Dallas Symphony, composer Stephen Stucky composed a piece during the Lyndon Johnson Centennial in 2008; Kathryn and I heard the world premiere of August 4, 1964, on September 18, 2008. Stucky’s piece (with libretto by Gene Scheer) is the only place I know where anyone has seriously considered the nexus between these two, opposite-side-of-the-world tragedies, and how they set the stage for the rest of the 1960s decade. The piece has been recorded by the Dallas Symphony. I highly recommend it.
Here’s a video from the Dallas Symphony on the piece:
What have we learned from this bit of history? What should we have learned from it?