The President held a political rally last week with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt looking over his shoulder from Mount Rushmore. He said “Our country is witnessing a merciless campaign to erase our history.”
To a certain degree he may be right. But then, how would most folks, the President included, know since they seem to have so little grasp of our history?
For instance, we hear a lot about traitors and treason in regards to people like Robert E. Lee. But in the eyes of the Britsih, was there ever a bigger traitor than George Washington? But wait a minute, how could he be a traitor if he was fighting for the land he loved? Which seems to be to me what Robert E. Lee was doing in the Civil War.
History is like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder. So one person’s hero is another’s villian.
The history of this land we today call the United States is bathed in blood. Violence has been a main stay from day one. Whether trying to run Native Americans from their lands, fighting an invading enemy, burning someone at the stake, or outlaws roaming the countryside, we have been quick to take up arms. This has been especially true for those of us in the south whose ancestors were Scots-Irish, some of the most violent people to ever live.
And while so many are today quick to condemn protestors, what the heck was 1776 all about? George Washington lead a rag-tag army for eight years because we didn’t like the way the King of England was running things.
History is just that. It is what happened yesterday and all the yesterdays before. We are today the sum of all those yesterdays. History can neither be whitewashed or changed. And the constant cry to remove someone from history because of their warts and blemishes is a fool’s mission. Do those calling for such have no warts and blemishes of their own?
History is fascinating. We should learn from it, not use it for some political purpose.
But I think we should be much more concerned about history yet to be made than what may have happened decades ago.
My longtime friend and Dothan Eagle editorial writer, Bill Perkins, penned words below that bear repeating. Basically he is saying that the doomsday naysayers now roaming the land are very poor students of this country’s history who prefer fantasies to realty. He is right.
“In unsettling times, it’s beneficial to reflect on the situation at hand and how it came to be. Politicians and pundits who say we’re living in unprecedented times should review the Old Testament; the nameless author of the Book of Ecclesiastes writes, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”(Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Our Founding Fathers apparently believed that, as many of their letters and speeches of the day suggest they were prescient in devising governing documents for our new nation.
While the disturbances of late, exacerbated by tensions frayed from weeks of uncertainty in a pandemic, are novel to current generations, they’re hardly unprecedented. The Founders could not have known the specifics, but they were banking on future unrest:
“Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison in 1787. The translation: “I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.”
We are in the midst of that preferred tumult, and could reflect on some more Jeffersonian wisdom to make sense of the present:
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions,” writes Jefferson in a letter to Virginia lawyer and historian Samuel Kercheval in July 1816. “But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
In the midst of this stormy Fourth of July holiday, an instructive and appropriate exercise may be a review of the U.S. Constitution, the Federalist Papers and other documents that reveal the story of our nation’s birth. Such a review should bring healthy perspective to where our nation has been, and where it is going, along with suggestions for personal interaction:
“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” Thomas Paine
“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” — Jefferson, to William Hamilton.”
Earlier this week the Montgomery city council voted as to whether or not all citizens should wear a face mask during the pandemic. The vote tied 4-4 and therefore failed.
The following morning Mayor Stephen Reed used an executive order to make masks mandatory.
Council member Glen Pruitt joined Reed at the press conference announcing the executive order to say that he made a mistake in voting against the measure the night before.
Unfortunately, Pruitt’s 19-year-old daughter, Courtney, died of cancer last year. After the vote, Pruitt asked his wife how he should have voted and she told him, “If Courtney was still alive, you would have supported the vote.” Pruitt agreed with his wife and changed his mind.
His display of courage and conviction is all too rare these days.
Instead we have people like one of Pruitt’s fellow council members who opposed the mask ordnance and spewed the all-too common malarkey about “constitutional rights.” Which is basically an admission of how little someone understands about our form of government and how it is supposed to work.
“ANARCHY” is a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority. And invoking constitutional rights in the matter of face masks basically means you favor anarchy. So the speed limit on the interstate is 70, why should that apply to you? Slow down when you pass a school? Hell no, tell the kids to get out of the way. That stop sign? Says who?
It doesn’t work that way in our form of government. We can’t pick and choose what rules we obey and the ones we don’t. (Though there seem to be plenty of folks around today who don’t understand this.)
We are all in this together. At least we are supposed to be.
Glen Pruitt recognizes this. Good for him.
Frances Coleman has been a friend for many years. I met her when she wrote editorials for the old Mobile Press Register, way back in the day when newspapers were printed on paper and were available every day of the week. A time that now seems so long ago that cars had fender skirts and clutches and gear shifts.
Today she does an occasional opinion piece for AL.com. Hers stand out to me because they always make sense, which is not praise I offer to many such efforts by others.
She recently did one entitled, Leave the rest of us out of your zombie apocalypse fantasies. Here is what she wrote:
“I am aware that there’s a virus out there called COVID-19 that has afflicted more than 3 million people around the world. I know that it has killed nearly a quarter of a million people.
I’m also aware, as you probably are, too, that there’s no cure or vaccine for the virus and that, for now, the unknowns outweigh the knowns. And I understand that our efforts to contain the virus are taking a terrible toll on the global economy.
But here’s what I don’t understand about COVID-19: Why, in addition to causing fever, body aches, pneumonia and even death, it can cause some people to act like fools.
When they’re upset about a government’s policy, normal people write letters or make phone calls to their elected officials. Sometimes they attend town hall meetings so they can speak their piece in public. If those tactics don’t seem to be working, they may even march on City Hall.
But normal people don’t dress up in militia costumes, sling rifles over their shoulders and barge into the Michigan state capitol building because they’re angry about the governor’s stay-at-home order. They don’t shout at state troopers and assert that the governor is a Nazi.
Similarly, normal people don’t defy the Alabama governor’s decision to keep restaurants, barber shops and nail salons closed for a little while longer. They don’t post signs like the one in front of a restaurant near Mobile that said, “Kay, let my people go, or else.”
“Or else”? What the heck is that supposed to mean? Is it simply a reminder that they and other Alabamians might vote Gov. Kay Ivey out of office if she runs again in 2022? Or is it meant to suggest something more sinister, that she might actually be in physical danger because she’s not re-opening the state’s economy fast enough to suit them?
Normal people don’t threaten governors. Fools, on the other hand, apparently do. They garner TV reporters’ attention and headlines on the front pages of newspapers across the country. Even if they don’t intend to harm governors here, there or anywhere, they are crude, rude and disruptive.
And fools aren’t content with disturbances and disobedience. They seem to revel in disrupting ordinary people’s lives, too, because … well, because that’s how fools behave.
Normal people generally keep enough paper products to last for a few weeks. But when a fool decides that although one or two giant packages of toilet paper would last his family a month, he (or she) should buy 10 or 12 giant packages, then other fools rush to the store to buy 10 or 12 giant packages, too, and guess what: There’s not enough toilet paper for the rest of us.
Before you know it, normal people are skulking through grocery stores, dollar stores and discount stores, desperately seeking Charmin. Ditto for hand sanitizer, paper towels, Clorox wipes and Lysol spray.
When fools start buying 30 pounds of ground meat and 10 whole chickens at a time, then the rest of us find ourselves staring at empty shelves in the meat department. When a normal family’s upright freezer goes out and can’t be repaired because it’s nearly 30 years old, guess what: That family — my family — can’t find a freezer in stock at the local appliance store or at any of the big-box stores in nearby cities, because the fools who bought all that meat apparently needed new freezers in which to store it.
“For what?” I asked a friend in the appliance business. “I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “The zombie apocalypse, I guess.”
That’s where the zombie-apocalypse crowd and I diverge. I’ve always assumed that when society collapses, so will utility services, meaning that electric freezers won’t do anybody much good and that toilet paper — no matter how much you’ve stashed — will eventually run out.
To them and the armed protesters and people who post signs that say “Or else,” I say this: The COVID-19 pandemic is a terrible thing, but it is not likely to bring about the collapse of civilization, much less of the United States. There is enough meat and toilet paper and freezers for all of us, and stores and restaurants will open in due time.
If I acknowledge that I may never understand what scares you or motivates you, will you in turn stop making life so hard for us normal folks?
Be foolish on your own time and your own dime, please, and leave the rest of us out of your fantasies.”
Frances Coleman is a freelance writer who lives in Baldwin County, Alabama. Email her at email@example.com and “like” her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prfrances.
While this country grapples with the chaos and confusion of the coronavirus and political “leaders” put their own self-interest above what is best for the nation, former Republican President George W. Bush, released a statement that should be taken to heart by all Americans.
And in so doing, he graphically shows just how shameless and little so many are who would have us all believe only they have all the answers.
“Former President George W. Bush called on Americans to abandon partisan divides in the face of the “sheer threat” of the coronavirus pandemic in a video released on Saturday.
Bush’s comments come as Democratic governors clash with Republican President Donald Trump over the White House’s coronavirus response, and even drugs that could treat the virus are politicized.
More than a million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus, and well over 60,000 people have died from the virus in the United States. The White House has said it expects total deaths to rise to 74,000 by August.
“Let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this sheer threat,” Bush said. “In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together.”
In the nearly 3-minute video, shared by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Bush said he saw the nation “embrace unavoidable new duties” after the 9/11 terror attacks, and that “spirit is alive and well in America.” The former president also issued a warning that the impact of the pandemic will not be felt equally.
“Let’s remember that the suffering we experience as a nation does not fall evenly. In the days to come, it will be especially important to care in practical ways for the elderly, the ill and the unemployed,” Bush said. More than 30 million people have filed for unemployment in the last six weeks, as the economy has largely shut down to combat the pandemic.”
These are the words of a statesman. A very rare breed in Washington these days.
Yesterday we told you about the last-minute efforts of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to delay the state Presidential primary election to later in the year.
However, 11th hour political maneuvering by the Republican-controlled legislature thwarted the governor’s effort and the election went ahead. According to all reports, it was chaos. For instance, while there are normally 180 polling places in Milwaukee, there were only five.
By court order, no results will be released until Monday, April 13.
Go here to get a complete wrap up from Associated Press.
Every day we hear multiple stories of Americans stepping forward in heroic ways to help fellow citizens. Wisconsin legislative leaders do not belong in this group.