I wasn’t paying much attention to Twitter this past weekend, so I am grateful that Sis Dee’s Sunday post (1619. The 400th anniversary of the real founding of America.) brought the 1619 Project to my attention. I haven’t yet read all the articles, but what I have read reinforces the shameful truth in Dee’s comment, “Much of what is being presented in this series is information that is still not being taught in our schools.” It’s a simple, straightforward truth, and yet, as I peruse Twitter, I’m seeing reactions that range from outrage to even more outrage from too many White commenters. I was immediately reminded of Michael Eric Dyson’s statement in his powerful book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America:
You certainly have an insatiable thirst for history, but only if that history justifies whiteness. Most black folks can’t help but notice what many white rarely wish, or are compelled to see: you embrace history as your faithful flame when she kisses you, and yet you spurn her as a cheating mate when she nods or winks at others. (p. 65)
In fact, before I finish reading the articles in the 1619 Project, I’m going to reread Dyson’s book first, especially the chapter that contains the section on the five stages of white grief. The outrage being expressed about a telling of history that is not white-centered is predictable, and Dyson says there is only one way to overcome white defensiveness: to repent of whiteness. This post explores Dyson’s diagnosis and prescriptions for healing. Please be mindful that I write this through the racial lens of a white woman, but a white woman who sincerely wants to repent of her whiteness.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Jim McGovern, calling out Mitch McConnell, the vile man who is bursting with pride over his legislative graveyard – while mothers are literally burying their children.
(Congressman Jim McGovern urged Leader McConnell call the Senate back into session and take up House-passed, commonsense, bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation that will save lives following the deadly shootings in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton.)
“America is the only developed country in the world where massacres like these happen on a regular basis.
“President Trump and Republicans can blame video games or mental illness all they want. Other countries play video games and deal with mental illness, but only here, in America, have mass shootings become the new normal. I wish they would just tell the truth: this is about guns.
“You know, in many states, it’s easier to get a gun than it is to register to vote. And weapons of war can be bought in virtually the blink of an eye – without a background check.
“This isn’t by accident. The gun lobby has spent millions bankrolling their allies in Congress so they can slash any kind of sensible gun safety laws.
“Democrats are fighting to protect your health care by opposing Trump’s junk plans and his dangerous lawsuit. Because to us, there’s nothing political about making sure everybody gets good, affordable health coverage.”
Deportation of striking miners from Bisbee, Arizona, on July 12, 1917. Striking miners and others are marched from Warren Ballpark along railroad tracks toward cattle cars belonging to the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to watch an episode of POV on PBS (Bisbee 17). The film, Bisbee ‘17, is part documentary and part scripted community reenactment telling the story of the Bisbee Deportation of 1917. The documentary itself is worth watching if you have 111 minutes to spare, with the caveat that the artistic approach is different from most documentaries and may require an adjustment of expectations. But whether you watch the movie or not, the story of the Bisbee Deportation is another story mostly lost to time and unmentioned in history books. This is the story.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my internet connection issues are history, and I’m going to work the plan that I had last week…tidbits by tweet today and text on Thursday. While the Current Occupant has settled on a strategy of distraction by rallying his base through crass racism, the fact remains that families are still being separated; the international understanding of the rights of asylum seekers is being ignored and upended; and our own understanding of who we are is being challenged and redefined. The latter, of course, has the potential to be the silver lining for our future, but we have a long way to go before that potential is fulfilled. For now, we have to look at the evil of our past, of our present, and in all likelihood, of our future, and be prepared to eradicate it with truth and through reconciliation.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Haley Stevens of Michigan laying out the accomplishments of House Democrats as they make good on their promises to pass bills that will improve the lives of all Americans. Never has a better case been made that the American people need to #VoteOutSenateRepublicans (and elect a Democratic president!) to make those bills into laws.
(In this week’s address, the Congresswoman Haley Stevens discussed House Democrats’ For The People legislative accomplishments in the first 200 Days of the 116th Congress.)
“In the first 200 days of the 116th Congress, the House of Representatives has taken strong action on our For The People agenda — delivering for the middle class, by passing legislation that will improve people’s lives.[…]
“It has been an incredible 200 days, but one thing is clear – we aren’t going to stop working for you and your family. Districts like mine in Michigan, home to auto suppliers and incredible public schools. We are here to serve our teachers, our students, retirees, and veterans.
“We live in a magnificent country and we are going to make this government work for you – For The People.”
“The First Step” — illustration depicting methods used to seduce young women into the “white slavery” of prostitution. So much for PizzaGate…all along it’s been ice cream parlors and fruit stores that are dens of iniquity!
When schools starts teaching American, I might even try to learn it.
We all know xenophobia and racism are not new in this country, despite the ongoing “this isn’t who we are” hand-wringing. It continues to astound me that each new expression of hate, ignorance, and ugliness that comes from 45* and his cult is so often met with shock and surprise, as if these are somehow new to him, to the Right, or to the country. I wish I knew what the formula was for breaking the desire for upholding and maintaining white supremacy. I wish I knew what it would take to wake up white voters in this country and convince them that it’s not our history that makes us great; it is in overcoming that white-centered history that our potential for greatness exists. And since I have no magic answers, I continue with what I know: sharing the history that is rarely found in our textbooks; highlighting the connections between then and now; challenging the assumptions I was raised with; and seeking, searching, and questioning. Today, because of the work schedule I’ve had over the past few days, just some glimpses of our history from period posters and illustrations; Thursday, a story of what happens when xenophobia, corporate greed, and willing puppets intersect.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon speaking about climate change and the inaction of Senate Republicans.
“So the challenge is immediate and severe. If we do nothing, we condemn our children and grandchildren to suffer greater and greater difficulties. So we have to act, moving boldly and urgently to cut carbon pollution through energy conservation and renewable energy,” said Senator Merkley. “Unfortunately, opposition from Senate Republicans has blocked bold climate action in Congress. Under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, the Senate has become a legislative graveyard for climate action. But local governments have been fortunately stepping up to help meet the challenge…To learn more, Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis invited mayors from five cities across America, including Portland, Oregon to testify this week about how they are rising to the challenge. They shared valuable information that we hope other cities and local governments will keep in mind as they draft their own climate goals and legislation.”
President Roosevelt delivering his First Inaugural Address in Washington, DC. March 4, 1933.
After seeing the photos of the Waffen SS VPOTUS and Senate delegation observing the specimens people in the concentration camps, I was overwhelmed, saddened, angered, and fearful. To see the casual indifference displayed by our polo-shirt-and-khaki-wearing elected white supremacists disheartened me. I knew that my planned post was going to be impossible for me to write for this week, because diving into our history of white supremacy felt like piling on rather than enlightening. Usually I can move beyond that feeling; this week, it wasn’t happening and a dose of anti-fascism medicine seemed necessary.
The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Carolyn Maloney announcing House passage of the Never Forget the Heroes Act which will make permanent and fully fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation program.
(In this week’s address, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney discusses the bipartisan effort to honor the sacrifice of the heroes of 9/11 and their families by permanently authorizing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund via the passage of H.R. 1327, the Never Forget The Heroes Act.)
“These [first responders] are remarkable people who did not hesitate in the hour when we needed them most.
“These are people who believed their government when we told them that the air was safe. And so, with every breath they took of that toxic dust-filled air their personal odds grew worse and the danger to their health increased.
“We now have a moral obligation as a nation to take care of them. First and foremost, because of their sacrifices for this country and, secondly, because of the terrible, toxic lie our government told them.
‘Never forget’ has no meaning if it’s just a campaign slogan or a bumper sticker or a hashtag. It only has meaning if it comes with a real commitment – a commitment that ensures that our first responders, survivors and their families will never have to go without the support they so urgently need – the support they have so valiantly earned.