Editors’ Choice

Posts selected by Moose editors

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Lost Cause Myths We Still Haven’t Busted 9/17/19

Monument to a Confederate soldier, dedicated in 1901 in the town of Union, West Virginia, to “men who served the lost cause” in the U.S. Civil War.  Worth considering: this was the era when Confederate war memorials proliferated.  Memorials are typically built by the victors; what did they assume they had won?

I became a history major, in part, because I had excellent, compelling history teachers throughout my childhood. It seemed to me (although I didn’t have these words until I was much older) that they approached their lessons as historians first and schoolteachers second. I distinctly remember two different occasions in two different school districts in two different states with two different teachers when the history textbook was read aloud…and then the teacher(s) closed the book, threw it across the room in frustration, and stated, “Now let’s talk about what really happened.” Nowhere was this more evident than when the Civil War was the topic of study, and as a result, I missed many of the Lost Cause shibboleths that were being taught at the time. My high school history teacher did change things up, and he taught “the war of Northern aggression” from the Southern “perspective” so we learned the Lost Cause historiography, but we learned it as myth rather than as historical fact. So while I knew that some people viewed “states’ rights” as a proximate cause of the Civil War, I had read the primary documents of secession written by Southern legislatures with their unequivocal statements about seceding over their determination to preserve and expand slavery.

Unfortunately, my teachers were the exception rather than the rule, and too many of the myths perpetuated by the Daughters of the Confederacy are still found in history textbooks today. It’s largely understood today that this twisting of historical memory was intentional and done to serve the agenda of white supremacy. Studying the myths of the Lost Cause isn’t just done to establish the difference between myth and reality; it’s done to understand how historical memory is created.

…the study of memory allows us to understand the extent to which previous interpretations of the past were subject to political, social, and economic pressures, and how difficult it was for individuals and communities outside of dominant power structures to preserve and commemorate their preferred understanding of the past. (Levin, Kevin. Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder, University Press of Kentucky, 2017, p. 10)

Fighting Back: “Let’s get something done for the people who we love and want to protect.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada asking that the Senate pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act that 90% of Americans want – a bill being blocked by Republicans.

(Nearly two years after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, the Route 91 massacre in Las Vegas, Nevada, and as Senate Democrats continue to keep the pressure on Republican Leader McConnell and President Trump to take action on House-passed universal background checks legislation, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) delivers this week’s Weekly Democratic address.)

“Universal background checks are an essential first step toward ensuring we reduce the number of mass shootings in America, keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, and save lives.

“We know that it can’t stop every tragedy, but this is a common sense, bipartisan bill that can save lives and reduce mass shootings in our country.

“My home state of Nevada passed background checks this year after Nevadans voted for them in 2016.

“Congress can get it done as well. My friend, Senator Chris Murphy has introduced legislation that would close loopholes on background checks and save lives, and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed it almost 200 days ago. […]

“Yet, here in the Senate, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act hasn’t received a vote.

“Let’s actually come together and pass this bill in honor of all of the daughters, mothers, sons, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends we have lost to senseless gun violence.

“And let’s get something done for the people in our lives we would do anything to protect and we could not bear to lose.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Tuesday in Mooseville – Curiosity Piqued. Mississippi. 1890s. The Nadir. 9/10/19

By valor and arms

On September 5th, Janesaunt posted at The Orange about Jennifer Riley Collins, who is running for AG for Mississippi (this is the diary) and the intentional structural difficulties faced by African-American candidates in MS. In the course of preparing her diary, JA discovered and shared some of the grossly racist history of MS and especially the ways in which their constitution is written to ensure the continuance of white supremacy. My history antenna immediately started tingling, and I wanted to take a deeper look at Mississippi’s constitution and history. As so often happens, I meandered a bit in my reading, so what follows is more stream-of-consciousness than a primer on MS. But mostly, it’s a reminder that the Civil War has never ended; it’s just the battlefields and choice of weapons that have changed.

Fighting Back: “Democrats will fight those who are hijacking our Constitution to appease their racist base.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida decrying the Trump administrations diversion of funds earmarked for military families to build his racist border wall.

(Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, the Congresswoman highlighted Democrats’ commitment to fighting Trump’s decision to cancel vital military construction projects.)

“President Trump says he will steal $3.6 billion from projects that the military requested, and Congress appropriated funding for – and divert it to a xenophobic vanity wall project on our Southwest border.

“That $3.6 billion total, for context, is equal to nearly half of the entire Defense Department construction program.

“Let’s forget for a moment that the Constitution expressly forbids this: No President can spend funds not appropriated by Congress.

“Instead, focus on who he’s robbing to pay for this monument to intolerance: Our brave service members.

“Democrats will fight this hijacking aimed at our armed forces every way we can. We’re fighting For The People: to lower health costs and prescription drug prices; to raise wages by rebuilding America’s infrastructure; to clean up corruption to make Washington work for you.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Fighting Back: “Democrats are ready to lead on Gun Safety, on the Climate Crisis, on Health Care.” #VoteTheRepublicansOut

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio wishing working people a happy Labor Day and asking Senate Republicans to pass the gun safety laws that the American people want.

“Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – Democratic Party Weekly Address”

“The President and Congressional Republicans need to stop stigmatizing mental illness, need to stop taking orders from the NRA, need to break their addiction to gun lobby money and need start acting to keep people safe.

People don’t have to keep dying, we have the power, we have the power in Congress right now to stop it. This shouldn’t be a Republican issue, it shouldn’t be a Democratic issue – this is about keeping Americans safe in their homes, in their workplaces, in their churches, in their schools.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Tuesday in Mooseville – Election 2020: My/MI Junior Senator, Gary Peters 8/27/19

US Senator Gary Peters in 2018

I’ve been saying for a few months now that my focus is not on the presidential primary race but on the U.S. Senate race in my own state. Gary Peters is one of two incumbent Democratic senators who is running in a state won by tRump in 2016 (we’re really, really sorry); Doug Jones is the other. Peters, who was described as “about as exciting as a bowl of cold oatmeal” by the head of a Republican super PAC (The low-key, Harley-riding senator Democrats are leaning on to win the majority), is not an attention-grabbing senator and will rarely be seen on the cable new shows. Even in Michigan he’s not a household name or readily recognized; one estimate is that 30% of Michiganders don’t know who he is. What follows are five things you didn’t know about Sen. Gary Peters (but don’t feel badly, because you’re not the only one).

Fighting Back: “Democrats are working #ForThePeople.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota reminding folks once again that the Democrats in the House have passed legislation #ForThePeople and it is being blocked in the Senate by Republicans.

(Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) highlighted progress House Democrats have made For The People, including the passage of H.R. 1, the For The People Act, an historic reform package to restore the promise of our nation’s democracy.)

When we passed the For The People Act, to loosen the grip of special interests on Washington, Mitch McConnell once again refused to act, almost certainly because he knows what keeps him in power: special interests and the unjust laws that disenfranchise way too many American voters.

We’re here to work For The People: to lower health care costs and prescription drug prices, to raise wages by building the infrastructure throughout our country and cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for you.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Celebrating the Joyful Warrior’s ground game, staff and volunteers.

Marque and Nick – two Veterans who volunteered for the Kamala Harris campaign in South Carolina

A presidential campaign has many elements. Big speeches, forums, debates, fundraising, handling interviews. The backbone of a campaign is state and local staff and volunteers; they do the getting out the vote, the phone calling and door knocking. They provide the spark and enthusiasm at rallies and campaign stops. They remain in locations where getting the word out is key, after the candidate moves on to the next event.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Cheat, Fake, Fool, and Lie 8/20/19

Logo for New York Times 1619 Project

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.

Fighting Back: “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s time for action.”

 
 

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.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)