It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village is a reminder of Democratic Party values – especially the values of long time Democrats whose lives have been dedicated to helping people.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Steve King (R[acist]) IA-04 Answers His Own Question and Doesn’t Even Know It 1/15/19

White fragility on display.

 

Iowa Rep. Steve King is facing criticism after he defended white nationalism and white supremacy in an interview. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said to The New York Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” (bolding mine) Iowa Rep. Steve King under fire for remark on white nationalism and white supremacy

I haven’t read the full NYT interview, because I avoid the NYT like the plague. So when the news of Rep. King’s abhorrent comments came out, I initially only heard about the first part of his comment and not about the second half, bolded above. When I finally did, it was a full-blown smack-my-head moment. It is obvious to me, and to anyone not invested in white nationalism, that the reason he (and most of us) learned about the merits of “our” history in the classroom is because our country is built on the existence and promotion of white supremacy. In previous years (especially pre-2008), much of the language and goals were coded, but it wasn’t always that way any more than it is now. Perhaps Rep. King would have benefited from reading some of the primary sources which make explicit the embrace of white supremacy as a guiding principle. I doubt knowing history — unprotected, unhidden, and unvarnished — would stop Rep. King from being an out-and-proud racist at this point, but one can hope for others.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Moments: “…pain and heartache. Joy and beauty as well.” 1/8/19

Embracing.

  Today’s post is inspired by this tweet; I’m not giving up my House afterglow just yet.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Eight Maids A-Milking 1/1/19

 

The Milk Maid (Winslow Homer, 1878

In my tradition, today is the eighth day of Christmastide; in some churches, it is also recognized as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and a day of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. But for most of us, it’s just the eighth day of Christmas, and that means eight maids a-milking. When WYgal at the Orange jokingly mentioned that we could all write posts based on the theme of “our” day, I decided to take up the challenge (while ever so grateful that I didn’t have seven swans a-swimming). What follows is my attempt to write a post that combines a bit of history, something light for a day of vacation/recovery/just-another-Tuesday, and addresses the theme of eight maids a-milking (in this case, milking us of our dollars). Bonus inclusion for those who asked: my aunt’s recipe for Aunt Gussie’s Cloud.

Tuesday in Moosevillle – Memories, Meals, Traditions, and Gifts 12/25/18

I’m looking for the pickle…

I’m sure some of you were opening this post with some trepidation, wondering if I was going to cover some depressing aspect of our history. Surprise! Even though I recognize that Christmas is not a holiday or holy day for all of us, it is part of my tradition. Taking a break from our seamier side is the least I can do; there’s enough ugliness in our current reality without piling on for one day. But history is all about stories, so today, I’m sharing some of my holiday stories and ask you to feel free to do the same. If Christmas isn’t part of your tradition, I’m sure you still have holiday stories, so don’t feel limited. But most of all, enjoy…and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday in Mooseville – Benjamin Tillman (1847-1918) in Pictures and Words 12/18/18

 

Benjamin Tillman, 1910

Last week, one of the correct answers in the game version of Primary Sources was Benjamin Tillman. His name was familiar to me as “some late 1800s politician dude,” but beyond that, I remembered very little. Working on the assumption that I was not alone in a vague remembrance, I decided to shine the spotlight on him this week. I’m not going to provide his overall biography; Wikipedia has a very detailed rundown for those who are interested (Benjamin Tillman). Instead, I’m going to provide pictures of his legacy, interspersed with his own words and words of academics.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Primary Sources The Game: Who Said It? 12/11/18

You may notice these next few weeks…I’m in holiday mode.

I’m leaving Friday morning for our long holiday weekend with The Kiddo and SIL, and that’s where my head is at (and has been for at least a week). So instead of doing a deep dive into some obscure historical figure or event, I thought I’d stick with history…but let the community do the work! I’ll provide the quotes, and you provide the answer (not to worry, I’m making this multiple choice). I have included the hyperlinks to the source of the quote, labeled “Answer found here”, so you can check your answer or, if you’re in a less playful mood, skip the guessing and go straight for the answer. Have fun, and may your curiosity be piqued!

Tuesday in Mooseville – ICYMI: A Gathering in Baltimore Over the Weekend 12/4/18

An UnConvention was held in Baltimore this past weekend.

While The Gathering was happening in Burlington, VT this past weekend, another event was happening that slid under the radar of most reporters and tweeters. RootsCamp 2018 is the [now] biennial, progressive unconference held by Re:Power (which is the rebranded, revised Wellstone Action; some of the story is here: Wellstone is now re:power). Unlike some conferences, the focus for #Roots18 was not the 2020 presidential election but the work that must be done in 2019 and beyond:

RootsCamp is the major conference where you’ll get to debrief the midterm elections – what we won and what we’ve learned. You’ll be alongside progressive leaders from all parts of the movement – organizers, campaigners, data directors, you name it – on setting the tone for 2019. (What is RootsCamp?)

Although Re:Power handled the nuts and bolts of putting the conference together, this is very much a grass-roots driven gathering similar to Netroots Nation. As an “unconference,” the sessions are devised and led by the participants, with discussion moderated by session creators.

At this unconference, The Board is where the conference schedule is set—right in front of your eyes. It is a giant grid of times and locations in the middle of the conference center that a team of volunteers fills with sessions dreamed up and submitted by you, the participants.

All participants are welcome to submit an idea for what we call a “session.” A session just means one 60-minute block of time that you can use for any conversation, training, demonstration, or panel that you think folks in our movements would benefit from.

Some people will arrive with a set plan for a session they want to propose, and—most excitingly—many of you will also design sessions for Sunday based on a “We need to continue this conversation!” moment from Saturday. (The Board)

The theme for this year’s event was Building Local Power with Inclusive Politics.

We’re choosing to zero in on what it means to practice a more inclusive politics and think about ways that we can transform our democracy so that our people win and collectively thrive. Each plenary speaker at RootsCamp speaks to this theme with a unique approach, reflective of the many roles of our movement. (The Theme)

I want to be very clear: I did not attend RootsCamp2018, and in fact, I had forgotten it was happening until I started receiving excited updates from my nephew, who did attend. But I felt this was an important enough event to highlight, using tweets from attendees and articles I’ve found. It’s a(n un) conference I will definitely be considering for 2020.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Primary Sources: William Howard Russell On the Civil War (Finally, Final!) 11/27/18

Caricature of the war correspondent William Howard Russell (1821-1907), from the magazine Punch, October 8, 1881. Artwork by Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910)

Reading the last four letters reprinted by Project Gutenberg (The Civil War in America, by William Howard Russell) was a soul-draining, but necessary, reminder that this is indeed who we are. What these letters show me is that without directly confronting our history, we will repeat our mistakes. Without recognizing the role of myth in the way our history is taught, we will not learn or grow. The good news is that as long as photos of young girls in tears after being tear-gassed shock us; as long as news of the death of yet another African-American man at the hands of police anger us; as long as we are willing to stand up and speak out, we have a chance. Who we are is not who we have to be.

(Today’s quotes provided without commentary; the parallels are so obvious that commentary seems superfluous.)

Tuesday in Mooseville – Primary Sources: William Howard Russell On the Civil War (2nd of 3) 11/20/18

William Howard Russell, “Bull Run Russell”, London Times between 1860 and 1865. First he was feted; then he was shunned.

I’m continuing with William Howard Russell’s dispatches to the London Times, written as he visited the United States at the beginning of the Civil War. Before I return to his reports, I want to share Russell’s philosophy about how his reports were written:

Russell viewed his job as listening to stories and retelling what he heard and saw, as making “bare statements” of fact. Privately, Russell admitted, “I would rather the North shd. be the victor than the South,” but publicly he tried to report what he observed without taking sides. (The Special Correspondent)

Today, we deride this form of journalism as mere stenography, but during the 1860s, the practice of maintaining “journalistic anonymity” and sharing the stories as they were heard was a relatively new practice. Of course, after his acclaimed reports on the Crimean War, Russell had no anonymity, and both North and South were eager to court his attention. Eventually, however, he angered both sides, who viewed him as a supporter of their opponent. The nickname, “Bull Run Russell” was a sarcastic and angry jibe by northerners at his brutal reporting on the Northern retreat after Bull Run. It would not take long for Southerners to join the North in its dismissive and often abusive attitude towards William Howard Russell.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Primary Sources: William Howard Russell On the Civil War 11/13/18

William Howard Russell during the Crimean War, 1855

I had never heard of William Howard Russell before reading Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Christopher Dickey (h/t basket and janesaunt for the book recommendation). Russell is NOT the secret agent of the book title; he was a foreign correspondent for The Times of London, who first gained fame as a Crimean War correspondent. His blunt and realistic portrayals of the cost of war were shocking and mobilizing for the British public, and Florence Nightingale is alleged to have been motivated to get involved with and change battlefield treatment practices in part because of Russell’s dispatches. In 1861, he travelled to the United States and the Confederate States, and his observations were published in the Confederacy-supporting Times. What follows are excerpts from his dispatches; the collection from which I am drawing is available here: The Civil War in America.