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 – Night One, Part One 6/25/19

TOP, L-R:  Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard BOTTOM, L-R: Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Timothy Ryan, Elizabeth Warren

 Tomorrow night is Night One of the Democratic presidential debates. From 9-11pm (Eastern), NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo will be in Miami, with “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, “The Rachel Maddow Show” host Rachel Maddow, and “Noticias Telemundo” anchor José Diaz-Balart serving as the moderators. Although NBC has been soliciting questions from its viewers, NBC will be determining which questions to ask. What follows are thumbnails of the Night One candidates to help you prepare for debate-watching.

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Six-Week Filibuster 6/18/19

Promotional still from the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, published in National Board of Review Magazine; November 1939.

On December 20, 2018, the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018 passed the Senate by unanimous consent. After 200 attempts since 1882, this was the first federal anti-lynching legislation to pass in the Senate. It was passed again by unanimous consent in the 116th Congress in February 2019 and sent to the House, where it has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. (Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2019) If passed by the House and signed by the Current pResident, the legislation will be historic and unfortunately, still necessary:

Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., drafted the bipartisan legislation, which defines the crime as “the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person.” It also classifies lynching as a hate crime that would warrant enhanced sentences.
“It’s a travesty that despite repeated attempts to do so, Congress still hasn’t put anti-lynching legislation on the books,” Booker said in a statement. “This bill will right historical wrongs by acknowledging our country’s stained past and codifying into law our commitment to abolishing this shameful practice.” African-American Senators Introduce Anti-Lynching Bill

I was reminded of this legislation when I was considering the lengths to which white supremacists will go to retain power, which in turn reminded me of a previous anti-lynching bill and the 6-week filibuster. That story follows.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Falling Down the Rabbit Hole Again 6/11/19

Michigan state flower.

I spent the weekend in the garden, and the repetitive, simple acts of digging up unwanted re-seeders and spreaders (are they “weeds” if their only crime is being in the wrong place?) leaves one time to think. Did I ponder the meaning of life? Did I discover the cure for the common cold? Did I figure out the key to achieving world peace? Of course not. Instead, I found myself wondering why the Ohio state flower is the carnation, when it is far from a common or native plant grown in Ohio gardens. And then I wondered what the Michigan state flower was. (I grew up in Ohio, so I learned these basics in 8th grade Ohio history. I have far less knowledge of Michigan trivia.) This simple train of thought led to a rabbit hole of discovery which was more interesting than I would have anticipated.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Maybe It’s Time to Believe ‘Em 6/4/19

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: Personhood restrictions, exclusion of women and “Indians”…it’s all right there.

I think we all realize at this point that the phrase, “This is not who we are!” is more a statement of wishful thinking than objective reality. It’s a statement of privilege for those who have never had to confront oppression before; it’s a statement of disappointment for those who have been taught and believed in American exceptionalism; it’s even occasionally a statement of defiance from activists who are fighting for change. For the longest time, I would hear or see this phrase and react with a cynical, “It’s precisely who we are!” But time has shown me that, more often than not, the utterance of that phrase is also a turning point for an individual; it’s the point where a good many folks turn from a simplistic, disengaged understanding of issues to an attempt to understand; to change; and to engage. It’s also the point where a fair number start to recognize the truth in Dr. Maya Angelou’s words, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” We’ve had lots of first times in this country; maybe it’s time to believe ’em.

Tuesday in Mooseville – If A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, What Is A Mural Worth? 5/28/19

Man and Machinery. One of Diego Rivera’s mammoth Detroit Industry murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts; 1933

I first discovered mural art when I moved to Michigan and visited the Rivera Court at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA). Since that first visit, I’ve made more visits to the DIA than I can count, and a I’d say that more than half of those visits have been to the court alone. There’s something direct and unvarnished in public murals that appeals to me. So when JanF shared a tweet of the Harriet Tubman mural, I was transfixed. It’s clear I’m not the only one.

When I went to the Post Office on Friday to buy some stamps, the postal clerk, who knows my interest in history (small town living FTW!), suggested I would like the newly-released Post Office mural stamps. She was right, and in the process, gave me a topic for today’s post. When life gives you murals, write about them.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Ode to the Paper Bag and Other Items of a Bygone Era 5/21/19

Grocery bag, book cover, part of herstory, and culture-changer.

Sometimes a peripheral observation in a book sets off a series of musings and memories. The paragraph that started this train of thought:

The development of the first practical mass-produced paper bags was spurred, like so many other things, by the Civil War, as northern mill operators sought a replacement for cotton sacks. In 1870 the mechanical process to stamp out today’s familiar bag was patented, and the relationship between consumers and products began to change forever. Purchasers had been taking their own containers to grocers in in order to carry products home and thus were constrained from buying more of an item then they had planned, on impulse; the arrival of cheap, mass-produced paper bags allowed buyers to carry home as much as they wanted of what they saw in the store. (Manring, M.M., Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima, University Press of Virginia, 1998, pp. 62-63)

This post is 50% nostalgia (and perhaps confirmation that I am an Official Old), but the other 50% is presenting the question (with no answers provided), “Would reclaiming some of the past be better for our future?” for your consideration.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Why White Folk Understanding the Racist Mammy Archetype Matters 5/14/19

Please, Mammy (1899)

Over the weekend, a Bill Maher-initiated hashtag on Twitter caught fire amongst too many on the Left. It was a play on a racist slur used by 45* against Sen. Warren, and far too many failed to realize that playing with the words of a racist slur was not clever, but an extension and reiteration of the essential racism. For once, I found myself in the position of understanding how unacceptable the hashtag was without having it spelled out to me, but as I saw white person after white person repeating the hashtag (and often arguing with those who asked that they stop), it was an object lesson in privilege trumping good politics, good citizenship, and good sense. I also realized that a fair number of tweeters stopped using the hashtag when asked without really understanding the layers and nuances of why the hashtag was offensive. That’s another privilege that comes with Whiteness, but it’s in understanding subtleties that White folk can learn to be better allies. For this post, I’m going to look not just at a stereotype that few would have trouble recognizing as racist, but at some of the underlying assumptions that are less recognized but no less harmful.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Book Break! Bargain Bin Brain Candy 5/7/19

Between work hours that are almost identical to my library’s open hours (making library visits next-to-impossible) and my habit of reading in bed at night (with a dog sleeping against my shoulder, effectively limiting me to one arm/hand), my reading is mostly done on my Nook these days. The only downside to that is that sometimes it’s too easy to buy books, and I end up with more month than budget. This past month I was left with plenty to read, but it was all brain-main-course, when I needed some dessert. It was time to peruse the $2.99 and under offerings, and I lucked out in a big way.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Popping One’s Own Bubbles 4/30/19

Almost popped.

This is a personal post. It’s part confession; part tearing at the fabric of my own privilege and hubris; and part invitation to examine one’s own influences and determine if there are any bubble that need popping. It has been prompted by a realization I had last week; one in a long series of revelations that I’ve been having as my historical, political, and social justice awareness has increased. I’m not sure what it says about either myself or our white supremacist system that I seem to be doing my greatest amount of learning post-age-60, but I find some small comfort in the fact I’m still capable of popping my own bubbles.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Remembering One Year On (James Cone) 4/23/19

Dr. James Cone at the 174th Convocation of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (9 September 2009)

On April 28, 2018, James Hal Cone, considered a father of black liberation theology, died at the age of 79. I never knew Dr. Cone, but I spent most of my adult years knowing of him. He taught at my college for several years; by the time I started, he had moved on and been at Union Theological Seminary for a number of years as a rising star of black theology. His departure for Union made it possible for my alma mater to hire a new religion professor, a friend of Cone’s, who became my mentor as a pre-seminary student. It was because of this friendship between a white early church theologian and a black liberation theologian that I first learned of and started reading Dr. Cone’s works, and his second book (published in 1970 and revised in 1986), A Black Theology of Liberation is one that I keep close on my headboard bookshelf. But why is Dr. Cone someone to be remembered? These are my reasons.