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 – Finding Hope Again 4/16/19

Great Hall, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress

When AG Barr released his four-page summary of the Mueller report, I slammed head- and heart-first into an emotional brick wall. I’ve been reeling ever since with frequent and massive anxiety attacks and enough acid reflux to keep Tums, Zantac, Nexium, and Mylanta in business for a decade or more. The anger, the disgust, the despair, the hopelessness were enough to turn me away from my usual historical reading and buried instead in cozy mysteries and fluffy fiction. But that’s the path of privilege; the path which isn’t immediately and wholly threatened by the choking weeds of corruption and authoritarianism…and so can be used for escape. While my raging gut may have begged for retreat from the realities of tRumpism, I knew it could only be a temporary reprieve while I looked for ways to regroup. I found a path; a path with the most unexpected starting point: the writings of Gloria Jean Watkins, the American author; professor; feminist; and social activist, better known as bell hooks. This won’t be a comprehensive overview of bell hooks’ writing, but a glimpse of the stepping stones made by her that led me to other stones by writers, thinkers, and activists. Stand with me on each stone and feel the power of hope rediscovered.

Tuesday in Mooseville – A Tale of Two Mayors 4/9/19

The cover of a promotional pamphlet from 1922 points to the unending progress that early boosters saw as possible in South Bend.

Janesaunt at The Orange and I decided to work together to read the political memoirs of some of the current presidential candidates and to provide overviews of the books by answering an identical set of questions. I’m kicking off our efforts today with a synopsis and overview of Pete Buttigieg’s Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future. On Thursday, Janesaunt will continue at DK with “her” book and using the same questions. Reading the books does not necessarily mean support of a particular candidate; it’s a means of expanding our knowledge and sharing what we learn with the community.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Unsung: Voices from the Margins 4/2/19

Historical marker for the Highlander Folk School

Note: I started this post in November 2017 but didn’t complete or publish it after deciding that it was a bit too obscure. But then I saw these tweets over the weekend; the devastating loss of archival material makes remembering the work of Highlander more important than ever.

Tuesday in Mooseville – White Centering: It’s A Thing (and we need to recognize it) 3/26/19

Boston cream donuts: white center[ing] acceptable. Elsewhere: problematic.

I recently downloaded Layla F. Saad’s, me and white supremacy workbook (Me and White Supremacy) and have been working through the 28 daily challenges. I recently completed Day 16, “You and White Centering,” so the topic has been very much on my mind. When I involved myself in twitter conversations at the end of last week and over the weekend because I saw white centering happening, it became very clear to me that it’s one of the most difficult white supremacist paradigms to identify and relinquish. Because of that, this may be an uncomfortable post to read. I will be intentionally defusing it by using less personal examples and pointing out instances where white centering is something that other people do. I’m making that choice because this format does not lend itself to the type of constructive back-and-forth conversations that lead to growth. I will also be framing the post in terms of the primary campaigns, assuming that they are a common area of interest that most of us have been following. That also creates several degrees of separation, which allows for a sense of safety. But make no mistake: these are conversations that anyone who wants to claim the name “Ally” needs to be having, both internally and in small group settings, if possible. Comfort and safety are privileges of whiteness; if one wants to be part of deconstructing white supremacy, it will ultimately be necessary to choose to walk away from that refuge and address inequality and injustice with unflinching honesty, a whole lot of humility, and the willingness to fight back against one’s own internalized white supremacy.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Speaking of … 3/19/19

A tangled web, AKA the way my brain works.

I had intended to continue exploring unholy alliances, but a bout with flu-like symptoms for the past 48 hours has stripped me of the concentration needed. If headache, fever, and upset stomach are going to render me even more scattered than usual, I decided to leverage that into a positive. It may be a slightly scary look into the way my brain works (hint: don’t expect a linear progression), but I hope I’ve managed to impose enough discipline to keep to political and historical themes.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Unholy Alliances: NAM Discovers the Fledgling Public Relations Profession 3/12/19

Intro to anticommunist message about a strong dollar — the end of Industry on Parade episode; 11 August 1952

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is an “advocacy group” that was founded in 1895 and is still active and influential today. Almost from the beginning, they have been virulently anti-labor, and its member companies (representing the owners rather than workers) endorsed and used the “American Plan” in an effort to break the backs of unions.

Thursday in Mooseville – Unholy Alliances: DeMille and the Fraternal Order of Eagles 3/7/19

Ten Commandments Monument from the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Austin, Texas. Photograph by J. Williams. (Aug. 26, 2002)

“How can ‘Christians’ support the current pResident?” is a question we’ve all heard over and over again. I, however, think it’s the wrong question, or at least a question that is asked without benefit of a particular type of historical background. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to provide some of that background through stories of past and current “unholy alliances” with the hope that they point to a path for recognizing the tactics used, re-centering conversations, and reclaiming our right to weigh in on issues of morality (whether defined as “Christian” or not).

Tuesday in Mooseville – OTD 2/26/19

A Spring Day, 1873. It’s not spring yet, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that it’s coming.

My planned post for today went by the wayside; it’s hard to write anything remotely coherent when you’re obsessively checking hashtags on Twitter to see if your church has imploded yet. But the thought of a Tuesday without some history was unbearable [to me] too, so here’s a taste of what’s happened on this day.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Slaveholders-in-Chief Cont’d 2/19/19

A former slave of U.S. President Andrew Jackson (probably Betty Jackson) and two of her great-grandchildren; 1867

After Denise’s tour-de-force of a post on Sunday (if you haven’t already, be sure to read it here: I refuse to honor George Washington, and ‘founders’ who enslaved and sold human beings ), my efforts seem meager by comparison. But that’s never stopped me before, and I think it’s important to continue the litany of shame that is as much a part of our national heritage as all the mythology we’ve created about the Founders and their successors. Here then are the final six slaveholding presidents.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Slaveholders-in-Chief 2/12/19

First paragraph of James T. Callender’s newspaper editorial, titled “The President Again,” which first exposed the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, one of Jefferson’s teenaged slaves. (September 1, 1802)

Today’s post is prompted by Dee’s observation that we celebrate Presidents’ Day with no mention of the fact that twelve of them were slaveholders. It occurred to me that I wasn’t sure which twelve those were, beyond the Virginians, Washington and Jefferson. In a just world, we would know the names of those held in bondage and their stories and those of their descendants. With the exception of Sally Hemings and her children, those names are mostly lost, but we can name the presidents. And we can remember our history as it truly is. (Six presidents this week; the last six next week.)