Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Power Of Virtuous Women

Proverbs 31:10
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Occasionally I see bumper stickers or tee shirts that say well behaved women seldom make history. My problem with the so-called feminist movement is that it teaches that bad behavior is something to be admired and honored. Just like the counterculture has taught us that rebellion for the sake of rebellion or disrespecting authority is a good thing. If it feels good do it. Thus the entitled generation.There is even a book titled (Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History) by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. I am familiar with four of the six women in the above picture and I don't think these four women are necessarily known for their bad behavior. Marie Curie did pioneering research on radioactivity. Joan of Arc was martyred for being obedient to God. At least in her own mind. Maria Montessori was an educator who started the Montessori school system and tried to help mentally disabled children and juvenile delinquents among others. The fourth woman in the picture I am familiar with is Rosa Parks. Many think that Rosa Parks was tired after a long day at work and just on a whim she decided to violate Montgomery's segregation laws by refusing to give up her seat. There is some truth to this. She was tired after a long day at work. However the Montgomery civic leaders had been planning a Rosa Parks moment for months. They wanted a test case where they could challenge Montgomery's unjust segregation laws. Rosa Parks was picked to do this because of her normally good behavior and respected image in the community. On the other hand very few people have ever heard of Claudette Colvin. 
Claudette Colvin
  Nine months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, fifteen year old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on March 2, 1955. Colvin had been studying Black history during what was then called Negro History month that February in her segregated school. She was inspired by Black heroines like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. When two White police officers showed up to force her to move she declared that it was her constitutional right and she wasn't moving. She was arrested, removed from the bus, and jailed. Her protest was a completely heroic and spontaneous act. Unlike Rosa Parks it had not been planned in advance. Colvin wanted to fight her arrest in court but the NAACP, ACLU and the Black civic leaders wanted someone older than Colvin . A lighter skinned black person and a good example from the black Middle class. Colvin was shunned by parts of the black community after her arrest. Her ultimate fate was sealed when she became pregnant out of wedlock. Good girls, black or white, did not do this in the 1950's. Rosa Parks was a hero but this girls action deserves even greater recognition in my opinion. Claudette Colvin's name is lost to history.

 I am a real feminist and always have been. In my opinion, women should be able to go as far as their talents can take them. Just like a man should be able to do. Women have made strong leaders. Queen Elizabeth 1, Queen Victoria, Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir, just to name a few. It surprises me sometimes how many women do not agree with me. Many women think that they are not strong enough to be leaders. I would vote for a woman for president in a heartbeat if the right one came along. Carly Fiorina was my first pick, even before Ted Cruz in 2016 but she wasn't able to gain any traction. If a woman can perform as well as a man in any job, physically, mentally and emotionally they should be hired for that job. However physical standards should not be lowered to accommodate women. Nor do I believe that women should serve in combat units. Mainly to maintain combat effectiveness and unit cohesion. Sexual tension, and physical strength differences, have no place in combat units. Exceptions to this rule could be Russia in WW2. It was fighting for it's very survival and Israel, which is in a similar situation, most of the time. Although there are women in the Israeli Army, even the Israeli's don't like to use them in combat. I am all for women serving in support units however.

The pseudo feminist movement in this country insists that women worship at the alter of abortion, or pro-choice, which is no choice at all. A woman choosing to keep her baby is not their first choice. They only support women whose choice is to be a Democrat. A women who chooses to be a Republican or a Conservative is not much better than a whore. They definitely do not celebrate the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10 or the millions of virtuous women like my wife who have raised 5 virtuous people including 3 virtuous women. Nor the impact women like my wife have had on their grandchildren that she had a hand in raising. The hand that rocks the cradle truly rules the world. Why should a woman have to misbehave in order to go down in history? Men are not required to do that. Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks were good women placed in an intolerable situation. Why should I believe that my wife or daughters wouldn't do the same thing in a similar situation? No one would even know who U.S.Grant was had there not been a Civil War. More than likely he would have died in obscurity. The feminist movement has done it's fair share to destroy the family and denigrate the American male. Modern feminism, like liberalism itself, encourages bad and destructive behavior. It is character that makes great people and great leaders. In that category I put my money on the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:10.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Twilight Zone

Imagine a world where Democratic presidents are placed under a media scrutiny 24/7. Where their every word is blown out of proportion. Scandals are investigated  and remain newsworthy for weeks and months on end. Calls for special prosecutors and impeachment are made not only by the opposing political party but their own political party. They are viciously belittled by late night comedians on a nightly basis and Republican presidents are viewed as brilliant while Democrat presidents become idiotic, bigoted, bumbling fools. You, my friend, would be traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Providential Punishment

When a person dies they will be either be rewarded with eternal life or eternal damnation at some point in the future. When a nation dies it is dead and will never rise again. George Mason, a Founding Father and the Father of the Bill of Rights explains that a nation will also answer to God. Not in the afterlife but in this life. " As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities".

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lyndon B. Johnson - Standing In The Kennedy Shadow

  John Kennedy is a hero to Kennedy worshipers and many Black people for his stance on civil rights. Conservatives admire him for his tax cuts. I admire him for both. He was late putting his money where his mouth was on civil rights. Prior to June 1963 Kennedy was trying to manage the progress of  civil rights while at the same time trying not to politically alienate the South. As it turned out instead of  Kennedy managing civil rights, events were managing him. The Greensboro and Nashville sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the integration of Ole Miss, and the Birmingham Children's march just to name a few. The direct action of the Nashville students like Diane Nash, James Bevel, John Lewis, James Lawson, Marion Barry, and others and then there was Martin Luther King himself. Kings letter from the Birmingham jail condemning the moderates on civil rights had a great impact on Kennedy. On June 11, 1963 Kennedy gave a great speech that boldly proclaimed that civil rights for Black people was a moral issue that could no longer be ignored. Kennedy also announced his intention to pass a civil rights bill with real teeth. The following is a few words from that speech. "If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?" June 11th was also important because the Kennedy administration was working to get two Black students admitted to the University of Alabama and later that night Medgar Evers was brutally murdered in front of his family. No one can doubt that Kennedy intentions's were honorable and he had turned a corner on civil rights. Kennedy however would never have been able to pass civil rights legislation or his tax cut bill if he had lived. Congress had been losing power and influence to the executive branch for years. In 1937 Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court because he was upset that there were too many conservative judges. They had stood in the way of his New Deal programs and had declared them unconstitutional. Congress was so outraged at Roosevelt's blatant grab for power that conservative Republicans formed a powerful coalition with Southern Democrats. Together they would successfully block civil rights legislation until 1957. I believe that conservative Republicans were more concerned with stopping the expansion of Federal power under Roosevelt and the increase in Federal spending rather than stopping civil rights legislation. Roosevelt had always been at odds with Southern Democrats but had tried to woo their support by not rocking the boat on civil rights. This Democrat, Republican coalition would block pretty much everything until Lyndon Johnson became Senate Majority leader in 1955. Because of Johnson's skill and ruthlessness he was able to pass Civil Rights legislation in 1957 and 1960. They were watered down bills but the first civil rights legislation since Lincoln and the Republican Congress passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Johnson was mistrusted by civil rights groups and Northern liberals because of his image as a segregationist. However he had allowed the 1957 and 60 civil rights acts to be watered down because he knew that any progress was better than nothing. Blacks had had nothing for close to one hundred years.

  Lyndon Johnson had missed his last chance at becoming president in 1960 when he lost the nomination to John Kennedy. Luckily for Johnson, Kennedy chose him to be his Vice Presidential candidate. This was a brilliant decision on Kennedy's part. Johnson would help Kennedy win Texas and the South in one of the closest elections in American history. For a man like Johnson the office of the Vice President was like living in hell. He was no longer relevant. The crown jewels of Kennedy's legislative program was a substantial tax cut to spur the economy and civil rights legislation. He had other legislation that he wanted to pass. Because of Johnson's experience in Congress Kennedy asked his advice on the best way to advance his legislative agenda. Johnson told him that if he proposed the civil rights bill first, everything else would be held hostage to civil rights by the Southern Democrats. Kennedy did not take his advice and sent his civil rights bill to congress anyway. In the first few months after Kennedy's death Johnson was able to accomplish more legislatively than Kennedy had accomplished during his three years in office. It was an absolutely amazing accomplishment in my view. Johnson's first priority was passing the tax cut bill. If he could pass it first the tax cut bill could not be held hostage by the civil rights bill. Virginia segregationist senator Harry Byrd, a virolent racist, headed up the Senate Finance committee that controlled the tax cut legislation. Byrd had the power to kill the bill but Johnson knew the way to Byrd's heart. He was for very limited government and was known for his frugality. Johnson met with Byrd and asked what it would take to get the tax bill out of committee. Byrd wanted a Federal budget of no more than 100 billion dollars for 1965. Johnson was able to deliver with a proposed federal budget well under 100 billion. The Revenue Act was passed, with bi-partisan support, on February 26, 1964. It would be responsible for one of the longest periods of economic growth in American history. The Revenue Act would be a model for the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980's that spurred the longest period of economic growth in American history that lasted until the housing collapse of 2008.

  Johnson was able to clear the legislative agenda before his full court press on the civil rights bill. He was able to garner much Democratic support but he realized that he would not be able to pass it without Republican support. Johnson appealed to the Republican legacy of being the Party of Lincoln. The bill passed the House with a vote of 290 for and 130 against. When the bill reached the Senate segregationist Southern senators waged a 75 day filibuster. Modern Democrat hero Robert Byrd, a former KKK member, spoke in the filibuster for 14 consecutive hours. After a hard fight the filibuster was broken and the 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed on July 2, 1964. Johnson insisted that this bill would not be watered down like the 57 and 60 civil rights legislation. Amazingly Johnson was able to give Blacks the right to vote just one year later in 1965. This bill brought about more change than anything because White politicians in the South, like George Wallace, now had a new constituency that could not be ignored. That is if they wanted to win elections in the future. Because of these bills the South would become one of the most progressive and economically vibrant areas of the country. For the Kennedy fans that try to give him most of the credit for the Revenue Act and the Civil Rights Act, there is no way that Kennedy could have passed these bills. Richard Russell, the powerful segregationist senator from Georgia, knew Johnson better than anyone. Paraphrasing Russell he essentially said that he never worried about Kennedy in regard to the Civil Rights Act. He knew that the Southern coalition could stop civil rights. Johnson however was a horse of a different color. Russell knew that Johnson would find a way to pass it. Because of Johnson's War on Poverty, and his war in Vietnam, I am not a Johnson fan. On the tax cuts and civil rights he deserves the lions share of the credit.        

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Great American Hero - Samuel Whittemore

  Samuel Whittemore was an American patriot born in England on July 27th, 1695. Sam was nearly eighty years old when the Redcoats and Patriots clashed at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. He came to America in the service of the British Dragoons and fought the French. Sam fought the French at the battle for Fort Louisburg where he captured a French officers sword. A sword he would cherish for the rest of his life. Whenever anyone asked how he came by the sword his standard reply was that the previous owner had "died suddenly".  After the war he settled in Menotomy Massachusetts. Between two wives he fathered eight children. Three sons and five daughters. Menotomy is now Arlington Massachusetts and his house still stands. In 1758, during the French and Indian War he volunteered to fight at the age of 64 and was with Colonial troops when they again attacked Fort Louisburg. He finished the war with British general James Wolfe's forces at Quebec. After this decisive victory that ended the war in 1763 he left his family again to fight the famous Indian chief Pontiac. He returned a few months later in the possession of a nice set of dueling pistols. Again, when anyone asked him how he got them his answer was the same. The previous owner "died suddenly". By the onset of the American Revolution Sam was a dedicated American patriot. He stated that "he wanted his descendants to be able to enact their own laws and not be subject to a distant king". Sam watched the British march past his house on the way to Lexington and Concord. He later heard rumors that there had been fighting between them and the Patriots. Sam took up an exposed position waiting for the Kings soldiers to pass by on their way back to Boston. He had a great view of the road that they would be taking and fellow Minutemen pleaded with him to find a safer spot but he ignored them.  At the North Bridge in Concord a wounded British soldier was dispatched with a hatchet. The British soldiers saw him slumped over a railing as they recrossed the North Bridge. Because of the severity of the wound they assumed that he had been scalped and his ears cut off. A rumor spread through the entire British ranks that the colonists were not taking prisoners and were mutilating and scalping the wounded! When these soldiers ran into Sam Whittemore they weren't in a forgiving mood. Especially since the Colonists had been sniping at them the whole way from Concord to Menotomy. The Minuteman at Menotomy started firing at the British soldiers and fell back to reload. They fired again while Sam waited patiently for a clear shot. When the column was directly in front of him, he fired his musket killing one soldier. Then drew his pistols, firing both at point blank range. A second soldier died and a third was mortally wounded. By this time the British soldiers were on top of him. He didn't have time to reload his musket or pistols. Sam drew his prized French sword and began slashing at the Redcoats. A soldier fired his .69 caliber Brown Bess musket at point blank range. The huge musket ball hit Sam in the cheek and ripped away part of his face. The impact knocked him to the ground. Trying to rise Sam fought bravely to thwart the British bayonet thrusts with his sword. He was overpowered and bashed in the head with a musket butt which knocked him to the ground again. Helpless he was bayoneted thirteen times and left for dead. This Patriot badass was very much alive when his fellow Minutemen found him after the battle. He was trying to reload his musket lying there in the road. The British lost more men in this encounter than at any point of the battles for Lexington and Concord. The Americans killed 40 regular soldiers and wounded 80. Half of the total casualties for the entire day. Sam was not expected to live and his friends carried him home to die as comfortable as possible. There he would be surrounded by his family in his last hours. Unbelievably he survived for another 18 years but horribly scarred. The scars were a badge of honor however and this great American hero lived to the ripe old age of 98.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Miscegenation

  As a student of American history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the subject of race and it's complexities, has always fascinated me. You cannot understand American history while at the same time ignoring the subject of race. Alexis Toqueville, the young Frenchman who observed American society in 1831 said that the legacy of slavery in America would be that we would always have a race problem. The following is from his book Democracy in America. "If we reason from what passes in the world, we should almost say that the European is to the other races of mankind what man himself is to the lower animals: he makes them subservient to his use, and when he cannot subdue he destroys them. Oppression has, at one stroke, deprived the descendants of the Africans of almost all the privileges of humanity. The Negro of the United States has lost even the remembrance of his country; the language which his forefathers spoke is never heard around him; he abjured their religion and forgot their customs when he ceased to belong to Africa, without acquiring any claim to European privileges. But he remains half-way between the two communities, isolated between two races; sold by the one, repulsed by the other; finding not a spot in the universe to call by the name of country, except the faint image of a home which the shelter of his master's roof affords". I am not a Southern apologist or denier when it comes to slavery. There was no worse place to be, if you were Black, than in the South. Both before and after the Civil War. However the North was no picnic for them. The following is what Toqueville said about the free Black in the North. Which could have also been written in the early twentieth century. “In almost all the states where slavery has been abolished, voting rights have been granted to the Negro, but, if he comes forward to vote, he risks his life. He is able to complain of oppression but he will find only whites among the judges. Although the law makes him eligible for jury service, prejudice wards him off from applying. His son is excluded from the school where the sons of Europeans come to be educated. At the theatre, any amount of gold could not buy him the right to take his seat beside his former master; in hospitals, he lies apart. The black is allowed to pray to the same God as the whites but not at the same altars. He has his own priests and churches. Heaven’s gates are not blocked against him. However, inequality hardly stops at the threshold of the next world. When the Negro passes on, his bones are cast aside and the differences in social conditions are found even in the leveling of death. Thus, the Negro is free but is able to share neither the rights, pleasures, work, pains, nor even the grave with the man to whom he has been declared equal…”

  The thing that seems to evoke the most visceral reaction from many white people is the subject of interracial dating and marriage. People will claim to be open minded on race until that subject comes up. That is where the line is drawn. I can honestly say that I have always been in favor of people being able to date and marry whoever they want to, as long as it is of the opposite sex. If Christians are going to be part of the family of God when they get to heaven then what difference does it make if we mix here on earth? People have even tried to use the Bible to condemn interracial marriage. I have never seen anything in the Bible that condemns it. If anything the Bible appears to support it. In the book of Numbers God was angry with Miriam and Aaron because they criticized Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman. Miriam was cursed with leprosy. I think that the biggest reason many whites were opposed to integration and bussing was the fear that their children would become romantically and sexually involved with other black children. Being in such close proximity with them in school rooms and busses. Many people had legitimate reasons for being against busing and I was one of them. Many whites removed their kids and their money from public schools to avoid having their kids bussed to an inner city school. This destroyed the neighborhood schools leaving behind poor black and white children who did not have the option to leave. Desegregation rather than integration was the way to go. I use my high school as a perfect example. East Nashville high school had a black neighborhood west of the school and white neighborhoods to the south, east and north. You could draw a 360 degree circle around it and everyone regardless of race would be eligible to attend school there. It would not be the end of the world if a school was mostly white, mostly black, or all white or black for that matter. Upon graduation most people will interact with blacks if you are white. Or whites if you are black. This interaction will happen in the military, higher education, and the business world. The whole problem with separate but equal as defined in the Supreme Court case, Plessy vs. Ferguson was that black and white schools were separate but definitely not equal. Whites got the best facilities, the best books, and the most money. White schools were more likely to have parent participation and parent money flowing into those schools. After integration and bussing, and because of white fears, they began moving to mostly or all white suburbs and placing their kids in all white private schools. Even prosperous black families left the inner cities to move away from failing inner city schools. The unintended consequence of integration and the way government handled it was the deterioration of public education. 

  When I moved to Rutherford County in 1979 my son Rob was being bussed to an inner city elementary school when he could just have easily gone to Cole elementary which was in our neighborhood. He had gone to that school until the fifth grade. There were blacks at Cole and one of his closest friends was black. He had slept over at his house on occasion.  Rob was going to be bussed for miles to an inner city Middle school named Cameron instead of being allowed to go to Apollo,  which was the closest school in Antioch. Cameron was in a crime ridden area of Nashville. Because of bussing kids were having to get up a lot earlier than was normal and not getting home until very late. Bussing was expensive, causing wear and tear on the vehicles and then there was the cost of extra fuel. Bussing was not new. When schools were segregated blacks were routinely bussed past the nearest school which was white, to a black school that was farther away. It was a bad idea then and it was a bad idea during the time that schools were being integrated. Many whites were like me in that my objections to bussing were not based on a fear of racial mixing or race at all. My objection was the impracticability of it and the destruction of quality education education in this country. There is no doubt however that many whites had the age old racist fear of miscegenation. These whites have made it clear to me on occasion how adamantly they are opposed to whites and blacks dating and marrying. Harry Byrd, the famous segregationist senator from Virginia, who died in 1966, was very much opposed to the 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education decision and the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This was because of the possibility of miscegenation or race mixing. He said "Six year old children of both races were going to be assembled in little huts before the bus comes, and the bus will then be packed like sardines, and everyone knew what would come of that. What our people most fear is that by this close intimate contact future generations will intermarry. Intermarriage! Miscegenation!-- the mongrel race." Byrd was right. Intermarriage has been the result of integration. However, he is wrong that we are a mongrel race. God doesn't make junk. He creates people with souls and free moral agents with the ability to choose right from wrong. I have always told my children that they were free to choose a mate of any race. I would much rather see them pick a person of good character than to be burdened with a white person who is no good. There are good people that I know will disagree with my views. Unfortunately, I believe that far too many white people would still agree with Harry Byrd.