The Shrew View on Progress vs Progressivism

I am not a big fan of what is currently called “identity politics” which seems to be infiltrating many discussions (political or not) these days. I think the focus on marginalized people only adds to the struggle our country has to free itself from the scourge of “ism’s” that should not define people. I’ve heard it argued that it is because of our whiteness in the United States that people of color have little success in our culture. In this case the “whiteness” means that white people who hold all the privileges unconsciously exclude people of color (POC) in hiring practices and/or promotion choices and if they consciously exclude POC then this practice is biased and racist, and that without exception white people are all racist as well as the U.S. culture itself including its science and curricula.

I have also heard it said that it takes three generations to get past a traumatic experience…This makes some sense. As Erich Fromm puts it, “…something life defining and deeply intimate is over.” The child recognizes how the former generation as shaped their own experiences and how they have been charged through the stories and experiences to carry the trauma into the future. One helps to heal future generations by rising above the remnants of these past injuries. This is the very definition of the word progress. AND I believe this progress works within cultural traumas as well.

Our most recent example of a cultural trauma is 9/11. My generation bore witness to a tragic man made event which killed thousands of people on American soil on September 11, 2001. My children are growing up with the stories about the event which include stories that affected my family who were traveling by plane from Boston on that morning. Now, every time my children travel they must listen to my admonition to be safe and stay aware of their surroundings, look for exits and never let down their guard. They were in elementary school at the time of 9/11 so these stories have been transferred to them in ways that I might not totally comprehend, yet they live their lives with less attachment to this event as will their children who will hopefully not even need to experience the left-over wars against terrorism that still exist today. My grandchildren will live with the televised memorial ceremonies, but they will be far removed from the actual trauma. This progress toward healing is culturally significant and forever part of U.S. history because we must never forget in order to not repeat these actions. Experience is felt on an individual basis…My experience isn’t the same as your experience.

With identity politics the marginalized groups will never experience the progress of healing if their stories are not allowed to have generational closure. When no closure occurs, then Progressivism is allowed to rear its ugly head. Progressivism advocates social reform with goals that are politically motivated. It demands radical change in current cultural systems in order to “improve” society. The people who push for progressive methods care little for historical context. Instead, the leap forward must be made based on current thought, expert advise and/or empathetic emotion.

If we take a look at the historical context of the Emancipation Proclamation, we can learn a lot about progress vs Progressivism:

The Civil War started in 1861 because the Confederate southern slave states did not want to be part of the United States if they could not keep slavery in tact. It wasn’t until the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 that the slaves were finally freed…Many of these freed slaves fought in the Civil War against the Confederacy, and the addition of these men to the Union effort helped to win the Civil War against the Confederacy. There were many proud acts of heroism by Negro soldiers during that time.

When the Civil War ended in 1865, Congress enacted the Freedman’s Bureau and passed the Civil Rights Bill in 1866 after Lincoln’s death because the southern states which were majority Democrat began to pass their own “black codes” to hinder the progress of Negroes in their states. Congress at that time was majority Republican. Andrew Johnson (Lincoln’s Vice President and now President after Lincoln’s assassination) did not want to force reconstruction of the south because he was determined to respect states’ rights, however the Congress over-rode his veto of The Reconstruction Act of 1867 and both the 14th and 15th Amendments. For ten years Negroes enjoyed the freedoms of all free male citizens and held many state and Congressional leadership roles. During this time the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) targeted many Republicans, whites and blacks who were sympathetic to the reconstruction.

Even though great strides were being made toward civil freedoms at this time, uncontrollable events happened to cause an economic depression during 1874. The financial panic of 1873 was a result of over-expansion in industry and railroads, a drop in European demand for American farm products, and a drop off of European investment. To compound matters, the U.S. Congress (which had long held its Republican majority) was pushed to pass the Compromise of 1876 which resulted in the U.S. federal government pulling the last troops out of the South ending the Reconstruction era. After this happened the southern states reverted many Negro owned lands back to whites, enacted segregation laws and worked to disenfranchise the negro. These regressive conditions would remain in place for a century until the 1965 Civil Rights Movement.

What can we learn from these historical events? Here are my thoughts:

1) The country was divided philosophically. There were slave states where slavery was legal and “free” states where slavery was illegal. Abolition of slavery was being thought about since about 1830, one generation before the Civil War.

2) “Rights” were understood as property rights and state’s rights, therefore the Confederacy of southern states saw Lincoln’s actions as tyrannical. We should keep in mind that at this time “civil rights” were not a concept, for instance during this time women could only own inherited property and their rights were limited to state enacted laws.

3) Slaves were “property”. The Civil War happened because the southern slave states wanted their autonomy as slave states, but Lincoln and the Republican controlled Congress did not want a “divided” country.

4) The Emancipation Proclamation was finally given almost two years after the war started because the Confederacy’s strength needed to be crippled. Freed slaves signed up for the fight against the Confederacy even though they had no guarantee of a sure outcome. Their heroism needs to be recognized in our history books and with more statues since these stories and their context in history help future generations heal from the trauma of slavery.

5) The Civil Rights Bill of 1866 was the first federal law to define citizenship and affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law without regard to race, color, or previous condition. We must remember that a law does not necessarily change hearts and minds…The southern states still had the autonomy to pass laws to curb the conduct of Negroes therefore Congress passed the 14th amendment (no state shall enact laws that abridge the privileges or immunities of U.S. citizens) and 15th amendment (the right of citizens to vote can not be abridged by the U.S. or any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude). Also, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act to enforce compliance by the southern states after the Civil War.

6) The Republican Congress at that time was in a struggle with President Andrew Johnson over Presidential powers…Johnson wanted to be more lenient with Reconstruction. What does his impeachment teach us about the balance of power during that time?

7) Reconstruction enforcement remained for only ten years…Economic uncertainty and politics unfortunately did not allow for the new conditions under military enforcement to remain for longer because if they had remained for at least ten more years, I believe the next generation would have been closer to healing the trauma of slavery. Instead, southern Democrat leaders began to implement “progressive” laws to deal with “improving” society in their states, and the KKK was allowed to run rampant.

8) The actions from 1830 to 1876 were progress for the anti-slavery movement and the future “civil rights” that we think of today…REMEMBER that only white men with property could vote during much of this time AND reason prevailed. “Whiteness” could not necessarily be equated to being “Racist”.

The Preamble ratified June 21, 1788:

WE THE PEOPLE of the United States of America, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America...This Preamble sets the tone for progress!

My next blog will focus on the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement and the progress that was made during that time toward civil justice.

Shrewd Awakenings…Truth or Consequences

Enough time has gone by now…

Yes my friends, it was a game show.  You, the viewing audience have been allowed to witness a game for which truth still leaves many questions as actual facts are manipulated for a ridiculously consequential outcome.

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Before “Beulah the Buzzer” sounded (in this case Beulah was the vote to acquit President Trump on two articles of impeachment) each contestant (in this case 100 Senators) had to answer to the viewers (in this case the American people) three questions.  What were the three questions?

Here is my take:

1) Did the House enter into legitimate impeachment inquiry proceedings?

2) What did the “High Misdemeanor” accomplish?

3) Can a Senator keep their seat if he or she didn’t impeach President Trump?

Here are my answers:

1) There was no whole House vote to enter into the impeachment inquiry, but just because there is a House majority of Democrats, the majority should be careful to not enter into a partisan process as they did.  To force a one sided Democratically called witness review which was done in partial secrecy was wrong, and to leak some of this secret testimony to the press for speculative and sensationalist review was compromising to the process.  Even though beginning the inquiry was done legitimately, its implementation was ultimately problematic to their case.

2) The “High Misdemeanor” of saying Joe Biden’s name in relation to a corrupt Ukrainian Company during a head of state phone call accomplished the Democrat’s mission to find a ruse for the impeachment of President Trump.

From the un-redacted transcript of President Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky, President Trump says, “…There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.  Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it…It sounds horrible to me.”  President Trump never said, “…so if you could get the Attorney General to investigate Biden’s involvement with the corrupt company (AKA Burisma Holdings), this would be a great help to my campaign.”  But that is exactly what the Democrats would want you to believe.  Instead, President Trump who is the chief law enforcement officer of the USA wants to know on behalf of a lot of people (AKA taxpayers) if Burisma would ever be investigated for corruption.  Interestingly, Biden’s action of holding back United States taxpayer funds to the Ukraine government in 2014 for six hours while he forced the firing of a Ukrainian investigator who was looking into Burisma corruption does appear to be a quid pro quo by Biden and was never brought up as being a wrong action even though he is on camera bragging about it in 2018.

Also from the transcript, “…Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the Parliament in September.  He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue…”  President Zelensky said that his intention was to investigate the company known as Burisma Holdings, not a person and specifically not the aforementioned Biden.

And, as far as United States funds being held back, has anyone considered that President Trump could have been waiting for the new prosecutor general to be actually approved by the Parliament into the position first?  Ukraine’s government and the new President Zelensky should have their actions vetted carefully before the United States has trust in their future good intentions.  With his own distrust of US federal employees working within and among his executive branch, President Trump likely wanted to do this inquiry himself, an action which is not illegal nor unprecedented.

3) Each Senator has their seat for six years.  Any Senator who has three or more years left for their term and who voted to impeach knows it will have almost zero effect on their next campaign.  Any Senator who has less than three years left for their term and who voted to acquit had to think twice about this vote because of the message it sends to their constituents, essentially a message of support for President Trump.  Hopefully their individual votes were done based upon constitutional principles instead of party loyalty…You decide.

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But here is the consequence, our Constitution hangs in the balance.  From the start, the lack of a whole House vote to investigate an allegation from the very beginning brought on a partisan process.  Even the majority vote to acquit in the Senate adds credence to the partisan misbehavior by the House.  What we had was an abuse of power on behalf of the House of Representatives.  Oh well…for now Beulah says, “Case dismissed!!”

Shrewd Awakenings…Our Great Awakening

It is now the year 2020 and it’s about time that we see the political climate around us with 20/20 vision.

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How many of us get our news from social media snippets and/or “friendly” network broadcasters?  Are they and their sources reliable?  Are the fact checkers that give us the Pinocchio’s really digging deep enough in their fact checking?  Are we being presented the whole story?  Unless we are willing to give up our day jobs (or even get off the couch) and become an investigative reporter, we probably rarely if ever do the reading and research necessary to have a truly informed opinion.

In the mean time the majority of us are typically left to our biases.  Having a bias is not a bad thing…It is an absolutely human thing.  It gives you a basis from which to start your exploration of a topic and to be tested when faced with an opposing view; in other words, the ability to have an open mind from which to use to reason.

If you hold strongly onto your bias, then you have the inability to find justice.  Potential jurors are scrutinized for bias before they are allowed to serve on a jury.  This is a very important part of a society based on law and justice.

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Social justice is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.  Can a liberty minded society be “cleansed” of biases?  Of course not!  Liberty is the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views (Oxford Dictionary).  The opposite of this is Fascism.  Social justice must impose Fascism in order to control the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges.  In the USA each person would necessarily need to give up their liberty in order for the implementation of  a true social justice agenda.  By what biased authority would we want this agenda implemented?  The answer to this question leads to our great awakening…

Liberty entails the responsible use of freedom under the rule of law without depriving anyone else of their freedom.  This sounds like a just society to me 🙂

We are already USA Strong!

Your property and care of it is your wealth, your informed curiosity leads to your opportunity, and your positive relationships reinforce many of your privileges.  These are guaranteed to you in the U.S. Constitution.

The Importance of Independence Day

Are we still slaves to Self imposed ignorance?

Please think about this…The Declaration of Independence was the start of ending slavery on many levels.

First, the colonies needed to recognize that they could live their lives without a king as overseer. They were beginning to live this reality and then with this declaration they made it so.

Next, the Constitution began a system whereby no more slaves would be imported by England. Education for everyone would help inform citizens so that they could vote and govern themselves properly…This education would end the tolerance of slavery in the southern states along with a bloody civil war, ultimately to unite the nation and recognizing that “All Men Are Created Equal”. African American men could now be educated, vote and hold elected office.

Then, even though some women could already vote depending on their status and locality, all women were guaranteed the right. Persistence was the key.

And finally, we all look to these two documents to inform and develop increased opportunities to recognize oppression and bring about liberties for all citizens. This process will never be easy, but it is a process…deeper understanding is gained through listening to one another because united we stand, divided we fall.

Are you a slave to divisiveness? Only you can change this if so.

Utopia?

The USA is not and can never be the United States of Utopia.

Individuals in a free society enjoy their liberty based on laws that reflect their personal right to prosper and be generous.  The US Constitution guarantees this!

Under a Democrat controlled administration the IRS will become the Imperial Reckoning Source with the special privilege of controlling all tax dollars imposed broadly by an elitist class who claim moral superiority.  You, the individual in this system, must come to enjoy these privileges bestowed on you with all thanks given to your provider…the Government.

If you know history, Western Civilization has been there before and it wasn’t a bed of roses!!

Shrew U: An Open Letter To Our New Congress

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Welcome to a new day!  As you take your seat and represent your constituents please remember these things:

  1. You were probably elected within a close margin so work with your peers on both sides of the isle as if our Republic depended on everyone’s educated input.
  2. Base this educated input on facts not feelings.
  3. Focus, focus, focus.  Your job is dependent on your performance.  And Yes!  We are watching.
  4. Civility should be your middle name 🙂  Don’t be concerned about the President’s behavior because it speaks for itself.
  5. You’ve sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution so read it and apply it to everything you consider.
  6. Cultural changes are inevitable…These are better left to the communities from which you came.  Also, change can be infectious when handled conscientiously with everyone involved.
  7. Fascism is not a one way street.  Any political party can believe their policies are the best.  Be concerned about any one sided political push or group think.
  8. Laws were not meant to be broken or discarded lightly.  Follow them or change them!

Thank you and have a nice term…

The Shrew View – We Are At A Tipping Point!

RA house divided against itself cannot stand – Abraham Lincoln

Who are we kidding?  Neither the liberal left nor the conservative right have all the answers to our country’s problems at this point in time.  Have they ever?  Let’s be honest…The best answers come in the form of a small community working together in a non partisan manner.  And, if someone is not connected to and working against the community then we should consider that it may be by choice.   Families, neighborhoods, churches, schools, Rotaries and even sports offer opportunities to connect in a variety of healthy ways.  The only skill you need at first is curiosity.  Defined as a strong desire to know or learn something, curiosity can open doors to a stronger sense of belonging.  The best part about this is that you can belong to many different circles of community thereby finding your niche to make a positive impact.

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I have a feeling that anyone who picks up a weapon to inflict harm on a community really knows down deep that they are not solving anything.  Like being totally on the left or totally on the right the answer to their problem leaves a literal hole that oozes pain, guilt, horror and disgust, all of which are the antithesis of curiousity and clearly the mask of evil.

Isn’t this evil what the extreme left wing Democrats see in President Trump?  And by the same measure isn’t this evil what the extreme right wing Republicans see in the extreme left wing Democrates?  When did Congress stop being a community for the people? Elected leaders must have the skill of curiosity to belong to their peer community no matter which side of the isle they are on.  The President is putting forward his ideas, but it seems as though Congress has no strong desire to learn or know how to debate and offer a compromise on the ideas.  And what is worse,  Congress has been modeling this behavior for far longer than I can remember.  Unfortunately our leaders of the next generation are not witnessing the intended function of Congress.

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I think we have reached a tipping point in this country.  Evil is showing its ugly face in unimaginable ways.  We must acknowledge its ability to reside amoung us and be curious enough to ask why it exists.  Only then can we learn together the path of the humble messenger that we all can become.  God help us…