Notes from around the Human Experience…
AMERICA, LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE KLAN: When we first saw the story of Saturday’s Ku Klux Klan (KKK) rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, we thought the Klan would have long ago realized how far out of step they are with current American thought and they would stop bothering us.
But then we realized that any nation whose census forms and employment applications still ask for race information is still not completely out of the racism woods. It’s human nature to note our differences and, like the KKK has been doing brilliantly since 1866, circle the wagons to protect the tribe. It’s the way the world is built. America is somewhat better at acceptance than we used be – blacks are no longer slaves and gays can marry – but we still have a long a way to go.
That the Klan, who have no more than a few thousand members nationwide, can still command the headlines illustrates this point nicely.
What In The Hell Is Going On Here?: But you would think non-KKKers would have realized a long time ago that showing up to be an agitating counter-protester is exactly what the KKK is looking for. Heck, the Klan needs protesters because without protesters and the attendant arrests and media coverage the wizards and dragons and other hood wearers would be left to wander around preaching to the choir and patting each other on the back.
Dry, Technical Matter: The Klan mobilized in Charlottesville to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee from a city park. One citizen attending the rally asked, fairly logically:
Are we going to remove the Washington and Jefferson memorials because they were slave owners?
Fly In The Ointment: That is one hell of a question, actually, especially when asked in Charlottesville, which is near Jefferson’s beloved Monticello. Not only were Washington and Jefferson both slave owners neither, despite the reverence they are held in, really did much of anything to end slavery either on their plantations or in their country.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! Zachary Taylor becomes the second president of the United States to die in office on this date in 1850, dying of a digestive ailment after a brief illness. He is succeeded by Vice President Millard Fillmore.
FunFact: Taylor and Fillmore would be the last presidents from the Whig Party in American history.
Speaking Of Presidential Slave Owners: Taylor was also the last sitting president to own slaves.
We The People: The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified by Louisiana and South Carolina and becomes part of the Constitution on this date in 1868.
The amendment, among other things, grants blacks, some of whom were freed slaves, full citizenship and grants all citizens due process. It had been approved by Congress and sent to the several states in June, 1866, and remains one of the most litigated parts of the Constitution.
The Bloody Championships: The first Wimbledon tennis tournament, which the British snobbishly refer to as The Championships, begins on this date in 1877. The tournament was organized as a fundraiser to pay from some repairs on some maintenance gear and 22 players paid one guinea to participate and the tournament showed a profit of ten pounds.
Oh Yeah: Spencer Gore would win the first title on July 19th.
QuoteBook: There is no retreat but in submission and slavery. – Patrick Henry, “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death” speech to Virginia legislature, 3/23/1775
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: General Electric is the only company whose stock has been a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since its inception.
Today’s Stumper: What year was the first women’s tournament held at Wimbledon? – Answer next time!