Washington Monument

Smithsonian National Museum Of African American History And Culture Opens: A Treasure For The Nation!

The day has finally arrived when America can celebrate the history and culture of African Americans, with the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall near the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.

This event comes at a time of increased racial tensions and open racism in America, despite the election and two term Presidency of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

The museum exposes the true history of slavery, Jim Crow segregation. lynching, the civil rights movement, and the massive contributions of African Americans in all areas of public life over the past 397 years since slavery first came to America at Jamestown, Virginia.

This author thinks back to when he was young, and the discussion of African American history was ignored in high school, and how far we have come in understanding and dealing with the history, all of it both good and much of it evil, which had been covered up for so long.

So despite the problems we face today, this is truly a development to celebrate, and this author looks forward to visiting this new museum next summer, and for many times in the future, as the exhibits will constantly be evolving, as they are at any museum, and particularly one associated with the Smithsonian Museum, our national group of fantastic and tax supported museums that are a blessing to American culture and history!

Political Correctness Gone Mad: The Attack On Historical Figures’ Monuments And Statues Because Of Their Racism And Bigotry!

Face the facts, racism and bigotry is part of human history, whether we like it or not!

Many great leaders in government were racists, bigots, and should be denounced for that part of their historical record!

But to say that Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and innumerable others who have been important figures in American history should, therefore, be wiped out of history–have all statues removed, all monuments destroyed, all buildings renamed, all streets and schools no longer reflect their historical significance, much of it good,— is CRAZY and distorting history!

We can condemn the fact that many Presidents were slave owners; that Lincoln had a mixed record on racial matters; that Confederate leaders were out to defend slavery; that many 20th century Presidents had a prejudice toward various religious, racial and ethnic groups in American society; and recognize there is much to do to overcome racism and bigotry.

But all of the people mentioned are an important part of history in ways and on issues other than negative ones!  They had positive contributions that affected the long run of history!

So should the effect of Woodrow Wilson on Princeton University be wiped out; and should the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and Washington Monument; and should Stone Mountain in Georgia and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; and endless other monuments and sites named after imperfect people— be destroyed because some people are affronted about our past?

The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT, and instead use the truth of the past as a teaching moment, and strive to make America a better place now and in the future!

What The Virginia-Atlantic Coast Earthquake Reminds Us Of: Emergency Expenditures And Need For Infrastructure Investment, Meaning Higher Taxes!

We live in a time when many Americans like to dream that taxes will NEVER go up, and that somehow, we can live within the national budget, even though most Americans are finding if difficult to live within their own family budgets in the present economic crisis.

The Tea Party Movement has co-opted the Republican Party to such an extent that the campaign pitch for the GOP Presidential field and Congressional Republican leaders is that NEVER will they agree to ANY tax increases under any circumstances, a totally insane proposition!

But the events of yesterday, the Virginia-Atlantic Coast earthquake, 5.8 on the Richter scale, the greatest in about a century on the East Coast of the United States, demonstrated that such a proposition will have to be abandoned, whether one likes it or not!

The earthquake affected people from New England down to Atlanta and as far west as Chicago and as far North as Toronto, and it did noticeable damage to the National Cathedral, the Washington Monument, and the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC.

Obviously, money will have to be spent to fix these sites in the nation’s capital, and anywhere else where there was damage, at public expense!

But also, nuclear power plants along the Atlantic Coast are seen as in great danger, as they are outdated and need to be modernized. Also, the earthquake reminds us of the poor state of much of the entire nation’s infrastructure–harbors, canals, bridges, tunnels, highways, rail lines–much of it built long ago and in desperate need of major repairs, and often new building requirements to deal with natural disasters besides earthquakes, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, drought, volcanoes, rock slides, avalanches, and even tsunami threats!

This means we need to spend money on all kinds of public works projects, as we had done in the past, some of it with private investment included, but still with the absolute need for more public spending, which means more taxes, although it also allows for more employment, which could help to revive the American economy while dealing with real emergency situations!

Now the growing threat of Hurricane Irene, which is judged possibly to be the worst hurricane to hit the Northeast in many decades later this week, will add to the emergency spending crisis, and the need for infrastructure investment, but with the realization that MORE public spending will be unavoidable, no matter what the people of this country wish for!