Monthly Archives: August 2020

Illinois Loses History Rights

I had a few things to write about today but learning of a pattern to cut back the teaching of History took precedence. My entire approach to history is determined by how much time I have to explore the subject and how we best approach history’s stories. Because that is what history is, it is a story, the word is part of the lexicon involved in keeping track of things that happened before. I would guess that Illinois is going to stop the study of the law because law is a type of history. Wouldn’t that be funny, to have a state that cannot keep track of its own precepts? Not funny, I guess, more likely something sad.

I am looking at a picture of my son, which I intend to paint sometime. He was born on 8/1/81 and is a remarkable kid. But my leanings have no place in Illinois. Those are not things that are tracked. The fact that he was also born weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce probably has nothing to do with the facts of his birth. As a former citizen of that state, Illinois is embarassing me. I remember my father telling me a story, one based on fact, a history perhaps, that he was followed by a large group of minority students to a high school where he was having a meeting in Illinois. They repeatedly told him that they intended to kill him when they caught him. He knocked on the door of the high school and a janitor took pity and let him into the safe environment within. It was the first day of the recognition of Martin Luther King’s death. My father almost was a victim. And, he would have been.

What does that got to do with history? It is history. Here was an average Superintendent going to a required meeting, almost killed by people who knew so little about history that they were dangerous. I was just glad my father lived. He almost did not. I do not excuse those rioters. They had no right to stop my father’s life at a young age.

I just listened to a few people who were espousing Black Lives Matter in a rally at the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C. They were very impressive. The right to be safe is something that every person in the United States should expect. My father certainly went to South Chicago that day with high expectations of safety and returning home in one piece.

So, where am I going with this? Nowhere, actually. It was a close call over fifty years ago. People change. Events change things. Close calls have no valid point in American history. But we will all live with those fears because the United States is a scary place. Ask George Floyd of Minnesota. He is dead now, but he might have an idea about outlooks from heaven.

I suffered from high expectations and a cruel childhood a few years ago. I went to a very helpful and nice hospital around Boston and got the medication and the time to heal. It took years, but I was not in a hurry. I was diagnosed with PTSD before it was made into a common illness. It was a very harrowing time. Sometimes my parents were not my friends. There was a little too much drinking, by me also, and dangerous friendships. That made me stick to things that I knew. I had a fantastic wife, and wonderful children, and they saved me. I asked one child who might be responsible for the longings to commit suicide, and who was responsible for that part of my personality. It was a stupid question because it obviously was not one of my children or my wife. It just happened to me.

Life is funny. As I wrote in a poem, life could be measured in nanoseconds if we did not stop it from destroying us.

Many Other Choices and Mistakes

A relative, which kind not being important, did excessive drinking when I was younger. One night I got a call from his live-in girlfriend. She insisted that he was making it up, but he seemed lethargic, and he might not be alright. I jumped in the Volkswagen and drove to his temporary shelter of her home. He was clearly in a coma. No pupils, and no responses. I took him to the nearest hospital, which is not there anymore, and they took his blood. It was a rust-colored liquid. I have never been so frightened. I got him to his room and went home at about five in the morning. Then I went home to sleep. His parents were not interested in his problems. That horrified me.

I did not sleep much for the next few nights. I was at the hospital most of the time. He was hallucinating and it was awful because he was strapped arms and legs to his hospital bed. The things attacking him were, in his mind, not fictional. I just batted them off of him whenever one of his many demons made an appearance. The nurse was angry with me. She wanted him to face his fears. It was difficult.

I saw his girlfriend later, many years later. She thought he was faking it. I could not believe that. Faking the worst things in your life as you hallucinated them in your bed. I would never be a doctor, that was sure. I felt very badly for him.

I found many things to make me feel better. My wife and I had four lovely children. I discovered that I could draw and paint. Those became my favorite things. I am currently working on a childhood painting of one of my kids and I am hoping it comes out right. In the meantime, there is the National Council for Historic Education of the Illinois variety. Seldomly, has the nation been so fracked with discontent as it is currently, a time that stretches back to Revolutionary dogmas. Women in the early years of the republic likened their situation to the men that they had married. Kerber cites the question, “Could a woman be a patriot?”

He also cites the fact that women were supportive of the patriots and the loyalists, oftentimes in the same family at the same time. Some wives did not convert to their husband’s side. A loyalist may maintain her predelictions throughout the fight. A patriot might be shunned by her husband. It just depends.

In the 1770’s Christopher Gadsen stated that women were inclined to fight the husband, depriving him of “giving their assistance, without which it is impossible to succeed.” No one really knows if he was correct. But he stated it. “Gadsen’s formulation is traditional in its easy telescoping of women into wives.” That may be.

“His appeal is not to the women but to the men who are their husbands; he does not seek to sway the independent single woman.” Interesting. Perhaps the fathers of the texts in Illinois make the same mistake with their wives and daughters.

Maybe, just maybe, he realizes that women handled, and many still do, manage household economics.

Anyway, I have a problem. I am many years removed from Illinois, but I see them killing history because it is too difficult to manuver. When I was living in Illinois, many people lived around Chicago. I remember a quick conversation with Governor Deval Patrick which established that I had gone to school at almost precisely the same time as he did when he went to college and law school. I had been a few blocks away from his residence in South Chicago while living in Harvey, Illinois. I was the son of the Superintendent, so I did not qualify for scholarships, etc. But I, like he, lived in Massachusetts and enjoyed the college level atmosphere of the campuses in eastern Massachusetts. He and I met at my sister-in-law’s headquarters for her battles as the elected Congresswoman and we shared a few stories.

Other than living close to the area of the city of Chicago where he grew up, I have no grip on Mr. Patrick’s history. It was an interesting conversation though. I am hoping that Mr. Patrick can convince his formidable friends in the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois and this ridiculous move to abandon history in the state. I have a certain inflexibility when it comes to History. I hope that they rethink this thing. Otherwise, it might be as ineffectual as the Revolutionary war was on committed women.

Ed Markey is no Paul Tsongas

I was related to Paul Tsongas. He was my wife’s brother. All I can say is that, in six years Paul Tsongas spent more time in Massachusetts than Ed Markey has done in 43 years. Ed Markey even spent one time in Lowell a few months ago and had it written up in the local newspaper. Paul Tsongas spent virtually every night in Lowell. All I can say is that Ed Markey is no Paul Tsongas. Would that he was.

Paul Tsongas would still be Senator if it was not for that awful cancer. Ed Kennedy is younger, like Paul, wiser, like Paul, and healthy, unlike Paul Tsongas. I wish we still had Paul to keep us straight. He would be watching out for his home city. I remember when Niki Tsongas told me that Lowell was Paul’s “Center of the Universe.” I believe that it was and still is. Let’s get someone like Paul back in the Senate. Let’s elect Joe Kennedy for Senator. He will not be spending is time in Maryland. In fact, he will be spending his time in Lowell, working on Lowell’s problems.

Black Lives Matter II

Awhile ago, a group of blacks came up with the perfect nomenclature. They saw intensive killing of black people and wanted to stop it. They called their effort “Black Lives Matter.” It was beautiful, written by an articulate race, the Black, or African-American race. It was designed to keep the number of terrorist acts down to a minimum. The quote stuck, sometimes, and for some people, too hard. It joined a splendid pack of quotes. Those included:

Black Lives Matter

We Shall Overcome

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.

There are many others, too. Just read Martin Luther King’s writings.

A group of black Americans came up with a new way of stating the obvious. In fact, black lives do matter. The Massachusetts governor cited a black initiated day, which was not the same day as the actual event, to make a holiday of Juneteen. So now we have a new holiday in Massachusetts. That in and of itself, is quite an accomplishment. Massachusetts is moving in the right direction.

My brother-in-law was Senator Paul Tsongas. I remember he and I walked South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. As we stood on one hill, directly below us was an African American apartment complex. I looked through the crowd looking for a black man and I could not find one. People were throwing empty beer bottles at Paul because, in their opinion, Paul had voted wrongly on a busing bill. Never a hypocrite, Paul voted for busing. African Americans were afraid to come to the parade. Every person that I saw that day was white. My opinion was that blacks were too cautious to make the climb up the hill. When Paul asked me later in the day what I thought, I said, “You’re doing this for a living?” Yes, he was. And Mr. Kennedy will have the same problems. Living up to principles is a dangerous thing.

So, I forgot a few things in my blog post yesterday. I did not really talk about the people who were radicalized and bigoted. I did not state that “Black Lives Matter” was aimed at the average black man and woman. It was not aimed at the whites. The four men making their statement in the television studio were scared of having the organization taken over by Socialists and Communists. I do not think that will happen, and if it does, what’s the harm. We are already the largest Socialistic society in the world. Socialism is used to explain away the deficit in the United States. Children being fed during the summer are in the throes of socialism. Churches practice socialism. Social Security is partially the practice of Socialism. Socialism is not necessarily a bad thing.

Communism is another matter. It is the militaristic phase of Socialism. We do not need the military in our exercise of Socialism. If Black Lives Matter is a Communist organization, send those Communists packing. In my opinion, our discussion must be about George Floury. He was killed for no other reason than that he was a black citizen of this country. No wonder some people are having such a difficult time accepting Police explanations of encounters. Putting cameras on each policeman is a great idea.

“Black Lives Matter” is literally about black men being indiscriminatley killed by police officers. Does it happen in Lowell? Not that I know of, but BLM keeps the target moving to include more victims. It is not like it happens near your house. But it might happen a few towns over, and when it does, I hope that the District Attorney is willing to sacrifice her job if need be.

During the Great Society, Lyndon Johnson introduced many small changes and one or two great ones. People, and I remember this, said, and then sang, “We shall overcome.” People were mad. What were we overcoming? Who were we overcoming? The song did not say. Just “we will overcome,” something. It was as much of a hot button as “Black Lives Matter.” Saying that we needed to overcome something was saying that the country was not perfect. People did not like that. After all, we were spreading our gains as far away as Vietnam.

BLM is simply saying that Black Lives Matter. It is a mantra, a simple statement. Policemen can take exception to it, but they should be committed to letting life continue on. Wearing a gun, even to a parent/student/teacher conference, does not mean that you are infallible. You have to earn the right to carry a gun. That means that everyone has the right to live. Finally, BLM does not mean that white lives do not matter. Both live within themselves.

Black Lives Matter

I spent one and one-half hours last night trying to convince my best friend of over fifty years, that I did not live in a town that could be considered to be bigoted and racist. This morning I realized that I might just live there. I concluded that being White (or as I call it, European/American) in America is a blessing. Its blessing just comes to you.

Being black in America means that you have to prove that you are worthy every day. Being black in America means that you have to fight your own battles, but that sometimes you have to fight your own kind. In my conversation last night, my friend, who is black and has been very close to me for over fifty years, as I said. Chicago is a problem. I told him that people in larger citieshave to fight one another to live a good life. I moved to Lowell and my friend moved to Kentucky. Oftentimes, blcks have to prove their right to live peaceably. Whites do not often fight one another. Whites live largely peaceably. There are many social reasons for this phenomonon. Blacks must find ways to live peaceably together. And, they do.

Awhile ago, a group of blacks came up with a new way of stating the obvious. “Black lives matter” maintained a serious approach to blacks intending to live peaceably amongst each other. Some whites have had a fit. I, as stated, looking at the sentence, “Black Lives Matter,” which became the mantra for people of color. It was not meant to exclude Whites. It is meant to say “ENOUGH.” No one is saying that the majority of persons should not be protected equally. It is meant to state the obvious. That is that police have no right to kill a person based on the person’s race. That seems obvious. My friends who are white have had a fit. As stated, I spent one and one half hours talking to one of my best friends, who dates back fifty years, and is Black. He and I met in South Chicago, during my teenage years and, over those years we became best friends. So I wanted his input. He was the only usher at my wedding. He will be the best friend at my funeral. He sees “Black LivesMatter” as a mantra, not a racist statement.

I see it as the same thing that he does. It is a very carefully written statement. It appears to many in our lives and it is deeply understood. It does not say, and he and I agree on this, that other lives do not matter. They do. It is simply stating that people live according to their beliefs. It is saying, not that Lowell or most police districts are violent, but that police, and it is geared towards our police, do not have the right to kill black men and women. That is a tenet of the organization and there is a group watching police groups and make sure that they do not kill innocent black people. It has nothing to do with the blue versus the black. Obviously, police would almost never kill a black man. The members of the organization are, in some cases, a group of Socialists and even Communistic in nature. Those people need to be pushed out of the organization. They are an anamoly. Their beliefs are not real in their beliefs for this group.

I recently had a group of whites argue that “Black Lives Matter” was aimed at the average black man. It is not. It is aimed at those four white men in my group today aimed at the average black man. It is not about Socialist and Communists taking over an organization. It is about George Floury. He was killed for no other reason than he was a black man. It was a crime. And, the police officers involved are going to court.

It is good that being a black man in this country is usually not a death sentence. Sometime, however, it is. One of the men in today’s discussion brings up abortion. He believes, and he is right, that abortion kills more people than police in the worst of their times. I am Catholic, and I believe if there is a an abortion it is the killing of a person. In my opinion, the man has a point, and that point is that abortion is a death. I strongly believe that. Abortion, as a movement, should be regulated closely. It needs a mantra, a statement that has something to do with its relevance.

“Black Lives Matter” is the truth. All lives matter, but blacks are in the spotlight. We need to be working together to make sure that killing is not directed at a small group. No Socialistic or Communistic level of cooperation should be part of our society. Let us work to get our world at a level of commitment that exercises control. Policemen, if they are not, should be committed to letting life continue on. I once told my wife that a difficult parent would come in with a gun. He did, he came in total uniform, he was a policeman. He came in with a gun. I thought he was ridiculous.

Everyone has a right to live. There should not be that someone does not have a right to live. I think that will mean that everyone has the right to live. There cannot be a level of acceptance that permeates their right to carry a gun. I greatly enjoy an English police show that does not allow the local police to wear a gun. They even had to borrow one for one show.

Anyway, there need to be changes in the Black Lives Matter discussion. “Black Lives Matter,” does not mean that white lives do not matter. Both practice the best of what is relevant. We have to work together. We have to have fifty year relationships. Abortion has to be looked at. We need a mantra that is as effective as BLM in the case of abortion. But, we cannot blame blacks for coming up with a good mantra. I applaud them.