Please remember a few things

On the anniversary of a horrendous day in America which occurred last year, we need to remember a few common sensical things. We can never let this happen again, especially when it appears a few lawmakers aided and abetted the efforts of the insurrectionists out of loyalty to a former president who has a well-documented history of being less than truthful.

  • when people who are in the know tell you not to look at the man behind the curtain, make darn sure you look behind the curtain.
  • when people who are decrying the investigative House committee is a sham, please remember two very important things – the same people voted down a proposed independent commission and nominated at least two people to be on the committee who are actually suspects in aiding and abetting the efforts, which at best is conflict of interest.
  • when people have gone out of their way to tell you what happened did not happen that way, in essence saying don’t believe your own eyes then you should be skeptical of those efforts.
  • when people who beat on their chest about law and order belittle the Capitol police force who testified under oath and at great consternation, what does that say?
  • when people seemingly ignore the former president’s inability to prove his false election claims after over 65 court cases (winning one small one in PA) and losing several recounts, reviews and audits in spite of all of his financial resources, you think these conspiracy minded people may begin to realize the REAL CONSPIRACY is being propagated on them by the former president of the United States.

As an old fart who once was a Republican and Democrat and is now an Independent voter, I am an American first. Our democracy is being further threatened because a seventy-year old person is pitching a hissy fit because his fragile ego cannot take losing. It truly is that simple. His niece Mary said her uncle “will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” She said this just after the election and well before January 6, 2021.

We need a healthy dose of political courage in this country, especially in the Republican party. They must stop vilifying the truth tellers and start being critical of those who are not shooting straight with us. Republican Congresspersons Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Pete Meier, et al are getting death threats, yet are still speaking up. Why is that?

Most people I know do not like being lied to. Please ask more questions of sources and think about the statements above. What happened on January 6 started well before that date and we need to see that clearly to stop it from happening again.

Being silent is not enough

The courageous few Republicans who are among the truth tellers in their party are strong in principle, but seem to be standing alone or in small groupings way too often. For their truth telling, they are knowingly vilified and some even receive death threats by fans of the former president. Yet, they do it anyway.

Most of the elected officials in the party are keenly aware that Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s question of is the Republican party going to be the party of truth or party of Trump a more than fair question. Yet, they have chosen to be silent. In essence, they are saying to themselves “Don’t poke the bear.” They want to avoid being highlighted by the former president and his bullying and untruthful bent, whose followers will join in the fray.

This spineless tactic is not new. Back in the heyday of the Communist witch hunts and Senator Joe McCarthy, the populist candidate had a huge following. The Republican even rivaled the popularity of President Dwight Eisenhower. From Jon Meacham’s book “The Soul of America,” the historian points out Eisenhower detested McCarthy for his baseless claims that he frequently made up on the spot. Yet, Ike would not publicly demean McCarthy for his claims, only to offer mild comments from time to time.

He and the other Republicans tolerated McCarthy. They remained silent. It was not until the most respected TV journalist Edward R. Murrow exposed McCarthy for what he was that his impact began to ebb. But, the impact of McCarthy’s baseless accusations lingered on for years. The famous question asked by a senior Army official of McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” could be asked of the most recent former president, another populist who tends to make baseless claims.

I encourage all of you who agree with the purpose of this post, to consistently let elected Republican and other officials know you appreciate their political courage for pushing back on the incessant and well-documented untruthful actions and words of the former president. And, let your Republican Senators, Congress person, and GOP leaders know you are concerned about this untruthful path the party has taken. The GOP has lost any veritas it had left. I even let them know how much I admire the courage of the truth tellers and it is a shame they are getting death threats.

The accusations of sedition toward the former president tend to focus more on what he failed to do last January 6. In my view as an Independent and former Republican voter, his consistent baseless claims of election fraud, which he has tried to prove and failed miserably in courts, audits and recounts, are what greased the skids for what happened on January 6.

As his niece said, “My uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” I knew he would act this way, but what makes me more frustrated are the sycophants who publicly cover for his Big Lie and the too silent many in party leadership who are letting him do it. And, what they fail to realize based on previous history and current actions, the former president will throw them under the bus in a New York minute, even placing them in physical danger with targets on their backs if they do not play ball with him.

Retired General urges folks to stop listening to baseless election fraud claims (and the MyPillow CEO) in CNN interview

While Congresswoman Liz Cheney got most of the press yesterday saying it is time for Republicans to choose between the truth and Donald Trump, another retired military person has shared his concerns about the baseless election fraud claims of the former president. Per a summary of a CNN interview, here are few excerpts.

Retired Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson urged Donald Trump supporters to stop listening to baseless claims about 2020 presidential election fraud and suggested measures to avoid a potential insurrection in 2024.

The former general spoke with CNN host Pamela Brown about solutions that would address the ‘extremism that has gone on within the military.’ He also warned against listening to conspiracists among many Republicans promoting baseless claims of election fraud, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

‘We need to do what we can do now to identify those people [within the military], get them out of our ranks, and train the rest of the force on civics one on one about how our country is supposed to work, how elections work, stop listening to the pillow guy [Lindell] and start learning about our country and how it’s actually supposed to run,’ Anderson said during his recent interview with CNN.

There is a threat within [the military]. We’ve got some people that just haven’t been educated. They haven’t been found out, and they’ve grown in power through perhaps inaction on the parts of some of our key leaders,’ he added.

What continues to bother me is the open attacks on the truth tellers in the Republican party who are calling out the overt lies of the former president, while those covering for the ex-president get elevated status in the party and media ranks. It should matter that these folks know they would be vilified,yet speak out anyway. Why is that? These lies led to an insurrection against a branch of government and people died and many were in danger.

We can never forget what happened leading up to that day a year ago and the fact the former president continues what his former attorney general William Barr told to his boss’ face – the election fraud claims are BS.

The Rolling Stone speaks of inconvenient truths

The editorial board of the Charlotte News and Observer and Raleigh’s News and Observer penned the following editorial yesterday regarding one of the state of North Carolina’s more extreme new Congressional representatives called “New, troubling questions about Madison Cawthorn and Jan. 6.” The editorial speaks to some interesting findings from an unusual political source, The Rolling Stone. I am sure when Cawthorn sings that famous song about getting his picture on the cover, he was not envisioning this. Here part of the piece with a link to the full editorial below.

“Followers of former President Donald Trump have found one conspiracy theory they don’t like: That some Republican members of Congress may have had deeper roles in plans and events that led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. One reason they don’t like it is that — unlike the bizarre theories of QAnon, the baseless notions of rampant voter fraud and suspicions about COVID vaccines — the concern that members of Congress may have had a hand in efforts to overturn the election appears to be backed by evidence. Rolling Stone reported on Sunday that two organizers of the Jan. 6 protests have told congressional investigators that ‘multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.’

Rolling Stone said the organizers, speaking anonymously, named seven Republican members of Congress who joined, either directly or through their staffers, in the effort to overturn the election. Republican North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn was among those named. Cawthorn spokesman Luke Ball dismissed the report on Monday, saying, “These anonymous accusations are complete garbage. Neither the congressman nor his staff had advance knowledge of what transpired at the Capitol on January 6th or participated in any alleged ‘planning process.’

That Cawthorn was named is hardly a surprise. He spoke at the Jan. 6 rally near the White House where he said, ‘The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans, hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice.’ Since then, Cawthorn has suggested that another contested election may require taking up arms. ‘When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes your duty,’ he told a Republican group. Cawthorn’s remarks are not the only embarrassment for North Carolina.

The Rolling Stone report also suggests deep involvement in the Jan. 6 events by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a former Republican congressman who preceded Cawthorn in North Carolina’s 11th District. And then there is the shameless behavior of Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation, who opposed formation of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 events. Republican links to the Capitol attack are not limited to Republicans in Washington. ProPublica reported last week that at least two Republican members of the North Carolina General Assembly are members of the Oath Keepers, a militant group whose members were among the instigators of the Jan. 6 violence….

...Elected officials like Cawthorn are not simply zealots or cranks. They are the start of what could become an anti-democratic wave that would have a white and wealthy minority preside over the nation against the popular will.

The Rolling Stone report adds new urgency to the work of the House select committee investigating who and what drove the events of Jan. 6, and what must be done to end the smoldering danger to our democracy. Even one of the organizers of the Jan. 6 rally now realizes that urgency. They told Rolling Stone: ‘The reason I’m talking to the committee and the reason it’s so important is that — despite Republicans refusing to participate … this commission’s all we got as far as being able to uncover the truth about what happened at the Capitol that day. It’s clear that a lot of bad actors set out to cause chaos.’ Now the committee must uncover who those bad actors are — and how many of them are from North Carolina.”

The Rolling Stone is not the first publication who has raised this issue. I read just following the insurrection on January 6, that several of the insurrectionists had visited the capitol building as guests of various Congressional representatives. Why? It should be noted that Cawthorn filled Mark Meadows seat when the latter became Chief of Staff for the former president, so why are those two mentioned above in the report?

I have spoken to about a couple hundred members of staff of US representatives and senators. Almost all have been civil and cordial. When I spoke with one of Cawthorn’s staff about him taking the opportunity as a younger member of Congress to help the party be more truthful and forthright with citizens following some of the rhetoric he said noted above, I was told that he came down hard on the insurrection, which I was puzzled by. If he did, it was drowned out by his other words. I will let you be the judge from reading the above.

As an independent and former Republican (and long ago Democrat) voter, we must get to the bottom of the January 6 insurrection. It was a heinous act in our history and it matters not which party did it. We cannot have citizens invading the capitol building. If the former president is as culpable as he appears with his Big Lie, invitation and instigation, then we must get to the bottom of it. The fact that one party does not want to get to the bottom of it speaks volumes.

Yet, what that party fails to realize is when someone defames the office, the party must be zealous in criticizing that person or all of them get tainted. That is a lesson the Catholic Church failed to heed.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article255267771.html#storylink=cpy

Colin Powell’s Advice to Graduates (and all Americans) Rings True

An imperfect American hero died yesterday – Colin Powell. After hearing him speak at my son’s graduation seven years ago, I posted the following. Powell was a good man, but in my view he was used to be the face on a non-righteous cause by his superiors That tarnished his reputation some, but he still had an exemplary career.

My oldest son graduated yesterday from college (a big yay!) and we attended his outdoors graduation on a beautiful, sunny and pleasant morning. We also looked forward to the commencement speaker, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell. Powell’s speech was humble, poignant and inspiring. The part that resonated with many of the graduates was his academic record, which did not hinder his success.

Powell attended City College of New York (CCNY), as that was the only college he could afford to attend. He said he was not a great student and, in fact, the only way he was permitted to graduate was when CCNY’s leaders decided to add his ROTC straight A’s into the mix. He said his GPA increased to a 2.0, to which the graduates laughed heartily. His point was meaningful. First, he said they have named all of these buildings for me due to my success and my old professors are probably rolling over in their graves.

Second, he said just because you did not graduate with a 3.5 GPA does not mean you cannot be successful. Find your path and work hard. This meant a lot to my son who would be among the significant majority in the beneath 3.5 crowd. It resonated with him to hear words of encouragement that yes, if you work hard, you can succeed. The fact that any graduate can remember portions of a commencement speech, is pretty telling. Powell humorously mentioned that when you think back on this day, remember it was C-O-L-I-N P-O-W-E-L-L that spoke at your graduation spelling it out for everyone.

Powell had other words of advice. Get involved with your community and know the issues of import. And, go vote. He said if you are not registered to vote come see me afterwards. You are the people who must keep politicians honest. And, if you don’t like what they do, vote them out. Our is a great country, but you have to be engaged.

He also noted the beauty of compromise. He said our founding fathers came together and passionately argued over how to govern. The Articles of Confederation were insufficient and they argued over its replacement, our constitution. He said from the outset, we have benefitted from the ability of different points of view to compromise. He encouraged people to use their passion and knowledge to influence others, but be in a position to understand the opposing arguments and compromise.

Finally, he said take care of the environment. He said I am not a climate change expert, but it does not take a scientist to recognize we need to stop putting bad stuff into the air and in our water. We have to be better stewards of our earth. An article in “Stars and Stripes” about his commencement speech can be read with the following link: http://www.stripes.com/news/us/colin-powell-urges-grads-to-work-hard-give-back-1.281445

Let me close with two final comments. First, Powell agreed to shake the hand of every student, all 940 who graduated that day. Some shakes came with hugs from more demonstrative folks and he took it all in with a great sense if humor. This meant a lot to the graduates and parents.

Second, I am so proud of my son and proud for his achievement. He worked hard to make it and he did. He will be a better citizen, a better employee and a better person because of his education. The esteem of accomplishing such a great task is significant. He is closing this chapter with equal parts excitement, trepidation and melancholy before moving on to a new one. The sadness is he is leaving his home for four years before making a new one. He is leaving friends, but will stay in touch and make new ones. But, the future is in front of him. Places to go and things to see and do. Well done, son. I love you very much.

Two 9/11 Stories – one negative, one positive

The parent company I worked with the longest before I retired lost 295 people in the first Trade Center tower to fall. Also, 63 visiting consultants to those offices perished. This terrible tragedy matches many such tragedies that day in New York, Washington and Shanksville, PA where Flight 93 was forced by its passengers to crash.

The ceremony was moving, especially when loved ones who lost people read the names then shared their own personal losses. The speakers and names they read were diverse in ethnicity, gender and age. One woman who died was pregnant, so her unborn child was lost, as well. That may have been the saddest metaphor of loss. Also, people lost two parents or siblings.

But, let me end this remembrance with a very positive story. In the second Trade Center tower, the subsidiary company I worked for had seventy people. Once the first tower was struck, the subsidiary employees began the long descent down the stairs, not wasting any time. The leaders of the company wanted to track every employee down that worked in the building to make sure every one made it out.

Throughout the day, the leaders kept checking survivors off the list until they got down to one last, unaccounted for name. Around 7 pm, the person finally answered her home phone. The frantic caller said where have you been? You see, the employee got down stairs in the second tower and then proceeded to walk home. She walked twelve miles home and finally got their late in the day.

She walked home. Nothing was moving to take her, so she made the decision she was going to get home on foot. To me, this is the power of home. The unlucky ones in the first tower had so little time to react to the tragedy. And, they paid for it with their lives. The ones in the second tower had a chance if they moved now. I applaud those who said let’s get down the stairs.

I was not going to write a post on this, but have responded to several poignant posts. I find terrorists acts that kill innocent civilians to be acts of cowardice. Killing a pregnant women does not show how tough someone is, regardless of who did it. It certainly does not honor a religion, in my view. It always strikes me that the ones talked into doing the killing are not the leaders, but the impressionable young ones who do not know they are being used.

American terrorists and even soldiers have killed civilians as well. That does not make it right. Some acts were intentional, while others were a mistake. Killing unarmed civilians is murder. And, it certainly is not bravery.

The US has long known of the corruption in Afghanistan leadership

Last night on PBS Newshour, William Brangham interviewed Sarah Chayes in a piece entitled “The U.S. ignored corruption within the Afghan government. Did that lead to its fall?” Who is Chayes and why does her opinion matter?

Per PBS Newshour, “Sarah Chayes covered the fall of the Taliban after 9/11 for NPR. She then started and ran several NGOs in the country. She served as adviser to several senior U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan and then to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

She is the author of several books. The most recent is ‘On Corruption in America: And What Is at Stake.’ And she joins us now from Paris.”

I encourage you to read the entire piece per the link below. But, the gist can be gleaned from the following:

Sarah Chayes:In simple terms, why would a population take risks to fight the Taliban on behalf of a government that is treating them almost as badly as the Taliban do? So, Afghan government officials would shake people down at every interaction. The massive international funding that was arriving in the country was being siphoned off or captured by government officials and their cronies. And from Afghans’ perspective, it almost looked like the United States was in favor of this system, because our officials were always seen partnering with these venal Afghan leaders. And no matter how much the population complained, they really couldn’t get us to address the serious — the issues seriously.”

But, she goes further. Pakistan, with the help of the eventual Afghani president Hamid Karzai, established the Taliban foothold in Afghanistan in 1994. The US favored as a president a man who was double dealing with Pakistan. Here is what she adds:

“Again, it’s very counterintuitive, but it was Karzai who initially negotiated the entry of the Taliban into Kandahar back in 1994.

He was basically operating on behalf to have the Pakistani military intelligence agency. Karzai got into a fight with his father about it. Others disagreed with him about it. But that was the role he played. And so, again, it stunned me when I learned this, that our choice to be the first president of Afghanistan was the very one who had ushered the Taliban into power in the first place.”

In essence, the US has known of the corrupt leadership in Afghanistan and actually enabled it per Chayes. This is a key reason citizens welcome in others like the Taliban. What we were less aware of is the double dealing of Karzai with Pakistan. She notes the happiest people right now are the Pakistanis, as they have a friend in power in their neighboring country.

And, we wonder why we cannot get things straight in the middle east?

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-u-s-ignored-corruption-within-the-afghan-government-did-that-lead-to-its-fall

Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro is a much needed lesson in our history

The following post was written about eight years ago, but seems even more relevant today as there are too many who do not want the bad part of our US history taught. This is not a new phenomenon, as a key part of our history is to mask these ugly truths. I am in my sixties, but I never read or heard about what happened in Tulsa, OK and Wilmington, NC until the the last few years. Names like Emmitt Till and Rosa Parks, must be remembered just like those of Martin Luther King and John Lewis.

Yesterday, I had some free time in the Greensboro, North Carolina area and decided to revisit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Why Greensboro? For those of you are old enough to remember or know your history, the museum incorporates and builds off the actual Woolworth’s lunch counter where four African-Americans started a movement of non-violent sit-ins. The story of this daily sit-in helped bring about change along with many other efforts. Our tour guide whose mother used to bring her to Woolworth’s to shop, said the operative word they had to overcome was “separatism.”

In an attempt to protect the whites from the significant misconceptions about African-American citizens, “separate, but equal” laws were passed to allow discrimination to continue under the guise of the law. These Jim Crow laws, as they were called, came about to show that society need not have to integrate to give rights to its African-American citizens. The ugly truth is separatism was not very equal and continued to put down and discriminate against African-Americans in perceived legal and moral ways. There were some whites who spoke out before the overt discrimination became more apparent, but we had far too many leaders in business, government and faith communities who perpetuated this maltreatment.

The list of examples in the museum of discrimination and the fight to alleviate it are significant in number and impact. It makes you feel ashamed, disillusioned and angry that our fellow citizens were treated this way. The bombings, the lynchings, and the beatings are well documented and illustrated. The separate, but very unequal, train station terminals where whites had bigger waiting rooms, restrooms and easements are eye-opening. The separate, but unequal restrooms in stores, where our guide said her mother would tell her to go at home before they went to the store, are indicative. Sitting in the back of the bus, yielding your seat to white person and even the leather straps for standers in the back of the bus versus cushioned straps in the front showed the lack of equality. The Coke machine with two sides, one for whites at 5 cents with the opposite side for African-Americans at 10 cents is separate and very unequal. The voter laws that made it so very difficult for an African-American to register and vote were definitely not equal. And, so on and so on.

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) pushed through the Civil Rights Act in the United States. The next year he followed up with the Voters Rights Act. These key pieces of legislation changed the long term and horrible course of inequality America was on. Forced busing to allow for fair and equal education was passed in 1970 sixteen years following the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. LBJ helped change the future in response to the efforts of many from Martin Luther King to John Lewis to Rosa Parks. It was critical that LBJ, a white southerner working with a coalition across political parties was able to shame leaders into doing something for America.

We are much further along than before, but our work is not done. We each need to be mindful of our biases and prejudices we have to various groups of people. We need to be active to voice our concerns over recent state actions by conservatively led states (ironically and sadly like the one in NC) to limit the voting rights of people who are primarily African-American, under the disguise of doing something against voter fraud. Rampant voter fraud has been proven not to exist, even as recently as last week with touted data in an attempt to show it does. Some of these laws have been ruled unconstitutional and others are being sued for such as of the time of this post. Make no mistake, these laws are designed to suppress voters who tend not to vote with the conservative side of the ledger. This is masked cheating, which is straight out of Jim Crow book.

What makes this further disturbing is our Supreme Court ruled that parts of the Voters Rights Act are no longer needed. This is one of several decisions made by this court which puzzle and frustrate me. What country do they live in? I see or hear examples of discrimination almost every day. It often is masked with code words or followed by words like “but, I am not a racist.” It would surprise these folks to learn most food stamp recipients are white. Even Congressman Paul Ryan parlayed that misconception in some of recent speeches and interviews. The bottom line is it should not matter, as poverty knows no color. I use this as an example of unstated racism in America. It is those people who are in need of aid, so it is OK to cut benefits.

There are Civil Rights museums in several cities. Please frequent them with your children and friends. If you’re near Greensboro, please stop by and tour this well crafted museum. I was pleased to see two bus loads of school children of all stripes leaving the museum when I arrived. This stuff really did happen and discrimination still exists today. Use these occasions as opportunities to discuss what is happening today with others. Per the play and movie “South Pacific” bigotry has to be carefully taught. The converse of this is also true. Let’s carefully teach that discrimination is not right.

Here is a link to the Greensboro Civil Rights Museum. http://sitinmovement.org/

Here is a link to information on the Greensboro sit-ins. Greensboro sit-ins – Wikipedia

May 35 and December 37 – two fictitious dates for real events

Friday in China was the anniversary of a horrible event when the Chinese government forcibly put down a protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Seeing a young man stare down a tank in the square is the most memorable occurrence. But, China has done its best to erase this event from their history arresting some protestors in Hong Kong two days ago who tried to honor the memory of those who died that day..

I have written before about May 35 which is a real reference to an imaginary date. Per the attached article in the New York Times, it is a reference to what happened in Tiananmen Square in China on June 4, 1989, which has been expunged from Chinese history, including internet search references to that date. So, to make sure the Chinese kids remember this protest which was brutally squashed by the Chinese army, historians established a May 35 web link.*

In America, the Republican Party is doing its best to erase further discussion of the insurrection incited by the former president on January 6. In their minds, we cannot have people thinking the former president’s lies about election fraud, his invitation of zealous members of his base to Washington, and his winding them up and pointing them at the Capitol building had any thing to do with people storming the Capitol.

So, to make sure we don’t forger this heinous day in our country, nor the former president’s role and continuing untruthfulness about election fraud, maybe we should start calling it December 37 like the enterprising Chinese people did to avoid the memory being erased.

People died at these events. We owe it to them to remember who caused them. We cannot do anything about China’s delete key, but we can remind folks here that January 6 would not have happened if the former president did not have such a fragile ego and could not accept the fact he lost the election. Or, as his niece said in November, her Uncle cannot handle failure, so he will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.

May 35 and December 37. Bad days in China and the US People in leadership need to be held accountable. Especially when they play an active role in causing these bad days.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/opinion/global/24iht-june24-ihtmag-hua-28.html?_r=0eal

Tiananmen Square incident | Summary, Details, & Facts | Britannica

The Soul of America

Whether you are familiar with Jon Meacham, you may be familiar with his work. The Pulitzer Prize winner is one of America’s “explainers” of our history offering a needed context given what was going on at the time. He has written several biographies of presidents, including his most recent one on George H.W. Bush, as well as ones on Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and the relationship between FDR and Winston Churchill. He even spoke at Bush’s funeral at the behest of his wife, Barbara Bush. If I had to sum up who Meacham is – he is an astute student of history. And, he has many admirers including noted historians Walter Isaacson and Michael Beschloss.

I recently read his excellent book called “The Soul of America,” where he is his usual informative self. The subtitle is “The Battle for our Better Angels.” He notes we have had battles of trying to do the right thing throughout our history, yet sometimes it has been hard to work our way there. Here are a few examples:

During the 1920 and early 1930s, over 25% of the US Senate and over 100 members of Congress had an affinity for the KKK. This stunned me, as looking back we would hope that leaders would have seen the KKK for what it was. Yet, even today, we are seeing a rise of White supremacy with some comments being parroted by a couple of elected Congressional representatives. And, after the popularity of “Birth of a Nation,” a very racist movie, and the example of the Tulsa massacre and many lynching’s in the south, it should be less surprising. In fact, it took a couple of KKK leaders openly espousing violence toward Jews, that caused an upset stomach for some of the sympathetic legislators, and they started to distance themselves from the KKK.

He also noted that President Dwight Eisenhower was not too keen on Senator Joe McCarthy of communist witch hunt fame during the early 1950s. But, the president recognized that McCarthy had too big a following to be ignored. So, he tolerated McCarthy without actively supporting him. What was surprising to me is attorney Roy Cohn, who advised McCarthy, knew his boss tended to make things up and was reckless not doing much homework, which would eventually become a problem. By the time Joseph Welch, the US Army’s Chief Counsel famously asked McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” McCarthy was already beginning to fade. In fact, an earlier quote of Welch’s was also condemning of McCarthy’s clumsy efforts. “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.”*

Let me close with a quote from Eisenhower on leadership that is telling. Apparently, one too many folks was offering the WWII European Allied Commander advice. “Now, look, I happen to know a little about leadership. I’ve had to work with a lot of nations, for that matter, at odds with each other. And, I tell you this…you do not lead people by hitting them over the head. Any damn fool can do that, but it is usually called ‘assault’ – not ‘leadership.’ I’ll tell you what leadership is. It’s persuasion – and conciliation – and education – and patience. It’s long, slow tough work. That is the only kind of leadership I know – or believe in – or will practice.”

The book is a good read. I only mention these three examples, as I don’t want to give too much away. America’s history, with all of its warts must be understood. If we do not learn lessons from our history, we are destined to repeat our failures. Already, we are seeing a rise in White supremacy along with the untruthfulness of a demagogue who rose to the presidency before he was not reelected. Trying to convince people he was reelected is akin to the recklessness that is used to define Senator McCarthy. We must guard against such untruthfulness as people get hurt when they believe such.

*Note: Trusted newscaster Edward R. Murrow would prove to be McCarthy’s most ardent critic. One of his many quotes is “We must remember always that accusation is not proof and conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.”