Gene Robinson tells an amazing story!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2017

Also, what Mister Lee said:
Every time we read Roxane Gay's confession in last Sunday's New York Times, we experience "a fit of pique."

Unlike Donald J. Trump, we can't turn to the nuclear codes when we experience such a fit. But these fits may not create the best environment for award-winning, top-notch discussion.

For these reasons, we're going to wait till Monday to discuss Gay's confession, which was paired with the absurd lament by the silly flyweight Julius Krein, founder of a silly journal no one ever read. The Times insulted its readers' intelligence when it published that high-profile nonsense by silly-boy Krein. But the piece by Gay is so appalling its makes our blood boil every time.

While we wait for our pique to pass, we'll recommend that you peruse Gene Robinson's latest column. It appeared in yesterday's Washington Post. It tells an amazing story.

The amazing story Robinson tells involves his great-grandfather. First, though, here's the way the prize-winning columnist began his transplendent piece:
ROBINSON (8/25/17): It’s not surprising that we seem to be refighting the Civil War, since it never properly ended in the first place.

It might have, had Southerners listened to Robert E. Lee. The defeated general believed that erecting monuments to the Confederacy—such as his equestrian statue in Charlottesville, now shrouded with a black tarp in mourning of Heather Heyer — would be wrong.

“I think it wiser . . . not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered,” he wrote in 1869 about proposed memorials at Gettysburg.

As soon as they got the chance, Southerners ignored Lee’s advice. After the last federal troops were withdrawn from Southern capitals in 1877, whites began the process of re-subjugating African Americans.
"Hold back, men of Ithaka, from the weariness of fighting!" So spoke Pallas Athene, posing as Mentor, at the end of The Odyssey, in remarks sacred Homer recorded.

So too spoke Lee in 1869, in the statement Robinson quotes. At least on this one occasion, we'd have to say Mister Lee got it right.

That's the way Robinson's column begins. At this point, Robinson describes the history which followed as Lee's sound advice was ignored. In the process, he discusses his great-grandfather, one of the many exemplars of moral greatness who emerged within the ranks of brilliant Americans socially defined as "black:"
ROBINSON: My great-grandfather, Maj. John Hammond Fordham, was among the many black Southerners who were able to take advantage of the brief window of opportunity known as Reconstruction. Born in Charleston, S.C., in 1854, he became a lawyer and held a series of government jobs, working at the imposing Custom House near the port. He was called “Major” because he was one of the founders of the Carolina Light Infantry, equivalent to a volunteer national guard unit and described by the Orangeburg Times and Democrat as “the first colored brigade organized in the South.” He was active enough in Republican politics to correspond with Theodore Roosevelt.

Maj. Fordham moved to Orangeburg and built the house I grew up in. He and his wife had nine children, eight of whom survived to adulthood, and he was able to give them the education and resources they needed to build on the foundation he had laid. But the children’s options, and those of the following generation, were deliberately and systematically limited by Jim Crow. The Fordhams achieved much, but only in spite of the circumstances the white power structure imposed.
As everyone knows but no one says, so-called black America has produced some of the greatest moral and ethical traditions in all of human history.

We don't refer simply to Dr. King and to those with whom he exchanged instruction. We also refer to a giant like Robinson's Major Fordham (and his wife). It's astounding to think that our sad, ridiculous "human race" has produced such high achievers.
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At the end of his column, Robinson returned to the question of those Confederate statues. Also to the question of the names of various roads.

On the whole, we think Robinson showed good sense in this part of his column. We also think there's a basic point which he left unsettled:
ROBINSON: As for me, I couldn’t care less about most street names. I sometimes commute to work on Lee Highway. I’ll bet half the people driving down that road at any given time—including millennials, Salvadoran immigrants, government workers who grew up in Utah or Vermont—wouldn’t know whether it was named after Robert E. or Spike.

Roads bearing a secessionist’s full name are a bit different. The United Daughters of the Confederacy intended Jefferson Davis Highway, which begins in Arlington, to stretch through the South and beyond, all the way to the Pacific. It exists today in many disconnected segments. Alexandria has been working to rename its part of the road for some time. A plaque in a San Diego park designating the western terminus was quietly removed last week.

And the statues? As societies have done for millennia, we erect and prominently display likenesses of figures we admire. When citizens no longer admire the person being honored, they should haul the statues down. They can go to museums or onto the scrap heap of history, where the Confederacy belongs.
We note that Robinson ducked the pressing question of the renaming of Yawkey Way, a two-block road which borders part of Boston's Fenway Park.

Last Saturday, the New York Times devoted two full pages to this utterly silly question. In such ways, we liberals almost always manage to show that we'll extend any moral issue to the point of sheer absurdity, inspiring large chunks of the voting public to view us as majorly crazy. This instinct serves Donald J. Trump.

We think Robinson showed good sound sense concerning the naming of roads. We're going to guess that his great-grandfather possessed a wealth of sound judgment/good sense.

That said, we were struck by one part of Robinson's last paragraph. We refer to this sensible-sounding point:

"When citizens no longer admire the person being honored, they should haul the statues down."

As stated, that's perfectly sensible! But what about this? what if some citizens "no longer admire the person being honored," but some others still do?

The one group can always name-call the other, of course. Is there some other way to proceed?

That situation calls for the wisdom possessed by giants like Major Fordham. As Pallas Athena expressed it more fully:

"Hold back, men of Ithaka, from the weariness of fighting, so that most soon, and without blood, we can settle everything!"

Mister Lee didn't want the statues going up. On balance, Robinson seems to want them coming down.

What would Major Fordham have done? We'll recommend trying to channel the wisdom possessed by our history's giants.

47 comments:

  1. My first reaction was to suggest that every street in America should be named after Dr Martin Luther King Jr (e.g.: Dr Martin Luther King Jr West 41st street), but I'm a bit hesitant.

    While this particular public persona appears to be perfectly PC-compliant, I don't think we could, with clear conscience, ignore the fact that it - alas - is neither female or LGBT.

    Tsk. Perhaps, drop all names and just leave numbers? But what if people learn to be offended by certain numbers? Damn...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Asshole says what?

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    2. Of all enemies, the one that inflicted the most casualties on the United States was the Confederacy. If it had won, perhaps Mao's country would be the most powerful in the world today.

      Delete
    3. Why don't those evil progressives leave well enough alone and quit trying to abolish slavery?
      Why don't those evil progressives leave well enough alone and quit trying to give women the vote?
      Why don't those evil progressives leave well enough alone and quit trying to allow blacks to exercise their right to vote?
      Why don't those evil progressives leave well enough alone and quit trying to allow gays to marry?
      If those women, Indians, blacks, gays, Jews etc. etc. etc. would just crawl back under the rock and let the white man rule, am I right Mao?

      Delete
    4. Osama bin Laden Avenue does have lyrical sound to it, now that I say it out loud.

      Delete
    5. “You can grab them by the pussy.” – Donald Trump

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    6. "“You can grab them by the pussy.” – Donald Trump"

      What are you - a pious puritan, bible thumper or something? Fine, but not exactly a liberal quality, I must say.

      Delete
    7. The problem with what Donald Trump said is his attitude toward women and his belief in casual sexual assault without consequences.

      Liberals are not prudes, as you imply. They are people who believe women have agency over their own bodies and that men who assault women should be prosecuted.

      Delete
    8. If indeed liberals are not prudes, then they have to be pious hypocrites, getting all riled up and outraged over someone's private conversation.

      Though, of course we all know that the outrage is fake (wink wink).

      Delete
    9. Better trolling please

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    10. Ha. First flat out naked endorsement of Trump's sexual harassment I've seen. This is the audience Bob developed over time. He was well warned.

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  2. "Is there some other way to proceed?"
    Why, yes, Bob, there is. How about discussing the issue and taking a vote, as so many communities are doing?
    Are you even paying attention to the real world, or is your knowledge of it based on the boob tube?

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    Replies
    1. Thank heavens for intelligent people such as you.

      Delete
  3. Bob have you been paying attention as liberals have been called evil, traitor, communist, atheist, baby-killer for the past 40 years? Even liberals eventually take offense. And make no mistake...the name-calling has been conservative policy. Thanks for your part in demoralizing liberals.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know if ad hominem hurts or helps but it, is ordinarily the order of the day here and with more sadness than dandelions, it is impossible to escape the fact Bob Somerby's is an idiot.

      Delete
  4. Dear Bob, could you address this amazing controversy, please:
    https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/900472710354128896

    Do you and your 'tribe' (or should I call it 'zombie cult'?) agree with the super-'progressive' ACLU that the picture on top - little kid with a flag - represents "white supremacy"?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Replies
    1. Oh dear, Mao's been watching the tee-vee again. How it going, little buddy?
      Notice the "not at all elite" President just pardoned a a guy characterized by systemic violations of the constitutional rights of non-elites? Hmmm. That's so weird, coming from a guy who handed the economy over to a Goldman Sachs lackey.
      You will never get sick of the elites winning, sucker.

      Delete
    2. “You can grab them by the pussy.” – Donald Trump

      Delete
    3. Mao - Henry David Thoreau came across like a total dick too.

      Delete
    4. I feel reluctant to reply to you Greg, because sometimes you (or someone using the same name) sound extremely constipated, and better be left alone. Sorry.

      Delete
    5. You don't have the right to say that to our legitimate trolls. Fuck off Mao.

      Delete
    6. Mao, your fellow pig is the dark type.

      Delete
  5. “As stated, that's perfectly sensible! But what about this? what if some citizens "no longer admire the person being honored," but some others still do?”

    Can’t say for sure, but maybe – maybe – removing statues that some hold in high regard may actually cause them to confront the reason why they shouldn’t stand.

    And perhaps we could keep the statues of Lee, with plaques describing why he still stands, as testament to the sorrow he expressed concerning that war.

    Leroy

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    1. And while Bob Somerby is employing yet another shiny squirrel to punch down on liberals, we have proof positive - as if there was ever any doubt - that we are governed in the Executive Branch by a truly stupid hack:

      Robert Bauer (Lawfare - 8/26/17:

      "The President made clear in his theatrical preview of the pardon at the Phoenix rally that the Arpaio pardon works well as a gesture to this political constituency—a reaffirmation that he remains the candidate they voted for who will keep what Gorka, in his resignation letter Friday, called the “MAGA promise.” Trump asked the Phoenix crowd if they liked Sheriff Joe, and they roared back their approval. Now he has delivered.

      It all seems to come down to that: Trump disrupted the operation of the criminal justice process to score a political point, and he believes that the “complete power to pardon” gives him all the space he needs for this maneuver and requires of him only the most pro forma, meaningless explanation of his action. He has managed, however, to make a very clear statement about the “rule of law” in his government, and he has miscalculated if he somewhat imagines that it will not come back to haunt him."

      Delete
  6. “As everyone knows but no one says, so-called black America has produced some of the greatest moral and ethical traditions in all of human history.”

    Great words from Bob. And this is one of his best posts. Robinson made some great points too.

    (“I think it wiser . . . not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered,” he (Lee) wrote in 1869 about proposed memorials at Gettysburg.
    As soon as they got the chance, Southerners ignored Lee’s advice.)

    So too spoke Lee in 1869, in the statement Robinson quotes. At least on this one occasion, we'd have to say Mister Lee got it right.

    Damn straight, and white southerners need to explain to the world why the only people from their 400 year long history that they choose to make statues of are from that four year period when they fought to preserve slavery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "and white southerners need to explain to the world"

      Of all kinds of ethnic stereotypes and animosities that exist in modern America - against the Jews, 'blacks', native spanish speakers born south of the border - liberal zombie cult's racist hatred of the 'white southerners' is clearly the most idiotic, least rational kind.

      Delete
    2. You don't seem to understand the difference between disliking someone for their religion, nationality or color of skin and disliking someone because of their actions and behavior toward others.

      Setting aside the insult of liberals as a "zombie cult," white Southerners have been obstructionists in the Democratic party, Republicans in essence, since the turn of the 20th century. No one hates white Southerners for being white or being Southern. They are hated for their racism and their inability to support liberal candidates or anything liberals have tried to do in Congress. That seems like a legitimate reason to dislike a group, in my opinion.

      Delete
    3. Lol. You're such a darling, anon.

      Please go on, tell us more about your (and other liberal zombies') well-justified hatred of 'white' Southerners... I'm dying to hear it.

      Delete
    4. You are using the word hatred, not me.

      White southerners have been nominally Democrats but have voted like Republicans since reconstruction. It is understandable you wouldn't know any American history, being Russian and all.

      Delete
    5. Ah, thanks, very interesting. So, this far it's the Southerners and the Russians who you resent.

      Any other ethnicities? The Serbs, perhaps? The Palestinians? The Alawites? Feel free to elaborate, please.

      Delete
    6. “You can grab them by the pussy.” – Donald Trump

      Delete
    7. Mao, like ALL Trump supporters, is too turned on by Trump's white supremacy schtick to let something like Trump's sexual predation bother him.

      Delete
    8. You're no better than anyone else, Mao. You hate and malign all liberals without an ounce of compunction.

      Delete
    9. We should dismiss all Trump troll talk as "locker room talk" which is meant to be forgotten the moment it is uttered. It never merits a response.

      Delete
    10. "You're no better than anyone else, Mao."

      Of course I ain't better than anyone else... But unlike you, liberal zombies, I'm well aware of me not being the sole bearer of truth and righteousness.

      Delete
    11. Wow. A Conservative playing the victim. That practically never happens all the time.

      Delete
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  9. Liberal zombies attack:

    "Charles Barkley Called a 'Black White Supremacist' for Not Condemning Confederate Monuments"

    http://ijr.com/the-declaration/2017/08/953991-charles-barkley-called-black-white-supremacist-not-condemning-confederate-monuments/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robert Somerby is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

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  11. Look...the people who support the civil war monuments in the south aren't necessarily racist. But these monuments in many many cases
    are symbols of racism. One case in point: The monuments in Lexington, Kentucky were erected on the site of the slave auction, which was one of the
    largest in the United States. It was erected with full knowledge of the meaning of that site and at a time when the Ku Klux Klan was at its
    strongest and deadliest, the first part of the 20th century. The site of the Confederate Monument in Hot Springs, Arkansas, near where I live,
    was deliberately chosen as the spot at which a lynching of a black man by a white mob took place.
    The erection of many such monuments across the South was done in similar fashion, exhibiting the vilest, most disgusting and
    100% intentional racism. I can condemn what these monuments stand for without condemning the people who still support them, for the most part.
    To quote Gene Lyons' recent column: (https://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/fake-history/Content?oid=8781805 )
    Here's Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, arguing that its "cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the Negro
    is not equal to the white man; that slavery - subordination to the superior race - is his natural and normal condition.
    This, our new government, is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

    Please, Mr.Somerby...you admire Gene Lyons for his "Fools for Scandal". PLEASE read his most recent column "Fake history".

    A final thought experiment, Mr. Somerby:
    What if there were a monument to Hitler in a German town, and the local Jewish citizens objected. By your standards,
    how would we ever decide on this question? Some want it left up, some not. Oh well...more fodder for 'crazy' liberal moral outrage, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "What if there were a monument to Hitler in a German town, and the local Jewish citizens objected. By your standards,
    how would we ever decide on this question?"

    Why, actually, these days the US establishment has nothing against Hitler, because he's popular among its liberal-neonazi puppets ruling what's left of the former state of Ukraine:

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-votes-against-anti-nazi-resolution-at-united-nations/

    November 17, 2016

    "UNITED NATIONS -- The United States says it was one of three countries to vote against a U.N. resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism over freedom of speech issues and concerns that Russia was using it to carry out political attacks against its neighbors.

    The resolution entitled "Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," was approved by the U.N.'s human rights committee on Friday with 131 in favor, 3 against with 48 abstentions.

    Ukraine and Palau were the other no votes. "

    So, please re-adjust your fake outrage according to the party line...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robert Somerby is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

      Delete
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