After a week or more of blog inactivity but mental overload its, as always, hard to know where to begin. The School Board race? Oh, you betcha,that will determine how successfully the new school board will thread its way through a minefield sowed by past and the current Board. The remarkable week of the Supreme Court and Charleston? Absolutely. What the court does has been on mind since second grade when my five year old neighbor Donna Beth parroting her father declared to me “I don’t want to go to school with no niggers.” This is one of the first quotes I heard that I’ve never forgotten along with: “your Grandfather was shot [in World War I] and he didn’t cry.” The former was in Topeka, Kansas newly ordered by the Supreme Court to integrate its public schools. The latter was what my Mother told me several times post toddlerhood when I came crying to her with skinned knees and such.
To escape the School Board on the eve of School Board filings I’ve once again begun reading a book out loud to Claudia. I’m over half way through with the 550 page Wild Swans. One of the recent chapters really had me thinking about the Duluth Schools. Called “Famine,” it described the dim witted policies of Chairman Mao who single-handedly forced tens of millions of Chinese Peasants in the late 1950’s to leave their farms untended while scouring the landscape for old nails and scrap metal to melt into nearly useless pig iron. Millions starved while, like in the tale of the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” no one in the Communist party had the courage to say his policies were misguided. Boy, if that doesn’t lead into a discussion of the Red Plan and its aftermath I don’t know how else to take it.
Meanwhile my posts on DWBP were in large measure a sideways way for me to address the recent events in Charleston. I don’t attend many politically tinged community events. I’m sort of stand-offish that way. But years ago I had my family go up to the memorial for the new gravesite for the three black lynching victims from 1920. Formerly they had been laid to rest in unmarked pauper’s graves. There was a connection between one of the victims and Topeka Kansas and Brown vs. Board of Education. I’m not a particularly spiritual fellow but that connection has stuck in my head for at least fifteen years since reading Michael Fedo’s book “The Lynching’s in Duluth.” Actually I think my reading it in 2000 was my second reading. I think I first read it under its original title “They was Just Niggers.”
I’ll just repeat this for about the umpteenth time. I like President Obama. Unlike most of his critics I think he has negotiated the Presidency pretty darned well. I’m especially pleased that in the recent weeks he has finally felt comfortable enough to be more candid. That’s something I appreciate just as I appreciate how candor can be an impediment to progress. The President himself recently uttered the “N” word. Charleston has done a lot to upend the Red Neck self righteousness that used the Stars and Bars like a big middle finger.
I enjoyed his launching in to an out of tune rendition of Amazing Grace at the Pickney funeral. I almost did the same at St. Marks AME church in Duluth last week but thought better of it. It was at a memorial for Charleston. Instead I sang a solo at our church service on Sunday. It was the old spiritual “Somebody’s Knocking on my Door.”
Somebody’s always knocking. It leaves me with so much to blog about.