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Is Patriotism too Fragile to Withstand History

Digging up the past helps us understand who we are as a nation. I fear patriotism is presented as a false choice. It seems that for many, to be patriotic is to remember and celebrate only our nation’s triumphs. To choose otherwise, to choose to remember our failings, is thus somehow anti-American. — Ken Burns Ken Burns, in the introductory quote, was referring to the only National Historic Site in the United States with the word “massacre” [...]

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By |2021-11-28T20:34:55+00:00November 28, 2021|Black Americans, History, Native Americans, Patriotism, Politics, Racism, Slavery|

Is Our Love Affair with Cars Near Its End?

The worst things about cars are some of the drivers. Here in my car I feel safest of all I can lock all my doors It’s the only way to live in cars Electronic Music impresario Gary Numan remains a one-hit wonder in the U.S. with “Cars,” his Top Ten hit from 1979 quoted above. That song is already a relic as I contemplate the future of the American automobile. The automobile itself is drastically changing. Instead [...]

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By |2021-09-29T22:30:19+00:00September 29, 2021|Cars, Driving, History, Technology, Travel|

Paying the Price for Being What You Used to Be

Don’t let prehistoric opinions define who you are today. I inadvertently took last week off. I have been engrossed in a book project and on Thursday of last week realized that I hadn’t written my weekly blog, which I have always posted on Wednesdays. Nobody noticed so I guess we all (make that all three of us) needed a week off. We have lost the opportunity to be spontaneous and misinformed, to learn and grow, to become [...]

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Wildcats and Panthers and Wolves, Oh My!

“I told you we shouldn’t be out here after dark!” We seem to have entered a weird time of make-believe where stuff is made up by people who I’m not going to mention, because they wish things hadn’t turned out the way they did. That’s the way it is today. If we don’t like the way things are, we just pretend they aren’t and move on believing what we want to believe. I mean who would have [...]

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By |2020-12-30T18:57:09+00:00December 30, 2020|2020, COVID-19, History, Mortality, Public Health, Uncategorized|

A Voter’s Journey through Five Decades of Change

Actually, every vote counts toward another vote— from the electors, who are members of the Senate, House of Representatives, and three from the District of Columbia. It was a compromise and it complicates the majority-rules premise. This is my last blog before election day, and more people have already voted than will vote, as my wife and I will, at their local polling places next Tuesday. Changing the minds of voters at this point is very unlikely [...]

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When Patriotism Contorts into Nationalism

Calling all patriots who want America to be the best we can be. If you are looking for a concise definition of patriotism — a phrase that captures its general meaning— it would probably be “love of country.” There really is no simple definition of patriotism, because it is not so much about blind love as it is an affection for and allegiance to your country acquired over a lifetime. It is a love instilled and nurtured [...]

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By |2020-09-02T15:39:26+00:00September 2, 2020|1918, Baby Boomers, History, Hitler, Nationalism, Patriotism, Slavery, World War I, World War II|

Tale of Two Pandemics: Beware of Slackers

Some slackers faced death sentences during the 1918 pandemic. I guess we are all familiar with the idea that history repeats itself, and, accordingly, if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, we’ll keep on making the same blunders. The Philosopher George Santayana gets the credit for best expressing this theorem with this assessment: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." He was looking at this from a historical perspective, a world view, [...]

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Racial Prejudice: How Far Have We Really Come?

The message of the evils of racism still falling on deaf ears. I had a blog written about how all of us are more alike than different, but it just doesn’t seem credible anymore. It’s reassuring to think we’re always going to have a happy ending here, as well as in the hereafter, and that we all have more goodness within us than iniquity.  Maybe, but, then again, we may merely be a nation of strangers who [...]

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By |2020-06-03T20:12:04+00:00June 3, 2020|American History, Bible, Evil, History, Lyrics, Racism, Truth, Victims|

What Makes Trump Tick? “I Just Gots to Know”

Will a closer look at the words of Donald Trump help us understand? I’m trying. I really am. I’m trying to look at the humorous side of things. It was easy at first, with a president who could play himself in a Saturday Night Live skit. He can’t be serious, right? And yet there is so much to make fun of— ratings gold for the pundits. He’s a living reality show and, at the same time, so [...]

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Museums: Historic, Hysteric and Hyperbolic

Something for those scared to death of dying? It seems that people are becoming increasingly aware of the value of history and the lessons we should be learning from it. Museums and historical societies are all around, supposedly to sustain our understanding of the past, as well as its impact on our present while providing guidance for the future. Driving across the wide expanse of Virginia over the weekend I saw a big billboard proclaiming Cooter’s Place, [...]

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By |2020-02-26T15:10:29+00:00February 26, 2020|death, Exhibits, Extremes, Fakes and Phonies, History, Humor, Marketing, Museums, Pop Culture|
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