A Picture at an Exhibition

Photographer Hilda Clayton was standing, camera at the ready. So, when a mortar explosion happened in front of her, she snapped the photo. She died one second later, alongside fellow soldiers, all of them training in live fire drills in Afghanistan. The mortar went off by accident, and the unwitting soldier/artist photographed her own death.

I am haunted by this story. A 22-year-old woman warrior from Augusta, Georgia, in the Combat Camera Company sees something most of us will never see. Did she experience a myriad of thoughts, in that second? Did she say I love you to a sweetheart? Did she call out her mother’s name?

Her family and the military have jointly released Hilda’s haunting image, four years after the incident. A soldier in front of her is flying up and away, hands over his ears. The scorching fire of the blast consumes his feet. Debris and flame and thick smoke fly straight at the camera. This was a training exercise. Are the deaths the worse for that?

All last night, I imagined Hilda Clayton’s final second on earth. All night, I lay awake and envisioned death hurling at me out of smoke and fire. Remember that old folk song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Judy Collins sang it to me, all night, in an endless loop. The cat kept waking and touching my face. I might have been singing.

That Hilda Clayton and all soldiers before her were brave, is unquestioned. But, from Upright Man 175,000 years ago, to now, the only thing that has changed are the weapons. We build museums honoring the millions of warriors of the thousands of wars. Is a museum merely a memorial, or is there a lesson to be learned as we ponder and remember our dead? The sum total of it all is not tragic in the classical sense. It is the way we are.

It is the way we are. Which explains Greek gods and Mayan chiefs and Hitler and our own terrorist George Rogers Clark.

Duty to whom? The main accomplishment of all wars is the massive deaths of those who fought in them. We wrap the coffins of our heroes in flags of all nations and call it patriotism. We sing praises and recite epic poems. We write memoirs and receive medals. To what end, other than the end of humanity?

The archaeologists of space/time, upon arriving on our barren planet, will unearth artifacts and enjoy whole careers figuring out the human race. They will come upon “Yossarian” and “Robert Jordan” and “Johnny” and “Candide,” and they might posit that we were mad. They will unearth Arlington and Antietam and Flanders fields and My Lai and the Vietnam Memorial, and they will judge us. They will see no difference between Huitzilopochtli the Sun God and the One True God. They will shake their heads in amusement at Western Civilization.

Hilda Clayton, soldier/artist, died for our sins. Flame engulfed her, and for a moment she was Our Sister of the Sun, and then her atoms rejoined the universe. We will never have the pleasure of doing business at Clayton Photography in Augusta.

“When will we ever learn?”

“We’d be disgraced forever. Mocked for generations if we cannot avenge our sons’ blood, and our brothers. Life would turn to ashes – at least for me; rather be dead and join the dead!” “The Odyssey”

The above might have been spoken by Henry Kissinger, but he’s still alive. He just killed our sons and daughters from his study chair.

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Wet Dreams

Six inches of rain fell yesterday, and more is coming down right now. Boats at Piasa Harbor were upended, and folks who lived alongside Piasa Creek now live in the creek. Farmer Orville’s son Mike showed me a video he shot of Asian carp trying to swim up swollen streams above the Illinois River. My driveway was a robin’s bathtub.

The St. Louis Cardinals have set a record for rainouts in April, more than in the last decade. It’s not just rain; more and more land is covered over by concrete and asphalt, and rain which would have once been absorbed in earth now forms mini creeks, all running into sewers which run into streams which empty into the Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

I used to visit Alton from Chicago. On one of those trips it rained every day for four days. I drove to a spot where I often found Indian artifacts, and I hunted in the rain. In no time, my knapsack was full of fossil slabs and flint. And then I spotted a treasure, a beautiful Woodland era arrowhead stuck in the sand on the opposite bank of a creek that was flooding. I know this creek, I thought. I can wade across the flashflood and retrieve that arrow point.

I stepped in the water. And instantly sunk over my head. And boated along, trying to stay calm, the weight of my knapsack holding me under water. I hadn’t drawn a breath, and wood debris – logs and broken branches – banged into my body. Just as I succumbed to my drowning fate, a huge log boated over me and I grabbed it and hauled my head out and gasped for air and thanked about a hundred saints.

I saw a barbed wire fence up ahead stretching across the creek, so I grabbed it, my hands bloodied and face scoured, the log sailing on downstream. I clung to the fence and hauled myself across the shore. There would be a tetanus shot in my future, and some lectures from friends. I never got hold of that arrowhead.

There is the romance of rain. “The rain is falling on the just an the unjust alike but if I had the management of such affairs I would rain softly and sweetly on the just, but if I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors I would drown him.” Mark Twain “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” Langston Hughes “Some people feel the rain. Others get wet.” Bob Marley

How wet was it?

So wet, I handed out Saran Wrap raincoats for the songbirds; so wet that a family of possums begged to move in with me; so wet that earthworms were kayaking down the Sump Pump River; so wet I had to bleach my beard because of black mold; so wet that girls in yoga pants were covering their crotches with both hands.

It was so wet that bullfrogs built lean-tos to get out of the rain; so wet, my scalped squirrel had to make a campfire and heat his nuts; so wet, I caught a five-pound largemouth bass in my yard, so wet, a motor boat just whizzed past me on the highway; so wet Tina Turner rolled OUT of the river.

That’s how.

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After the Storm

I and my cat were sound asleep when my cell phone began beeping a storm alarm. A possible tornado was in the area. The sky turned purple. It might have been a biblical sand storm or a wave off Oahu, traveling at 45 miles per hour. Trees knelt east and dogwood petals blew straight down, covering the front yard like snow.

Lightning bolts ran like race horses and sliced up the Mississippi, striking high on the bluffs. The river was engorged. I switched between channels Four and Five, as the weather forecasters called out the storm line, Godfrey to Delhi to Brighton and on to Piasa and Fidelity. Channel Four pronounced the place names correctly. Channel Five said “Pee-ah-suh” instead of “Pie-uh-saw” and “Deli” instead of Dell-high.”

Emergency vehicles raced up and down Route 3. The epicenter of the storm was the border of Jersey and Madison counties, just two hundred yards from my driveway. Three firetrucks passed, going west.

Weather is not destructive enough to act as a cautionary tale for the human race. We have no predators, save for ourselves. Which is why we wage war. We need high body counts – I think whites secretly pray for high black body counts – to preserve the Aryan Way, the entrance to Walmart. There is nothing to preserve; memory is not history. If one walks three paces, one cannot return to the beginning, only retrace steps which are now future.

On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I slept and were awakened by a storm. (I remember.) On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I died from carbon monoxide poisoning. (It was painless.) On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I played and chased each other around the house. (I recall.) On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I caught mice in the field across the road. (Tasted like chicken.) On Saturday, April 29, at 3:30 pm, my cat and I practiced vocabulary. All of it happened. None of it happened. The storm was – n’t.

History, for the record, requires eyewitnesses, quotes. The eye is unreliable, quotes are reported words, words are symbols, memory is not history. We are dangling modifiers and musicians of a deaf universe. We were not, we are not, we will not be.

John Paul Sartre, John Rawls and John Cage walk into a bar and order vodka calamities with stuffed olives, no ice. The bartender is Pope John, the floor swabber is King John, the pool player is “Meet John Doe,” the juke box guy is John Boy. A tornado is coming. Rawls recites his theory of justice, Cage hits bar stools with a hammer, Sartre sings “A Little Help from My Friends.” The tornado blows up the bar, but these guys keep on envisioning.

Pope John calls last call and drops dead; John Rawls downs his vodka calamity with stuffed olives into his lungs, drowned as he sings his theory of “original position;” John Cage reaches nirvana by hitting himself in the head; “Meet John Doe” jumps into a urine puddle in the men’s room; King John falls on his broom handle; John Paul Sartre shouts, “Oh my god, I am dead,” and dies; John Boy says good night to himself – after the storm

And on the juke box, Miss Peggy Lee sings, “Is That All There Isn’t.”

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The sunbathing ribbon snake is draped across a pile of wood next to my storage shed. The snake is three feet long, thick and yellow striped, and its hot pink tongue flickers. I resist the urge to pick it up because of undue stress on the reptile. Ribbon snakes are docile and popular as pets, but I am content to be shelter and host. They eat crickets and other insects and tree frogs.

The hummingbird feeder has been hanging for days, with no takers. At noon, I take a break from writing and step outside, and notice that the feeder has had visitors. I stand in the window and watch. And wait.

On the Genehouse walk, I get a lightning strike of sciatic nerve pain in my right hip. I am only halfway up Stroke Hill, a mile to go to my house. I go on, limping badly, listening to the coming thunderstorm’s bombast. A black pickup truck ascends the road and stops. Would I like a ride? An older guy named Tom drives me to my home, seconds before the cloudburst slams down.

On the river, long undulating ribbons of white pelicans circle Scotch Jimmy Island, porcelain wings gleaming in the filtered sunlight. Great blue herons and snowy egrets ply the shallows and spear fish. In the trees, a murder of crows scream at an enemy, a hawk or an owl secreted in a fir tree. Whitecap ribbons weave between the island and the shore. The background color is hot pink, frost white – dogwoods and redbuds naked and sensuous. The music is spring peepers.

Along the River Road, ribbons of trash – beer cans, plastic bottles, tossed diapers, six pack rings – decorate the shoulders. The downside of birds is their inclination to litter, especially after downing a few Bud Lights.

My mother stands on the water in a shimmery spring dress, a carefree, freckled girl with her arms outstretched and pink dreamribbons woven into her hair. She seems to have forgotten that she drowned on this day in 1972. Now she lives on Ganymede, Jupiter’s moon with more water that is in Earth’s oceans, in a ribbon of moons.

And there are long, shivery dreamribbons of ants, spider webs, leaf veins, sassafrass bark, dandelion seeds, soldier’s medals, fungi, comets, the song of the mythical ash tree Yggdrasil: “our roots forever joined.”

For never.

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Gas v Bomb

We have learned today that gassing babies to death is worse than bombing babies to death. Assad has finally crossed the line. So long as he bombed babies to death, he was okay.

But when President Trump saw those writhing, gassed babies, he was moved to fire amber waves of million dollar missiles. Had he made a warrior’s decision, of course, he wouldn’t have warned Russia ahead of time, which then in turn warned the Syrians, which enabled them to move the scary stuff elsewhere.

We have learned that gassing babies to death is worse than starving babies to death in the Horn of Africa. Trump may or may not have seen tens of thousands of starving babies in Africa, but I’m cynical enough to believe he wouldn’t act no matter what.

We have learned from CNN, FOX, Nany Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham et al that Trump did a presidential thing, sure proof that gassing babies to death is far more terrible than starving babies to death. Sure.

And yesterday, we learned that Mormons in Utah have issued an emergency alert, that the white baby stock needs replenishing because babies of color are taking over.

To sum it up, babies are pawns.

President Trump appears to have made a spontaneous decision, based on watching gassed dead babies on television, to fire tens of missiles at a pre-warned secondary airfield in Syria.

Guess which stock went up today? Missile stock – of course. (I suspect that countless erections went up, too.) So, rich investors made money off a symbolic bombing because our leader, a thumb-sucking baby himself, saw bad stuff on the news.

If there was money in saving gassed and bombed and starved babies, if there was a dead baby stock on Wall Street that Betsy DeVos and her evil brother Prince, Eric, could buy, the dead baby rate would plummet.

Spontaneity is the new driving force. Logically, that puts the ultimate baby revenger, nuclear bombs, on the table. And finally, we have our Emperor with No Clothes who is willing to pull the trigger. That is a table at which I don’t wish to sit, but then I’m a Liberal, you know, all gooey inside.

Babies are pawns. Babies are pawns. Babies are pawns.

You alt-righters out there, gnashing your teeth and longing for ultimate orgasm – ’cause your old lady ain’t givin’ it to you no more – and the smell of napalm in the morning: Arise! Arm yourselves! Crusade your pale asses to Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, for God and country. Don’t be a TV moron – be a hero. Save the Babies!

Just don’t expect Trump to lead you into battle. Donald J. Trump is no more a leader than I am a clitoris.

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There are certain threads of our moral fabric that are so hidebound and sacred that even a tree hugger like me is devoted to those institutions. Football. Barbeques. Respecting elders. Family. Religion, with which I hold no truck, but I wouldn’t call for its demise – excepting Mike Pence and his First Church of Anal Christ.

But today, that institution of institutions is under attack, that foundation for prepubescent boys and star struck girls, and for men everywhere who dare to dream. I’m speaking of cheerleading, which is more American than apple pie, more wholesome than the Gilmore girls.

Coastal Carolina University has suspended its cheerleading squad, and not because those rascally young women snap each other’s butts with towels. The allegations include buying alcohol for underage athletes, paying others to do their homework. . . and prostitution. The school’s president, Dave DeCenzo, mysteriously added, “a long list of things.”

Okay. Buying alcohol for underage kids is a time-honored rite. Charge Dismissed! I’m not sure why cheerleaders are so busy that they can’t do their own homework. In my last year as adjunct freshman English instructor at DePaul University, I encountered many students who had clearly lifted material off the internet. So, Bad Girl. But, Charge Dismissed!

I know nothing about prostitution. I am reminded of a small Burt Reynolds movie, “Breaking In,” in which a professional burglar discovers a kid burglar already in the house. He takes the kid under his wing. One night, Burt orders two ladies to join them for sex. The next morning, the kid tells Burt he is in love and Burt tells the kid his girl was a prostitute. I’ve never paid for it, the kid says. Take it from me, kid, Burt replies. If you’re ever been involved with a woman you’ve paid for it one way or another.

Hey, Burt said it, I didn’t.

I thought about being a male prostitute in the 70s; money and action were my thing. But my priest, Father Brie Camembert, talked me out of it. Still, I lived my youth as a hippie hedonist, I just didn’t ask for cash.

As for the Coastal Carolina women, we weren’t there. I personally was home watching the naked “Game of Thrones” gals. It was on HBO, so it was art. I say, Charge Dismissed. Maybe take some classes on why boys are boys, and don’t hire someone to do your homework. You’ll be so repelled by men’s programmed brains, you won’t want to have sex ever again. And your girl pals will shame the crap out of you, which is punishment enough.

As for cheerleading, the institution is safe in a Trump administration. Starvation is okay, homeless okay, Mexicans get out okay, old people don’t need medicine, okay. But I am absolutely certain that cheerleading is safe – until impeachment. Trump loves cheerleaders, just don’t let him visit your locker room.

If any leader of cheers feels she needs sanctuary, Genehouse is here for you. To paraphrase Charleton Heston’s National Rife Association speech, you can pry my cheerleader out of my cold, dead hands.

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Birds Do It

My friend Charlie Baird volunteers at the National Great Rivers Museum, adjacent to the Alton Lock and Dam. His favorite thing to do is lead tours on a walkway eighty feet above the locks. The walkway is narrow, with walls on both sides, and you can look down and watch barges wend their way into the locks. I’m scared of heights, which doesn’t stop me from climbing mountains, but this walkway terrifies me.

So, this morning, Charlie takes a group of fifth graders and their teachers up to the walkway. He’s great at explaining how lock and dams work, and the kids are having a wonderful time. Then Charlie notices some movement on top of one of the eighty-foot high sodium lamps which guide the barges at night.

Two peregrine falcons are on top of a light and the male is humping the female. Charlie thinks, is this a teaching moment? Hey, kids, look up, see those two falcons mating up there? Isn’t Nature great?

But no, he calls me on his cellphone and describes what happened, and the kiddies are still innocent, and I am spasming from laughing too much.

I have never held a bird and checked for private parts. That kind of research is for graduate students working on their theses. After work, I imagine, they shed those lab coats and go at it like bunnies, male behind the female, just like falcons.

Mating season is rough on female birds. I’ve seen six guy sparrows chase a good-looking sparrow chick, each one showing off their wing displays, because what else can a plain sparrow do? And the woman runs – runs, not flies because a male can outfly and grab her – and she sets land speed records to avoid doing the nasty with any old Tom, Dick and Harry.

No matter how majestic the bird, the humping is hilarious. And the guy bird is going nuts because it’s one-and-done until next year – if he lives that long. Birds don’t chirp along to Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” Birds are all about the show. Gene Kelly birds get laid, Steve Buscemi birds don’t; Wiz Khalifa birds get some, but not Lawrence Welk birds. You feel me?

Speaking of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” Meatloaf talked Hall of Fame Baseball great and radio announcer Phil Rizzuto into recording a play-by-play account of a boy getting all the way to third base with his girl and heading for “home.” Rizzuto was worried that kids would be shocked, but in fact, he became famous to a legion of new fans.

In the 70s, I had a girlfriend, Anon. She and I would drink a cheap ass red wine called Spanata out of its glass grape-clustered bottle and uh, do it in the road, the bed, on the kitchen counter, the trunk of her car, or while watching “Mary Tyler Moore” on a Saturday night.

Anon had a caged parakeet in her bedroom. This bird would watch us bump our uglies. It would cock its head and whistle and dance on its little perch. I requested that the bird have a cover put over its cage, but Anon thought it was funny. And afterwards, the bird, which had never had sex in its life, would laugh hysterically and groom itself.

The moral of the story is humping, no matter the species, is hilarious to observers of other species. All males of Earth, preparing for the Big Bang, get this fluttery, yee-ha! look in their eyes, and all females of Earth, preparing to lie about how good it was and shouting, oh baby, oh baby, look damned silly.

Remember this on your next amorous night, when your dog is at the foot of the bed or your cat watches you from the floor and your butt is in the air. They’re laughing at you.

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It is a Dream, Remember

We have moved to a new house

A grey stucco, two-story, decrepit hulk

My room upstairs, the parents’ down

Sister and the little boy in the basement


My father’s face glowers brighter than his cigarette ash

We move like dance partners in and out

bumping rumps until bruises burst purple blue

My shawled mother, Hispanic,

scuttles about like a mouse

My starving sister and the little boy

sit at the kitchen table and drink air from teacups


I stand in my empty bedroom – no bed or chest or lamp

Up the stairs from the kitchen, as huge as a tennis court

We could all sleep in here in the lightless cavern

Then the wood floor creaks:

the little boy peeking in the doorway


Next morning, I go anywhere

When I return, the stairs leading to my room

have been sawed off, the kitchen bathed in sawdust

My sister and the little boy refugees

and plates and cups all drenched in deep, sweet dust


I look up to the gaping hole in the upstairs floor

Mother chewing her cheeks, kids licking sawdust

like it was powdered candy

Mother’s face an old, folded roadmap,

her rosary beating like a heart


I walk to my father’s chair, he reads the funnies

Why did you do that, I ask, why cut off the stairs?

Be out of the house by night, or I will beat you senseless

growls the crackerjack in the Lazy Boy chair

He has already done that – what is different

in this new old, old new house?


You cannot hurt me, I say,

I can lift you with a finger

And he throws the stare that used to horrify me

I no longer afraid, but in the next war

I know we will fight to the death

He flings the newspaper in the air and stands

grabbing the little boy by the throat

Then he runs out the doorless front entrance


In the kitchen, the mother brushes the children’s hair,

The little boy rhythmically clapping his hands on the table

She fingers the rosary and offers a silent prayer

a prayer for this house not meant to stand

We must go, Son, she whispers,

the little one has told me things

“The little one” drawing prophecy in sawdust


Then we pack our no belongings, our no clothes, no photos

We walk through the garden alone

then we are in the alley, long walls of garages

We look back at the grey stucco, two story, decrepit hulk

Our father lighting it afire

reveling in the flames on his arms


We drive away, my bent mother in her shawl, the little boy, crying

my sister holding him – me – while I watch

And we drive into the sun

It is a dream, remember

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Steve King Not Related to Stephen King

Representative Steve King of Iowa is enthusiastically expounding his theory, that so-called Western Civilization is in peril because the birth rates of European states are dropping to a net loss. There goes the neighborhood, King implies, everything good came from Europeans. He means, of course, white people.

Representative King is in fact an example of why Western Civilization, beyond the obvious thinkers and innovators of history – European history – is composed of largely ignorant masses who ride on the coattails of Aristotle and his ilk. Whenever a few self-interested conservative elites control a mass of people, Holocaust of non-whites often follows.

King sneers when he talks about culture, in a racist, good old boy tone. It is likely that he never read the classics of Western Civilization. It is just as likely that, as a school boy, he was mesmerized by the stories of the “conquerors” of the West, represented as heroism in history books, when guns beat spears every time.

I have mentioned before a life-changing book that I read two decades ago, which shatters the myth of white supremacy. “Guns, Germs and Steel,” by Professor Jared Diamond, explains how the sheer luck of Europeans (really one of eight groups migrated out of Africa), landing and living in the only world zone of east/west axis, replete with nutritional plants and forests and animals for domestication (leading to germs which would play a huge role in conquest), and moderate climate, led to discoveries and enormous advantages based on comfort of people to pursue ideas rather than stay in survival mode.

In other words, white European people (we paled as the melanin in our skin was no longer required for tropic mode), we won the advantage lottery – after we migrated from Africa. Had any other ethnic group won the land lottery, their cultures would have thrived in the same or a similar way.

“Guns, Germs and Steel” won the Pulitzer Prize and was translated into thirty-three languages. Diamond is considered one of the top scientists and intellectuals in the world. The book is also a hell of a read and one the seminal books of the history of human evolution. It is one of the greatest refutations of racism you will ever read.

Steve King, not to be confused with Stephen King (though Steve is a horror beyond Stephen King’s imagination), has discovered nothing, possesses little or no talent, talks like “Babbitt” and is at best unread, unwashed, and unfulfilled. He dropped out of college, received three draft deferments, and is the founder of King Construction. Talk about Representative material. He reminds me of that pillar of conservatism, former pest control business owner, founder of the birther movement, and convicted criminal Tom Delay.

Compare those gentlemen to, say, W.E.B. DuBois, Henry Louis Gates (those two professors at Harvard), Malcom X, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, etc., whose lineage was not lucky-European, to see the absurdity of Representative King’s racist dogma. Bannon and Breitbart would have us believe that intellect is European, therefore white.

Can advantage, lasting thousands of years, have caused a defect which runs through the generations, leading to hate mongers? It’s how defective genes cause cancer.

Bannon and Company is a cancer. Perhaps we ought to ponder if there is such a thing as defective soul.

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She poured me a cup of coffee and said she couldn’t wait for tomorrow, Sunday afternoon. She was going to lie on her couch and watch the NASCAR race on television. I told her I had read that attendance for car racing was down sixty per cent. She fired back: Racing started dying when “they” outlawed the Confederate flag. Racing fans could no longer wave those banners.

I asked her, was car racing a sport or a cultural event, or both? She said, “I never hurt any blacks. I had nothing to do with slavery, and I am sick and tired of the protests and of the government telling me I can’t proudly wave my Confederate flag, and I ain’t apologizing to no one. I didn’t do anything.” She stormed into the restaurant kitchen, her face beet red.

America is a land of regional myths. The Southern one, of gentility and nobleness, leaving out that genteel people placed slaves in smokehouses with meats, partially cooking them to teach them a lesson, and branded their slaves like cattle, and hung them and raped the women and girls – the Southern one most mystifies me.

In fact, the majority of Southerners wanted no part of slavery and certainly no part of war. It was their silence that allowed the horror to take place. But not always. The citizens of Jones County, Mississippi, declared war against the Confederacy and fought to a draw against far superior forces.

Somehow, between 1865 and the Vietnam War, the southern white working class started donning Confederate flags, waving the flags as though the good old boys had won something, with the craze spreading to every redneck in every state. Perhaps NASCAR got squirrely about publicity over its drunken fans. I can’t imagine they were reaching out to a black audience.

What, exactly, was won? The Confederate leadership and generals were, in fact, traitors.

A few days ago, the family of Roger Taney, the Supreme Court justice circa 1835 who wrote the Dred Scott decision, united with members of the Scott family. Dred Scott, a slave from Missouri, crossed into Illinois with his master then ran for it, claiming he was in a free state. Taney and his fellow justices ruled that negroes were not persons, thus not citizens of the United States. Ironically, Taney himself a slave owner, freed his slaves and gave them pensions.

Right away, we see that allegiance to strict interpretation of the Constitution directly led to events in this country as horrifying as the Holocaust. The Trumpists, Justice Scalia, intent on conservatism, may justify ANY action, so long as it adheres to the document. Which, by the way, is why so many amendments were passed, to clarify the many flaws of the original document.

Charlie Taney, the great-great grandson of Roger Taney, said to Lynne Jackson, great-great granddaughter of Dred Scott, “I’m sorry.” “You can’t hide from the words,” Taney told reporters. “You can’t run, you can’t hide, you can’t look away.” He apologized to all African American citizens of this nation, for the transgressions of his ancestor. He and Lynne Jackson hugged. Their families had a picnic.

You can just see Nazi lover Steve Bannon and his red meat boys sneering at forgiveness. Can’t you? Can you? Are you sneering?

Silence was never golden. Silence was an accidental terrorist. Silence was a coward. Rise up, brothers. Rise up, sisters. March. Speak. Let you first words be, “I’m sorry.”

Silence is never golden.

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