Jan 20, 2022·edited Jan 20, 2022

Yesterday was big for many reasons. The fight against authoritarianism by people who believe in democracy was at the heart of it all. Democracy can’t lose in the long run because people who feel the sting of authoritarianism will always look to democracy to right their wrongs. The Supreme Court said trump isn’t privileged enough to be able to block the committee; his records pertaining to the 1/6 mob insurrection incited by him will now get handed over. Putin hesitates to play his hand against the Ukrainians because of what it might cost him and his oligarch buddies, personally; their billions are mostly in the west. The looming sanctions scare them and the oligarchs are thinking that Vlad has overplayed his pair of 8s; Russia doesn’t have much real power anymore that’s why Putin wants to invade their neighbor like some bully trying to grab a classmate’s lunch money. He’s starting to think again before his paltry pair of 8s turn into something even less valuable. NATO is standing firm and should he proceed Russia will further isolate itself and …yes, at a big financial cost to the prime antagonist and his closest friends in Russia. Hey, they could all get so ticked off by the sanctions that they decide to throw in with Navalny and replace Putin. Meanwhile old trump is facing the inevitable consequences of his lifetime of cheating and lying overplay….he’s destined for a Lear like finish on the heath of lost golf courses, hotels and office buildings. No way he gets back into politics. The mendacity of Manchin and Senema has finished them, too. The American people really hate villains like them; it’s very deep in our guiding mythology. The image of Sinema’s Tik Tok worthy betrayal….shaking hands with the gloating R senators ….will be as permanent as Lady MacBeth’s indelible spot, in the minds of the majority of American voters. Rest assured Schumer and Pelosi won’t give in on voting rights and Joe Biden won’t stop until the best elements of both BBB and the Voting Rights legislation are signed into law. 78 year old Joe is a real gamer. How about his 2 hr news conference yesterday? The fight goes forward against the foreign and domestic antagonists of democracy. It’s an endless one so if you’re tired of it at the moment rest awhile… the fight will be there waiting for you whenever you’re ready to begin again.

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“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) assured reporters that concerns about Black voting were misplaced because: ‘African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.’ “

O. M. G. Mitch the Merciless once again invokes that nasty old belief that Black people AREN’T AMERICANS. I could just spit fire.

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Um…Did eric trump check with his father prior to invoking the fifth five hundred times? ‘Cause, last I understood his father smirked at those who use the fifth.

That family can’t keep its logic and the stories they concoct straight long enough to pull off the innocence project ala trump.

Innocence and trump do not marry well in a sentence.

Oh, and yea. Thank you Manchin for doubling down on Sinema’s insult to our President regarding voting rights by opening your yap during the press conference to claim jump audience.

Donating to every agency against you both. You don’t deserve my vote if mine doesn’t count enough for you to vote for it.

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James Carville spoke after President Biden's tremendous Press Briefing yesterday. Carville had a two fold message. First. Biden through his lengthy and rigorous Briefing planted an oak tree yesterday. He called the Republicans out for their "believe in nothing" stance. Biden allayed any doubt at all about his abilities and how he feels about his agenda.

Second. Carville also stated that it's time to move on. He stated there are 3 years left in this Presidency and we stand a good chance of ending up with 53 seats in the Senate after 2022 and also keeping the House. He said we should focus on that. He dismissed Manchin and Sinema. (the Carville interview was with Ari Melber yesterday).

Carville suggested we quit acting like this Presidency is over.

My personal opinion is:

The New York case against the trumps is 3 years old. TFG was always going to run.

The Republicans will remain recalcitrant. TFG guy will remain an authoritarian. The SCOTUS is biased. Manchin and Sinema are not trustworthy. The media is greedy and biased.

These are absolutes at this time. Can we quit obsessing over them?

My personal opinion is that it is time to stop the handwringing and wound licking. We have work to do and a President to support.

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My Country ’Tis of Thee


Of course you have faced the dilemma: it is announced, they all smirk and rise. If they are ultra, they remove their hats and look ecstatic; then they look at you. What shall you do? Noblesse oblige; you cannot be boorish, or ungracious; and too, after all it is your country and you do love its ideals if not all of its realities. Now, then, I have thought of a way out: Arise, gracefully remove your hat, and tilt your head. Then sing as follows, powerfully and with deep unction. They’ll hardly note the little changes and their feelings and your conscience will thus be saved:

My country tis of thee,

Late land of slavery,

Of thee I sing.

Land where my father’s pride

Slept where my mother died,

From every mountain side

Let freedom ring!

My native country thee

Land of the slave set free,

Thy fame I love.

I love thy rocks and rills

And o’er thy hate which chills,

My heart with purpose thrills,

To rise above.

Let laments swell the breeze

And wring from all the trees

Sweet freedom’s song.

Let laggard tongues awake,

Let all who hear partake,

Let Southern silence quake,

The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God to thee

Author of Liberty,

To thee we sing

Soon may our land be bright,

With Freedom’s happy light

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God our King.

W. E. B. Du Bois, “My Country ’Tis of Thee” from Creative Writings by W. E. B Du Bois (KrausThomson Organization Limited, 1985). Reprinted with the permission of the Estate of W. E. B. Du Bois.

Source: Creative Writings by W. E. B. Du Bois (KrausThomson Organization Limited, 1985)


In Dubois's My Country Tis of Thee he uses familiarity to invoke change. By using a recognizable tune, the audience takes the words more to heart than they would otherwise. In addition, the irony of addressing such deep flaws in America as a nation through a patriotic tune really drives the point home.

In some ways the topic of slavery has become taboo in modern American culture. It is seen as distasteful to dwell on the gross errors and atrocities our “great” country has committed. Americans have a propensity to overlook their own faults while focusing on others'. As a nation we are incredibly ethnocentric, as demonstrated in The School Days of an Indian Girl by Zitkala-Sa. The "American Pride" that caused our nation to seek independence from Britain in the 1700's is now contributing to a mindset of denial and smoothing things over while not really solving the problem. Dubois makes the point that the freedom that some enjoy is the same "freedom" that kept others enslaved. He took a well-known patriotic song and revised it to a more realistic, albeit harsh, version. In the last verse however, Dubois adopts a more hopeful tone.

This work is relevant to American society today in that there is still much inequality. All of the works chosen to discuss in class from the Harlem Renaissance carry a very similar theme of overcoming racial tensions and longing for a place of equality. These topics are applicable to modern struggles for equality such as gender, race, sexual orientation, and religion. The music of the Harlem Renaissance helped to keep the energy levels high and motivate perseverance in the activists for social change. Today ideas are circulated over the internet rather than a turntable, but the message remains the same. (The Harlem Renaissance)

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The relief & joy I felt when Biden/Harris were inaugurated are fading, replaced by sadness & disappointment. Disbelief. I thought we would be free of Trump & his dark madness. I truly do not understand what the Republicans believe in. Is it an America that once was? I know I sound naive & I keep trying to understand but I just can’t. Self-righteous? Maybe. Yes. I will continue to do what I can. But it gets harder each day. Thanks everyone for your passion & dedication. And to you Dr. Richardson.

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Takeaways from last night’s Presidential Press Conference:

First, was Biden’s announcement that he would be going out among the citizenry delivering his message in person.

Second, was his mention of the advisors he listens to and the fact that he will continue, and expand, the practice of listening to a broad range of voices for guidance.

In this context, President Biden specifically mentioned historians and I could not help but reflect on a comment historian Doris Kearns Goodwin made during a discussion she and historian Jon Meacham had with the Librarian of Congress on January 6, 2022, in Washington, DC.

In a discussion centered on the similarities between the events surrounding the Insurrection of January 6th and the 1850s, Goodwin mentioned the attack on the Senate floor of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner by South Carolina Senator Preston Brooks. This attack and the reaction it engendered was, according to Goodwin, one of the events that brought Lincoln to the national political arena. She also discussed the alternate political realities that emerged at that time, eventually leading the Civil War.

She continued with a story about the turn of the 19th century, when industrialization, immigration, and technological innovation, ushered in another fundamental shift in perceptions of reality. President Theodore Roosevelt, determined to correct for the emerging excesses of that time, and counter the alternate reality that was seizing the mind of the body politic, embarked upon a train-stop tour of the country to deliver his vision of the values we share as Americans.

Most of this is not news to those who follow Professor Richardson’s Letters (and apologies for any inaccuracies herein) but it was noteworthy that President Biden seems to be listening to the historians advising him, and most importantly, taking that advice to heart and putting it into action.


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Cynicism rules the day. Cynicism, it wins again.

I found this quote, from Ken Burns:

“I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism, and what we’re led to is a life not fully lived.”

“Cynicism is fear, and it’s worse than fear - it’s active disengagement.”

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“African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans," says McConnell. Clearly African Americans are not in the same category as "Americans" in his thinking...

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"No one is above the law," except apparently the people who make the laws. Today's events in the Swamp demonstrate how dishonorable, venal politicians create loopholes in the fabric of Justice, manipulate the rules to suit themselves and the monied interests that support them, and arrogantly betray their responsibility to the Constitution they took an oath to protect and defend. Instead of serving the highest aspirations of the American people, these weasels blatantly cater to the demands of the corporations who financed their elections. From this day forward the names Manchin and Sinema will live in infamy as the leading culprits who helped extinguish the dying embers of democracy. No surprise there. But in addition to committing the moral crime of restricting our freedoms by taking away significant voting rights, these so-called representatives of the people have accomplished something else of even greater importance. They have made it clear what We, the people must now do to reignite the spark of American democracy from the ashes of political corruption: Revolt non-violently at the grassroots level through boycotts, work stoppages and mass protests. America is now held in the grip of a radical evil that will not be released through violent reactivity. We must act peacefully as one unified force for Justice and the inalienable rights bequeathed to us by the nation's founders. We must Resist! Organize! Strike! And above all, we must ensure that our actions demonstrate the power of love that still informs the "better angels of our natures" also inspiring us, as the great poet Wendell Berry said, to "practice resurrection" in all our affairs.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) assured reporters that concerns about Black voting were misplaced because: “African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”…..what does this even mean, Mitch ….

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Hat tip to every single person who called, texted, or wrote to their elected representatives or donated money to grassroots organizations to support voting rights legislation over the past year. We have honed our skills, upped our game, marshalled our resources. We are stronger than ever in our civic engagement. We continue the battle for democracy and fairness. We continue to fight reactionary state legislatures and nefarious corporate interests. We go on.

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It is sickening and frightening. It is hard to take in that any senator would oppose the right of all citizens to vote....I wonder what, for example, Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins are thinking/calculating. I can't believe they are against the intent of the bills so are they making some kind of Faustian bargain?

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Apparently it's not going to happen this time. Forget about it! Concentrate on getting out the vote in '22 and putting progressives in office!

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Unfortunately, betrayal has long been part of the human community. Today we were all betrayed by those we entrusted to do the people's will. That it comes as no surprise does not soften the blow. Today I will mourn our republic. Tomorrow I will help to prove to those who would destroy our republic that THEY are the ones in trouble, not us.

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"CNN’s Jim Sciutto pointed out Trump seems to think that so long as he is running for office, he can persuade people that investigations are all political."

Looking at the news both here (Jerusalem, Israel) and in the US, sometimes one gets the feeling that Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu are reading from the same playbook. Bibi Netanyahu threw Israel into 3 years of political turmoil, which included 4 elections, in order to be able to claim that, as long as he was either Prime Minister or the Likud Party's leading candidate, progress in his trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust was politically motivated. And it worked.

Now, less than a year after formation of a broad coalition which succeeded in ousting Mr. Netanyahu from power, his lawyers are hammering out a plea bargain which promises to bring a confession to crimes hopefully serious enough to exclude the former Prime Minister from political office for many years to come.

All this to say that, given the current state of American politics, Mr. Trump's strategy ("so long as he is running for office, he can persuade people that investigations are all political") has a fair chance of succeeding. Bad news.

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