Section 3 1826-1879
Honest Abe, The Last partially trustworthy Republican
I summarized or used portions of section 3 of this book in a previous podcast but I don’t recall writing an extensive analysis of these chapters. This time period spans Georgian to the beginning of the Victorian period through the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the “De-construction period after the Civil War. My biggest take away was confirmation that the slaves were not freed in this country based solely on the horrors of slavery and how morally wrong it was. It was a numbers game with Lincoln being more concerned about putting poor whites back to work, allowing poor whites self-sufficiency which cannot compete if you have free forced labor. If you’re going to have strong white society, that is built on everyone working for their keep. Premise partially good, but did not have any idea of what to do with the millions of newly freed slaves. A workforce who also now would compete for jobs, educational opportunities, safe housing, access to healthcare. How do you give rights to a whole population of people, that you don’t view as human?
I don’t recall before this book any discourse taking a hard, long at Lincoln and his policies. No one wants to really admit the real reason slaves were freed and the backlash from economically and industrially short-sighted states. I also would put forward that a better understanding of these motivations doesn’t diminish the stature or prominence the individual. Lincoln had to figure out how to rule a uniformly racist nation with the tools at his disposal. I honestly believe that that Abraham Lincoln was the last Republican worth trusting. His grapple between his urges, instincts and what was right I think lead to his depression. He took his position as President seriously but knew he was limited by his own intellect, information, emotional intelligence, a divided Congress and a very conservative society. Taking an informed look at his writings, policy of the time etc., is all gain in a deeper understanding of Lincoln, the flawed individual of his time.
Section 5 1963 to Today
So this is the end of a joyous literary ride. In summary of the entirety of this book is basically a call out book on racism they were so many key takeaways and acknowledgement of the insidious nature of racism from this period of time of the beginning of the civil rights moving on up through Obama.
Racism exist. It has influence political parties legislation subsequent amendments from the beginning of the time of the founding of this country. It rears its ugly head every century. We do things half-assed of course, like Reconstruction and then we torpedo it. We try with a Civil Rights legislation that actually started with Harry Truman, then we torpedo it. We allow the Kennedy administration to start the discussion and then we assassinate both of those brothers. We finally have legislation like Affirmative Action to give us equal access to governmental jobs and access to higher education and then we torpedo it. Then we have people like Reagan and his Reaganomics and then both of the George Bushes and then even through Clinton. They had specific policies like the war on drugs, law and order legislation, reversal of affirmative action, as well as stripping the teeth from the voter rights bill all disproportionately affecting black and brown people leading to mass incarceration over policing crushing poverty increase criminal activity increase drug abuse therefore leading to again mass incarceration through over policing any quality in the bonding system any quality in sentencing and then blaming the affected for those issues. That has never changed. At the root of all of these issues that has been perpetuated by these issues is racism. That is the slimy bottom to all of these realities. Until we look at the roof of these issues we’re never going to solve these issues.
Obama Hyperbole or Fact
I am a complete Obama Stan. I voted for him twice stood in line for hours to vote early and it was my honor to do so. I would’ve never thought in my lifetime to see a black man of his intellect living to lead this country. He had a lot to fix he inherited an economy that was in shambles large industry on the verge of bankruptcy and truly social unrest. He handled it with elegance intellect strategy for that we had so many great things. A technological bill that force Healthcare to come up to the 21st-century. Having healthcare for all and making it illegal not to have healthcare insurance. This was a period of time where he definitely would’ve needed eight more years to share up the economy and share up Obamacare as it is eight years just was not enough. And I disagree with the book on that he basically came out of nowhere because it would appear that his steps were ordered and everything he did from grassroots campaigning as a state senator then becoming a US senator the only black senator during his period of time was what was preparing to hear him for a greater stage and to lead this country. I don’t think he took any of it lately he also felt that having the presidency was an honor and he understood that duty. If I had the limited intellect and I had some type of little hand syndrome that our current occupant of the White House has how can you follow up greatness? So you do all you can to dismantle his legacy some great climate change controls things that would’ve shore up our economy whole organizations for public health that we need at this time just because you feel some kind away of how great he actually was and you do a gleefully which doesn’t make any sense to me destroying the country just because you know you are no where near and could never be on this man’s level. I realize that the election of Obama pissed off every Grand Dragon of the KKK every right supremacist every international hater he represented everything that we are supposed to be. The idealized America is white Obama representative he was brilliant well spoken strategic a true leader but no one would give him his props because he was a black man. No I don’t mean this to be a introduction to a 10 pound book a promise land but it’s a great segue because I’m going to be reading and talking about that particular 702 page tome in upcoming episodes of my podcast him throw his reading but there you go.
I kind of disagree with the books assessment that he at the end was an “assimilator”. I think he had to find some progressive middle ground to get the work done by any means necessary. Selectively picking your battles because of nasty obstructionist senators like McConnell and Graham. But what he did accomplish between healthcare for all, climate change, control of nuclear arms, international policy and relationships and financial success was astounding. We have watched four years of continued reversals just because this Black man made us act right for eight years. We were set on the track to truly make this country great and it got all torpedoed because of spite and again true classism and racism and every -ism you can think of. We see obstruction upon obstruction as there’s been a power grab but again those times are coming to an end. I have hope again with the next administration. I also have hope because the race for political unity is not over but I do realize that the current people in charge and the current make up of the Senate has to flip. The work that is required to end racism, I think these conservative MAGA-fools are not equipped to do the work necessary from an intellectual standpoint.
Put Your Bifocals On and General Call to Action
This book calls out all of us to do the work to become an anti-racist. You must take a close look at everything. My call to action was reading more about history and then realizing just how white washed it is. The adage of being colorblind is not helping to stave off racism. Recognizing someone’s color and all the implications of that color are key to making informed decisions or to say the right thing. I am taking a closer look at what exactly is reparations. Where would you start to repay us back for hundreds years or almost to millennium of slavery, contrary codes based on race, voting equality, educational equality, housing equality healthcare equity, wealth equity, where exactly would you start? Is it a monetary value or is it services and reversing every bit of legislation and policy that impinges on our inalienable rights? First we must remove remove racist vocabulary from our vocabulary for example, blacklisting, blackball, minorities and looking at the substitutions of synonyms that mean the same racist or have the same racist intent. Being intentional about equality, that doesn’t leave out women because black women like myself have that can do attitude but there are also other brown people that have the same type of issues as well as other marginalized groups from the LBGTQ community, they all need to be in on this conversation. Do I expect Major backlash? Of course I do. They’re over 75 million people that voted for that MAGA-fool and are OK with the status quo. These people are disturbing in the fact that they have money and they have positions of power. What lies before us can seem daunting. All I can do is prepare my mind, shore up my finances, because I will not go quietly into the light because they aren’t.