CSotD: Remembrance of Things Past

Today, I’ll be looking back at things which have resurfaced, but, first, this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ann Telnaes)


(Mike Marland)

We try to keep this stuff in the family, but somehow it got out that, during a hearing in the New Hampshire legislature on a bill to allow seizure of guns from people identified as at high risk for immediate harm, a cadre of committee members wore pearls as a symbol of their opposition to sensible gun laws and as a way to insult the witnesses.


The interesting factor in this juxtaposition is that, while Telnaes — a national commentator — assumes it means those arrogant lawmakers are pawns of the National Rifle Association, Mike Marland — a local cartoonist — knows that they are simply a gaggle of poo-flinging chimpanzees.

New Hampshire has the lowest ratio of state legislators to residents, with a total of 424 reps and senators in a state with a population of 1.343 million, which means that we’ve got a legislator for every 3,167 people.

Pennsylvania is #2, with one legislator for every 50,632 residents.

What this means is that Scott Wallace, front-and-center in that photo, won his seat by capturing 1,094 of the 1,814 votes cast in his district, his full funding being a contribution of $250 from the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance.

Nothing against Wallace himself, but, while we take a lot of pride in our US Senators, Maggie Hassan and (ex-governor) Jean Shaheen, and our national reps, Carol Shea-Porter, Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster, we tend to look at our state legislature more or less as the student council.

And you really, really don’t want to watch the kids try to make sausage.


A More Substantive Juxtaposition

(Signe Wilkinson)

(Jeff Danziger)

These two cartoons form an odd coincidence that comes along at a good time, because much of what I see in terrorism generally and in the Middle East specifically resonates with what I knew about Ulster during the Troubles of the late 70s and early 80s.

I was in an Irish ballad group around that time, and so had to make an effort to keep abreast of what was going on over there.

Not only was the choice of singing or not singing rebel songs political in itself, but we played to an ex-pat crowd that included people who’d been burned out of their apartments in Belfast or driven out by bigoted hiring practices and a dead economy.

American commentators didn’t provide solid information, in part because they were based in London and in part because British press laws made it hard to gather information outside official channels.

As a result, mainstream coverage was generally unable to differentiate between calls for civil rights and the violence of extremist groups.

When a political struggle is reduced to uninformed stereotypes and one-sided analysis, the people who have to live with the problems are not apt to embrace those they feel misrepresent their position, either media or politicians.

And as I wrote later,

(T)hese violent groups cannot operate without the support of the local community, and … they will have that support as long as the community identifies more with them than with the authorities.

Danziger riffs on concerns that Brexit will re-ignite problems in Northern Ireland, but unless it brings about a collapse of the economy in the Six Counties and a return to massive unemployment, and unless employers go back to refusing to hire Catholics, and unless authorities once more let Protestants jump the queue for government housing, and unless the Ulster police go back to secretly partnering with Unionist terror groups, I predict that the “hard men” will continue to have little support in the community.

Either community, for that matter, and that’s the point: It was difficult, in those days, to talk about civil rights in the Six Counties without someone accusing you of supporting IRA violence, but your silence could equally be seen as support of corrupt enforcement and Unionist terrorism.

So I am sympathetic with those who want to discuss the issues in the Middle East with frankness, and disdainful of those who consider all Palestinians to be terrorists and who condemn criticism of the Israeli government as Antisemitic.

Because something else I learned in those days is that the solution is dialogue and an honest intention to address problems rather than to win points for playing tough-guy, and that goes for either side.

As Tomas Cardinal O’Fiaich told me,

I don’t think there’s any other country in Western Europe where the church leaders meet so regularly as in Ireland, yet, despite all that, you never hear about (interfaith cooperation) in the United States. You only hear that the Catholics and the Protestants are killing each other, that they’re at each other’s throats, whereas, side-by-side with the killings that go on on the part of a small number, the vast majority are trying to build up links of fellowship and friendship.

There are very few of these troubled areas where the hardliners are a majority, very few places where honest dialogue is not a major part of the solution, and few places where it isn’t happening.

If you care to listen.


And also this

Britain has had a rash of stabbings among its young people, and Ben Jennings suggests that one problem is underfunding of youth centers.

Perhaps. But having a place for kids to hang out is not the same as building communities in which they feel safe and wanted.

That also takes a sense of a future, including jobs and a responsive economy, but it starts when they’re kids by building a sense of belonging that goes beyond simply having a place to play darts.

This is not the first time I’ve posted what Dick Gregory proposed when he ran for president in 1968.

It’s a universal solution that would work in Ulster, that #BlackLivesMatter might embrace and that could even work in Gaza and on the West Bank:


Meanwhile, back in New England

I just told you about March in this part of the country the other day, and Deflocked is beginning the annual tradition.

And here’s another way to make sweet stuff:

2 thoughts on “CSotD: Remembrance of Things Past

  1. While I know Canada is not perfect in this regard, I do find the increasing racial tensions between blacks and the police in your country to be utterly mind-boggling. I imagine you’ve seen the video posted yesterday, of the black man picking up trash in his back yard when he was suddenly swarmed by six cops, one of whom insisted that the rake and bucket he was holding were weapons of mass destruction. He kept insisting he lives there; someone from the apartment complex confirms it — and yet the police haul out their weapons anyway and shout for him to get down on the ground. He didnt. Fortunately, he lived to walk away from this. I gather others have not been so lucky.

    Of course there’ll be an investigation, and the police who stupidly instigated this will be exonerated, as usual. We’ll be told they did nothing wrong, that none of this had to happen had the black gentleman simply done what they asked (politely, of course) to do.

    And yes, were he white, it wouldnt have happened at all. But that’s another story for another time, I guess.

  2. One of the oddities of the US is that it’s large enough, with enough autonomy, that when you move to a new state, you have to figure out who are the professional law enforcement officers and who are the dumb cops. I wouldn’t want a one-size central force, but it’s odd that, in one state, the local cops are whoever picks up the badge while in another, they have to do four years of police science, and, meanwhile, the state cops are the opposite.

    There are thugs everywhere, and the good guys are forced to play a combination of Sisyphus and Serpico. It’s not right.

    And I suspect that’s also true in places like Ulster and Brixton and Palestine.

Comments are closed.