CSotD: Notes from a hollow valley

Mike Smith (KFS) nails both the duality of our country at the moment and the hypocrisy of cursing China for its lack of transparency while hiding our own flaws.

Unless we believe that the Chinese are continuing to release viruses into the world, these are two different issues, because what we do about Covid is separate from where or how it originated.

Not that we shouldn’t look into it, of course, but we’ve got vaccines, we’ve got best practices and we’re on the verge of getting past it.

What happened at the Capitol is ongoing. To use a familiar metaphor, most of the leaks in the Covid boat have been plugged and now we’re bailing out the water.

By contrast, the Insurrection boat is not only still taking on water but there are still people drilling additional holes in it. We need to work the pumps but it’s a losing proposition if that’s all we do.

We do have some good news, however, as seen in this

Juxtaposition of the Day #1

(Steve Sack)

(Jeff Danziger – AMS)

I’d point out that that is a caribou in Sack’s cartoon, because you could never get a moose’s antlers to do that. Also I don’t think they live that far north.

I can be flippant about it and he can be flippant about it because it’s one of the things Joe Biden has been able to repair with a flick of a pen. It’s not only a good thing in general but a pleasant specific indicator that things are at least potentially looking up.

Danziger takes a somewhat more serious tone, celebrating the good news but reminding us of the corruption at the base of the original decision. Grifters gonna grift, and Trump had a motivation for his decision, which had little to do with energy independence and a lot to do with sucking up to potential donors.

We don’t need the oil in part because we’ve got plenty, and, by the way, this goes double for that pipeline that was intended to move low-value sludge from the Athabascan down across the country to refineries that didn’t need it.

Meanwhile, the major automakers seem intent on going electric, while solar arrays and wind farms and other means of generating electricity appear to be doing more for our energy independence than we’d gain by invading the Arctic refuge.

We have more complex issues to deal with, but this one was a no-brainer and the reprieve was good not only for the environment but for our overall morale.

If we want more, we’re going to have to get it ourselves.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Joe Heller – AMS)


(David Horsey)

Tulsa’s centennial remains a topic of discussion, and I wish we could form a commission on how we teach history, because we’re floundering in some misunderstandings that matter.

The rightwingers who don’t want to teach about race at all are, of course, not helping, but, then again, neither are the people at the other fringe, who feed conservative fears of blame-based approaches.

Good history needs to accept and teach flaws, and certainly correct for our Happy-Talk approach to teaching history. The point, in this case, is not that Tulsa was covered up, either in our history books or by “the media” in the 1920s.

Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were singular events, but Tulsa was only one of several such incidents. It’s not that “they never taught us about Tulsa” but, rather, that our history has never included the on-going racial issues that have roiled this country from the start.

Call it “Uncritical Race Theory” and teach that we — all of us, not just our leaders — made a lot of mistakes, which included a raftload of unfair attitudes and indefensible actions. Learning history requires not accepting but understanding our shortcomings.

Think of it like an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting: We acknowledge, we move forward.

And, lord, we have a lot to acknowledge.

Tulsa was horrific, yes, but so was Rosewood and so was New Orleans and, for that matter, so was Sand Creek and so was Ludlow and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

It’s not a matter of putting Tulsa in history textbooks. It’s a matter of re-envisioning our history so that we include the factors that made Tulsa possible, just as we teach the factors that made the women’s suffrage movement necessary and how differing European and native views of wilderness created tragic conflicts.

It would take a serious commitment to re-invent how we see our history before we could make a serious attempt to change how we teach it.

But the fundamental factor is that you can’t teach everything, which brings us back to that saying, that education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.

We can teach how to learn, but it can’t stop at graduation. Learning is a life-long process.

In the meantime, we need to work the pumps, but we also need to stop people from drilling more holes in the boat, which brings us to our next

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Nick Anderson – Tribune)


(Clay Bennett – WPWG)

I don’t believe people are inherently evil, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t evil people doing evil things, and the move to suppress the votes of the poor and of minorities fits in with the Red Scares of the ’20s and ’50s, with segregation, with the Chinese Exclusion Act and with the various atrocities that erupted from these evils, like Tulsa and Sand Creek and Ludlow.

The obvious difference being that this is happening right now and, if we want to look back on it one day with horror, we first need to make it stop.

Which brings us back to the top of the page, and how the Chinese don’t want to look at their failures in Wuhan and how the GOP doesn’t want to look at their failures on January 6.

Change begins by looking at our own failures and seeing how we allowed these people to gain so much power, and then not just wringing our hands but doing something about it.

We did this, yes.

Now what are we going to do about it?

Illustration by Ann Telnaes:

Text by T.S. Eliot:

One thought on “CSotD: Notes from a hollow valley

  1. “It’s not a matter of putting Tulsa in history textbooks. It’s a matter of re-envisioning our history so that we include the factors that made Tulsa possible, just as we teach the factors that made the women’s suffrage movement necessary and how differing European and native views of wilderness created tragic conflicts.”

    But that’s exactly what they DON’T want to do, and it’s why they complain about Critical Race Theory.

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