Slave traders transfer captives to a ship along the western coast of Africa for shipment across the Atlantic Ocean to enslavement in the Americas. (1881 engraving; Grafissimo, Getty Images)

Recently, on June 24, 2021, the Chair of the Republican Study Committee, US Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, released an ironclad monster strawman argument voicing as official an opposing viewpoint to the bogeyman named Critical Race Theory as we may ever get.

“We are in a culture war,” wrote Rep. Banks. “On one side, Republicans are working to renew American patriotism and rebuild our country. On the other, Democrats have embraced and given platform to a radical element who want to tear America down.”

Sometimes, being “an Old” has its advantages, like real memories of cultural lessons learned along the…


Beat Bard Allen Ginsberg with Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of The Clash at Electric Ladyland studios, 1981. (Photo by Hank O’Neal; from the collection of publisher and art-collector, Carl Laszlo.)

Historical periods and events do not happen in a random and isolated fashion. Nor does history happen all at once. Civilization is the deliberate continuum of humanity crashing into itself all over the world that we measure by history and assess by culture.

Rock & Roll can be anything it damn well wants. Music is broad enough to contain all kinds of sounds and rhythms; and art is capable enough to inspire the entire spectrum of reactions in the human psyche, from the emotional to the political. …


The June 22 Loudoun County School Board meeting being disrupted by a fascist flashmob over Critical Race Theory in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein for Reuters)

Voter suppression plus orchestrated panic over critical race theory equals white supremacy. I don’t capitalize “white.” It’s a demographic but not an identity. Unlike most Black folks, we can tell a good deal about the ethnic identities of most white folks by their family names. Black folks have simply been denied such privileges and we will never learn about that from the fairy tales that rageaholic parents at school board meetings prefer their children be “taught,” for lack of a better word (say, perhaps, “indoctrinated”).

While House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reveals with his silence that Rep. Paul Gosar throwing…


Without liberty, our choices are limited.

I hit thirty years sober this past May. I stopped eating meat in 1989. I quit buying and launching fireworks only a few years ago.

The old saying goes, “If you’re not a liberal at 25, you have no heart; and if you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 50, you have no brains.” And yet the older I get, not only am I even more liberal but my tendencies are growing more radical.

I don’t think I am doing it wrong. I know what I like, I follow my path, I deal…


Waving all the flags. (Photo by Michael Wyke for Tulsa World)

Heading into July, the House of Representatives voted to remove monuments from the Capitol Rotunda’s Statuary Hall that honor Confederate heroes. Of the 120 members who opposed the bill, all of them were Republicans.

At this point in the American democratic experiment, the approach to our Revolutionary Independence Day holiday comes with the occasion of some heavy pivotal Civil War history; namely, the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the fall of Vicksburg, Mississippi. With federal forces repelling Lee’s second and final invasion of the North on July 3rd and the culmination of Grant’s siege of Vicksburg securing the waters of…


Frame of video as Trump fans assault a Biden–Harris campaign bus on a Texas interstate on Oct. 30, 2020. (Eric Cervini from Twitter)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” reads the Declaration of Independence near the beginning of the document we celebrate every Fourth of July. Americans have historically demonstrated a necessity to issue bold proclamations of the plainly obvious.

On the approach to this coming Independence Day holiday in 2021, lawsuits have been filed in federal court invoking the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 over a documented assault by Trump fans against a Biden-Harris campaign tour bus on a Texas highway, days before Election Day, in October of 2020. …


From Harper’s Weekly, February 1863; Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-USZ62–132749)

Democratic Senate leadership will try to move their voting rights legislation to a debate today, as the Republican minority wants nothing to do with crafting an argument to defend their opposition to voting rights while their partisans at the state level are busy making a sick joke out of the American democratic experiment.

“So, in state after state, Republicans are reducing polling hours and locations in the number of drop boxes so that Americans of all parties but particularly aimed at Democratic voters,” spoke Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York in his opening remarks from the well of…


“New Palaestina,” by Joseph Keppler for Puck, America’s first humor magazine (1885, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection; Gift of the Katz Family)

There is currently a significant discussion about recent stupid and violent attacks on Jews, including assaults in Los Angeles, London, New York City and elsewhere during the latest peak of violence in the cruel history between Israelis and Palestinians of the West Bank, Gaza and Israel-proper. Israel launched retaliatory rocket attacks against targets in Gaza following Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israeli targets in retaliation to a violent response by Israeli Border Police against Palestinian-Israelis at al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount protesting evictions of East Jerusalem Palestinian-Israelis during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Arguments in the Israel-Palestine fight typically…


4th United States Colored Infantry, Company E, about 1864 (Photo: Library of Congress)

You can tell “real” patriotism mostly by who expresses it, like when a conservative wears a flag pin in the lapel of his sport jacket or declares their loyalty to the statues of Confederate war heroes.

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,” the most recent former president warned his cult at the foot of Mount Rushmore on his last Independence Day Eve as Commander-in-Chief.

Such patriotism is politically correct. For example, the historical accuracy of the 1619 Project is unassailable. The Pulitzer Prize winning…

Barry Dredze

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