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All the President’s Men

 

At the Entrance: The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble


     Citizen Trump goes after President Trump:


Our country is totally fractured and, with our weak leadership in Washington, you can expect Ferguson Milwaukee type riots and looting in other places


Can you imagine what Putin and all of our friends and enemies throughout the world are saying about the U.S. as they watch the Ferguson Milwaukee riot


As China and the rest of the World continue to rip off the U.S. economically, they laugh at us and our president over the riots in Ferguson! Milwaukee!


    Citizen Trumps Tweets from 2014 updated


Exhibit One: Taking the Fifth


It has come to Museums attention that some people always look into the history of a person to gauge whether or not abuse by the police is justifiable. In effect they are saying that having a criminal record means you no longer have any of the rights granted by our Constitution. That having a criminal record is a justification for a lynching by the police. Mob and /or vigilante justice is warranted as long as the victim has a criminal record. And the forfeit of those rights for that segment of society seems to be O.K. with these people and yet they scream the loudest when someone requires that they wear a mask for not only their own protection but for the protection of their fellow citizens.


The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. These words have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law ("legality") and provide fair procedures.


     Cornell Law School


It seems these aggrieved defenders of the Constitution have a more selective interpretation of the rights of all Americans than some of their fellow citizens, but as usual with this type of selection, they want to be the ones making the choice of who does and doesn’t get those constitutional rights. 


Conservatives: “Alito correctly states gender dysphoria didn’t exist as a concept until the 1980s so Title VII couldn’t protect lgbtq folks”
Also Conservatives: “The Founding Fathers specifically meant that all Americans should have assault weapons and grenade launchers”


— rejfrance (@rejfrance1) June 15, 2020


Exhibit Two: Not So Civil Disobedience


Here in the U.S. we have a European bias in History and the Byzantine Empire is lightly touch on in the general curriculum. Rome fell in the 400s? Well yes, the City did, but the Roman Empire did not. The “Eastern” Roman Empire, which was The Roman Empire from Constantine on, lasted until CE 1453.


In 532 CE they had an incident called, among other things, the Nika riots. Justinian I (The Great) was the Emperor and in Constantinople, as in Rome before it, they had large sporting events in an arena (hippodrome) right next to the Palace complex. At the time there were two dominant fan bases, the Blues and the Greens, based on the color of uniform the athletes wore. These were “astroturfed” organizations, political parties really, backed by aristocratic families, merchant guilds and the like.  They were hard to control in the best of times, think soccer hooligans, and 532 was not the best of times for Justinian. During the January 13th games both sides were unhappy with him and the usual chants of “Blue” or “Green” gave way to a combined chant of "Nika", meaning "Win!" "Victory!" or "Conquer!" and a riot started that was soon out of control and lasted 5 days. They were the most violent riots in the city's history, with nearly half of Constantinople being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.  The fires that started during the tumult resulted in the destruction of much of the city, including the city's foremost church, the Hagia Sophia. It got so bad that Justinian, in despair, considered fleeing, but his wife Theodora is said to have dissuaded him, saying, "Those who have worn the crown should never survive its loss. Never will I see the day when I am not saluted as empress." Finally he called in his best General, Belisarius, one of the great generals in History who most here in the U.S. have never heard of, and channeling a Trumpian wet dream he had him march into the Hippodrome and kill all the remining rioters, the total death count being put at around Thirty Thousand.


Obviously, this is just a brief overview of a far more complex situation, but history always has these little tidbits to help us put the Milwaukee’s of our times into context.


Exhibit Three: Carl Sagan, Soothsayer


“We’ve arranged a society on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power sooner or later is going to blow up in our faces. I mean, who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don’t know anything about it.”


   Sagan in an interview with Charlie Rose in 1996


And now we are living through a health crisis that we have brilliantly managed to politicize:


Maricopa County surpassing 2,000 cases a day, eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days. It is fair to say that the state of Arizona has lost control of the epidemic.       @PolicyLabCHOP June 26, 2020


It was never a matter of Blue State/Red State. It was always a matter of public health.


And this pandemic, happening in “real time”, meaning time that makes the evening news, is just a stand-in for climate change which is happening in a “Once-a-Year on Nova” timeframe. But it too is happening, and unprecedently fast for this type of flux.  Pushed on by the internet we are now living the Sagan blow-up, welcome to the new normal.


The Museum supposes we’ll spend the next few month childishly arguing about who politized the health crisis first.


Exhibit Four: A excerpt from Crime and Punishment


He dreamt that the whole world was condemned to a terrible new strange plague that had come to Europe from the depths of Asia. All were to be destroyed except a very few chosen. Some new sorts of microbes were attacking the bodies of men, but these microbes were endowed with intelligence and will. Men attacked by them became at once mad and furious. But never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth as these sufferers, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible. Whole villages, whole towns and peoples went mad from the infection. All were excited and did not understand one another. Each thought that he alone had the truth and was wretched looking at the others, beat himself on the breast, wept, and wrung his hands. They did not know how to judge and could not agree what to consider evil and what good; they did not know whom to blame, whom to justify.


   Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1866


At the Exit: Magical Thinking


This Virus is no worse than the flu


(Junes death tally around 25,000).


If we don’t test for the virus, it will go away.


If we reopen before the virus is contained it will go away and the economy will instantly return to pre-pandemic levels.


   And finally on a different note as the statues come down


That the mythology of the “Lost Cause” is history. It seems this needs a better explanation and that will come next month.


Unkwil

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Uncle Willie loves to have feedback from both readers who appreciate his point of view as well as from misguided souls who disagree.