December 7, 2021
As many of you know, I am allegedly writing a book, which periodically pops up at inconvenient moments. My desk is in my bedroom, so my dresser is the “work station,” and that pile of books are ONLY those in “current use.” There are four more piles in my closet organized loosely by topic.
There’s a special pile dedicated to Reconstruction, which I am embarrassed to admit I knew very little about until I read Eric Foner’s tome (afterwhich, I assume, I now know almost everything). As a product of Texas public schools, I learned about Reconstruction through vocabulary — do y’all remember those days? “States’ rights.” “The Cotton Gin.” And, the one that mystified me the most, “Carpet-Bagger,” which is what some of my classmates’ parents called my family.
In college, I took a class on modern American history which really showed me how sorely my public school history had been lacking. My initial reaction was anger. WHY DIDNT ANYONE TELL ME? I learned about the role of the US in turning away Jewish refugees, exploding atomic bombs all over the place, and murdering civil rights protestors. I asked my family, how come I didn’t know? In this day of worrying about what white kids will think when they learn history, back then, I wanted to know what they were hiding. I wanted to know why I wasn’t told sooner. How could I make good decisions, I thought, without understanding the past?
In any event, I appreciated the conversation between Jamelle Bouie and Sarah Marshall on You’re Wrong About, which gave a really good summary of Reconstruction. I like both of them very much.
Art Acedevo said he would run, and then changed his mind about running, for Los Angeles County Sheriff. It’s hard to imagine a person more desirous of press — good or bad — than Acevedo. I like this profile by Michael Hardy, which has a great passage:
This kind of grandstanding and moralistic posturing from Acevedo has drawn heat from local activists. Since taking over as police chief in 2016, Acevedo, who did not immediately respond to requests for an interview, has excelled at self-promotion.
Aceveda didn’t explain himself, but I wondered if it’s because he realized that if he actually ran for sheriff, his entire career would be up for public debate, which would distract from the five or however many other candidates that are running. Does anyone else want to throw their hat in? Now is the time.
Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones wrote a piece about ex-sheriff Richard Mack and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer Association, which now claims some 800 sheriffs as “members.” The last time I heard Mack speak, he said he didn’t care about how many people joined the CSPOA; rather he wanted the movement to grow. I actually think he means it. While Mencimer describes Mack as a reality show host; I think he’s like a preacher.
In any event, there’s always been so little about Mack actually as sheriff. Graham County is very rural, but I did some research and found that one of his very first tasks was to protect a worksite on Mount Graham, where the University of Arizona wanted to build an observatory. Earth First! protestors kept building roadblocks, chaining themselves to fences, and hiding in the trees to protest the construction, which threatened an important habitat. Earth First! is a group I memory-holed, but now is the time, I say, for a new re-examination of these early environmental groups who did works of sabotage.
Finally, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says he will create a “state militia” that only answers to Florida and not the federal government. He says he’s calling it Florda Force. I assume the mascot is this guy.