Thursday, November 19, 2015

I can imagine it differently.

I'm sick that my city's police are the latest to shoot an unarmed young black man.  
The guy was twenty-four. That's how old Marz is... 
Just a pup.
Pups can be dangerously irrational and violent, yes, 
but the grown-ups in charge shouldn't shoot them in the head.
That's just wrong.

I just... You know, I just think we're... well, this is obvious, maybe, but I think we've been going down the wrong road. 

Not unusual in US history---working on three 19th century presidents, I see more than ever how much we Americans tend to (like to?) choose the road of violence.

We are soooo not Canadian. 
I am loving the 90s Canadian TV show Due South more and more:
it takes a while to see that Mountie Fraser is a missionary for Canadian political philosophies, delivered in a fun, off-the-wall way (the show is like a weird mix of Monty Python & Starsky and Hutch, + a splash of magic realism).

Like, here, Fraser's funny speech promoting compromise 
(known in the USA as "losing"):
"In Canada, we have more than a passing familiarity with confusion"

[transcript at end of post]

But there's a pattern of Americans south of the border (the one roughly along the  49th parallel north) trying to choose peace, too.

I was THRILLED, in my editing work, to stumble upon a  protest movement against Andrew Jackson's American Indian removal policy--
the one that got passed into law in the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and led to the Trail of Tears, among other atrocities.

Catherine Beecher---sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe (who would write Uncle Tom's Cabin twenty years later)--was one of the leaders. 
She organized the first nationwide women's petition, in opposition to Jackson's plans to take native lands.

She also was a proponent of female education (though not suffrage!--thinking women were domestic creatures),
 including inventing aerobics! 
Or, well,
"Group Exercise to Music for Women" [via] anyway.

 The anti-removal movement is little-known--the author I'm editing hadn't included it, for instance. So I added it, because I think kids should know not all white folks said nothing.

The issues are all very complex-- more so than I'd realized, actually. 
For instance, Beecher and other white anti-removal activists didn't want to protect American Indian sovereignty, their right to remain self-governing nations, 
which the Cherokee Nation, for instance, was managing to do amazingly well in the midst of colonizers --
adapting, for instance, some great stuff from white culture, including the idea of an alphabet; you'll remember, Sequoyah developed one for writing Cherokee [actually a syllabary];

No, Beecher and co. wanted to Christianize and assimilate American Indians into white culture.

As I read somewhere, these white activists were "ethnocentricists" not "racists". That is, they didn't think American Indians were racially inferior, they thought they were "just" uncivilized.
But still. They thought it was wrong to tear people out of their homes, and they spoke up.

They lost, of course, big time, but I take heart they even tried to oppose Jackson. 
The movement was a cousin to the growing abolitionist movement, which did eventually have some success. 

I say "some" success because slavery ended, but in such a violent way, then stitched up badly, and we're still bleeding. [v.s. (vide supra = see above]]

Could it have been otherwise?

I can imagine it differently.

What if, say, the North let the South secede, then put an economic noose around its cotton industry, while offering economic incentives to industrialize, until it "voluntarily" ended slavery?
I totally don't know if that'd've worked. Maybe I'm being naive?
But that wasn't tried.
Preserving the Union was Lincoln's top priority, not ending slavery. 
I still don't understand why he was so, so set on the Union... It was like a personal thing with him.

When I even mention the idea that maybe there were other options than the Civil War to end slavery, people up North here look at me like I'm from Mars. Even my political scientist father has no good response. Lincoln is his hero.
We Northerners were taught that Lincoln was a god.
[I don't know about Southerners. Their loudest voices don't sound all that reasonable either... None of us are Vulcans.]

I don't know.
Anyway...  I'm not out protesting. I'm working on my rescue stuffed animals.

Julia thrifted this squashed . . . llama? for me, and I'm going to work on it at tonight's sewing group.
I can imagine it differently:
Transcript of Due South speech, from the episode "Chinatown" (1994) [via]:
Fraser: In Canada we have more than a passing familiarity with confusion. We're comprised of ten provinces and two territories communicating across six time zones in two official languages. The English don't understand the French, the French don't understand the English, and the Inuit, quite frankly, couldn't give a damn about either of them.
Added to the equation is the Assembly of First Nations with a total of 633 separate Indian bands speaking 180 sub-dialects among their 50 linguistic groups. And is if that weren't enough there are some fisherman on the East coast with a remarkably whimsical accent.
Lt. Welsh: There is a point to this, I assume?  

Fraser: Oh yes sir. I believe so. The key that we have found is compromise. I would suggest we devise the plan that would use everyone to the best of their abilities.


Frex said...

P.S. Aaargh! I don't even want to blog these days because with everything going on, coming into my head, I can't blog a quick little post, I end up spending hours....
I haven't done any work today, and I have a big edit due Monday.
--Frex = Fresca

Zhoen said...

Have you read Harry Turtledove?