Don’t Know Much About History

The Volokh Conspiracy reports on yesterday’s decision by the 9th Circuit in Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist. (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2014) upholding a California high school’s decision to forbid students from wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. This shows a lack of historical awareness all around.

The original purpose of Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of the Battle of Puebla which was fought on 5 May, 1862. The Battle was a Mexican victory over an invading French Army. It is not Mexico’s Independence Day. That’s 16 September. It isn’t even a national holiday in Mexico.

I wonder if the Morgan Hill Unified School District allows French flag t-shirts on 5 May?

Quote of the Day

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

—Abraham Lincoln, 1863

22 November, 1963

My friends and I had been sitting at a table in the school cafeteria talking about politics and how interesting it was going to be to watch Barry Goldwater (who we presumed would be the Republican nominee) run against President Kennedy in 1964. I took a break from the conversation and went over to the desert area to get some ice cream. The girl behind the counter was transfixed by the transistor radio in her hand. When I started to talk to her, she shhhed me and turned up the volume. The announcer was repeating a news flash from UPI about the President being shot in Dallas.

I walked back over to the table and broke the news to my friends. We left and went down to a classroom with a TV set. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching Walter Cronkite relay the story from Dallas. There were no more classes that day.

There will be a lot of retrospective stuff published today, and I suspect that much of it will either omit or distort one key fact—Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who killed President Kennedy, was a leftwing nut job; he was a communist.

A Bit of Perspective

463 days Construction of the Empire State Building 22 January, 1930, to 1 May, 1931

585 days US involvement in WWI 6 April, 1917, to 11 November, 1918

1093 days Manhattan Project time to first bomb test 13 August, 1942, to 16 July, 1945

1244 days US war with Germany (WWII) 11 December, 1941, to 8 May, 1945

1289 days Obamacare Website 21 March, 2010, to 1 October, 2013

Seven Score and Ten Years Ago …

… President Lincoln made some brief remarks at the dedication of a military cemetery in southern Pennsylvania.

On 19 November, there will be a ceremony to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. President Obama has blown off his invitation to participate.

I’m not sure what he has on his schedule for the 19th, but I’ll bet that the world will little note nor long remember what he does that day.

Quote of the Day

So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire!
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York!
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi!
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quote of the Day

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge—and pray God we have not lost it—that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest.

—Ronald Reagan, 6 June, 1984

Cinco de Mayo

french_googleresultsThe Battle of Puebla took place on 5 May, 1862, near the city of Puebla during the French intervention in Mexico. The date is observed in the state of Puebla to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces.

Although Mexican citizens feel very proud of the meaning of Cinco de Mayo, it is not a national holiday in Mexico, but it is an official holiday in the State of Puebla where the battle took place and in the neighboring State of Vera Cruz. However, all public schools are closed nation-wide in Mexico on 5 May.

Gun Control and Racism

Not many people know that the oldest civil rights organization in the U. S. is the National Rifle Association. Even fewer know of its informal working alliance with the NAACP in the South during the ’60s.

Here is a some history about how the NRA helped the members of an NAACP chapter in Monroe, NC, defend themselves. The money quote from the post (emphasis mine):

When the Klan arrived, instead of finding the good doctor alone with his family they found the house fortified with sandbags and guarded by armed men who knew how to use their weapons. A firefight ensued.
The Klan and their police support were no match for the local NRA members. The NRA members drove off the attackers inflicting unknown causalities on the raiders.

But, of course, these days we can always trust the government to protect us.

Don’t Know Much About History

There’s a silly idea going around that since the Second Amendment was written in the 18th-century, it only secures a right to possess muskets. I suppose that folks who believe that must have slept through History class during the section on the American Revolution.

Yes, most of the soldiers in the Continental Army and most of the patriot militias were armed with smooth-bore muskets. Most. Not all. Indeed, the use of rifles by some militia units helped turn the tide of several key battles, the Battle of King’s Mountain, for instance.

So the Founders, when they wrote the Bill of Rights, understood that it was likely that the personal weapons of militiamen could be more advanced than the general issue weapons carried by Regulars.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

That idea that the militia’s personal weapons, i.e., those possessed by the general populace, would probably be better than those provided to the regular Army stands in stark contrast to the current notion that citizens have no need for equipment that is almost, but not quite, as effective as that issued to active duty troops.

If we were to take that approach to gun control, … Well, I doubt the anti-gun crowd wants to go there.

Don’t Know Much About History

Matt Yglesias tweeted that the concept of property did not exist prior to the development of the state. What are they teaching kids these days? Those of us old enough to remember the earlier years of the holocene era clearly remember having property before any “state” existed.

Fortunately for Mr. Yglesias, Stacy McCain was awake in class and has reminded him of the teachings of the learned Prof. Iowahawk. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE–I am informed that Mr. Yglesias was graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. I’ve heard of Harvard. Back home in Nashville, we called it The Vanderbilt of the North.

And here’s a question for Mr. Yglesias to consider: If the concept of property requires the existence of a “state,” why do hunter-gatherer societies understand the meaning of words such as mine, yours, his, hers, ours, or theirs?

Channelling Edward R. Murrow

This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s Reid’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

I wish someone in the MSM had the good sense to go after Harry Reid as effectively as See It Now took on Joseph McCarthy.

UPDATE–Here’s a transcript of the 9 March, 1954, broadcast of See It Now.

UPDATE 2–John Nolte at Breitbart suggests that–GASP!–the MSM might be accessories to Reid’s lying.

If they wanted to, the media could end this McCarthyism by simply doing the right thing and laying this despicable behavior where it belongs — at the feet of President Obama.

But the media won’t here, because it’s all part of the plan.

UPDATE 3–Perhaps there are a few real reporters left. Real Clear Politics reports that when Ed Henry (Fox) and John Karl (ABC) tried to pin down WH press flack Jay Carney on what the President believes about Dingy Harry’s claims concerning Mitt Romney’s taxes, Carney dodged the questions. Video here.


Maybe the stink is getting too much for even the Chicagoans in the White House. We’ll see.

Then and Now

George S. Patton, Jr., was an Olympic athlete. He participated in the Modern Pentathlon in Stockholm one hundred years ago. A cavalryman, he did well in the equestrian event, riding a perfect performance but coming in sixth because of time.

Then, you were rich if you owned an automobile.

Now, you’re thought to be rich if you own a horse.

Don’t Know Much About History

Gasp! Some folks are seeing potential raaaaacism in a remark by Mitt Romney referring to America’s Anglo-Saxon heritage.

Let’s see. Essentially all of the Founders were either immigrants from or the descendants of immigrants from the British Isles. They fought a revolution against a king who was not honoring their rights as Englishmen. We call England “the Mother Country.” Our laws are based on English Common Law. Our national common language is English.

Sure, people from all over the world got stirred in to the melting pot, the basis of the brew is Anglo-Saxon.

Recommended Reading: A History of the English Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill.

If we elect a President who actually understands our shared history, maybe the Brits will again lend us that bust of Churchill that used to be in Oval Office.

Is it November yet?

UPDATE—The Romney campaign is saying that the Anglo-Saxon quote is bogus. Rats! I wish he had said it.

UPDATE 2—At least Romney would like to have the bust of Churchill back in the Oval Office.