Quoting Noel Hammatt, Baton Rouge, LA, "It was the right thing to do, and it was long in coming," after a factual review of desegregation's affects on education here. Baton Rouge has suffered the bitter fruits of federal force.
The "right thing to do," is how we felt when our three children started public school at Magnolia Woods in 1975. On personal achievements led by great teachers, Holly, Stephen, and Rebekah continued to Kenilworth Middle and McKinnely middle, and on to Lee High and McKinnely High, then on to LSU and Louisiana College and one only on to Boston Conservatory. Two still pay college debts. We are deeply proud of all three children, who are cooperatively autonomous and loved and respected by all who know/knew them.
However, little did I notice then the 1969 founding of National Black Caucus of State Legislators (here the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus) and now the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). What are the CBC fruits? I perceive further division of "We the People of the United States." One legislator with a black district could not join because of his skin color. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Black_Caucus#Non-Black_membership.
It seems CBC is not embracing Martin Luther King, Jr.s 1963 dream that "four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," unfortunately particular as that dream was. Nor is CBC extending that self-serving dream to all children of all races. They are promoting another unfortunate interpretation/impression from the speech: cashing a check. Quoting the speech,
Not all pursuits of happiness succeed. Regardless of opportunity, achievement is the responsibility of the person, whether privileged or oppressed by abundant, negative forces that exist in the human condition. “Cashing a check,” invokes special interest. It invokes retribution, and no person can establish personal liberty by vying for retribution for the unfathomable injustices that have occurred in the past, such as the papal bull of 1452. And the promises in the American documents King cited do not correspond to his statements--King used revisionist interpretations of the documents, as did Abraham Lincoln.In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In the first place, the Declaration of Independence has nothing to do with domestic justice--civic morality among inhabitants. It is a declaration by English citizens living in the American colonies that they had waited too long for their homeland English people to relieve them of taxation for the benefit of the King and other abuses (including, in the draft for the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine's complaints against slavery imposed by the King expressed in his 1775 letter). The English in the colonies declared themselves free persons in free and independent states, upon which they staked their lives, liberty, and fortunes. Only 40% of the free people were patriots, with 40% pacifists and 20% loyalists. Thanks to the French, who considered the American war for independence a convenient part of their own war against England, the American independence was won. The 1783 Treaty of Paris names the thirteen free and independent states, and South Carolina would erroneously use that statement to justify denial of their commitments to the states in perpetuity; but they took that step only after northern states broke their commitments in perpetuity. George Washington, in his June 8, 1783 farewell to the American army said to inhabitants, in paraphrase: You have won independence and now it is time to establish domestic justice and global recognition as a nation.
The country remained in limbo until June 21, 1788, when nine states ratified the preamble and the Constitution for the United States of America, leaving four states perhaps to remain independent. Only then was a nation promised for operation to begin in March, 1789, when two more states had joined. The intentions of ratification were fulfilled on December 15, 1791, with ratification of the Bill of Rights by the required eleven of fourteen states. At last, the Constitution for the USA was whole. That political rascal Abraham Lincoln was a revisionist when he spoke the Gettysburg Address with its reference to 1776. Regardless of Lincoln's motives the only non-contradictory interpretation of the Declaration of Independence is that the signers, the elite patriots, were equal to the King rather than that the elite patriots were equal to slaves they owned. James Madison's Federalist 10 states that elite patriots would rise from the states to qualify for federal office, formerly assigned to Kings and Lords, which elites would fulfill like common men could not, much less slaves.
King's Dream Speech was divisive. To overcome diversions against a civic people's ultimate march toward justice, the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, because a new, 2014, message originates in Baton Rouge (see below), should lead or join the majority of Americans of all special interest groups to adopt a common mediator for civic compromise. The mediator, physics-based ethics, which originated in an abstruse, warm speech by Albert Einstein in 1941, is discussed elsewhere in this blog. The list of civic goals already exists: The preamble to the United States Constitution offers a voluntary, citizens’ contract that specifies self governance, collaboration on civic governance, and nine civic goals. The last time I discussed the preamble with a black American, the response was, “Our people never thought we were part of that.” Someone should influence black Americans to think they are of a civic people who may use the preamble. Above each differing culture, whether religion-based or not, people may rise to establish a transcending culture of a civic people. By "civic" I mean people who work to provide public security, comfort, and confidence, so that every individual may enjoy pursuits of both no-harm personal liberty and domestic goodwill. Under King's influence, the only promise is domestic alienation.
The signers of the United States Constitution thought the black-skinned people were part of a people and started accomplishing the long road to abolition when they scheduled the end of the slave trade for 1808. As states were added to the USA, the ratio of slave states to non-slave states changed from 1.6:1 to 0.79:1, and the ratio for South Carolina against other states was 1:33. For Abraham Lincoln's first inauguration, the Confederate States to Union ratio was 7:27. President Lincoln was in a position to accomplish emancipation through diplomacy. So far, my opinion is that Lincoln was arrogant. The words in his inaugural address respecting fugitive slaves seem less than presidential:
There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be enforced by national or by State authority, but surely that difference is not a very material one.
In this section of the speech, Lincoln establishes that as President he takes no responsibility for upholding the constitution respecting interstate affairs: the states are on their own. Next he gives ample evidence that the obligations of the states to each other are perpetual, even referencing the 1774 Articles of Association, yet denying the will of the people in their states, as described in the 1791 preamble. Mind you, I am not implying that a people in their state should have the right to secede, only that such right should in fact be considered. If the USA would be better off without one of its states, and the people in that state wanted to secede, it should be diplomatically possible. This is especially true for states that are not contiguous, but that should not be an exclusive consideration. Returning to Lincoln's words,
But if destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect than before the Constitution, having lost
Lincoln removes all doubt about his opinion respecting the cause of the coming Civil War:
I doubt the validity of Lincoln's opinion respecting the dispute and am strengthened by his addendum in a letter in 1864 to Hodges to think the entire conflict arises from Bible thumping, with the South as the ultimate victim of 409 years of Christian error.
I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years struggle the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.
In my opinion, Lincoln was the victim of his own living in the past and indecision respecting religion and had not adequately pondered George Washington's wish that, having won independence from oppressive kings the people of the united states focus on domestic justice and global influence. Lincoln, in referencing 1776 as the founding of this nation and in not living out his tendency to be a religious iconoclast was woefully in error. I am reminded again of his first inaugural, "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh."
The brave soldiers who won the Civil War, perhaps influenced by Thomas Paine's 1775 letter, "African Slavery in America," thought blacks were people and defended against the long-debated Christian shame of slavery in the land of the free: “public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief,” quoting the woeful declaration of secession from the United States of America. When we analyze that error, perhaps it takes us back to the politics of the possible in the Philadelphia convention of 1787. What they accomplished, flawed as it was in scheduling the end of the slave trade but not scheduling emancipation, was far too precious to fault. Or we could trace it back to colonization with slavery, but we'd prefer being in this land over being elsewhere. Or we could trace it to papal bulls starting in 1452 and would have an argument; but where would we go for retribution? It seems more promising to focus on establishing collaboration of by and for a civic people.
There are larger special interest groups: theists above all. When the preamble was written, the signers fully intended governance of, by, and for a civic people--those who comprehended and worked for the civic contract. The signers brilliantly expressed it in the preamble, but with the totally inclusive phrase "We the People of the United States," which I think was used for coercion. It seems evident after 228 years that there will always be a faction who want domestic alienation. Therefore, a new phrase is useful, and "A Civic People of the United States" seems appropriate.
Unfortunately, the founding civic sentence, the preamble, was falsely dubbed "secular," meaning “the opposite of religious." It is a lie as applied to the preamble, which is civic--counts religion a personal interest, like entertainment, hobbies, and sports. It is unfortunate that theists feel they must compete with each other and demean non-theist citizens, but repressing non-religious persons is taken for granted in the USA. It is a tradition cited by Nicolo Machiavelli in The Prince, Chapter XI. My paraphrase is: When a people believe in a god, civic officials and church officials may partner and abuse the people any way they want, and the people will neither rebel nor leave the country. I want to see that tradition, Chapter XI Machiavellianism, reformed in the USA. Also, I want people who are anti-religion, or anti-faith, or anti-doubt to cast their lot with a civic people--help form a transcending culture that empowers every no-harm faction. Let the word "secular" join the junk pile of doublespeak that has been exposed and deleted from the public forum: the preamble is a civic sentence. And nobody cares what a political candidate's religion is or none: her/his job is to serve a civic people.
In 1790, only 6% of the nearly 100% Christian population, mostly Protestant, could vote. Today, with only 49.8% Protestants/unaffiliated and 20.6 % Catholics, 100% of non-criminal adult citizens can vote. Most of us are among the 94 % who have, during 225 years, overcome suppression of our interest-group's suffrage and substantially repression. However, non-theists, a 23 % minority, suffer tyranny as a matter of tradition: even though they can vote, they'd best not run for office. To stop a people’s dysfunction, the black interest groups, the Christian interest groups, indeed all special-interest groups must, for relief from civicdysfunction, volunteer to be of a civic people as defined by the preamble and mediated by physics.
State partnering with church is, in effect, civic, psychological Marxism. In 1790, 99% of free inhabitants were Protestant and 1% Catholic, and the balance "other." Salvation of souls in heaven was a universal hope, but the means of achieving the goal were sectarian. It was easy to transfer religious belief in devotion to civic practices supporting those beliefs. Every person's life was dedicated to the afterdeath for their soul. Life was dedicated to a cause. However, today, about thirty percent of the population is non-Christian, and the imposition of dedicating life to Christian afterdeath is unjust. To force people to live their lives for a cause they do not support is parallel to forcing a person into Marxist economics: dedicating personal livelihood to an ideology. I am glad that starting my eighth decade I am aware and comfortable with my opposition to state-church partnering. I do not know the truth, but want to share my opinion about this harmful practice.
And there is a relatively new Christian sect (46 years old) called black liberation theology or "black church" or "black theology." I suppose coincidentally, it appeared in the same year as the CBC, Congressional Black Caucus. The originator was James H. Cone in his book, Black Theology & Black Power. It takes its cues from a Marxist political movement in Latin America in the 1950s, "liberation theology." My paraphrase of the idea is, since white Christianity did not rescue black Americans from slavery, the Christian god is black and intends to overthrow white supremacy for black American supremacy. Toward the end of President Obama's term in office, there seems to be a rush movement, with young people being encouraged to express civil-rights swagger toward the police under the slogan "black lives matter," and use of the slightest action by a white supremacist to advance black supremacy. We see this in Mayor Landrieu's monument hysteria in New Orleans. Of course, I have been dealing with these issues all my life, and in 2002, when I participated in Baton Rouge YWCA program "Dialogues on Race," I stated after the third of six sessions that it was a program to indoctrinate white people that they are racist. At the end of the sixth session, I walked out of the only civic effort I ever walked out of. Today, I meet white people who are indoctrinated that they must do something about white racism, and I think many of them fell for influences like the YWCA's program. Some of them may be candidates to believe that they only way a white person can be saved is if they help oppressed black Americans reign supreme. Thus, while there are about 42 million black Americans and 22 million black American Catholics, there might be 20 million black Americans in BLT, and adding 10% white sympathizers, there may be 22 million Americans influenced by BLT, in a population of 318 million (for black Catholic numbers see www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/racial-and-ethnic-composition/). Based on the past performance of gods, a person who is influenced to dedicate their life to the BLT cause is following bad advice. It is like Marxism in that personal opportunity is being dedicated to a losing, Bible-thumping cause. The Internet empowers persons to talk, and therefore, the time for such divisive ideologies has passed.
My hope is that in three years time from September 17, 2014, 70 % of Americans from every interest group or faction will be committed to civic morality using the preamble to the Constitution for the USA, mutually and cooperatively continuing personal hopes and dreams of their no-harm, personal-interest groups. The super-majority would require candidates for civic office to demonstrate what they have already done to fulfill a civic people and tender a platform based on what they plan to do, if elected, to fulfill collaboration of, by, and for a civic people. Working to discover physics, understand how to benefit, and sharing the understanding establishes the ethics of civic morality.
Please attend the library meeting for Constitution Day, September 17, 2015, which is announced in the file "Discussion," to collaborate with a civic people of Baton Rouge.
Copyright©2014 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included.Revised September 15, 2014, August 19, 2015.