Free Speech Open Mic. Lawton, OK

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Holding Together Myth and Memory with Spit and Politics

Originally posted on The Edge of the American West:

When I used to teach a course on the history of 1960s at my old job, I always asked students how many of them believed that anti-war protesters had spat upon Vietnam veterans when the latter returned home from tours of duty. The point was to introduce the idea that politics underlies collective memory and mythology.

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Police build case against man who drove into crowd – KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo –

Police build case against man who drove into crowd – KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo –.

Juneteenth

DUNCAN, Okla._Investigators in Duncan are building a case against a man who drove into a block party and hit four people with his truck and then fired shots into the crowd.

It happened on June 19 on West Magnolia Lane where a small crowd had gathered for a late-night party. According to a police report, Ryan Darst plowed through the partiers and then sped off. Police tracked him down a few hours later at a local bar, but at this point, he has only been charged with public intoxication.

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Why Were the First 13 Colonies Established on this Continent?

Let’s give ourselves a little history lesson. Why were the first 13 colonies established on this continent?

It has long been understood that the prime motive for the founding of the New England colonies was religious freedom. Certainly what those early colonists wanted was the freedom to worship God as they deemed proper, but they did not extend that freedom to everyone. Those who expressed a different approach to religious worship were not welcome. Puritans especially were intolerant toward those who held views other than their own.

Much of the religious disaffection that found its way across the Atlantic Ocean stemmed from disagreements within the Anglican Church, as the Church of England was called. Those who sought to reform Anglican religious practices—to “purify” the church—became known as Puritans. They argued that the Church of England was following religious practices that too closely resembled Catholicism both in structure and ceremony. The Anglican clergy was organized along episcopalian lines, with a hierarchy of bishops and archbishops. Puritans called for a congregationalist structure in which each individual church would be largely self‐governing.

The narrow views of the Puritan leaders regarding religious conformity provoked opposition. Roger Williams argued for the separation of church and state, and the right of privacy in religious belief, and against compulsory church service. Banished from Massachusetts Bay in 1635, he went south to Narragansett Bay and founded the Providence settlement. In 1644, Williams received royal permission to start the colony of Rhode Island, a haven for other religious dissenters.

It is for this reason that the first Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” By endorsing one religion or another, a government would be imposing its own tyranny on its citizens. Our government, therefore, does not try to tell you what to believe, but it also cannot endorse Christianity over any other religion, or over the right to not believe in any god at all. Choosing to remain neutral in matters of religion assures that every citizen is given equal opportunity to choose his own beliefs. Our government, then, cannot base its laws on ANY religion or other set of moral beliefs. We are a republic which derives our power from the consent of the citizens, not from any imposed belief system.

I certainly do not want to live in a country where any religious belief system is shown preference over another, for that would be a tyranny I refuse to suffer.

Judie Ingram McMath

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Remembering Walter Francis White: The Man Who Pretended To Be White In Order To Infiltrate The KKK And Expose Lynching

Originally posted on The Afrikan Voice:

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Walter Francis White was a leading civil rights advocate of the first half of the twentieth century.  As executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1931 to 1955, he was one of the major architects of the modern African American freedom struggle.White, whose blond hair and blue eyes belied his African American ancestry, was born in Atlanta, Georgia on July 1, 1893, the fourth of seven children.  His parents, George W. White, a graduate of Atlanta University and a postal worker, and Madeline Harrison White, a Clark University graduate and school teacher, were solidly middle class at the time when the vast majority of Atlanta blacks were working class.Walter White graduated from Atlanta University in 1916 and one year later helped establish the Atlanta branch of the NAACP after briefly working as an insurance agent. In 1918, at the invitation of James Weldon Johnson…

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Burning a Cross: Traditional Values

“KKK Vows to Terrorize Blacks With Cross Burning At SC Pro-Confederate Flag Rally” is a headline I read just today. Okay.

The author tells us about an event happening.

“While many claim that the Confederate flag is not a symbol of racism, the Ku Klux Klan’s planned rally for the flag fairly well invalidates this assertion. Sure, the flag represents “heritage” — but what heritage?”

The author reports the Klan website saying:

“If you can’t tell, they are trying to wipe us out of the history books,” the Klan says on its web site. “Tell this Marxist government they better not dishonor out ancestors graves.”

Okay. I don’t think folks are trying to wipe the memory out in any way. We are remembering that history quite vividly. Thanks though.

The Klan asks that the event remain “whites only” in keeping with its “traditional” values.

Okay. But I’m not sure if folks are even forgetting the Klans “traditional” values either.

Forgetful Americans

While checking on line (facebook) about what folks are remembering about the Confederate flag and Cross Burning, I discovered that folks aren’t forgetting about the Klan’s “traditional” values there either, especially on that ol’ lovable cross burning tradition thing.

“After the rally, the Klansmen will gather at the Grand Dragon’s home for a good, old-fashioned cross burning.”

Anyway, these are just fine Christians boys. Dang it, Klansmen just want to have fun.

Cross Burning

It sounds beautiful enough this cross all lit up in the night tradition–like a Hallmark Christmas card scene or a feel good movie moment. Yes, burning a cross just happens to also be in line with the cross’ original purpose as a devise– of public torture, capital punishment, and terror? The intent was to oppress and subjugate those the Romans concurred–reminding others about who was in control in stark horrific visual images. Fun times.

KKKhristians?

Let’s party. Christians believe that the Roman impact of death by cross  was negated by the actions of religious martyrs. A martyr’s dying in this manner tends to erase much of the fear of it in followers with the same cause. An example would be Jesus martyrdom from that type of public torture and execution. White Christian supremacists simply use this symbol to remind us of Jesus–the things that Jesus had done to him. Know thy place non-whites or you’ll end up like Jesus. It’s the Christian message in a way– albeit a screwy sort of way since the burning cross is not really Jesus Christianity as much as it is Constantine Christianity. Viva la Constantine!

Okay, thanks for the reminder KKK. Your rally sounds wonderful. Don’t forget beer and hot-dogs and maybe one of those inflatable bouncy houses for the kids.

Terry Gresham

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LOGAN LAYDEN: Losing Little Dixie: How Decades Of Democratic Dominance Came To An End In Southeast Oklahoma

“Southeast Oklahoma is an unusual place, politically. Many southerners settled in the area after the Civil War, leading to its nickname “Little Dixie.”

Through the 20th century, it became the center of political power in Oklahoma, and the Democratic Party dominated politics well into the late 1990s. Decades after the formerly “Solid South” had switched to the Republican Party, Democrats enjoyed an 8:1 voter registration advantage in southeast Oklahoma.” –  LOGAN LAYDEN

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