American Elephants

There’s a Lot of History Tied Up in America’s Trails. by The Elephant's Child
August 11, 2021, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

A trail through a sunlit Pacific Northwest forest.

I love the photo of the trail through the Pacific Northwest woods. Trails are so evocative, they beckon you to follow to see what is around the next corner. But think back a little to the time of the first arrivals in this new world. The Puritans were headed for Virginia, but got blown off course. They had been 66 days at sea, more than two months. No baths, dealing with animal and human excrement, I’m not sure we are capable of imagining. The exercise might help those who are kneeling for the National Anthem, to get their heads on straight.

The Puritans landed on the shore of Massachusetts Bay in November of 1620. November is already winter. They had brought their farm animals, but they had to find food. They had guns. There were clearly fish in the ocean, maybe clams, birds must have been seen, but it’s not till you try to imagine looking for food, that you begin to recognize the absolute unknown that they faced. They had to figure out what was safe to eat, where it was safe to sleep, to cook, what to cook. How to find fuel. build fires. They even had to find ways to corral their livestock. The land was absolutely unknown. It would take time for them to have the courage to even venture away from the ship.

Picking up driftwood, sticks, trying to find enough to build and feed a fire. A fire would have been comforting. They would have had knives, hatchets, flint, but for us who are accustomed to plenty of matches, kindling, barbecue briquets. I’m not sure we are even capable of imagining. Perhaps the Mayflower was well moored, and they could still sleep aboard. Our experience with going camping isn’t really related. I’ve done a lot of camping, but trying to imagine what those very courageous souls were facing is pretty much beyond me.

But somehow they did it. Not easily, some died, but they persevered and somehow created a colony and then a state and then a country. Fought a revolution to get rid of the ruling country. What a glorious and moving story and we cannot appreciate their efforts and struggles enough. There were no roads, nor would be in their lifetimes, but there were trails, and this is meant to be an appreciation of trails. But more came, and everyone struggled, and slowly they followed the Indian trails, then made their own trails and more trails, and the trails became pathways to build a country. But I am writing about trails.

We have all sorts of historic trails, the Appalachian trail extends from Mr. Katahadin in Maine to the mountains in southern Georgia for over 2,300 miles. Then there’s the Lewis and Clark Trail, the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, the Mission Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and so many more. If you enjoy a bit of hiking, you could plan your vacations for years on the National

It is, after all, how the United States of America was created and spread from coast to coast, by people taking the chance to follow a trail, and often to settle down at the other end.That’s how America moved from a tiny encampment on Massachusetts Bay across the whole continent. Hopeful people putting one foot in front of another, sure that they would find an even better place just over the next hill. We started on foot, and then on horseback, then with a pack horse and a whole train of pack horses, and then widening the trail for a wagon. And wagons grew into wagon trains, and they were covered to protect from the weather. And they pushed on gradually, across a whole continent, and there was a different ocean on the other side.

Thousands of stories. Seeing buffalo for the first time, Indian tribes who had never seen a white man nor a covered wagon pulled by horses. Mountains higher and more rugged than anything ever seen before anywhere.. Each state has its own stories, California’s Mission Trail founded by Priests coming up from South America. Sailing ships learning how to round the horn, Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea are represented by paintings, Sacagawea is always pointing off to the distance.

There was once a railroad that ran past our place in Idaho, about sixty miles or more of track. When logging ceased and a major sawmill shut down, the shipments of cattle and sheep weren’t enough to keep the railroad in business. The passenger train had gone away earlier, and when the railroad stopped operating, the would-be hikers wanted the right of way to be turned into a trail. I don’t know how much it is used. It certainly isn’t crowded, but beautiful as it follows a free-flowing river for around sixty miles. I suspect there is not much traffic. As always, the idea seems wonderful, but then going out in the weather and putting one foot in front of another for several miles, returns to our ordinary humanity. We’re only human, and usually lazy.

American History Lives On In Lexington, Massachusetts by The Elephant's Child

Battle_of_Lexington_DetailApril 19, 1775, some 700 British troops arrived in Lexington and came upon 77 militiamen gathered on the town green. A British major yelled “Throw down your arms! Ye villains,ye rebels!” The vastly outnumbered militiamen had been ordered by their commander to disperse when a shot rang out. No one knows which side fired first, but several British volleys were unleashed before order could be restored. When the smoke cleared, eight militiamen lay dead and nine were wounded, while only one Redcoat was injured. The British troops marched on to Concord to search for rebel arms.

The “shot heard round the world” was fired at Concord Bridge, and nearly 2,000 militiamen harassed the British from behind trees, walls and houses as they returned to Boston, 18 miles away.

Students at Lexington High School are presumably conscious of local history, so the dance committee picked “American Pride” as the theme for their upcoming dance.

Students said the administration canceled an “American Pride” dance because it excluded other nationalities, despite the theme getting the most votes from the dance committee.

School officials defended their decision and added they are willing to tweak the theme in order for everyone to be included.

Well, there you go. Is anyone surprised that a public school would feel that “national pride” would be “more inclusive.” Blah, blah, diverse demography of our community. The idea of America is that people from many nations and many different origins can come to America and become Americans. Supposedly, that is why they are here — to become Americans.

The results were predictable, a little publicity and the school caved, the “National Pride” Dance was rescheduled for late April and students can even wear red, white and blue if they so choose.

This needs more than a sigh, and a “there they go again” response. It is ubiquitous in our school systems. “Diversity” and “social justice” and “inclusiveness” are just a few of the words that indicate a mindset that inflicts the establishment that is supposed to be teaching our children reading with understanding, writing with clarity, mastering mathematics, understanding the basic sciences of biology, chemistry and physics, learning about history and government.

We know from international comparisons that our schools are doing a lousy job of that, and graduating kids who cannot master the basics, but they’re well up on the Left’s touchy-feely pap. We are losing our country, and losing the future because we are not alarmed enough. Most of us can’t yank our kids out of school and afford a private school, or quit our jobs and homeschool. Are you ready to attend some school board meetings and raise hell? Did you actually know anything about the school board members you voted for? Do you read your kids’ textbooks and talk to them about their assignments?

You will notice the little militiaman on the school sign. The kids get it, but the staff doesn’t.

“People consider America to be a melting pot, so the fact that it was even considered offensive is what people are a little surprised about,” said student Sneha Rao.


Houston: We Have a Problem! by The Elephant's Child

We were remarkably fortunate in our first president. George Washington was extremely conscious of his role in setting a standard for the office of the President of the United States.  In his fifth Annual Message to Congress, he sent a message down through the years to future presidents:

The United States ought not to indulge a persuasion that contrary to the order of human events, they will forever keep at a distance those painful appeals to arms with which the history of every other nation abounds. There is a rank due to the United States among nations which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it, if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war. The documents which will be presented to you will shew the amount and kinds of arms and military stores now in our magazines and arsenals, and yet an addition even to these supplies can not with prudence be neglected, as it would leave nothing to the uncertainly of procuring warlike apparatus in the moment of public danger.”

In a message directed specifically to the House of Representatives, he said:

No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt. On none can delay be more injurious or an economy of time more valuable.

Who would ever have thought such advice inappropriate or even unusual? Of course it’s not. But the current president, to our surprise, wants to “fundamentally transform” the country, and has set about doing so—often by ignoring custom and law. He started off with the automobile industry crisis. We have successful bankruptcy laws devised to help a corporation to reorganize and emerge with an opportunity to again strive for success. They have worked for many years and many businesses.

Obama decided to ignore bankruptcy laws, fired the CEOs, put his own man in charge, ignored bond-holders first claim on assets in direct defiance of law, shut down auto dealers who operated private businesses whose only connection to the industry was that they purchased the cars they sold from the car companies. A president doesn’t get to shut down private business. “Cash for Clunkers” was a stupid misstep, that accomplished nothing and devastated the used car market across the country, and the used car-parts business, harming all the citizens who depend on buying used cars for their transportation. Then to top it all off, he gave Chrysler to Fiat, and a third of GM to the Unions— because he likes unions. And we sat back and did nothing.

At the time Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, so there was nothing to be done. But discovering that he could ignore law and custom with impunity, Obama has felt no obligation to the Constitution or laws of the country, and does as he pleases. As one New York Times reporter said “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I have ever covered.”

People are afraid of this administration, with some cause. Public disagreement can lead to an IRS audit, donations to opponents can get your business investigated and prosecuted for irregularities with some obscure regulation. An elderly couple have just been thrown out of their home near Lake Mead because the road leading to their home is on federal property.

ObamaCare is the law, but no Congress is bound by the acts of a previous Congress, and ObamaCare can be repealed or amended by future Congresses. The president cannot change it by executive order nor by offering waivers and delays to favored parties, as he is doing.

Obama administration officials have told universities to ignore the Supreme Court 8-1 decision that racial preferences cannot be used to achieve “diversity” on campus. Obama changed the Welfare Law provisions that required welfare recipients to work. He bypassed Congress to give immunity from deportation to young illegals and essentially enacted by executive action the “Dream Act” that Congress refused to pass. Obama also decided that his administration would not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. The list of usurpations of the federal law and the Constitution goes on and on. Since Obama cannot be impeached as long as he controls the Senate, he feels no restraint on his ability to “go around Congress” and do as he pleases.

The Senate, at the behest of the White House, is now working on a bill to allow the president to raise the debt ceiling on his own—granting powers to the president that are specifically reserved to the House of Representatives by the Constitution. This is not a small matter. This is a Republic, not an Autocracy. We don’t go for dictators here.

Obama’s major problem has always been hubris. He is never at fault, he can never be blamed, he is never wrong, no one should disagree with him, and what he wants to do should be done, because he is the most important man in the world as President of the United States.

Americans have been restrained by their deep respect for the office of the presidency — as our first president passed it down to us. But there are limits to our restraint. We are Americans and Liberty is our birthright. We crossed three thousand miles of ocean to get to a “howling wilderness” and declared war on the world’s most powerful nation to secure our liberty. Britain had virtually unlimited resources and the best navy in the world and we were virtually broke, and we had to scratch together militias and farmers and riflemen, and scratch together some means for paying for a war. But there’s a stubborn streak in the American character too. We won by not losing.

I don’t think this “fundamental transformation” thing is going to fly. Not Here. Not Now.

Scott Brown: Let America Be America Again! by The Elephant's Child

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