Since Today is 4-july...


Normally open July 4th only---the one day a year when partisan politics, religion, etc. are acceptable topics on this Board (within reason). The forum is now closed.

Since Today is 4-july...

Postby EPelle » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:15 pm

... what, if anything, would you have changed in the history of your country - a decision or an event - without seriously affecting the history of the world if you were given the power and opportunity to go back in time and make a few "minor" adjustments here and there? Why?

Part II: Knowing what you know now about historical events, what era would you return to and what changes would you make - again, knowing that the slightest moves either left or right could have world-wide ramifications? Would you line yourself up to take on a leadership position? Be an inventor of something you knew in this day and age would be a sure thing?
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Postby Marlow » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:04 am

Here is the most difficult thought experiment my students and I performed this year. If you could go back in time and undo an event in American history, what would it be and how would it have changed history? The one we came up with is to prevent the slave trade. That's a very easy and significant evil to identify, but can you imagine what America would be like if that had happened? There's no earthly justification for it and it has been America's 'Issue' (racism) since the earliest days, but I was reminded of it as I sat in the Hayward stands last night. The Oly Trials withOUT African-Americans? Unthinkable. America, without African-Americans, would not be what it is today. It hurts my brain to even think about it, because of everything African-Americans have done to ennoble America. It has been our struggle to overcome racism that has defined and sharpened our nation's conscience. The other irony of our discussion is that 4 of the students in the classroom would disappear. They really did NOT like that idea, but of course they could not rationalize their presence in light of what their forebears had to go through. The rest of us had no idea what to say.

edit - a very unfortunate typo above (bolded addition)!
Last edited by Marlow on Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:02 am

Marlow wrote:Here is the most difficult thought experiment my students and I performed this year. If you could go back in time and undo an event in American history, what would it be and how would it have changed history? The one we came up with is to prevent the slave trade. That's a very easy and significant evil to identify, but can you imagine what America would be like if that had happened? There's no earthly justification for it and it has been America's 'Issue' (racism) since the earliest days, but I was reminded of it as I sat in the Hayward stands last night. The Oly Trials with African-Americans? Unthinkable. America, without African-Americans, would not be what it is today. It hurts my brain to even think about it, because of everything African-Americans have done to ennoble America. It has been our struggle to overcome racism that has defined and sharpened our nation's conscience. The other irony of our discussion is that 4 of the students in the classroom would disappear. They really did NOT like that idea, but of course they could not rationalize their presence in light of what their forebears had to go through. The rest of us had no idea what to say.

I don't believe that slavery by itself is the reason that race has been such an albatross for this country throughout its history. Slavery and its permutations had existed throughout the world for thousands of years. When the world became enlightened enough to realize the slavery should be abolished, every other other country in the western hemisphere was able to end it peacefully. I believe it is the ideology of state-sanctioned racism and White supremacy that really made the US unique when it was founded, and that's why it was so painful for this country to rid itself of slavery and slavery's bastard child, Jim Crow. This ideology didn't exist when slaves were initially introduced to the colonies in the early 1600's. Initially,slaves (Africans) and indentured servants (Europeans) were treated the same. Both could buy their freedom and there was no distinction in the earliest court records with regards to skin color. Distinctions by skin color first appear in records dating back to the late 1600's. The idea that a person should be judged based on skin color is an American invention and it was written into the constitution when this country was founded. When the European powers went through their period of conquest, colonization and imperialism they never made distinctions based on skin color in any of their laws or constitution. Thus, when Africans and Asians residing in European colonies emigrated back to Europe, they had the same rights as other Europeans. They may have been discriminated against, but the discrimination wasn't state-sanctioned.

To my knowledge, the US is the only nation in history that had laws that made it illegal for certain people to learn to read and write based on their skin color. And it is one of only a handful of countries that has ever segregated its military, schools and other public facilities and institutions based on skin color. It is one of only a handful of countries that has ever used skin color to determine who could vote and who couldn't. We're only forty years removed from abolishing Jim Crow in this country and let's not forget that native Americans were given citizenship less than 100 years ago. Prior to that you had 300+ years of the government indoctrinating Whites with the idea that they were superior to people of color. And you also had 300+ years of Blacks and native Americans building up resentment towards, not only Whites, but the government itself. All things considered, I think its unrealistic think that the US would have put the issue of race behind it in such a short period of time.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:11 am

The one thing I would change is Truman's decision to support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine against the will of not only every Arab country in the region, but also his Secretary of State, George Marshall. Marshal to Truman:
If you do this, it will lead to never-ending war in the Mideast, and eventually we'll get sucked into it.

Call me crazy, but Bavaria seems like it would been the logical place to have created a Jewish state. They say, "To the victor goes the spoils", but don't the spoils come from the losers and weren't the losers the Germans?
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Postby observer2 » Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:37 am

Back to roots?

Today::

Bruce Springsteen consert at Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden.
(audience 50.000-live on Sirius Radio)

Meryl Streep in Stockholm, Sweden - opening of movie Mamma Mia
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Postby SQUACKEE » Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:04 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
Marlow wrote:Here is the most difficult thought experiment my students and I performed this year. If you could go back in time and undo an event in American history, what would it be and how would it have changed history? The one we came up with is to prevent the slave trade. That's a very easy and significant evil to identify, but can you imagine what America would be like if that had happened? There's no earthly justification for it and it has been America's 'Issue' (racism) since the earliest days, but I was reminded of it as I sat in the Hayward stands last night. The Oly Trials with African-Americans? Unthinkable. America, without African-Americans, would not be what it is today. It hurts my brain to even think about it, because of everything African-Americans have done to ennoble America. It has been our struggle to overcome racism that has defined and sharpened our nation's conscience. The other irony of our discussion is that 4 of the students in the classroom would disappear. They really did NOT like that idea, but of course they could not rationalize their presence in light of what their forebears had to go through. The rest of us had no idea what to say.

I don't believe that slavery by itself is the reason that race has been such an albatross for this country throughout its history. Slavery and its permutations had existed throughout the world for thousands of years. When the world became enlightened enough to realize the slavery should be abolished, every other other country in the western hemisphere was able to end it peacefully. I believe it is the ideology of state-sanctioned racism and White supremacy that really made the US unique when it was founded, and that's why it was so painful for this country to rid itself of slavery and slavery's bastard child, Jim Crow. This ideology didn't exist when slaves were initially introduced to the colonies in the early 1600's. Initially,slaves (Africans) and indentured servants (Europeans) were treated the same. Both could buy their freedom and there was no distinction in the earliest court records with regards to skin color. Distinctions by skin color first appear in records dating back to the late 1600's. The idea that a person should be judged based on skin color is an American invention and it was written into the constitution when this country was founded. When the European powers went through their period of conquest, colonization and imperialism they never made distinctions based on skin color in any of their laws or constitution. Thus, when Africans and Asians residing in European colonies emigrated back to Europe, they had the same rights as other Europeans. They may have been discriminated against, but the discrimination wasn't state-sanctioned.

To my knowledge, the US is the only nation in history that had laws that made it illegal for certain people to learn to read and write based on their skin color. And it is one of only a handful of countries that has ever segregated its military, schools and other public facilities and institutions based on skin color. It is one of only a handful of countries that has ever used skin color to determine who could vote and who couldn't. We're only forty years removed from abolishing Jim Crow in this country and let's not forget that native Americans were given citizenship less than 100 years ago. Prior to that you had 300+ years of the government indoctrinating Whites with the idea that they were superior to people of color. And you also had 300+ years of Blacks and native Americans building up resentment towards, not only Whites, but the government itself. All things considered, I think its unrealistic think that the US would have put the issue of race behind it in such a short period of time.


When Obama is Prez maybe some will think the U.S.A has come a long way, maybe not. :cry:
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Postby tandfman » Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:18 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:Call me crazy, but Bavaria seems like it would been the logical place to have created a Jewish state.

OK, you're crazy!
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Postby pickle47 » Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:08 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:Call me crazy, but Bavaria seems like it would been the logical place to have created a Jewish state.


The Arab countries wouldn't care whether Israel gave "them" back the whole shebang. It's not about the land. Palestine was a backwater when the Jews arrived and there wasn't an Arab country that gave it a thought.
There's a spiritual battle behind the physical one.
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Postby Flumpy » Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:04 pm

pickle47 wrote:Palestine was a backwater when the Jews arrived and there wasn't an Arab country that gave it a thought.


It may have been a 'backwater' but it was their backwater.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:47 pm

Flumpy wrote:
pickle47 wrote:Palestine was a backwater when the Jews arrived and there wasn't an Arab country that gave it a thought.


It may have been a 'backwater' but it was their backwater.

Amen!. North America was also just a backwater, but that didn't matter to native Americans. Richard Cohen summed it up best:
The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01154.html
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Postby bambam1729 » Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:05 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:To my knowledge, the US is the only nation in history that had laws that made it illegal for certain people to learn to read and write based on their skin color.


South Africa
Rhodesia/Zimbabwe
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Postby AthleticsInBritain » Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:19 pm

I'd like to go back to that period in history where it's believed that Stalin, Hitler and Lenin (I think) all apparently lived within 1 mile of each other without knowing each other just before WWI.

I think I'd get them all drunk together in a Viennese bierkeller. Just think if they'd got along. The entire second half of the 21st century would be completely different.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:46 pm

bambam1729 wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:To my knowledge, the US is the only nation in history that had laws that made it illegal for certain people to learn to read and write based on their skin color.


South Africa
Rhodesia/Zimbabwe

I know they had Apartheid in those countries, but I don't believe that it was ever illegal for Blacks to read books there. They may have had segregated and inferior schools, but they did have schools.
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Postby Cooter Brown » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:01 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:I know they had Apartheid in those countries, but I don't believe that it was ever illegal for Blacks to read books there. They may have had segregated and inferior schools, but they did have schools.


My hometown 4th & 5th grade campus was the former black high school and you can tell it was designed to be either as cheap or as uncomfortable as possible. All the classroom doors opened outside to the elements and had no halls or a roof over the sidewalk making the trip to the restroom in the driving rain a real adventure. There were no walls between the toilets until white kids started going there. There was no AC, even in the early 80s when I was there, and the windows were narrow ones up at the ceiling so you couldn't reach them to open them and let a breeze in.
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Re: Since Today is 4-july...

Postby BillVol » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:04 pm

EPelle wrote:... what, if anything, would you have changed in the history of your country - a decision or an event - without seriously affecting the history of the world if you were given the power and opportunity to go back in time and make a few "minor" adjustments here and there? Why?

Part II: Knowing what you know now about historical events, what era would you return to and what changes would you make - again, knowing that the slightest moves either left or right could have world-wide ramifications? Would you line yourself up to take on a leadership position? Be an inventor of something you knew in this day and age would be a sure thing?


Just wanted to get a post in on this board. Good topic, E.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:16 pm

Cooter Brown wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:I know they had Apartheid in those countries, but I don't believe that it was ever illegal for Blacks to read books there. They may have had segregated and inferior schools, but they did have schools.


My hometown 4th & 5th grade campus was the former black high school and you can tell it was designed to be either as cheap or as uncomfortable as possible. All the classroom doors opened outside to the elements and had no halls or a roof over the sidewalk making the trip to the restroom in the driving rain a real adventure. There were no walls between the toilets until white kids started going there. There was no AC, even in the early 80s when I was there, and the windows were narrow ones up at the ceiling so you couldn't reach them to open them and let a breeze in.

Even those schools would have been illegal in the US in the 19th century.
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