#1357 What Trump is Invoking When He Invokes Manifest Destiny (Transcript)

Air Date 07/10/2020

Full Episode Notes

Audio-Synced Transcript

Intro contemplating conservative thinking applied to genocide

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of the Left podcast in which we are rapidly responding to Trump's recent full embrace of manifest destiny. He first mentioned it in the State of the Union address this year, but again, this week framing space exploration as the next logical step for a people God ordained to expand endlessly and subdue any non-White people we happen to come across in the process.

Here's a quick snip from the Bill Moyers' website on this news item: 

"...then out of the blue, the official White House Twitter account published a photo of Trump and Pence apparently gazing into the sky alongside a quotation that said, "Americans are the people who pursued our manifest destiny across the ocean into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains and then into the skies and even into the stars."  Manifest destiny: it was a term coined in the 1840s by the editor of the Democratic Review magazine to explain why it was the divinely ordained duty of Americans to push west and take over the lands of indigenous peoples and Mexicans, spreading slavery into new lands. The term is widely associated with White supremacy and deadly dominance over people of color." 

And even more pointedly, Mark Sumner on AlterNet said this: 

"There we go; Americans have pursued our God-given right to slaughter people by the millions, take their lands, steal their sacred places, ignore treaties, engage in massacres and make really pretty movies about it, because . . . manifest destiny. This carries some extra punch considering that Trump just delivered a downbeat, angry, divisive speech while standing in front of a mutilated mountain that was given to the Lakota for all time. Seriously, 'manifest destiny' is a phrase that should be up there with 'holocaust' in  the dictionary of terms that any government should be ashamed to use in describing its policies."

So, that's what we're talking about today. More than half of what you're about to hear is new to the show, while a few clips are being remixed from episode 1252, back in February, 2019, for the sake of this rapid response. But first, I just had a couple of comments I wanted to throw in here about just a little bit of the research that I was doing for the show, and I noticed a pattern about conservatives and their nuanced understanding of this topic. And, to be frank, I don't usually think of conservatives as having nuanced understandings of things, you know, they're the rigid, black-and-white thinkers: there are good guys and bad guys; don't try to complicate things; you know, there's never a good reason to break the law.; Hey, if you, if you don't want to be choked to death, just don't break the law. And you know, the old idea that laws that aren't explicitly unfair or racist are therefor not unfair nor racist. You know, it's like the old quote from Anatole France: the law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread. But, when it comes to genocide, I have to admit and congratulate the conservatives for having a really nuanced perspective on this.

There is nothing black and white about genocide to a conservative, I have found. Now, the Holocaust, you know, that is pretty unquestionably thought of as terrible by all but the neo-Nazis, but that doesn't mean to conservatives that every attempted extermination has to be condemned. As they would argue it, each systematic, targeted mass murder must be judged carefully on its own merits and circumstances lest we be uncritical and unthoughtful on the subject. For instance, one conservative commenter I saw this week responded to the genocide of Natives in America by asserting, sort of offhandedly, that many of them were savages and cannibals.

Yeah. So just to be clear, genocide is probably okay as long as the victims have been sufficiently dehumanized, according to this commenter. Kind of makes me wonder if this person were to research how Jews were dehumanized in Nazi Germany if that might start to make them have more complicated feelings about that genocide. It's probably best to not pull on that thread too hard.

Okay now, the American Conservative magazine I came across, wrote this in response to Trump's idea to buy Greenland last year under the title, Donald Trump brings back manifest destiny, quoting, "Admittedly, manifest destiny is not a PC phrase, yet, trendy pieties aside, it's hard to argue with the long-term logic of national expansion as key to self defense, as well as to greatness. The phrase comes from the American journalist John O'Sullivan writing back in 1845. O'Sullivan hailed 'the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent, which Providence has given us,"' continuing the article, "indeed, for reasons of realism as well as idealism, the US was wise to follow O'Sullivan's expansionary exhortations; after all by the 19th century, as transportation and technology improved, vacant territory wasn't staying vacant. That is, if we had chosen to leave, say ,Oregon to the Chinook, Klamath and Umpqua tribes, then some other great power would have moved in." And, I really appreciate the writer's flexibility of thought on this one to be able to defend a genocide of the Natives while also calling the land they inhabited vacant territory. I mean, I try to be open-minded, but, once again, on the topic of genocide, the conservatives have one-upped me by being able to base an argument on that level of doublespeak.

 Anyway, the writer of that article goes on to assume that either the Russians, the British, the Germans or the Japanese would have moved in eventually and would have done just as we did, if we hadn't done it first.

So yeah, when it comes to genocide, someone's got to do it, which I find to be an even more creative argument than I usually hear from conservatives when they defend shameful actions of our country, by comparing ourselves to the likes of terrorists, you know, it's a classic. They tell gay Americans, for instance, that they should just be happy that they're not being murdered by ISIS, you know, classic staple of a proud, free society: judge our actions compared to some of the worst people in the world; it's gonna make us look great. Of course, in the case of the native genocide, please compare our actions with the atrocities we imagine that others would have committed if we'd only given them the chance. 

 I haven't even gotten to the support of Darth Vader in the Empire in the Star Wars universe, or the intellectual defense of destroying Alderaan.  I read in the National Review, it was actually argued that the whole planet was at least vaguely pro-rebel, and therefor  every last living person on it was a legitimate military target for the empire. You know, Hey, if you don't want to be blown up, just follow the law, right?. And just to be clear: that is not a joke. That's an actual argument I read from actual conservative heavyweights discussing Star Wars in the neoconservative magazine most responsible for the intellectual underpinnings and driving moral force behind none other than the Iraq War. 

Now, on the other hand, you know, we progressives, usually so proud of our free thinking and our ability to see gray and understand the importance of context, honestly, we're falling well behind with our almost entirely inflexible anti-genocide position. So, maybe it's time we do some self-reflection. Maybe think about that the next time you're advocating for.universal health care, and you're met with a simple, dogmatic argument that the free market can solve every problem. You know, ask yourself, how can you expect flexibility of thought on the inherent tendency for markets to fail in cases like healthcare that pit people against profit if you're not even willing to entertain the possibility that some groups of people deserve to be exterminated. And scene.

 And now, clips today exploring the US  history of manifest destiny and genocide come from Intercepted, Backstory, Let's Talk Native, The Dig, The Empire Files and Propaganda.

Confederacy Inc. Donald Trump, Racist Police, and the Whitewashing of History Part 1 - Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill - Air Date 7-1-20

JEREMY SCAHILL - HOST, INTERCEPTED: So on Friday, Donald Trump issued an executive order on“Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence.” And of course, this comes as we’ve seen Confederate monuments coming down. Sometimes activists are pulling them down, sometimes institutions through public pressure have decided to take them down. There’s a lot to unpack in that executive order, but I just wanted to share some of how it begins: “Key targets in the violent, extremist campaign against our country, our public monuments, memorials and statues.” It goes on, “their selection of targets reveals a deep ignorance of our history and is indicative of a desire to indiscriminately destroy anything that honors our past.” Just your big picture response to this executive order.

NICK ESTES:  Trump, he’s invoking this kind of idea of lawlessness that has been unleashed by Black-led resistance all over the country, and now internationally, to make this argument that the very core, the very idea of America “as we know it,” right, is under attack.

AUDIO OF DONALD TRUMP:  First of all, we have arrested, I think almost — but it could be over the number — hundreds of people. We have arrested a lot of people for what they’ve done. They’ve created bedlam. They’ve destroyed very important things. I mean you’re also talking about statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln…

NICK ESTES:  And if there’s any lesson that we can learn from colonialism, it involves three things: God, gold, and glory. Right? The soft underbelly of this entire project has always been glory. The idea that this nation is built on an exceptional, kind of unique history, right? The city on the hill kind of thesis that came out of the pilgrim mythology. And so in this moment, Trump is trying to essentially rewrite history and to say that there are winners and there are losers, right? It’s a very kind of facile reading of history and I don’t think that the advocates that are calling for the tearing down of these monuments or the, you know, even the replacement in some instances, are saying that we should reduce the history of racism, of imperialism to just the Civil War, but that it’s a very complicated history, especially when you factor in something like settler colonialism. And so, in this instance, he’s saying, you know, “our history,” “deep ignorance of our history,” and whose history is that?

AUDIO OF DONALD TRUMP:  We have to cherish our past. We have to cherish good or bad. We have to understand our past. We have to understand our history. Because if we don’t know our history, it could all happen again. We have to know our history.

NICK ESTES: When somebody like Trump says, you know, “We’re here to protect our national monuments,” he’s been invoking the language of heritage, which is kind of like a dog whistle for the “it’s heritage, not hate” kind of speak around the Confederate monuments as well as the Confederate battle flag. He’s not including Indigenous people in this particular rhetoric because our monuments, our history as Indigenous people, is under constant erasure. And to reduce the kind of struggles over monuments, over how we know and how we write history in this particular moment, to just the idea of Confederate monuments or, you know, Union monuments, completely ignores the larger kind of context of U.S. history and it attempts to sanitize it between, Oh, we have good colonizers and we have bad colonizers.

The Interest of the White Man demands their extinction - @BackStory - Air Date: 01-19-18

ED AYERS - HOST, BACK STORY: I recently spoke with historian Benjamin Madley. He says that as Americans arrived, they brought a new targeted violence against the California tribes. That violence was inflicted by the state and federal governments, as well as by everyday people. They all justified enslaving and killing native peoples as the unavoidable consequence of American expansion.

BENJAMIN MADLEY: Once gold is discovered, the killing accelerates quite rapidly. Particularly as an influx of prospectors and forty-niners moved south from Oregon. And these Oregonians saw them as a dangerous problem to get rid of, an obstacle between them and the gold. But, the turning point is really in late 1849, early 1850. There were these two white slaveholders living on the shores of Clearlake named Stone and Kelsey and they routinely raped California Indian women, tortured them to death, reportedly shot them to death for entertainment. 

And so the Pomo and Wappo people, who were living under their rule, rose up and killed the two of them. And so, in response, vigilantes first murdered and massacred large numbers of California Indian ranch workers and farm workers in the Sonoma and Napa Valley. And then the United States Army launched two separate genocidal killing campaigns.

ED: And why was that the turning point?

BENJAMIN MADLEY: That was the turning point because the initial vigilantes who killed large numbers of California Indian people in Napa and Sonoma counties became the subject of the very first case of the new California State Supreme Court. And all eight men were released on bail. So this communicated a strong message to the people of California about how the state legal system was going to respond to the mass murder of Indians. And that was by granting Indian killers a pass.

ED: So what did the government do other than sanction this? Other than look the other way?

BENJAMIN MADLEY: California governors authorized 24, that's two dozen, separate state militia expeditions against California Indians between 1850 and 1861. And these expeditions killed at least 1,340 California Indian people. At the same time, the state raised three separate bills that raised over $1.5 million. A huge amount of money at this time in history for Indian hunting militia operations.

And so these state militia expeditions then inspired, I think, over 6,400 murders of California Indian people by vigilantes. And when I first began the research, I thought that the killers must have been some kind of rogue element. But state endorsement for this genocide was only very thinly-veiled. In 1851, California's first governor Peter Bernet declared and I quote, that "a war of extermination will continue to be waged until the Indian race becomes extinct."

ED: So making a race extinct is almost the exact definition of genocide, right?

BENJAMIN MADLEY: Yes, and between 1846 and 1873, California's indigenous population plunged from perhaps 150,000 people to just 30,000. So we know that diseases, dislocation, and starvation caused many of these tens of thousands of deaths, but then near-annihilation of California's Indian population was not, as it is often described, the unavoidable result of two civilizations coming into contact for the first time.

This was actually a case of genocide. Sanctioned, paid for, and facilitated by state and federal officials. For example, in 1852, California's US Senator John Weller, who later became the state's governor in 1858, he told his colleagues in the United States Senate that California Indians and I quote "will be exterminated before the onward march of the white man." And he insisted that the interest of the white men demands their extinction. So this was not a crime that was hidden. This was something that you could read about almost every week in every little newspaper up and down the state of California.

ED: So, do the indigenous people fight back?

BENJAMIN MADLEY: They do but it's difficult for them to do so and I'll tell you why. So attackers frequently surrounded California Indian villages and opened fire at dawn or under moonlight when Indian people were asleep. Once most of the men had died trying to protect their village, the attackers closed in for the final exterminatory executions which they carried out with sabers or bayonets or hatchets or simply with rocks or sometimes their bare hands.

ED:  I'm assuming that women and children were also killed in these raids.

BENJAMIN MADLEY: They were often killed but they had a value, so they tried generally not to kill them but to sell them into slavery.

ED: So it's hard not to notice the irony of California entering the United States as a free state at the same time that it is deeply implicated in a different kind of slavery.

BENJAMIN MADLEY: Well one thing to understand about California is that while it entered the Union as a free state, it had a very strong and vocal pro and free-labor movement. So not only were there hundreds, and perhaps even thousands, of African-American chattel slaves brought into California by Southerners, by 1860 the state has passed a law that allows for the indenture of any Indian. And that could be a child, a woman, a prisoner of war, anybody. They've also put into effect a system of prisoner-leasing. So, for example, people could be arrested for public drunkenness if they were an Indian under California law. White people would then hire them as leased prisoners by paying the judge for a week of their labor. And then at the end of that week, they would give them hard alcohol and then they would immediately be rearrested for public drunkenness and then leased out again, often to that very same person who had incriminated them by giving the alcohol in the first place.

ED: Wow. So as everyone knows, back in the east, people are arguing passionately about African-American slavery. Do people draw analogies from one way or the other to that trade and that subjugation?

BENJAMIN MADLEY: Absolutely. One of the really interesting things that happens in California is that sometimes Free Soilers, the very people who are arguing for the abolition of slave labor, they seek to justify the massacre of California Indians as the erasure of California's preexisting unfree labor economy under Mexican rule.

ED: So let me get this straight. So they're actually engaging in this genocidal behavior because they want to erase slavery.

BENJAMIN MADLEY: That was sometimes the case.

ED: Do you think the gold rush appreciably changed this history? Did it accelerate it? Did it give a rationale for all this killing? Or is this something that would have happened anyway?

BENJAMIN MADLEY: The Gold Rush was absolutely central to the genocide of California Indian people. It attracted the largest mass migration of the 19th century in the United States to California. Before the Gold Rush, there were perhaps 13 or 14,000 non-Indian people in California. By 1860, that number exceeded 360,000 individuals. So there was a huge influx of manpower to carry out the actual killing. By the same token, the gold in California's natural environment provided a huge amount of money with which to carry out the killing. California politicians knew, from the beginning, that the federal government would reimburse them for the money they had expended on killing California Indian people because California's mining operations were providing so much money. A massive injection of capital to the national economy and to the federal treasury.

ED: My sense is this is not a central feature of the story of the Gold Rush. Did I just miss those days of school?

BENJAMIN MADLEY: You did not miss anything. What has changed very recently was that the governor of California, Jerry Brown, acknowledged that what happened in California was in his words, "an actual genocide."

ED: Does that have practical consequences?

BENJAMIN MADLEY: One of the big questions is, will state officials tender public apologies along the lines of the ones issued by presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush in the 1980s for the forcible relocation and imprisonment of some 120,000 Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. Should state officials offer compensation along the lines of the more than $1.6 billion that Congress has now paid these Japanese-Americans and their heirs.

Another question for the state and federal government bureaucracy is whether or not they're going to change the names that commemorate and valorized some of the perpetrators of this genocide and these investigations are going to be painful. We can't bring back the dead, but they're going to help all of us, both native and nonnative to make more accurate sense of our past and ourselves.

Doctrine of Christian Discovery Part 1 - Let’s Talk Native - Air Date 3-18-19

JOHN KANE - HOST, LET'S TALK NATIVE: It is important to understand that the whole notion of imperialism of that colonial period of colonization in general, it wasn't born out of this manifest destiny,  and this notion that the American Spirit of the Western expansion, no, it starts with the Vatican.

It starts with papal bulls from the, from, from a whole series of posts that say, no, you go out there and you find the lands that we haven't yet discovered. We want you to go to the lands that are unknown to us and spread Christendom. You know what? We use that expression manifest destiny to describe this genocide, but it was also called White Man’s Burden.

And what was White Man’s Burden? The White Man’s Burden was the obligation that he had based on his religion to impose that religion on everybody. That's what White Man’s Burden was, it was to impose. And it wasn't just about conversion. And one of the things that we saw time and time, again, it wasn't about trying to convert every Brown person to a Christian because you know what, that wasn't important.

What was important to them was the delivering of their souls. So if a child, once they were baptized, it didn't matter if they lived or died, they got to check their box. That was considered a conversion. Didn't matter if they never made it to adulthood. The key was, could we claim that what we were doing to these people was a part of our, Christian mission, the imposition of Christianity across the land, regardless of what it did to the people. So look, this almost doesn't have anything to do with the faith itself. It has to do with how the faith was used and how it was imposed and how it was used. And oftentimes in conflict. I mean, these armies, these,  conquistadores, these guys who would rape and murder and, massacre native people, they did it in the name of their faith. Colonel or Reverend Shimmington.

I mean, this guy was a Colonel and a Reverend at the same time. He was responsible for the Sand Creek massacre. So in the name of his faith, he could kill as many native people as he wanted to, because he felt justified. Why? Because of the, of the doctrine of Christian discovery, the doctrine of Christian domination. The doctrine of discovery is essentially, it lays the foundation for the rationale for slavery.

I mean, the church begins with its initial papal bull long before Columbus's 1492 voyage  Thank you, Murray Porter, by the way.  n 1452, 40 years before Columbus would sail, was a papal bull issued by,  Nicholas the Fifth, and this was in 1452 and it was to King Alfonso of,  Portugal.

And it was him authorizing the King to go into these lands of pagans and anybody who wasn't a Christian was considered an enemy of Christ and. Lay waste, vanquish capture seize,  all of their possessions, all of their, lands, all of their,  valuables, whether they were movable or unmovable.

So in other words, whether they just occupied their lands, took them over or they took their stuff. So whatever those valuables might've been. Whether it was what the Europeans regard as riches like gold or whether it,  was taking the human beings. And in that papal bull, that initial papal bull that is associated with the doctrine of discovery was,  a call to submit these pagans, these enemies of Christ to perpetual.

servitude—to slavery. So this was,  associated with Portugal going into Western Africa. So this begins the slave trade. So on the face of it, I don't know how you even teach about slavery if you don't teach about its origins. I mean, look at the fact that the churches involved in the slave trade and in an authorizing, and to be clear here, in the 15th century, there has not been any separation of the Anglican church, the Protestant religions don't even exist yet—it's all Catholic. It is, the Vatican, The Pope is the God on earth who authorizes the monarchies of Europe, the Christian nations of Europe. He's the one who bestows their power, who recognizes their sovereignty and that sovereignty being a power bestowed by God, through the Pope, to these monarchs, to these Royal families of Europe.

I mean, it's absurd. Let's face it, it's the biggest lie ever told, but that's the process that existed in the 15th century. So these monarchies, as they went into lands in Africa and other places, they were specifically being authorized and encouraged to,  seize the people and subject them to slavery and make sure that these nations who went into lands of pagan,  occupancy, that they profited.

I mean, this is the language that's in the papal bulls. So, again, I'm not angered or disturbed, I guess, but more surprised that there aren't more educators who are familiar with the basic premise and the role that the church played in authorizing these monarchies to do these heinous acts, basically.

And it's a little personal because it would come to our shores. So the second papal bull that is associated with the doctrine of discovery is the one that's issued right after word of Columbus's voyage gets back to Rome. And so they issue a papal bull, a specific directive to Spain, to King Ferdinand and queen Isabella,  basically telling them again, same thing, we understand that these people have the capacity to be converted, so convert them and take all their stuff.

And of course, again, it is important that these nations, these Christian nations of Europe, seize assets and profit from,  going into these lands. And again, even though the church is acknowledging that there may be, I don't know, the intellectual capacity or that, or that they've made some determination that the human beings that they encountered in these places, although they are pagans, they may somewhere along the line, be human enough to have a soul, so they could be converted.

Now they would not be converted in such a way that they would be equals. They would just be Christian barbarians as it were.

Confederacy Inc. Donald Trump, Racist Police, and the Whitewashing of History Part 2 - Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill - Air Date 7-1-20

JEREMY SCAHILL - HOST, INTERCEPTED: Trump has a rally planned on July 3 and the location for that rally is what they call Mount Rushmore. Talk about the significance of this location, Mount Rushmore, located in South Dakota’s Black Hills, and what that location means to the Lakota people and how that monument is viewed among Indigenous activists.

NICK ESTES:  Mount Rushmore is within a cultural landscape that we know as He Sapa, or the Black Hills. And it’s kind of a mistranslation in some ways because, when we say He Sapa, you know, when we talked about our 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty that we signed with the United States, it didn’t just include the cultural landscape of the Black Hills as we know it today, with the Black Hills National Forest, et cetera, and the federal park lands that exist there and the state park lands that exist there. But it actually meant — He Sapa actually means “the black ridge.” Which, “the black ridge” for us is the Teton Mountains. And so that’s the extent of Lakota territory as we understand it and the extent of this kind of cultural, sacred landscape. And the Black Hills were also a place of origin and a place of cultural and spiritual significance for over 50 Indigenous nations. So it’s not just our kind of proprietary claim to this particular location. We were kind of the final, I guess, caretakers after a lot of these Indigenous nations were kind of removed through U.S. policy, and of course, inter-Indigenous warfare itself as well. And so, Mount Rushmore is named after a gold prospector who had illegally entered into Lakota treaty territory to begin prospecting. And so it’s taken on this name from this squatter who came into our land. But then, later on, the son of Danish immigrant, Gutzon Borglum, saw this as a place to build his kind of shrine to democracy, as it became known. Or his shrine to American exceptionalism, because he really wanted to capture and to portray and celebrate the uniqueness and the greatness of the United States. And so he picked this location for those very specific reasons, to put the four presidents on there.

Gutzon Borglum:  And the characters that we have chosen — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt — are the most outstanding men in the last 150 years in the building of, not only the government itself but in establishing and developing its territorial dimension.

NICK ESTES:  This is one of the darkest periods of the reservation period because our language was banned, our dancing was banned, all of our religions and ceremonies were actually banned on the reservation and we were only allowed to perform them for, you know, national celebrations, such as 4th of July or for, you know, national holidays like Presidents Day or Flag Day, for example. But Dennis Banks, as well as Russell Means, called this the shrine of hypocrisy.

Russell Means:  Anything Indian was condemned and punishable. Then they developed a program of forcing us off the reservation. There’s many ways of doing this of course — economic deprivation — therefore we were forced into the cities to look for jobs for existence. Then they introduced the relocation program, where they relocated Indian people from reservations to seven different designated cities in the United States. After the first five years of my life, first six or seven, I then began growing up in the urban environment and have yet to meet an Indian in the urban environment that does not plan on eventually going home.

NICK ESTES:  Washington was known as “town destroyer.” He was given that name by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy because he led a scorched-earth campaign against the Haudenosaunee prior to the Revolutionary War, but also during the Revolutionary War to push them further westward, to make room, you know, to create Lebensraum or living space for the new kind of white-Anglo nation that was under construction. Every sitting president to date of the United States has the name “town destroyer” from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

JEREMY SCAHILL - HOST, INTERCEPTED:  Let’s just break down each of them. You just talked a bit about George Washington. What about Thomas Jefferson and his relationship with Indigenous people in this country.

NICK ESTES:  Yeah, Thomas Jefferson was really the architect of Indian removal as we now know it, as like the Trail of Tears or the removal of the southeastern tribes from what is now the South, what we know as the South, and places like Georgia and North Carolina. But he was the one who really envisioned that, and that’s why he facilitated something like the Louisiana Purchase because he imagined moving, basically creating a large Indian reserve west of the Mississippi River. And of course, that, later on, became Oklahoma Territory. He also envisioned that the entire western hemisphere would be dominated by the Anglo-Saxon race and this was really the foundation of what we know as Manifest Destiny, which was a term that was coined in the late 19th century. But earlier on there was the Monroe Doctrine, right? Which really was drawing inspiration from somebody like Thomas Jefferson and understanding the kind of unique place of the United States in dominating the entire western hemisphere and understanding the western hemisphere as the backyard of the United States.

Doctrine of Christian Discovery Part 2 - Let’s Talk Native - Air Date 3-18-19

JOHN KANE - HOST, LET'S TALK NATIVE: I don't know how you talk about any of the,  genocide that took place,  against native people, without talking about the doctrine of discovery. So I want to go through a little bit, I mean, this church dogma gets, codified in the U.S. law in 1823. Now I understand 1493 is a long time ago.

1823, eh, yeah, that's still quite a while ago. So in 1823, the Supreme court of the United States makes a ruling in a case that doesn't even have native people as the plaintiff. So this is a case between a guy by the name of Johnson and another man by the name of Macintosh who are trying to get a court ruling,  that will determine the legitimacy of leases. One lease offered by the Cherokee and one lease offered by the,  state. I don't know if that is Georgia North Carolina or whether it's the federal government, but so you have a government us government or state government lease.  for one of these gents and then a, lease that's offered up by the Cherokees.

Now, the argument assumes that these were leases for the same land. It turns out they weren't even, but it does enter into the,  legal process and goes up to the Supreme Court. And it is there that Justice John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the time, lays out exactly how the United States is going to use, throughout history, the doctrine of Christian discovery. Marshall solves a huge problem for the United States because he creates a premise by which they can clarify how the United States not only would, claim title to land that they had no legal claim to, other than what the church authorized but how the nations of Europe could buy and sell that right and why the nations of Europe would have the right to claim a title to land. So what John Marshall just decided was native people just simply couldn’t hold title to the land. By virtue of being pagans by virtue of not being the Christian nations of Europe, that they simply could not hold title to land.

Only the Christian nations of Europe. In fact, he says it is the act of being discovered by Christians that would afford them the right to claim the land. Native people certainly had a right to occupy, just like animals did. In fact, there was very much this dehumanization of native people to suggest that we were like the flora and the fauna, that we didn't have the intellectual capacity to,  regard land as a possession, as a real property that could be bought and sold because that wasn't the way we viewed land. So, because we didn't view it that way, they assumed that we could not lay that claim. So again, in 1823, you have Justice John Marshall saying that native people could not hold title to land. Now here's the problem. The problem is that's 1823, in 1794 George Washington, president United States is negotiating language of a treaty with the Six Nations, where he says three times in a treaty that only has seven articles, that the United States recognizes that the land is ours, that we own the land and the United States will never claim the same.

So what the United States is saying is that not only do they recognize that we own the land, but that they will never claim ownership of the land unless we allow them to, unless we sell it to them. So 30 years after the United States is offering that language to the six nations. You get this Supreme court justice saying, Oh no native people don't own land.

Now that didn't necessarily negate. The,  candidate was treaty or the language from that, because frankly, over and over again, throughout that entire century, the notion that we owned our land and that it wasn't a part of New York state, it wasn't a part of the United States would be reaffirmed over and over again, both by the state and the federal government.

In fact, this case that Marshall rules on, along with two others, would lay some of the foundation that would lead to,    the, removal period where,  even though a court case would actually be ruled in favor of the Cherokee.  Andrew, Jackson would say, well, you got your ruling, let's see enforce it—I'm removing them. So during this removal period, so a decade after this ruling,  about us not having titles to land, there was the attempt to, relocate us the Six Nations, specifically the Senecas and others to,  Kansas. And in the discussion about the possibility that the Senecas would even entertain moving, they asked that question of those representing the federal government. They said, well, what would be the status of the land that we would go to?

And the federal government, their representatives said, oh no, the land would be yours, it would be yours just like the land we're asking you to leave is yours, and we will never claim that land. It'll never be part of the U.S. territory. We'll never be made into a state. That land would be yours. You would hold the title to that land the same as you hold it.

So there was clearly an acknowledgment even after the Supreme Court ruling of 1823, that our relationship, in spite of the doctrine of Christian discovery, was clearly a relationship that bound us to the land and bound us to the land, even if we didn't accept this, this notion of ownership in the same way that white people did. That our relationship precluded a white man claiming to own the land that we occupied, that is a complete contradiction to, what Marshall's ruling said. Now, here's the other thing I need to mention about Marshall. So not only did, when he codifies the doctrine of Christian discovery into U.S. law, does he say that we simply can't hold title to land, there's two other issues that he raises. He says that simple happenstance of being discovered by Christians would automatically necessarily diminished our,  sovereignty.

So the act of being. Noticed recognized, acknowledged, found, discovered wherever you want to call it by white people meant that our sovereignty disappeared. I mean, that's, he says that in his ruling now he also equates this,  discovery with,  conquest. And I want to read a passage. I mentioned this on the show before, but I want to read this.

Let me see if I can find it here.  I mean, it's really kind of compelling when you, understand,  what Marshall was saying about discovery versus conquest. Let me see here. Oh, there we go. So this is,  talking about chief justice acknowledging,  Legal fiction for all intents and purposes.

And here's what he said. He said, however extravagant the pretension of converting the discovery of an inhabited country into the conquest, however extravagant that pretension may appear, if the principle has been asserted from the first instance and afterward sustained if a country has been acquired and held under this notion under this extravagant pretension.

 if, the property of the great massive community originates in it, if that's the way the United States lays its foundation under this premise, that discovery is the same as,  conquest, then it becomes a law of the land and it can not be questioned. So he acknowledges that it is an extravagant pretension to suggest that discovery and conquest are the same.

But if you say that it is, and you say it from the very beginning and it is not adequately challenged, I don't know who will challenge it because all the nations of Europe we're trying to support this,  extravagant protection. And clearly native people didn't have any standing in their system of justice of any kind to challenge it.

But he says, if you could establish it from the first and then sustain that argument, that conquest and discovery are the same then it becomes the law of the land. So that's how absurd, that is how extreme this notion that becomes codified in law by Justice John Marshall and the Supreme Court in the early 19th century, 1823.

Paul Frymer on the building of an American empire - The Dig from @jacobinmag - Air Date 1-30-18

DANIEL DENVIR - HOST, THE DIG: A major part of your book is showing how the U S, at least initially, methodically consolidated its hold on territory--on the territory under its possession before pushing farther West into land controlled by indigenous people and by other powers. And that meant before the onset of homesteading curbing the ambitions of rogue settlers, who tried to strike out on their own. And so I think a lot of people probably assume that it was just sort of the outright unleashing of U S military might, that pushed the country West. But  in fact, what you show is that it was the careful advancement of settlers that was used to compensate for what was, in reality, a pretty weak central government at the time.

And you have this  quote from Jefferson that I think is evocative of this philosophy or the strategy. "When we shall be full on this side, we may lay off a range of States on the Western bank, from the head to the mouth. And so range after range advancing compactly, as we multiply."

 Explain how the leaders of the early United States looked out across this continent that they wanted to conquer, and what obstacles they faced and the strategies that they developed to overcome them? 

PAUL FRYMER: Yeah, that's a terrific question. You're right that the Jefferson quote is really evocative and really powerfully situates a lot of my argument. So when the leaders of the United States, the founders, looked out across the continent, they saw on their own side, a very small military, a military that was not professionalized. And, they didn't see themselves as having much military strength. What they saw as they looked beyond their borders were, what  they perceived to be-- and this is guesswork to a large part-- but they certainly perceived to be very large, indigenous militaries, Native American populations, both in the South, such as the Cherokees and Creek, and in the North, as well, Miami and Iroquois. These had large militaries far exceeding what the United States had.

These militaries were also buttressed by the looming empires, the British, the French, the Spanish, who had alliances with these Native American nations. And so the United States saw itself militarily as certainly not the hegemon on the continent. And it wouldn't see itself that way until, you know, you can start to date maybe the 1830s, you could maybe go back to 1812, which is a pretty decisive war.  

DANIEL DENVIR - HOST, THE DIG: When the U S defeats the British and their indigenous allies.

PAUL FRYMER: And their indigenous allies, yes, that's right. So a lot of people see that as a turning point.

I saw continued fears in the 1830s, after Indian removal where, because Indian removal, on the one hand, was an act of genocide. It was a military triumph of the United States in moving more than a hundred thousand people from one side of the Mississippi to the other. On the other hand, it created a new militaristic problem in which that it put hundreds of thousands of Native Americans in tight quarters west of the Mississippi river and American statesman feared that and feared that they were not that not ready to face such a battle.

So that's what they saw. And they saw the possibility of using their populations or settlers as a way of strengthening the territory. Now that had strengths and weaknesses. First, the weaknesses is that if you let these settlers go on their own, they got in all sorts of trouble. They provoked wars... 

DANIEL DENVIR - HOST, THE DIG: ...before the government was ready to fight them. 

PAUL FRYMER: Before the government was ready to fight them. Right. So that's why the British banned settlers moving West because the British, before the United States, feared that it was just creating conflicts and potential for war that they weren't ready to fight.

And that's how the United States felt. So they banned, in a variety of ways, the movement of settlers. This didn't stop all settlers from moving, and some did and places like Kentucky flourished with the number of settlers that were going there in part, because there weren't a lot of Native Americans in that specific area at the time.

But so the United States tried to control this settler movement and what it saw-- and this was based on, you know, many of the early leaders like Washington, Jefferson and Franklin, and Henry Knox, having studied a lot of the Roman empire-- is the belief that you could use settlers, especially settlers who were also soldiers, or citizen soldiers, to settle territories and you do it by keeping them tightly packed, and thus defending the territory as they moved along.

But so once scattered, they made themselves vulnerable and open to attack. But using them, to use Jefferson's words, advancing compactly as we multiply, to keep those compact territories as you move forward, was that they saw a way of defending the territory they had and mobilizing for the next steps.

DANIEL DENVIR - HOST, THE DIG: I want to ask you about the development of Indian removal policies over time. The first stage, I think, culminates in the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which as you mentioned earlier, is quite straightforwardly an act of genocide against those indigenous people who remained East of the Mississippi, and then reaches its end point with the incorporation of what remains of a much-reduced Indian territory as the state of Oklahoma.

What are the early ideas about what should be done about the fact that people already lived in these vast territories that the U S wanted to seize? And how do those ideas change over time? 

PAUL FRYMER: That definitely changes over time. And it changes in pretty direct relationship with how strong the United States is and how strong or weak they perceived Native American nations to be.

And so in the early decades of the United States, they actually, it was a lot of deal-making, buying land from Native Americans, often restricting their own populations, being respectful. Not, you know, I don't want to overstate it, but, but it's showing some respect to Native American nations.

And then, you know, obviously there was conflict within that. But as the United States gets stronger it gets more confident in itself and it starts to attempt bolder moves, Indian removal of the 1830s, as an example  that in Indian removal, at that time, it was both a bold, and as you say, and as I said, you know, it's a clear example of genocide. It was also in some ways, it really taxed the American nation at the time. It was not seen as "successful"-- and I'm using air quotes, to use for such awful language, dealing with genocide--but the United States did not see it as a successful movement because many people did die, which they had hoped not to occur.

It was very unpopular in the United States. It divided the nation and, you know, arguably led to a change in Presidential power. And, you know, it was a really lot of congressional testimony. I mean, it was in some ways similar to issues with Iraq and with Abu Ghraib and places like that--it had the same kind of real controversy. And so it really taxed the nation. 

Moving decades further, all the way up to the end of the century and to places like Oklahoma, the United States felt that had the much stronger hand, and it kind of bullied its way forward. It stopped signing treaties and stopped buying land from Native Americans, with the Civil War, and played the role of a bully in that period after, and it was much more violent in many ways. I mean, it was certainly violent pre-Civil War. But starting with President Lincoln [it] really becomes a much more violent affair throughout to the end of the century. By the time then you get to Oklahoma-- Oklahoma is, you know, Native American territory, as you said, it's shrunk dramatically-- the population has shrunk dramatically. Its power had shrunk dramatically and there you get this wave of using homesteading, where the United States sends in over a million people, a million settlers into  land that becomes Oklahoma, really in about 10, 15 years. So, it's just, again, it's sort of a final step of this "advancing compactly as we multiply"-- now we're multiplied and we just overwhelmed the remaining Indian territory with literally more than a million people.

Confederacy Inc. Donald Trump, Racist Police, and the Whitewashing of History Part 3 - Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill - Air Date 7-1-20

JEREMY SCAHILL - HOST, INTERCEPTED: So let's move, I guess, chronologically then, And of course, next, we have Abraham Lincoln. As Indigenous activists have been protesting Mount Rushmore itself, you also have Abraham Lincoln’s story, which we hear nothing about his relationship with Indigenous people in this country.

NICK ESTES:  Right, and even within that executive order issued by Trump, he mentions the vandalization of the Lincoln Memorial and kind of raises the question, why Lincoln?

AUDIO OF DONALD TRUMP:  But they’re after Abraham Lincoln, and tonight, I guess they’re looking at Abraham Lincoln. And that was the Emancipation Proclamation. So you have that and you’re signing Emancipation Proclamation, and you have somebody, I think that wasn’t freed, and he’s getting up. It’s the position of he’s getting up. He’s being freed by Abraham Lincoln. And I can see controversy, but I can also see beauty in it. And it was paid for by slaves. I don’t know if you know that. It was paid for because they were so grateful to the president. It was paid for that reason. And they want to take it down.

NICK ESTES:  Lincoln himself is a very controversial figure for our people because he, he signed the death sentence for 38 Dakota patriots who took up arms against the United States after a break down in treaty obligations happened during the Civil War. The Dakota people in the territory of Minnesota had signed away, you know, pretty much all of their territory through this really coerced treaty that basically gave the Dakota people like a 22-mile strip of reservation land. And we now know that today, like, a lot of that land actually became part of, you know, the Moral Act, which is the act that kind of facilitated the creation of land grant institutions. But then also, at the same time, in 1862, you had the passage of the Homestead Act, which was an attempt to alleviate some of the mounting pressures happening on the eastern seaboard, between North and South, to kind of open up “free Indigenous land,” or nearly free Indigenous land in the West so that white immigrants could go out there and establish themselves and, you know, create this kind of yeoman farming empire that was envisioned by Jefferson.

And so these, this was the lead up prior to the Dakota Uprising, as it’s known, in 1862. And what happened is, because the United States failed to live up to its treaty obligations to the Dakota people and they had, you know, given over these large tracts of land, they took up arms. And many of the people who took up arms were — they took up arms reluctantly. They had, themselves kind of adopted the white mode of living. They cut their hair. They went to church. They began speaking English. They sent their children off to be educated in Christian boarding schools. But none of this prevented them from starving to death, right? So they took up arms against mainly Scandinavian and German immigrants who were flooding the area because of the Homestead Act and because of the railroad colonization that was happening at the time. And they expelled a lot of them within a very short period of time. But as the state of Minnesota reorganized itself for retaliation, they began organizing these irregular settler militias that were composed of these recent European immigrants to basically create what we now know as the National Guard to crush the Indigenous uprising, but at the same time issued scalp bounties for upwards of $250 for an Indigenous or a Dakota scalp. And so what happened from 1862 to 1863 was known as kind of the punitive years of Dakota punishment.

And to kind of kick it off, just weeks before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in January, Abraham Lincoln executed 38 Dakota people for their role — whether it was real or imagined — in the Dakota uprising in what became known as the largest mass execution in U.S. history. And this happened in Makato, of what we know as Blue Earth and today it’s known as Mankato. But in 1863, Lincoln ordered Sibley and Sully, two generals, to basically crush the remaining, kind of, Dakota resistance and they chased us all the way into what is now North Dakota as well as South Dakota.

And this campaign, which is known as the campaign, or the Columns of Vengeance, ended with the Whitestone Hill massacre in 1863. It’s a massacre that’s largely forgotten within U.S. history. And so at Whitestone Hill, in 1863, they converged on a buffalo hunt camp. Many of these people had nothing to do with the Dakota uprising but nonetheless were seen as hostile. Many of them were women and children. Most of the men had left for a hunting party and they returned to see around 400 of their relatives massacred at Whitestone Hill and the survivors of this particular massacre went on to join their Hunkpapa relatives in what is now known as the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. So those survivors of the Whitestone Hill massacre later became, you know, the descendants of them, became the people who facilitated the uprising against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

[Protesters against Dakota Access Pipeline chant: We’re not leaving. We’re not leaving. We’re not leaving. We’re not leaving.]

 Abraham Lincoln himself also oversaw the Navajo Long Walk, where somebody like Kit Carson was sent to round up all the Navajo people as well as Apache people and incarcerate them or imprison them in an open-air concentration camp known as Bosque Redondo. You know there were around 4,000 Navajo people who died on the Navajo Long Walk. Of course, there was the Sand Creek massacre that happened in 1864 as well. So Lincoln, himself, oversaw many of these kind of pivotal moments in not just in Indian policy, but also Indian wars of extermination. And when we understand the modern kind of like Indian massacre, when that image comes up of the kind of industrial warfare that was waged against, not just “enemy combatants,” but also non-combatants and civilians, it was this particularly era that was the defining moment that carried on into what we now know as Reconstruction, but also the “Plains Wars” that happened from, you know post-war, post Civil War to the 1890s.

JEREMY SCAHILL - HOST, INTERCEPTED:  Talk about Teddy Roosevelt and the history of extermination, war, and slaughter of Indigenous people.

NICK ESTES:  Yeah, so Teddy Roosevelt, he wasn’t necessarily an Indian killer in the same way as these other presidents, in the sense that he didn’t really wage a kind of military campaign. His was more so a campaign of “preservation,” right? He’s seen as, you know, the Sierra Club figure of like the guy who created these national parks. But for settlers to appreciate nature, Indigenous people had to be “removed” from nature, right, itself.

And so that’s what Teddy Roosevelt did and there was a complete denial — especially in places like the Black Hills — a complete denial that Lakota, Dakota people had legitimate treaty claim to this land. And later on, as we know, even the Supreme Court understood that, because of the Black Hills Act of 1877, the Black Hills themselves were actually illegally taken from the Lakota nation. They were illegally taken out of trust. They were illegally taken out of treaty status — and this happened under the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant — and then became open for white settlement, but also open for the nationalization of large tracts into what we now know as federal forest lands.

Understanding the origins of scalp hunting and "redskins" - Empire Files - Air Date 11-25-15

ABBY MARTIN - HOST, EMPIRE FILES: One of the things that particularly horrified me from your book, Roxanne, was that headhunting, scalp hunting, was not an underground business, was actually a lucrative economy. But, talk more about this. 

ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ: They actually had a ordinance that allowed for bounties to be paid for heads that were brought in. They brought this directly, this practice, the British practice, in the colonization of Ireland, where they had started taking heads and then scalps or other body parts. It turned out, you know, the head was just, there were so many of them, even in Ireland, they turned to scalps. They would use the heads also to terrorize people --put them along the paths and everything -- to terrorize people to surrender because they'd see their families' heads there. And they would hide the corpses so they couldn't even get their family member back. So, it was partly terror, but it was also, it became, it became a commercial market. And so, no one checked very closely if, it was supposed to be only when there were Indian uprisings or a war, but it became the practice after a few years just, they could say, you know, these were warring Indians, but they could basically go in a village and just grab a bunch of children even or elderly people take their scalps, kill them and sell them. It was, you know, quite, quite a lucrative trade for people to, you know, especially poor people to, to, make an income, and some people actually lived off of that income alone, you know, they were scalp hunters. So, that spread, of course, with . . .  everywhere, you know, throughout the colonies and then, you know, and in the wars against the native people and east of the Mississippi then west of the Mississippi, the scalp taking.

So, this is a commodity, the bodies themselves, but this, this left corpses, you know, the descriptions I've read of some people who were actually repelled by it wrote in their diaries and various things, letters back to England. These, these, bloody bodies all over because taking the scalp, of course, it causes blood to flow all over the body.

They also often flayed the skin and used the skin of these people for various things. Jackson's army did that a lot. They made their reins. They were very proud of the horse reins were all made from Indians skins. So , that kind of fetishism continued into the 20th century in Vietnam where people, soldiers, were sending back all kinds of body parts to their relatives and all.  So, it's just kind of built into the military culture, doing that, because it was malicious, but then those are the same people then who become parts of standing armies and so forth. 

So, it was pretty much a free enterprise, alright, of doing that, but there was also the name they gave to what they would use, referring to this bloody corpse, as the term "redskin." And that's why it's so repugnant to, you know, the ball team that calls itself that.  It's not just any old misuse and appropriation of native names and symbols. It's, it's ghoulish, you know, but most people don't know the origin of the word "redskin," with a description of these bloody corpses whose heads have been cut off or their scalp taken.

Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz on digging deeper to understand America's past - Popaganda from @BitchMedia - Air Date 6-16-16

SARAH MIRK - HOST, POPAGANDA: So, a few weeks ago, I was at an elementary school, and the school hallways were covered with upbeat posters and bright decorations. I spotted a colorful timeline posted to the wall. It's one of those simple, mass-produced paper things you can buy at any teaching store. So, I looked closer. This was a timeline of American history, and it started in 1492 with the arrival of Christopher Columbus.

There are a lot of problems with this narrative. There were millions and millions of people living on the land that's now the United States with complex,  diverse societies that covered the North American continent long before any Europeans arrived. But still, the way we're taught US history often begins with the arrival of a European colonist.

Why do elementary school timelines still frame Columbus as a hero who set  our country in motion, and not, say, as an imperialist with a poor understanding of geography who spearheaded the slave trade? Historian Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz takes a hard look at the mythical origin stories of the United States in her excellent book An indigenous people's history of the United States. She was generous enough to take time to talk with me about our history and her work. 

Such a fundamental part of this book is about asking us to rethink the origin story that we think we know about the United States of America. And you point out that the whole idea that the United States is founded on sort of  these proud settlers pushing west, and there being a back and forth between battles with indigenous people, and there being a give and take there, is really a myth. What America is founded on is a word that we don't like to save very much, which is genocide. Can you talk about sort of how we, how you think we should reshape the way that we see how America was first founded, first made?

ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ: Well, I think, you know, I think most fairly progressive, educated people, especially the younger generation in the United States, understand about colonialism . . . that Africa was colonized by the British and the French and the Dutch, and that Indonesia was colonized and  the colonization . . . India was colonized by, and that North America was colonized by, the British.


But, what they don't make the jump to --  it's almost like it's never even posed as a possibility --  is that the United States itself formed, simply split from the British Empire, and didn't miss a beat in pursuing then the building of a new empire. They even called it, Thomas Jefferson called it, an empire for liberty. So, they had no, made no secrets about this. They didn't try to camouflage what they were doing and who they meant freedom for. They meant freedom, you know, of a White Republic. Then, you get to the kind of colonialism the British set up and the Americans continued, and that's settler colonialism, where they want to replace the existing people, appropriate their farms, the native people's farms, and simply take them and replace, get rid of them, fight them, kill them, burn their villages, kill the women and children, kill everyone or drive them out to the periphery. And this is a hundred-year process of taking the continent, one area after another. 

And it's, that is the narrative that people don't understand, and they, if they do, you know, learn about -- and they have, much in the last 40 years or so, learned about the atrocities and the genocide -- they think that system, a kind of evil behavior that should be punished, reparations, you know, this, this sort of thing, but not understanding or not grasping that it's still going on. You know, it's not just history. There's still these peoples with, you know, land bases they fought for and won some, that they're still barely hanging on as peoples, fighting to remain and exist as peoples, and not understanding that it's a whole systematic thing, and we're all implicated in it, we're all complicit in it because we're a part of it. And, of course,its economic form is capitalism or else . . . It wasn't just done for adventure, you know, it was, it built the wealth of the wealthiest nation that had ever existed on earth.

Final comments on the pain caused by the breaking of your shell of understanding

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: We've just heard clips today, starting with Intercepted, in three parts, speaking with Native American historian, Nick Estas about Trump's defense of statues and the relationship between the four men on Mount Rushmore and the native peoples. 

Backstory discuss the untold history of the gold rush and California slavery.

Let's Talk Native, in two parts, explained the doctrine of Christian Discovery. 

The Dig spoke with Paul Frymer about the building of the American empire. 

The Empire Files interviewed Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz about the origins of the term "Redskin." 

And finally Popaganda also spoke with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz about getting a broader perspective on U S history. 

To support the show, you can sign up as a patron of the show patreon.com/bestoftheleft. I would very much appreciate it if you would. I am still collecting voicemails. We're trying to get back into the habit of playing and replying to voicemails. That number is (202) 999-3991 or, of course, you can just record a voice memo and email it to me, Jay at bestoftheleft.com.

I just want to leave you with this one thing. In the previous episode, I told a little story about Amanda's grandmother, Mima, and how she was lamenting the loss of her heroes as they were being, in her mind, "attacked" but you know, in reality, just a more correct history of people like Thomas Jefferson, for instance, were being talked about and  her takeaway, even though she loved truth and wanted the truth to come out, but she loved her myths and she loved her heroes and she lamented the pain of it and just said that it was sad. It was sad that these people who she had thought of as heroes, just simply couldn't be thought of that way anymore. And these people who, you know, for 85 years of her life, she had had in her mind as heroes, and she thought about it as sad. 

So I told this little story to talk about how that sadness is real, you know, the, the tragedy of losing one's heroes to the sands of time due to truth coming out, it's a genuine feeling of loss that people have. So a listener wrote in and said that that story reminded him of a quote from Khalil Gibran, author of The Prophet, which always makes me feel good to accidentally agree with someone much smarter than me, who said something long before I did.

And so this Kahlil Gibran quote, "Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break that its heart may stand in the sun. So must you know pain." And I think that, in a much more succinct way than I was able to, says a lot about what the country is going through these days. 

On a similar note, I just want to mention here at the end one last thing that just a few hours before I recorded for today's show, the Supreme Court ruled that a huge swath of Oklahoma is actually Indian Country and always has been, and we've just been pretending for a long time that it wasn't. So I'm sure it'll be an interesting fallout from that as a bunch of people in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas have their shells cracked open as they realize everything they thought they knew about the land they lived on was wrong. And you know, I mean, in one sense, we're all living on Indian Country, now in Oklahoma, it's just legally true. 

That is going to be it for today. Thanks to everyone for listening. Thanks to those who support the show by becoming a member or making donations of any size at patreon.com/bestoftheleft.

That is absolutely how the program survives. Of course, everyone can support the show just by telling everyone you know about it and leaving us glowing reviews on Apple podcasts and Facebook to help others find the show. 

For details on the show itself, including links to all of the sources and music used in this and every episode, all that information can always be found in the show notes on the blog and likely right on the device you're using the listen. So, coming to you from far outside the conventional wisdom of Washington, D C, my name is Jay, and this has been the best of the left podcast coming to you as often as we are able, thanks entirely to the members and donors to the show from bestoftheleft.com.


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