I’d Hammer Out Love

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It may be blasphemous to highlight a song performance by privileged White performers on Martin Luther King Day, but I love this song and this performance so much I will risk it. Peter, Paul, and Mary were one of several musical acts that performed during the March on Washington on 28 August 1963 (Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and others also performed).   The Hymn of Social Justice that they chose to sing was Pete Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer".  The song, written by Seeger and Lee hays in 1949, … [Read more...]

“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” A Little #MLK on His Birthday

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Martin Luther King, Jr. was on January 15, 1929. To commemorate his birthday, I wanted to share with you the above clip from his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. This speech is his last. He delivered it on April 3, 1968. He would be gunned down on April 4, 1968. In the speech, he acknowledges that he might not see the completion of the work. This clip is a glimpse at an American prophet in action. Note not only his keen awareness of what is to come, but also his call to … [Read more...]

Put The First Thanksgiving on Your Christmas List

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I loved reading The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History. It is an attempt to tell the real story of Thanksgiving in a way that draws on the methods of academic history, rather than the methods of The History Channel. After Christmas, we will see non-stop airings of documentaries about the historical Christmas and the historical Jesus. I actually enjoy this shows, but they are the donuts of historical study. Lots of mental carbohydrates, … [Read more...]

President Kennedy from Temple Square: September 26, 1963

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Less than two months before he was assassinated, President John F. Kennedy spoke in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Salt Lake Tabernacle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was September 26, 1963. LDS Church President David O. McKay was a host of the event. "Of all the stories of American pioneers and settlers, none is more inspiring than the Mormon trail," said Kennedy. He goes on to point out that Mormons are an American success story, the story of a persecuted group the … [Read more...]

Nothing Romantic About It: A History of the Filibuster

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The United States Senate is grossly undemocratic...even without the filibuster. Today, the Senate moved to limit the use of the filibuster when it comes to certain presidential appointments. The filibuster is a mechanism within the United States Senate which allows a minority of Senators to continue the debate and, as a result, prevent a bill from being voted on. Like the Electoral College, I am fascinated by the filibuster as a political scientist. It is part of the twisted chess-like … [Read more...]

Lincoln and the Easter of Democracy: 150 Years Ago Today

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Few words are more well known. I love the speeches of Lincoln. While this speech may not be his greatest, I think that in many ways encapsulates what made Lincoln great. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. This … [Read more...]

Remembering Matthew Shepard

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I lived in Matthew Sheperd's hometown of Casper, WY for three years. He had studied at political science Casper College where I once taught. I never knew him, but I remember his death. I think about him often. I am only 11 days older than him.     There have been efforts of late to dismiss the the extent to which homosexuality played a role in Matthew's murder. Such attempts are completely contrary to the evidence that came up during the trial that convicted his … [Read more...]


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