Posts Tagged ‘thelouisianaexplorer’

We look as our world as being static, never changing with norms and customs remaining in place forever. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the early days of civilization, changes in society moved slowly. Egypt took a thousand years to garner major society changes. As time has gone by, changes in a country have evolved at an increasing pace. This is no more apparent than our own country and how we have morphed our political parties over the last one hundred years.
In 1924 the Democratic convention was held in New York City. The Tammany Hall delegates from New York wanted the KuKluxKlan to be a plank item to write the KKK out of the party. Amid jeers and screams William Jennings Bryant tried to have the vote tabled and not brought up. He was not a pro KKK advocate but he did realize that if the vote was taken and the KKK was written out of the Democratic party, the party would be split and any chance of winning the White House would be lost. Eventually the issue was voted on and by a majority of just one vote, the KKK was not written out of the democratic party. At the time the Republican party was the party of color. Today all this has changed, and the Democratic party is seen as the party of the minorities.
Louisiana has on many occasions as being a totally corrupt political machine by many living outside the state. Time magazine once referred to Louisiana as America’s banana republic. When living oversees it was difficult to defend America and there were occasions when it came close to blows as I felt obligated to defend the legacy of our great state.
In fact Louisiana was a leader in American change when liberal values were needed. In the late 20s the Great Depression was in full swing and families were hurting. Louisiana took the lead in public school education as it instituted a free text book policy for all children in schools. This was the first state to have a free textbook policy, I remember my father telling me how children would come to school and would go sit outside for lunch. They would reach into their lunch bags, pull out a cold potato eat it for lunch. Huey Long changed that with free lunches for children; again, the first state to institute such a policy. When Louisiana silently screamed for medical help, the state answered. Massive charity hospitals were built around the state and people that could not afford medical treatment were then treated to good medical service. Louisiana had again take the lead in medical care for the masses.
At this time we are at a juncture where change is required in our great state. It is normal that we institute policies to help with a major social issue or problem. Unfortunately we do not put in a strategy to evolve out of social policies and many times these laws make Americans addicted to government aid and entitlement programs. Louisiana has had a financial crisis and our leaders are having to make hard decisions to continue to move our state forward. Louisiana will be a morphing state that can take care of its’ citizens while at the same time reallocate funds to rebuild its’ infrastructure and education systems. A balancing act that will take extreme measures and great leadership will be observed.
Recently I have been accused of being a Republican conservative while a week later of being a liberal. I see this with amusement as I guess this makes me neither a conservative nor a liberal and instead an American.


We have all witnessed the heart wrenching images of children sitting in holding locations on the American borders while parents and adult guides are taken away to custody. Images of children being pulled from mother’s arms are placed on the minds of Americans while some press accounts compare the process with Nazis breaking up Jewish families as they are sent to concentration camps and execution. Time magazine carried a picture of President Trump looking at a crying infant that was supposed to have been taken from the arms of its’ mother. In fact the child was taken for 2 minutes to allow the mother the opportunity to provide identification. The child was quickly back in the mother’s arms.
The truth is that the laws that being implemented have been in place for years and children have been relocated by both the Obama and the Trump administration. What has changed is that America is not allowing a free pass to anyone that has a child with them. The adults have broken an immigration law and they are placed in custody. A child cannot be placed in custody with a parent so the children are separated. Is this wrong? The laws of the United States says it is not and these laws have been in effect for years. Is this morally wrong? No human should think a child should be separated from a parent so it is the responsibility of the Congress of the United States to pass laws that will allow children to remain with their parents even when being incarcerated due to immigration violations. It is also the responsibility of Congress to have laws in effect that will insure that our borders are safe. If a person is not a legal alien, then that person should remain in custody until they have valid reason to enter the United States or are sent back home. Is this so difficult?
We have heard so much about the border debacle that it is hard to differentiate what is truth and what is political rhetoric aimed at injuring another political party. What we have to do is to take an objective look at what we want to accomplish as a nation, get the laws in place that will insure that we are safe and provide a controlled and fair policy for immigrants wishing to live and/or work in the United States.
There has been ample notice as to what was going to be allowed when it comes to border security. “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in May. “If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” It is not a case of America being the bad guy on the border. It is a case of people ignoring this notice and it is also a case of individuals fleeing deplorable conditions in their home land risking incarceration in their attempt to enter the United States.
Today there are 2049 children on the border that the U.S. is trying to repatriate with their parent. In addition there are about 1000 additional children that were separated before the “zero policy”. This is an exasperating ordeal for the government. Some of the children were already separated from their parents before crossing the border so are not a part of America breaking up the families. Also, in some cases the person bringing the child over the border is not a parent so the child could be getting trafficked. Also, some of the 1000 children that are in our society are with illegals and when contacted the person who has the child is not responding. Now a judge has stated that all the children must be reunited by this week. There is a concern that the quick date will require a reduction in the quality of the verification process and to achieve the date mandated by court may jeopardize the safety of the children when released.
As bad as it appears on the border, and we can be assured that the children are being very well taken care of, America has done far worse when it comes to treating foreign nationals as well the original Americans.
In the early 1800s President Andrew Jackson drew up a blue print for social cleansing as he set the path to cleanse the Southeastern United States of American Indigenous people, the American Indians. Indian tribes such as Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Poncas were sent west of the Mississippi. The journey commonly called the Trail of Tears caused up to 10,000 Indians to die of disease and starvation.
In 1941 Japan attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor and thrust America into World War II. In a moment of paranoia, the Roosevelt administration ordered 110,00 to 120,000 Japanese Americans to be moved into internment camps. Sixty-three percent of these were American citizens. Property was stripped from the Japanese Americans and there were stories of depressed and disillusioned incarcerated Japanese to walk out into the desert, never to be seen again. In 1980 the Carter administration set up a neutral council to evaluate the need to have imprisoned the Japanese Americans. Very little disloyalty was discovered and the incarceration was racially motivated. President Ronald Reagan signed a law apologizing to the Japanese American and authorizing a payment of $20,000 to each survivor. Ironically a Japanese American Division was the highest decorated unit in World War II.
Neither political party can be held solely responsible for civil disgrace. While the issues at the border are under a Republican Administration the laws in force today were from a Democratic administration. Andrew Jackson’s supporters founded the Democratic party, Roosevelt was a Democrat but a Democratic President, Jimmy Carter, launched the investigation that deplored the treatment of the Japanese Americans.
We all need to take a step back and look at what is best for our great nation. We must protect our citizens and thus control the border. We also must be benevolent and show understanding and compassion for those oppressed and downtrodden who desire a better life. This is a balancing act that will not be easily fixed.

I love the 4th of July. I like sharing the day with friends and taking my granddaughter to the cemetery to place flags on the graves of veterans. Most importantly I enjoy reflecting on what it took to build our great nation.
Every once in a while a specific program or speech seems to capture the essence of the moment. I have come across a speech from a radio program that encapsulates the magic of our nation’s birthday, the 4th of July. I hope you enjoy.

“At this time in our history when we view other nations in distress and oppression of dictatorship, the threatening clouds of war, and men lined up by the thousands to destroy with cannon, airships, and destructive machinery of every kind, not only property and lives but the fundamentals upon which True Americanism was founded, how fitting it is that we should pause from our daily pursuits to defend Americanism, to remind our neighbors, our friends and our people of their duty to protect the principles upon which real Americanism rests, with the American Flag flying over your head.

When Washington, Morris and Carol, all of different faiths and creeds, signed the immortal, everlasting document which became the tenants and creed of Americanism, they, with inspired hearts and minds, planted as the most beautiful flowers in the garden of Independence, tolerance, justice, freedom, liberty and patriotism.

So let us ,on this occasion, bind ourselves as Americans to keep alive, watching out for hidden adversaries and enemies, these elements which will forever inspire peace, happiness and tranquility to the American people and their future generations as intended by our forefathers when they founded this great republic.

Isms, false doctrines, and race or religious prejudices have no place in this country. All alike the Jews, the Gentile, the descendants of those from every land, who live in obedience to our laws, have equal rights and privileges. Let every man and good woman teach this ideal, love, tolerance and fairness to one another, practice these ideals, love, tolerance and fairness to one another, practice these ideals, love tolerance and fairness in their relationship with one another and to one another in all instances, and Americanism will live on.

In these tragic days when man’s inhumanity makes countless millions mourn, when racial and religious groups are oppressed elsewhere, persecuted by the ruthless, damnable and barbarian practices of dictatorship, when the cherished ideals of democracy are being trampled upon, there is no greater moment of importance in America than to let every man, woman and child stand as a sentinel watching for an enemy, standing as a soldier to guard the immortal principles that we have inherited, and to remember there is but one way to happiness. Love and peace can always be maintained, and that is by upholding, protecting and maintaining democracy, religious freedom and tolerance, which all summed up together are Americanism.
To his great common altar of Americanism there comes daily into this country the Jew, the Protestant and the Catholic with the best traditions of each, coming to pray that their traditional rights may always be preserved, and that the sacred altar of Americanism be preserved, and that the sacred altar of Americanism be preserved by an edict and the sanction of Almighty God will not be blemished by the polluted and bandit hand of dictatorship or false propaganda spread among our people through those who would take from us the heritage of the past and leave us with a false and cruel idol to steer us to anarchy and chaos in the future.
And why should not the Jew and the Protestant and the Catholic, together with the other various sects, come to this common altar in the great country of ours.

First and foremost it is fundamentally right. Second, we are a people who came from lands across the waters where oppression dominated at the time they came over. Third, and most important of all, highest and greatest of all the reasons we could set forth, do we not have the challenge of the old Bible. Is it not true that after all is done and said that we have but one Father? Were we not created, after all is done and said, by one and the same God?
Civil and religious liberty with the rights and privileges given us under what is known in America as The Bill of Rights, a national jewel, adopted by all of the states of these United Commonwealths, stands as a gift not only from our forefathers, but from Almighty God, as they in turn were inspired by their Creator when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States, which guarantee freedom of thought, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and personal liberty as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others, is not abused, and the laws of the country are obeyed and not entrenched upon.
To me it is necessary that the best of our people, old and young, should not forget the altar of Americanism, for when the day comes that the altar is forgotten, then America will cease to be a land of freedom.

At this common altar of Americanism let us steer the youth and the children of this historic land in order that in the days to come, when we have passed away to an unknown and, there will still remain an army and host of true Americans, plighted and pledged to uphold the ideals, the noble sentiments, the achievements and the principles of real Americans.
I thank you.”

This speech rings true in so many ways and is appropriate at a time that we celebrate our Nations birth; however, the speech was not presented recently. Nor was it given within the last decade or for that matter within the last generation. As much as this reflects our country and the challenges we face today, the speech was given on radio station KWKH in Shreveport on March 1st, 1939.

Most of us would do anything for our children. When a child picks up arms and goes to war for his motherland but never returns, any parent would gladly to have taken his place. It is a built-in instinct to protect our off springs. The one aspect shared by all parents is that our children live in peace. Thomas Paine captured this thought in “Common Sense” as he called for war and thus have a free world for the children of the new nation. “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” – Thomas Paine
The Constitution guarantees that all men are created equal and each man has equal rights. The Constitution does not guarantee all men are to have the same material goods and services. The Constitution does guarantee that every man has the same rights to attempt to achieve success in life; but no guarantee of success. This is the way a democracy works and how a free market economy functions. Unfortunately we have had our stumbles and we as a country has not been perfect but we have come a long way on our journey as a young nation. Payne addressed the rights of man in his pamphlet, “Common Sense”. “Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.” – Thomas Paine
Education is paramount for the growth of any nation. It is through education that development is achieved. It is also through education that the government itself is questioned and thus through constructive dialogue change is achieved with the intent of bettering one’s government. Unfortunately we see in many of our institutions of higher learning a censorship of free thought. Speakers arrive only to be jeered and in some cases speakers are cancelled due to concerns of unrest on campus. In countries where a vast amount of education is regulated by the elite and by unions, free thinking is thwarted and productivity is stymied. Payne wrote about education and how education is desired in a free nation. “A nation under a well regulated government, should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support.” – Thomas Paine
As we celebrate the birth of our nation my wish would be that all Americans take a step backward, take a deep breath, reflect on what we have accomplished as a nation and look to the future with a desire to work together as one country; one people. Happy 4th of July everyone and if you see a veteran, thank him or her for the sacrifices they made to keep our country free.


Most of us have some general understanding of our founding fathers, who they were and what their contributions were to the founding of our great nation. While names such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin are common, others are recognized but little is known of their contribution to defining a new nation and fueling the fire of tyranny.
Many of these men’s works and writings could be near-prophetic. This is found in their writings that powered a revolution and again when the nation was designed and then built. So much of what they put on paper is just as true today as it was in the late 1700s.
One man that is relatively wide known by name but not as widely understood or read was Thomas Payne. Unlike many of the American founding fathers, Payne was born in England and was in his late thirties when he migrated to the United States with the help of Benjamin Franklin. Once in America he fed the flame of revolution with his pamphlet titled “Common Sense”. All the founding fathers had read this document as had thousands of American colonists. John Adams said of the writing, “”Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain”. He continued to write in support of the American revolution which continued to add fuel to the fire and emboldened Americans to continue the fight against England. After the war he had a further calling and moved to France where he penned revolutionary documents targeting the ruling aristocracy. For this he was imprisoned in Paris.
In today’s world of vile, venomous and sceptic rhetoric; I question if the person spewing this garbage could eat from the same mouth that utters such verbiage. Perhaps is we look back on some of Payne’s workings we can find some way to understand what our country stands for and what it took to become such a great and noble nation. It would be a breath of fresh air if America would take time to reflect on one of his writings, “I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.” – Thomas Paine.
Though it has been over 200 years since Payne fed his writings to a hungry world; work ethic and the role of government providing support to citizens was with us even then. Payne wrote, “There are two distinct classes of men – those who pay taxes and those who receive and live upon taxes.” – Thomas Paine. Today America struggles with how much government is to provide to its’ citizens and then how the government entitlement programs will be funded.
Today we look for instant gratification. In many instances, if we can’t achieve something quickly and easily it is not worthwhile trying to accomplish the goal. It’s important to realize that many goals are extremely difficult and fortunately for many individuals difficult tasks become a badge of honor to attempt and accomplish. There is nothing easy about military boot camp but look at the way the young recruit carries himself and herself after completing basic training. Take a look at that young man or woman at graduation when they have struggled with life, classes and work to finally receive their diploma. Payne had a comment that encapsulated this work ethic, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” – Thomas Paine.
As we celebrate the birth of our nation my wish would be that all Americans take a step backward, take a deep breath, reflect on what we have accomplished as a nation and look to the future with a desire to work together as one country; one people. Happy 4th of July everyone and if you see a veteran, thank him or her for the sacrifices they made to keep our country free.

Behind every great man is a woman. This saying is so prophetic when we look at many of our leaders as well as that special individual in our community that does so much to provide community support.
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president of the United States. His presidency ran from 1913 to 1921. During his time in office, Wilson lead America through World War I, passed progressive legislation and is considered by many historians to be one of the best presidents of the United States. Wilson was very open and provided his own State of the Union message to congress instead of the standard at the time to have someone else deliver it. His wife was an accomplished artist having won awards for her portraits. She gave up all art aspirations to support her husband when she married Wilson. Two years before Wilson’s second term ended, he suffered a severe stroke. In order to preserve his legacy, his wife, an aide and a physician hid his condition. People that had daily access to the president were not allowed to visit. Orders that were supposed to have come from the president were in fact originating from his wife. In effect, President Wilson’s wife took over the duties of the president of the United States of America for several months. Eventually he would recover to a degree that he could assume the daily activities of the president and due to his wife’s efforts his legacy was left intact.
William Jennings Bryant threw his support for Wilson and thus gave Wilson the nomination for his first term as president. Bryant also had a wife that provided great support behind the scenes. Following graduation from college, Bryant taught school and eventually married one of his students. Today he would possibly be put in jail but in that period it was not such a taboo. His wife was very intelligent and as a sign of loyalty to her husband she went to law school, received her law degree but never practiced law. She had received her degree to better support her husband. He was quite accomplished and was the youngest nominee for the President of the United States. He was a four-time nominee and would have been elected once had it not been for the active financial participation of the richest men in America to insure he did not become president and break up their monopolies. Bryant is most famous for attacking the right to teach evolution at the Scopes Monkey Trial. All this with the support of a loving husband.
These are but two examples of loyal wives working behind the scenes to encourage and support their husbands. Indeed, America is a much better place because of it. A prime example of this support, this loyalty, this love is no more apparent than what I witnessed for over 60 years.
Larce Holder was a scoutmaster in Farmerville for decades. He was one of the most influential men in my life and many a good citizen of our nation came up under his the scoutmaster of Troop 16. Military leaders, doctors, lawyers, engineers, hardworking citizens and a federal judge learned respect, integrity and leadership from Mr. Holder. Behind every good man is a good woman and Mr. Holder had his. Standing behind the scenes but always beside his side was his wife of 63 years, Miss Sadie. At every scout event she was there. When we visited his home, she would quietly be with us. When she addressed her husband it was Larce but when she referred to his name while talking to one of the scouts it was always Mr. Holder. Everyone knew Mr. Holder as a local artist and art teacher. Many of us took art from him but what was not fully realized was that Mrs. Holder was also an art teacher. I was astounded to find this out and did not realize that she taught at Cedar Creek Academy. Friends of mine were equally unknowing of her accomplishments. In the 1950s and 60s people would have a tendency to name their cars. Several of the scouts nicknamed Mr. Holders car, THASADIE, in honor of Mrs Holder. A great team these two made and together they entered the nursing home together and continued to be soul mates.
At the end of each scout meeting, the scouts would form a circle and one scout would lead the scout prayer that all would recite: “And now, may the great scout master, of all good scouts be with us until we meet again. And may we follow the trail that leads to him.” Last week Mrs Holder joined the Great Scout Master and left behind a loving and devoted husband of 63 years. She also left behind a group of loving and appreciative scouts that she meant so much to!


When I grew up in in the rural deep South in the 1950s and 60s racism was rampant; and accepted.  It was accepted by both blacks and whites and it wasn’t until civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King gave a voice to the African American and a new conscience to the nation.  When Rosa Parks was told to move to the back of an Alabama public bus where African Americans were supposed to sit and she refused to do so, a bold stance turned into a rally call for civil rights.  Then there were the blacks that would walk into a white restaurant, ask for service and then were asked to leave.  If they refused they would be arrested or beaten or thrown ouT but they were not served; at least for a while.

I recall as a child walking through our new courthouse and seeing one water fountain with a sign stating “white” above it while another identical fountain had a sign labeled “black”.  Just as there were segregated water fountains there were also segregated bathrooms, schools and sitting areas in movie theaters.  I grew up in this and it was acceptable as that was the way life was in the deep south.  By the end of the 60s all was changing.  The water fountain signs had disappeared as had the segregated toilets.  Out movie theater had burned down so segregated seating was not an issue but in neighboring towns there was no longer segregated movie seating.  The college football ranks were integrating by the end of the 60s and in 1970 I had the privilege to play a year of football at Northeast Louisiana with the school’s first black football player and the first round draft of the Atlanta Falcons.  Like the Benson and Hedges cigarette sloganstated, “You’ve come a long way baby”.

My mother was born and raised in Nevada so every year we trekked across the country along old Rt 66 and finally arrived at the Tahoe basin.  It was along the route that I was able to witness other forms of segregation.  The Native American, the Indian, was the oppressed American.  Reservation schools dotted the western landscape where the Indians were “encouraged” to adopt white language and culture.  No longer were the Native Americans allowed to roam native lands in search of game.  To paraphrase a parable, instead of learning to fish they were fed, by the federal government.  A noble race was relegated to living off government assistance.  Federal law even prohibited the sale of alcohol to Indians.  When visiting Keems Canyon in Arizona for work I talked to a white technician that was married to a local Hopi girl.  He told me how his wife had been sent to Carson City, Nevada, 500 miles west, to attend an Indian school when she was a child.  Much of this has changed and though there is much to improve, life is so much better than it used to be.

Our nation has made great strides to cause racial equality over the last 70 years and we should be proud of our combined moral conscience and the strides taken in our great nation.  No longer do we deny service to anyone based on race, religion or gender so it was surprising, no alarming, when I heard that a person was denied service and asked to leave a restaurant because of her political beliefs and who she worked for.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was born in Hope, Arkansas and attended Little Rock Central High School; the same High School that saw 9 black students being escorted to class by members of the 101st Airborne as America watched forced-integration in the deep south.  She was raised by  her minister father who later became the governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee,  She graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and moved on trough the political juggernaut to eventually become  the press secretary for President Donald Trump.

Last week Ms Sanders was with friends and went out to eat at a small quiet restaurant.  It was there that she was asked to leave, she was being denied service because of her political belief and who she worked for; President Donald Trump.  I thought these days were over.  America had matured and how sad that  denial of service is returning to the nations vernacular.  It will be interesting how this is treated by the main stream press and how the liberals justify this.  Is this something the ACLU will consider taking on as a form of discrimination.

At the time of this writing Sanders has been gracious and dynamic while a worker at the restaurant showed little class by posting the boast that she had been kicked out of the restaurant.  What next, move to the back of the bus.