Category Archives: Current Affairs

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Lost Cause

I don’t want this weekend to slip by without a quick comment about Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s address on Friday. The New Orleans mayor chose the removal of the Robert E. Lee monument to deliver remarks about why he believed it was justified. It is a remarkable speech on a number of levels. Continue reading

Amazon Fills New Store With Books

This past Wednesday morning I stopped by a brand new Amazon brick and mortar bookstore just up the road in Dedham. I walked out after roughly ten minutes of browsing with nothing to show for it.

I love bookstores. One of my favorite jobs was working for Borders Books & Music in Rockville, Maryland back in the early 1990s before the company went corporate and lost its way. The experience of walking in Amazon’s version of the bookstore could not have felt more alien to me. In fact, as counter-intuitive as this may sound, I don’t believe the overall mission of the store is the sale of books. Continue reading

The President-Elect’s Tweets

One final thought: What opportunities are there to use the president-elect’s embrace of social media to encourage smart civic engagement among our students? What responsibilities come with having such access to the future president and how can we encourage students to do so in a productive way?

I follow and, on occasion, respond to Donald Trump’s tweets. There, I said it. In fact, the more I do the more I consider it a form of healthy civic engagement. President Obama and other elected officials use twitter, but it is not always clear when their tweets are published by staffers. There is no question that Trump’s output is his own and this both thrills his supporters and horrifies his detractors. Continue reading

Teaching a Trump Presidential Victory

I would give my right arm to be in a history classroom today. Of course, that raises the question of what we as history educators should do to help our students understand last night’s election results and Donald Trump’s victory. What follows is not in any way intended as a lesson plan. Those will certainly be forthcoming in the near future. For now I want to share a few thoughts about how you should approach your students and what you may want to avoid. Continue reading

Mississippi State University Removes State Flag From Campus

mississippi state flag

Update: Mississippi University for Women also announced earlier today that it will no longer fly the state flag on campus. That leaves Delta State University as the last school standing.

Up until this morning MSU was the only state university that still flew the state flag on campus. Pressure on other campuses and in municipalities across the state has led to its removal owing to its inclusion of the Confederate battle flag in its design.

The university released the following statement announcing the decision earlier today: Continue reading

Khizr Khan and the ‘Politics of Mourning’ at Arlington

Khan gravesite

Like many of you, I was moved by Khizr Khan’s passionate response during the final night of the DNC’s national convention to Donald Trump’s early campaign promise to ban all Muslims from this country. His defense of his son, Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004 reflects the serves as an important reminder that claims to citizenship and loyalty to this country transcends racial, ethnic, and religious identification.

I was particularly taken by Mr. Khan’s reference to Arlington National Cemetery as I am just about finished reading Micki McElya’s new book, The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery. I highly recommend it. The overall focus of the book provides some much needed context to Mr. Khan’s remarks about his son, his service as a Muslim American, and his burial at Arlington, which I hope comes through in my latest essay at The Daily Beast.

House Votes to Ban Confederate Battle Flags

Fate_of_the_Rebel_FlagBy now most of you have heard that yesterday the House of Representatives voted to severely restrict the display of Confederate battle flags at VA cemeteries. The Senate still needs to vote, but there is a good chance that they will follow suit.

I shared a few thoughts about the decision at The Daily Beast. Click here for my other essays at TDB.