South Park Bridge and Jim Crow Laws

I have been writing about a little bridge, and a community called South Park.  this morning I Googled TM South Park Bridge to see how the stories were faring in the blogosphere.  Apparently some people have taken an interest.  I scrolled through the pages and clicked on one website that had linked to Redstate’s TM publication of South Park Bridge: Military Road and Economic Segregation 1*.  It curiously had a line drawn through it, as if the sites author had changed his mind, or realized it was a conservative site and couldn’t possibly care about issues of segregation *2.  I understand his confusion.  We as conservatives could do a better job honoring those groups, that make up the People the world calls Americans.

What the site administrator might not have known, or may have forgotten, what that the only applause line in the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech, was for three lonely white people who could see, could could see the justice of the good Doctor’s cause, and had given their lives as a sacrifice to bring justice to this country (actually one of them was Jewish, so technically he was semitic, not white).  There is much confusion about racial issues, and much work to be done to bring understanding to this subject.  Too often, discussion leads to name calling, epithets, and characterizations.  Both sides have been guilty of this.  University Professors have their constructs about why we are separated as a People, and Talk Radio personalities have their’s.  We all choose to spend our time in the mental space where we are comfortable.  Too rarely do we go to an actual place, and observe real life people, and the realities they face.

I was driving the other day through the University District.  For those of you who are reading this from another part of our country, I am a native born Seattleite, educated in the Public Schools of the city.  I received a fine education, though I’ll admit I could see signs of deterioration in the schools even before I graduated.  Being in the middle of a Cold War, and in a primary supply location for military hardware, there were some things teachers could talk about, and some that they couldn’t, and just had to give us a book or a recommended reading list, and let us figure it out.  An example was made of Miss Strong, who was on the school board in the 1920’s, and the lesson was never forgotten.  She was often confused as being a communist, but she was not.  She was a Scots-Irishwoman, who was raised by a Presbyterian Minister, who had compassion for the People.  She tried the best she could to help them, but was demagogued repeatedly, and finally she threw up her arms in frustration and left for China, and a life with Mao Tse Tung.  She lacked discernment in this choice.  Had she spent more time with a fellow Presbyterian, R H Thomsen, perhaps she wouldn’t have gotten so frustrated and make this faulty choice.  Thomsen knew two things.  How to build a city that could benefit the citizens (City Light), and how to practice politics (go hunting with a rifle instead of a shotgun).

So I am driving through the university district, the University of Washington, and I see banners of a fine looking fellow, who is black in skin color.  These banners are placed all along the roadside.  It is convenient for corporations of all kinds to show the world that they share the “Dream” of the Martin Luther King, meaning to refer to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., but almost always dropping off the Reverend and the Jr. part.  Doctor Kings father was a Reverend, a Man of God, well educated, and Republican.  His son followed in his Fathers footsteps in all these practices.  But it is convenient to drop off these facts, sometimes even shortening it to MLK.  I spent a couple years at the University myself.  I enjoyed the classes that spoke about real things, like Geology 101 and Astronomy.  I still use the knowledge I gained, to study, and write about the world I live in.  Tectonic Plate theory helped me understand the route the true Military Road ran on.  Built by Scots military men, with a Presbyterian upbringing, they built straight roads, on high places *3.  The crookedness in the heart of the County and City only came later.   One other thing learned, that was of vast importance later in my life, was a motto inscribed on the wallof the Suzzallo Library.  Reciting from memory of long ago, it roughly says ‘read carefully, so that your thoughts and words, might turn into useful actions’.

Being in a secular University, that seems to be ashamed of any mention of Godly things, it struck me as odd an out of place.  I dearly liked the phrase.  I had been raised to believe in God, in a Presbyterian Church, and to value things not just monetary, but spiritual.  It was a phrase written by a past President of the University, who was obviously a Godly man.  The library itself was built for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Industrial exposition, or the first Seattle Worlds Fair.  It was in a time of reverence for God, though in a multiplicity of churches, of belief that Man could do a better job building a city, in respect for nature in the construction of a city.  The concept was called progressive.  The hope was that society could avoid the ills of New York City, and all the human degradation that entailed.  The hope was that society could learn beauty and truth through civil design and parks.  There is a fine exibit on top of the water tower in Volunteer Park that tries to get people to remember.  The memory and hope is buried in the collective unconscious of the people of the City, but is being trounced upon by the Global, unsatiable demands of commerce, and it’s two blind henchmen, spreadsheet and marketing plan.  The Olmstead brothers were brought in to design a layout of the City, and they drew up a plan for roads that went from park to park, connected by boulevards in sweeping graceful curves that respected the topography and nature.  R H Thomsen, being a Presbyterian, made sure that straight roads were built, and that holy numbers were assigned to the main avenues.  Nowhere was this better illustrated than on the Duwamish River bridges.  Bridges were built on 1st AveS, 7th Ave.S, 14th Ave S, and more recently, in a sensitive and beautiful co-operation between Italian-Catholic and Protestant, one that lays out on 21st Ave S.  It is not so named in fear those municipal planners who have no respect for God, but it does fit the plan for the city.  It is only having to be done in secret now.  The relationship between Industry and People has change also, for the worse.  They cross a filthy, polluted river.  As the Democrat Party Elite, and it’s core donors, cry “save the enviroment”, and “put the river drainages into a conservancy”, they ignore the Duwamish River and shun the People of South Park.  Their heart is far from real people, and is stuck on amorphous theoretical constructs of Global Warming.  The ‘Theo’ in theoritical is now Gaia, the ‘rhetorical’ is now empty rhetoric.  Though they praise Chief Sealth and his famous speech on the environment, they forget he spoke also of his People, and for his people,  the Duwamish.  Their is a real place called the Duwamish, and it is entirely forgotten.  Their are real people on the Duwamish, and they are entirely ignored.  Rather than a bridge being built between communities, one is being torn down.  The spreadsheet says it must be so.  The spreadsheet is now Chief of the Duwamish Peoples.

The people living in the Duwamish are living and doing exactly what the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. called for them to do.  The small business commerce the residents participate in is exactly what America has called them to do in living the American Way.  The City and County have shunned them.  This is because the representatives in the past, have forged chains for the People, and cast them into slavery, and bonded their leaders to an undemocratic servitude  *4.

I see my diary is getting long, and I need to stop for now.  In an upcoming diary I will speak of Professor Parrington, and how he could only write about his country in a loving, poetic, prose.  He knew both the dark side, and the light side of the country.  He new it was as much promise, as reality.  But he wasn’t afraid to work hard, and encourage people to be their better self.  He wrote in such a lyrical way as to imprint in the minds of our youth, to carefully guard their country, and leave it a better place than they found it.  Oh yes, John Muir was a deeply religious man, passionate about preserving nature, worked with both Frederic Law Olmstead and Teddy Roosevelt.  Teddy was a Republican.

I look forward to reading the man or womans thoughts on this subject on his dailytrends.org site.  Perhaps we can even start a conversation.  our City Leaders left the old ways of the North and South behind them, and started a new civilization in the West.  They laid a solid foundation, but the house remains to be built

*1.  http://www.dailytrends.net/about-segregation+laws+after+the+civil+war.html

*2.  http://www.redstate.com/hickorystick/2010/06/06/south-park-bridge-military-road-and-economic-segregation/

*3.  http://www.redstate.com/hickorystick/2010/06/05/south-park-bridge-and-military-road-the-real-road/

*4  http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=4201