Thursday, February 02, 2017


Neil and Frederick

Yesterday, people were rooting around for information about Donald Trump's appointee to the Supreme Court, Hon. Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit. I did some digging of my own (I have never met him), and what I learned was that Judge Gorsuch is well regarded in the legal community, especially by those who have worked with him. He seems well qualified for the job. Elections have consequences, and this appointment is one of them.

The other discussion point from yesterday won't have nearly the same long-term impact, but was still pretty fascinating. While giving a presentation to begin Black History Month, President Trump said this:

I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Rev. King, so many other things. Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.

People noticed, of course, that it seemed odd that President Trump seemed to think Frederick Douglass was still alive. Luckily, Press Secretary Sean Spicer was right there to clear things up:

So, "the contributions of Frederick Douglass will be more and more." Ok!

Also, The Iraq and everywhere, such as.

1. Gorsuch equals a homerun. Well-regarded and super qualified. Slam dunk. Brilliant choice. Check.

2. Trump says something perfectly normal in a very odd way. Is this still news? Seems more like dog bites man to me. Vive Frederick Douglass. So glad he is getting a little bit of attention even in this silly way. Like so many history teachers, I have assigned his autobiographical "Narrative" to every one of my first-half classes over the course of my career. I hope every self-serving pundit taking this opportunity to use Douglass as a convenient vehicle to belittle Trump (and further distract us from serious policy issues) at least goes out and reads a little Douglass, who is actually (currently) in the midst of a long comeback--which is something that often happens to historical figures. U. S. Grant is also currently in the midst of being recognized more and more (see the recent Brands and White books). God Bless Frederick Douglass, who lives and breaths in my heart and my classrooms.
Gorsuch dies not scare me. They were some very right bent jurists on the list. The confirmation hearing, non the less, will be fun to watch.

As to the rest, open mouth insert foot. He really should read prepared statements and/or speeches to avoid his stream of consciousness blathering.
It's safe to say that Trump is a mirror of his average supporter. He is not an anomaly in that most of his supporters probably can not give a cohesive explaination of Douglass' contributions or body of work. And even if they can, apparently, they are fine with a leader who cannot.
That second video you shared--of the first year law student coming to class unprepared, and attempting to answer the question anyway fas fantastic. That isn't to say I never showed up unprepared. I did. But you have to own it. Or better yet, go out of your way to answer a question on the one of three cases you did read, and hope the Prof doesn't come back to you.

Not sure how St. Thomas feels about videotaping students, but it's all good. ; )

I think Holly nailed it. The Frederick Douglass deal made Trump look sloppy and insensitive... to people who already think he's sloppy and insensitive.

Wait till his words and actions start getting American soldiers or sailors killed. Sadly, that's what it may take for Middle America to give up on him.
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