Not Always What It Seems

You may have seen this meme being shared on Facebook over the past few days, and perhaps you’ve wondered if the meme is accurate.

Here’s what history has to say on the accuracy of that meme.

Were most African-Americans prevented from voting until 1965?

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution granted African-American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

This is because the 14th Amendment had granted African-Americans citizenship, but had not granted them the right to vote. The 15th Amendment addressed that issue. This amendment also prevented federal and state governments from denying the right to vote to citizens based on race.

The final vote in the Senate was 39 to 13, with 14 not voting. The Senate passed the amendment with a vote of 39 Republican votes of “Yea.” Eight Democrat and five Republican voted”Nay” and 13 Republican and 1 Democrat chose not to vote.

Democrats in the south began insisting black voters pass literacy tests, mandated the pay-a-tax to cast ballots, and required African-American voters to secure white persons to vouch for them in the white-only Democrat primaries in Southern states. Voter intimidation and violence against African-Americans were two well-known tactics used by Democrats during elections.

Were African-American women prevented from voting until 1965?

The 19th Amendment in 1920 granted non-Native American and non-Asian women the right to vote. This Amendment included African-American women as well as Caucasian women. A woman’s right to vote was something the suffragette movement had fought for since 1848.

Were Native Americans prevented from voting until 1957?

The Snyder Act of 1924 admitted Native Americans born in the U.S. to full U.S. citizenship. Though the Fifteenth Amendment, passed in 1870, granted all U.S. citizens the right to vote regardless of race, it wasn’t until the Snyder Act that Native Americans could enjoy the rights granted by the amendment.

Except that fees and competency tests popped up which prevent many Native Americans from voting, and this continued for decades.

Were Asian-Americans prevented from voting until 1952?

Chinese immigrants were given the right to citizenship and the right to vote by the Magnuson Act in 1943. All other Asian-Americans secured the right to citizenship and the right to vote in 1952 through the McCarran-Walter Act.

That being said, Asian-Americans have the worst voter turnout rates compared to other groups of Americans according to data collected. It is believed it is due to the fact that 75% of Asian-Americans are foreign-born, with 35% of Asian-Americans unable to demonstrate even limited English proficiency.

It took the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for protections and accommodations to be put in place that allowed U.S. citizens of limited English to vote with assistance from translators and ballots in multiple languages. Just a year earlier, Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration ensured that literacy tests and poll taxes were no longer allowed in any state during any election.

Were any other important voting changes enacted since 1965?

In 1971, the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 due to the Vietnam War. If you were old enough to go to war, you were old enough to vote.

And finally, in 2000, a federal court ruled that citizens of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam cannot vote in federal elections.

Final Note

While much of the meme seems rooted in the unfairness of literacy tests and poll taxes, the reality is that the laws existed that allowed for each cultural group to vote earlier than the meme claims, with the exception of the 1920 claim for Caucasian women.

With the U.S. midterm election coming up on Tuesday, November 6, take a moment to find out if the memes you are buying into are accurate or purposely misrepresent historical facts. Then get out there and vote (if you haven’t already) provided you a registered voter eligible to cast a ballot in the U.S. midterm election.

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Truth Or Consequences

The following is an OpEd piece based on information published by mainstream media and publicly available.   This blog article is not intended to be used against any individual or group of individuals.  The purpose of this blog article is to give insight into the way many authors view real life events that may or may not provide background for fictional stories that may or may not be written at a later date.

Over the last few days, mainstream media, social media, and alternative media have been buzzing with the accusations one woman has leveled against one man. The allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh.

And a large swath of the connected populous has divided itself into two camps with a few on the sidelines taking a hard look at the facts such as they are.

For me, the serious questioning began with this paragraph in a USA Today news article.

“[QUOTE] Ford can’t remember the year the incident happened, she can’t remember how she got to the house party, or how she got home. She told no one about it at the time and the issue came to the forefront during a couples therapy session six years ago. Her therapist’s notes never mention Kavanaugh and actually mention four boys involved, although she says there were only two [END QUOTE].”

LINK: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/09/19/brett-kavanaugh-hearing-dr-christine-blasey-ford-sexual-assault-column/1346536002/

Mark Judge, the other person Ms. Ford accused in her letter to Senator Feinstein, has no recollection of any such incident happening.

LINK: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4901575-Letter-Counsel-for-Mark-Judge.html

But you know, there’s Cristina King Miranda who commented on social media that she heard about the incident shortly after it happened back in the day. She also admitted to having a crush on Mark Judge so who knows what’s going on with Ms. Miranda on that point.

LINK: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/accuser-s-schoolmate-says-she-recalls-hearing-alleged-kavanaugh-incident-n911111

Except that Ms. Ford told her couples therapist in 2012 she hadn’t spoken of the incident until 2012.

And so Ms. Miranda deleted her social media posts where she claimed to have heard about the assault back in the day after it allegedly happened.

Now, it’s a fact that Brett Kavanaugh has been thoroughly vetted by the FBI on several occasions — six between 1993 and 2018 to be exact — not just recently, with nothing suspicious or untoward coming up in their investigations. These investigations aren’t superficial or perfunctory. They are rigorous in nature.

LINK: http://time.com/5395687/senator-feinstein-fbi-kavanaugh

LINK: https://thefederalist.com/2018/09/19/brett-kavanaugh-can-innocent-even-christine-blasey-ford-isnt-lying/

How is it that Ms. Ford had no recollection of where or when the attack supposedly happened when speaking with the couples therapist she was seeing in 2012?

According to Dr. James Hopper, PhD, and professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, studies have proven that the hippocampus goes into a super-encoding state briefly after fear kicks in, which creates a state where victims of violence remember in incredible detail what was happening, and had happened, up to the point where the fear in an incident kicks in.

This means that scientifically speaking, Ms. Ford should have a recollection of where the attack supposedly happened, if nothing else.

However, self-described filmmaker, columnist, and writer Mark Judge wrote a couple of books early in his career that include drinking, drunkenness, and immorality as interpreted by the main character’s perspective. In one of those books, he named a character Bart O’Kavanaugh who, according to the book, was known to drink until he passed out. He doesn’t do anything worse than that. He’s just an avid drunk. And neither book describes any incidents of sexual violence.

LINK: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/09/18/mark-judge-what-we-know-brett-kavanaugh-classmate/1344707002/

LINK: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/09/18/mark-judge-brett-kavanaugh-classmate/1343556002/

Many authors just starting out (and this happens in Mr. Judge’s first book) give their characters names similar to those of people they have known in their lives.

Mark Twain named Tom Sawyer after an acquaintance of his who lived in San Francisco.

Lucy Maud Montgomery (author of the Anne of Green Gables stories) fashioned Anne Shirley Blythe’s son William after John McCrae, the author of the poem “In Flanders Fields.”

Walt Disney ensured a friend of his diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis would be immortalized when he decided to give one of the seven dwarfs many of the symptoms that are part of MG and then named him Sleepy.

In “The Fast and the Furious” films, fictional Korean Han Seoul-Oh is a nod to George Lucas’ “Star Wars” hero, Han Solo. For example, Han owned a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner which he lost to another character. Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. And just like Solo who is a pirate, so is Seoul-Oh. Actually, they are both more cowboy scoundrels than space pirates. But nonetheless they are cut from the same cloth.

So it’s not uncommon for fictional characters to have names that are oddly similar to other real or fictional characters.

So where does this put the situation in the grand scheme of things? Who knows?

LINK: https://spectator.org/christine-blasey-ford-wont-take-yes-for-an-answer/

We do know that Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein seems to be distancing herself from Ms. Ford.  Senator Feinstein admitted to mainstream media two days ago she “can’t say that everything [alleged by Ford] is truthful” and she backs that up by stating it’s because Ms. Feinstein just doesn’t know. Would this be because she doubts the veracity of Ms. Ford’s claims but sees the political leverage that can be gotten by supporting the accusation even though she has her own doubts about Ms. Ford’s allegations against Mr. Kavanaugh?

LINK: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/feinstein-on-kavanaugh-accusation-%E2%80%98i-can%E2%80%99t-say-everything-is-truthful%E2%80%99/ar-BBNwFKX

And what about Democrat Senator Cory Booker?  He has no problem vilifying Mr. Kavanaugh based on Ms. Ford’s say so, and yet, he didn’t see anything wrong with his own inappropriate behavior when he wrote about it in a 1992 column for the Stanford Daily newspaper.  In fact, he didn’t even apologize for what he did years earlier as a teen.

LINK: https://stanforddailyarchive.com/cgi-bin/stanford?a=d&d=stanford19920219-01.2.16

What it looks like right now is that we’ll have to wait for next Tuesday to know the answer to the question of whether there’s going to be a vote for Supreme Court Judge.

© Elyse Bruce, 2018

I Never Regret Mother’s Day

From time to time, I read posts on social media or hear people say in public they regret having had children. That someone would feel that way about their children — adopted, fostered, or biologically created — is shocking.  While I am among the first to say that parenting isn’t something to be taken on lightly or without complete dedication, I am also among the first to say that no one should ever regret having had children.

Back in 1995, I was weeks away from becoming a mom.  My feet were round (based on other people’s observations as I could no longer see my feet), it was gearing up to be the hottest summer on record where I lived (and the weather was making good on that promise already), my then-husband (being a long-haul trucker) was oftentimes hundreds of miles away from home, and I could no longer drive a car.  Why couldn’t I drive a car?  For me to be able to reach the gas and brake pedals, I had to be closer to the steering wheel than my pregnancy would actually allow.

When I went into labor early a few days later, it was a rush to the hospital where things didn’t look very good.  A few hours later, the staff at the hospital had managed to stop labor and I was sent back home.  As scary as that episode was, I didn’t regret being pregnant.  This was part of the journey.

When my son was born in July , the staff at the hospital told me there were problems.  He wasn’t going to make it through the first 24 hours.  I disagreed with that assessment. That night as I visited my son in NICU, I whispered to him, “Thank you for spending your first day with mommy.  I hope you’ll come back again tomorrow.”  Guess what happened?  The following morning, I held him in my arms, gazed into his eyes, and smiled.

A week later, my son was still in NICU and despite all sorts of tests, the staff at the hospital had no idea what was going on with my son.  Two weeks in, and still in NICU, they were none the wiser.  It was a harrowing time, especially for a new mom. but I had no regrets about being my son’s mother.

Over the years, my son’s health was unpredictable and difficult.  My then-husband decided early on to throw in the towel, and walk away from parenthood.  He oftentimes told me he regretted having our son.  Leaving our family created a hardship for me, but that’s how things go in life sometimes.  Despite all the troubles of trying to juggle hardly any money and the demands of ensuring a child with health issues has what he or she needs, I didn’t regret being a mom.  Every night, I would put my son to bed and whisper to him, “Thank you for spending another day with mommy.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

As a toddler, my son was diagnosed with autism.  There were no services or supports available to help me help him:  Not even when the Children’s Advocate Office in Saskatchewan stepped in and tried to secure some kind of services or supports from the provincial government.  I still didn’t regret being a mom because my focus was on helping my son be the best version of himself possible.


School wasn’t easy for him either as two different school boards in which he was enrolled, struggled to understand how to encourage my son to work through social issues, deal with new experiences, and overcome challenges.  Despite the fact I kept telling them the world wasn’t a Special Needs World, most teachers, school staff, autism experts, and administrators from various levels within both school boards felt that catering to his comforts was the better way to deal with him.  I didn’t agree with them (just as I hadn’t agreed with the hospital staff when he was born) but sometimes you have to live with the fact that the many oftentimes drown out the voices of the few.  I still didn’t regret being my son’s mom.  It just meant I had to work harder with him to nudge him along his journey to become the best version of himself possible.

When he turned 12, he was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis which is a rare, incurable, life-threatening neuromuscular autoimmune disease that strikes 2 in 1 million children, and is 5 times more rare in children than in adults.  Over the years, he had suffered many “mystery” health issues that landed him in hospital, and it was one bad episode in particular that made me ask his pediatrician if he could test my son for Myasthenia Gravis.

“Myasthenia Gravis doesn’t happen in children,” he pronounced sternly with that look I had come to know all too well.  It was the look many closed-minded professionals reserved for parents they dismissed out of hand without considering the validity or the questions asked by those parents they dismissed out of hand.  “It only happens in old men over 60 and women over 40.”

“My brother was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis,” I replied respectfully.  “He wasn’t 60.  He was my son’s age.”

“No,” he insisted.  “This is definitely a tumor behind his eye.”

We discussed the matter for a few more minutes, and he decided to send my son to the Hospital for Sick Children to be tested for a tumor.  Because I insisted, he jotted down a note in the file for the doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children that indicated he felt I was being unreasonable, but to ‘manage’ me by doing a Tensilon test if nothing else showed up on the other tests.  Even with the pediatrician’s dismissive attitude, I didn’t regret being my son’s mother.

The Hospital for Sick Children, taking the pediatrician at his word, very nearly forgot the Tensilon test until I inquired about it.  They were so convinced I was a University of Google parent, they didn’t even have their camera set up to record the results of the Tensilon test.  It’s unfortunate these medical professionals were so convinced the pediatrician was right in his conclusions because that Tensilon test proved my son had Myasthenia Gravis.  Even with that news, I still didn’t regret being my son’s mother.

The next few months were some of the most trying for both of us, and after 14 months of battling Myasthenia Gravis, it was decided that a thymectomy was the only way to go as his health plummeted.   I knew how unpredictable Myasthenia Gravis could be (my late brother was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis back in the 1970s).  I knew how dangerous surgery could be.  I knew how dangerous the after-effects of surgery could be if he made it through the surgery itself.  These were dark times but I focused on the fact my son was alive and every night, I would say to him what I had said to him every night at bedtime since July 1995:  “Thank you for spending another day with me.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He entered high school and even though the school board seemed to overlook the fact that my son wanted to be in a regular class, by the second semester, he was auditing regular classes.  The following year, he began taking regular classes for credit, and by the time he was in Grade 11 he had a 79% average for all the classes he had taken.  He was a geek in that he loved computers, but he also excelled in History and in Religious Studies.

He left high school when his peers left high school, and he continued to make his way in life.  Even when Myasthenia Gravis made it so he could barely do anything (as sometimes happens), he had an interesting life that didn’t always take him where he was originally headed.  For his 20th birthday, I put together and shared this montage celebrating 20 years of him being him.  No regrets.

For his 21st birthday, I made sure I didn’t embarrass him with a mushy mom-style card.  He got this card instead along with a small collection of gifts of things he wanted or things he needed.  Just because he was an independent adult didn’t meant I wasn’t still his mom.  No regrets.

I have a nice collection of scrapbooks I’ve made over the years with pictures of my son:  Places we’ve visited together, difficult times we’ve been through together, and the successes he has had over the years.  So whether it’s this version of him I’m thinking about ….

… or this version of him I’m thinking about …

…. being my son’s mom is something I will never regret.

Happy Mother’s Day, Lewis.  I will always love you wherever life takes you because I have faith in the person you are, and I know you have it in you to be anything you decide to be.

 

 

Shakespeare In 5: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

A lot of William Shakespeare’s plays seem to take place in Italy which is strange seeing he lived in England.   Some historians say he did not visit Italy because he did not attend university and only had a grammar school education. Some historians say he was intimately familiar with Italy and must have traveled extensively — at least throughout all of Italy.

What some historians are overlooking is that maybe Will had friends who shared their travels and journeys through Italy with him which would make them today’s version of Internet search engines.

Regardless of how he came by his information about Italy, some of his most popular plays were set in cities in Italy that exist to this day, including Verona and Milan.


After a few weeks of enjoying the “Shakespeare In 5” series, I’m certain you have subscribed to this blog.  If you haven’t, don’t wait a minute longer!  You’ll be glad you clicked that “Follow” button so you can start being the first on your block to read these entries every Friday.

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Elyse Bruce
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E.B. Taylor
Facebook:  @TaylorMadeTales

Shakespeare In 5: Othello

William Shakespeare wrote about a great many social issues back in the day.  In fact, he probably wrote some of the earliest #BlackLivesMatter literature published and performed on stage.  He probably would have been the first to direct and produce a film if film had existed back in the 1600s but it wasn’t so he had to just go with print and live performance presentations.  Today’s Literary Schrödinger Equation takes on that well-loved and long misunderstood play, “Othello.”


Now that you have had a chance to take that Literary Schrödinger Equation in, please remember to subscribe to this blog, and if you haven’t already followed me on other social media platforms, be sure to check them out and follow me there as well.

Elyse Bruce
Facebook:  @ElyseBruceFanPage
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E.B. Taylor
Facebook:  @TaylorMadeTales

Shakespeare In 5: The Merchant of Venice

There’s something to be said about the original “Guys and Dolls” style play complete with gambling, crooks, loan sharks, molls, and more.  If you’re looking from something new under the sun, chances are it’s already been covered by William Shakespeare in one of his famous plays.


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Elyse Bruce
Facebook:  @ElyseBruceFanPage
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E.B. Taylor
Facebook:  @TaylorMadeTales

Shakespeare In 5: All’s Well That Ends Well

Sometimes what seem to be the most convoluted plots are straightforward and easy to understand once you get a feel for the playwright.    That seems to be the case with this play as the Literary Schrödinger Equation is applied to “All’s Well That Ends Well” by William Shakespeare.  It may have been 1602 when this play was written, but reads like something that might be pitched in Hollywood these days.  Check it out.

Now if you haven’t already followed me on social media, be sure to click FOLLOW to subscribe to this blog, and find me on these other social media sites.

Elyse Bruce
Facebook:  @ElyseBruceFanPage
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E.B. Taylor
Facebook:  @TaylorMadeTales

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