Saturday, March 03, 2007

When Dwight Eisenhower was President of the Confederacy

Kathy and I took the grandbaby for a walk around downtown Austin today, including through the Texas capitol grounds which included the usual crowd of photographers, kite-flyers, picknickers, protesters, and tourists one would expect on a beautiful day like today.

A group of boys, I'd guess ages varying from 17-20, were going from monument to monument looking at the inscriptions. Rushing frenetically from statue to statue, as they approached us I couldn't help but overhear the following exchange:
"Hey I just saw a statue honoring the President of the Confederacy," one scraggly-haired young man exclaimed in amazement.

"Yeah, I saw that," said another, taller boy.

"Are you sure?" asked the first. "Who was the President of the Confederacy?"

Without a trace of humor or irony the second fellow replied, "Dwight Eisenhower."

"No," said the first, "it was Jefferson Davis."
By then we were moving out of earshot, but no one laughed at the Eisenhower gaffe and the comment didn't appear to be a joke. Rather, I think it was probably a learning experience.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

We can only hope it was a learning experience. I fear that the younger generations are not being taught anything about our history as a nation...our triumphs and our mistakes. The focus seems to be just passing a test while often learning nothing. My husband and I spent many hours teaching our daughter about Vietnam, the good, bad and ugly. There was nothing in her history book about this turbulent time. Perhaps we need to build more monuments. Clearly we are failing as a nation to educate our children in the very basics of life. I know man is destined to repeat his mistakes but these younger children don't even know what mistakes they need to avoid. I think Ike would have had a good chuckle over his leadership of the Confederacy and Davis did a twist in the grave....

Hastonorwood@aol.com said...

I feel very much like the scraggly haired kid you say didn't know who was the president of the Confederacy. For almost two months I've been trying to get seven bills pertaining to discovery and criminal procedure filed before the March 8th or 9th deadline. I've fedexed them to my legislator without success; e-mailed you, Scott, without success; e-mailed them to Dutton, Carona, and Ellis, and maybe someone else, also, without success. I guess the lesson is that a layperson is not able to effect the legislative process, or maybe, I just don't know the language.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@ Hale County lawyer: Don't give up yet, there's another week to go before bill filing deadline, and hundreds of bills will be filed next week. For discovery bills, be sure you've tried the members of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, which would be the folks hearing those bills. Kel Seliger is your state senator, if I'm not mistaken, and he's a very knowledgable, good senator who I respect on the Criminal Justice Committee. Try him!

Sorry if you were disappointed I couldn't do more to help. These days I'm lucky to help myself, I'm afraid. best,

Anonymous said...

President Eisenhower had been reared as a Jehovah's Witness:

http://jwbookstore.bravehost.com/books/eisenhower.html