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Still Divided…? June 16, 2021

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Uncategorized.

“The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in connection with Senator Douglas’ “care not” policy, constitute the piece of machinery, in its present state of advancement. The working points of that machinery are: Firstly, that no negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and no descendant of such slave can ever be a citizen of any State, in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States. This point is made in order to deprive the negro, in every possible event, of the benefit of that provision of the United States Constitution, which declares that – ‘The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.’

Secondly, that ‘subject to the Constitution of the United States,’ neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature can exclude slavery from any United States Territory. This point is made in order that individual men may fill up the territories with slaves, without danger of losing them as property, and thus enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future.


Thirdly, that whether the holding a negro in actual slavery in a free State, makes him free, as against the holder, the United States courts will not decide, but will leave to be decided by the courts of any slave State the negro may be forced into by the master.”


– from “A House Divided” speech by Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois (June 16, 1858)

It doesn’t matter (to me) if I pick a theme that is philosophical, physically scientific, religious, and/or socio-political, I typically approach my inclusion of the subject as if I am teaching students in a school setting. Sometimes I think, “How would I break this down in crayons?” Other times I think about how I might teach this for someone at a grade school, middle school, high school, or college level. But, in any case, I come at the subject from a pedagogical (and slightly Socratic) angle – with the intention to inform and get people to think, get curious, and maybe even ask questions. Of course, I recognize that some of the subjects I pick out of history’s line up are tricky and touch on people’s sore spots. I also recognize that bringing up some of these subjects in certain parts of the world would be illegal, especially in an actual school setting.

Thank goodness I don’t live in those “certain parts of the world”…

Except, as of yesterday, I do.

According to bill “HB 3979,” which Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law yesterday, “SECTION 1.  Section 28.002, Education Code, is amended by adding Subsections (h-1), (h-2), and (h-3) to read as follows:

(h-1)  In adopting the essential knowledge and skills for the social studies curriculum, the State Board of Education shall adopt essential knowledge and skills that develop each student’s civic knowledge, including an understanding of:…

(3)  the founding documents of the United States, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers (including but not limited to Essays 10 and 51), excerpts from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, the first Lincoln-Douglas debate, and the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States.”

Take note that the bill/law specifically refers to the first (but only the first) of a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and then-Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas which are sometimes called “The Great Debates of 1958.” Lincoln lost his bid to unseat Senator Douglas; however, in 1960 he collected the debates into a book. That book ultimately helped Lincoln win the Republican Party’s nomination for president, which he led to him being elected the 16th President of the United States. Interestingly, Lincoln thought that in order for his readers to fully understand the issues they needed some background information – specifically, six speeches (3 by each candidate) and some correspondence between the two candidates, all of which preceded that first debate on August 21, 1958. As a result of this inclusion, the very first speech is Lincoln’s “House Divided Speech,” which the future president delivered in Springfield, Illinois, today in 1858.

Ironically, primary and secondary teachers including passages from Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided Speech” could currently be breaking the law in the State of Texas.

“(6)  No teacher, administrator, or other employee in any state agency, school district, campus, open-enrollment charter school, or school administration shall shall require, or make part of a course the following concepts: (1) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (2) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (3) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (4) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (5) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (6) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (7) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (8) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.”


– quoted from HB 3979I, “(h-2)” signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Please join me today (Wednesday, June 16th) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You will need to register for the 7:15 PM class if you have not already done so. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “06162020 Abe’s House & Soweto]


If you are using an Apple device/browser and the “Class Schedules” calendar is no longer loading, you may need to upgrade your browser, or you can email me at myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com at least 20 minutes before the practice you would like to attend.

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, playlists, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). (Donations to Common Ground and Mind Body Solutions are tax deductible; class purchases and donations directly to me are not necessarily deductible.)


### Stay tuned for the modern day version of The Scopes Monkey Trial! ###



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