Monday, November 7, 2016

Politics on the Eve of the 2016 Presidential Election

I just thought it was sad that people kept stealing his signs so he had to chain them, and sadder still he couldn't spell Hillary.

I voted last Thursday to avoid the long lines. As I cast my ballot (which was for neither major party candidate), I felt like my contribution was a tiny drop in a huge ocean of opinion. What a ridiculous election. I can’t wait until it’s over and facebook is once again browsable. There is nothing good online right now except for genealogy.

Tomorrow, 8 November, is the anniversary of the Battle of White Mountain, the decisive battle that determined the fate of the Czech lands in 1620.

The results of this election will probably be similar in that at least half the population will be really dissatisfied. I just hope that this doesn’t start a conflict as disastrous as the Thirty Year’s War.

What was the political involvement of my Texas Czechs? Of my Czech Czechs? What would they think of this crazy election cycle? How crazy is it really - is it just old wine in new bottles?

Here is an interesting article discussing the evolution of Czech American political activity and involvement. I am really interested in learning in greater detail what their involvement was precisely, but it is obvious to me that Texas Czechs were politically active.

There were literally hundreds (if not thousands) of examples of Czech American involvement in politics that was easily found in a cursory newspaper search. I am sharing one here that was slightly less depressing, although, perhaps also depressing, knowing what we know now about how World War II played out. You can access these newspapers for free at this website, thanks to the Nesbitt Memorial Library.

Eagle Lake, Texas, 30 September 1938 Newspaper clipping

From this article we can see that the origin of at least one of the dozens of Czech festivals celebrated annually in the states was the desire of Czech Americans to become involved in helping their countrymen (or parents’/grandparents countrymen) in some way. What is fascinating to me are the references here to the use of the Czech language. Of course it is also interesting to me to understand broader philosophies such as, “what is nationalism” and “can nationalism ever be good?” I really don't know.

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