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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thoughts on Justice and Social Reform in Winamac

I got in to Tippecanoe River State Park a little after 9:30 last night and after driving around in the dark for half an hour finally found my cabin.

Luckily I brought an electric heater because while they do have electric in the cabins they are not heated.  However, they are a real bargain at $35.00 night + tax.  The reserve america IN DNR website for reservations doesn't even charge a reservation fee like WI DNR does.  Score!  I climbed in to my winter sleeping bag and re-read "Divergent" for a couple of hours.  The second movie in the series was previewed at the theater the other day when Katrina and I went to see "Mockingjay - Part 1" so I figured it was probably time I read the whole series.  By the way, both series I just mentioned have strong messages on justice and social reform in a fun to read fiction format with strong heroines...just saying.

In the morning I got an opportunity to see what the park looked like as I drove out in search of a McDonalds (free wi-fi or $1.10 for a bagel and a cup of hot water) and a post office in the town of Winamac.  The squirrels might be suicidal since at least 6 of them jumped out in front of my car in the 10 minutes it took me to get back to the park entrance.  Watch out for those rascals.

Winamac comes from the Potawatomi word for catfish and the town was named after a Potawatomi Chief who lived in the area, appropriate since the town is on the Tippecanoe River.  Everywhere I went in town nice gentlemen smiled and held the door open for me.  Gotta love a good small town!

Vurpillat on right
The Vurpillat Building was built in 1882 and is currently undergoing interior renovation.  Historically the first two floors contained local businesses and offices and the third floor was an opera house.  The building is rented for parties and the stage again serves as a venue for local talent.

Pulaski County Courthouse

I was surprised to discover that Winamac has been the Pulaski county seat since 1839 and it has the architecture to prove it.  The Pulaski County Courthouse was built in 1895 and is the local place to go for some justice.

Speaking of "local justice", I'm sitting in McDonald's listening to the idiots on Fox News go on and on about how education is the problem in Ferguson, Missouri.  The education system is failing to produce citizens there who can "show up at work" and "follow direction" and "are capable of learning".  Are you kidding me?  A little discrimination against the poor and people of color maybe?  It's this kind of attitude that is part of the problem.  How about this quote from President Obama instead?

"The frustrations that we've seen are not just about a particular incident," he said. "They have deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly. That may not be true everywhere and it's certainly not true for the vast majority of law enforcement officials, but that's an impression that folks have and it's not just made up -- it's rooted in realities that have existed in this country for a long time."

Obama echoed Attorney General Eric Holder, who said Tuesday afternoon that peaceful and non-violent protests have a history of forcing change in the United States, and called it "heartening" that some leaders of the protests tried to stop the violence that broke out Monday night.

"The Teacher"  honors native tribes who fished the Tippecanoe River

This issue goes much deeper than the single incident in Ferguson.  Last night 15 of the 16 protesters arrested were not even from Missouri.  It's incredibly unfortunate that initially the verdict resulted in looting and rioting, but the protests that have followed are providing examples of how to handle this situation and hopefully will produce some results and eventually some change in racial relations in some communities.

The NAACP is beginning a 120 mile march from Ferguson to the State Capitol today to draw attention to problems in our justice system.  I wish them a safe journey and much success in furthering their agenda and Justice For All!

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