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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Danbury, CT
I would encourage everyone to carefully read Eric Strohmeyer’s post on page 7. Take a few minutes and think about what he said. I believe it’s one of the best comments on the subject thus far and offers not only middle ground to both sides of the argument(s), but includes a suggestion on how to proceed. Well done, Eric.

I work for Mystic Seaport. It’s our nation’s premier maritime museum. The cornerstone of our collection is a whaling ship named Charles W. Morgan. Most people know how gruesome whaling was/is and can get on the same page about it. Not only do we interpret the ship and it’s equipment, we also interpret and in some cases, demonstrate the methods in which they were used. We have been accused of “glorifying” whaling. The museum does not support nor condemn whaling. We effectively and very accurately present the facts in order to educate our visitors. The American whale fishery wasn’t about meat or feeding anyone , though sharks sure benefitted from free meals. Whaling quite literally lubricated the industrial revolution and died off due to the discovery of oil well drilling and the invention of several household products. Most visitors find themselves surprised when told that much of the knowledge attained through research was directly aided by the cooperation of the whalers and their invitations to take researchers along on whaling voyages. In 2014, we sailed the Morgan for the first time in 90 years. The museum board was faced with concerns that groups like Greenpeace or Sea Sheppard might show up to protest the ship’s voyage. We coordinated with NOAA and even Jacques Cousteau’s son, on how we could best approach this aspect. I am glad to say that we had no issues whatsoever even when we launched a whaleboat and rowed out amongst the whales in the Stellwagen sanctuary. I was fortunate enough to have sailed the Morgan as a crewmember and to have rowed the whaleboat alongside the whales. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

So what does whaling have have to do with all of this? It demonstrates that an unpleasant part of our nation’s history can be presented in a manner that is both factual and unbiased. The visitor is presented with accurate and purely factual information and allowed to form their own impressions/opinions freely and without manipulation.

PS. Whaling, interesting enough, had one of the most diverse workforces in any industry of the time.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1185
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
Well... start by creating a welcoming atmosphere for a diverse group of employees and volunteers. Not just ethnic diversity but also gender and sexual orientation. It’s 2020 and all should be welcomed. (I’ve heard some truly awful things regarding women in the cab of steam locomotives or behind the controls of a streetcar).


If you find a venue that is NOT creating a "welcoming atmosphere for ALL" and is really and truly discriminating against groups or "categories" in some fashion, BY ALL MEANS call them out on it. Publicly. Not just a Yelp review.


Also, be aware of the Karen phenomenon; that is, racists among your white passengers who are unhappy that black people are enjoying the ride, too, and so throw a fit, wrongly claiming that the minority passengers are misbehaving. Make sure that it is Karen who is escorted off the train, otherwise you could be writing a big check:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/na ... /83280120/


Last edited by PMC on Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:18 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 187
"Are you saying that only black people can legitimately protest police brutality and all white people protesting have no dog in the fight?"

Nope, never said that. What I said is that a liberal (socialist to communist) movement led by young, mostly privileged, white kids are causing by far most of the violence, fires, assaults on police, etc. Some of these groups have direct ties to the groups that took over the yellow vest movement in France and started burning churches and museums, and similar groups across Europe.

Read the article and note the many blacks and other minorities complaining about how the Black Lives Matter protests have been taken over by violent groups such as Antifa and others. Note the 18 kid, whose motto is end civilization, celebrating the burning of a large low-income building that was to house many minority families. Also note how some of the Black Lives Matter founders have left the group because of how the group is being used.

What everyone needs to look at is that this is a complicated issue, and much of the protests have nothing to do with police reform, history reform, etc. It is simply people that have been taught to hate and now feel free to express their anger and destroy what is important to other people.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:22 pm 

Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 10:03 am
Posts: 124
I haven’t been on RYPN recently and apparently i have missed much. How has a political rant gone on for 8 pages with no administrative interference? Never seen this happen before. Anyone mind summing up what this topic is about for someone who doesn’t want to read 100’s of replies?


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Danbury, CT
NS6770fan wrote:
I haven’t been on RYPN recently and apparently i have missed much. How has a political rant gone on for 8 pages with no administrative interference? Never seen this happen before. Anyone mind summing up what this topic is about for someone who doesn’t want to read 100’s of replies?


Admin has moved this topic to railfanning and returned it to the interchange upon the requests of multiple members wishing to continue discussions.

The story with the locomotive is that the moving company chose to place banners and flags representing a presidential candidate on the engine without the permission of the owner. The city which owns the locomotive was made aware of the banners and flags and notified the moving company to remove them prior to departure.

The resulting discussion here has evolved into much more.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9707
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Let's clarify slightly:

The real topic here is not our preservation groups "hijacking preservation with politics."

OTHERS will be eager to do it TO you. The incident that instigated the thread's OP is a prime example.

The topic here need to be "how to address things when others impose their politics upon you by force/blackmail."


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5837
Location: southeastern USA
I think we can sort of look at this thread as a microcosm of the discussions that are going on in society at large right now, albeit with less minority and youthful representation. Contemplating the differences between the two is insightful enough, in terms of demonstrating what we're missing that we might want to work towards filling in our membership and visitor rolls, as well as our interpretive programming.

Thanks, Bartman, for clarifying your previous post. What we experienced in my city was most of the static being generated by outside agitators, while the locals pretty much wanted to protest peacefully. White supremacists figured prominently in the troublemaker category, there were a few opportunistic looters from everywhere including here, and the kids.... well, they acted like kids - everything was HUGE in their world requiring oversize reaction, mindless vandalism without considering who were the victims, etc. I think it's difficult for peaceful protesters to police themselves since there's little structure and order and a lot of diverse motivations going on, but I didn't see any demonstrably open communist or socialist propaganda among them. Of course, wherever you live may be different.

BTW I'm an old white guy and the cops don't particularly like me either. I try to avoid situations in which I might get involved in troublesome activity - decades of experience pays off, haven't been purposely beaten by anybody for a long time now...... I find it horrifying that other people because of their appearance, identification, etc can't do the same without incurring a lot more risk than I do.

Mystic Seaport does a lot right - thanks for the information.

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Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:36 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1185
Dave wrote:
I think we can sort of look at this thread as a microcosm of the discussions that are going on in society at large right now, albeit with less minority and youthful representation. Contemplating the differences between the two is insightful enough, in terms of demonstrating what we're missing that we might want to work towards filling in our membership and visitor rolls, as well as our interpretive programming.

Thanks, Bartman, for clarifying your previous post. What we experienced in my city was most of the static being generated by outside agitators, while the locals pretty much wanted to protest peacefully. White supremacists figured prominently in the troublemaker category, there were a few opportunistic looters from everywhere including here, and the kids.... well, they acted like kids - everything was HUGE in their world requiring oversize reaction, mindless vandalism without considering who were the victims, etc. I think it's difficult for peaceful protesters to police themselves since there's little structure and order and a lot of diverse motivations going on, but I didn't see any demonstrably open communist or socialist propaganda among them. Of course, wherever you live may be different.

BTW I'm an old white guy and the cops don't particularly like me either. I try to avoid situations in which I might get involved in troublesome activity - decades of experience pays off, haven't been purposely beaten by anybody for a long time now...... I find it horrifying that other people because of their appearance, identification, etc can't do the same without incurring a lot more risk than I do.

Mystic Seaport does a lot right - thanks for the information.

Dave, I could have written this too, though I am not in the SE anymore. I live in the Portland metro area, we have far-right outside agitators coming here all the time, I think because there are a lot of right-wing people out there that can't stand that a lefty city like Portland exists. No one here was calling for Trump's troops to show up, and he had to finally leave with his tail between his legs when the protests against HIM and HIS TROOPS increased ten fold, led by moms and veterans sympathetic to BLM. During the first few days of the protests we had looting and vandalism like other cities but those arrested turned out to be either professional criminals with lengthy arrest records or kids who couldn't really explain why they did it other than they felt like smashing stuff, taking advantage of the protests. Not BLM or the people sympathetic to it..


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:53 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:58 am
Posts: 91
Bartman-TN wrote:
[snip]

What I said is that a liberal (socialist to communist) movement led by young, mostly privileged, white kids are causing by far most of the violence, fires, assaults on police, etc. [snip]

Read the article and note the many blacks and other minorities complaining about how the Black Lives Matter protests have been taken over by violent groups such as Antifa and others. [snip]


May I gently suggest that you think about how you came to believe that "liberals" and "antifa" are causing the violence?

Posts by both Dave and PMC - along with the experiences of my family - suggest that whatever media is confirming your belief is not to be trusted.

I'd like to quote Mount Royal's post:

"I would encourage everyone to carefully read Eric Strohmeyer’s post on page 7. Take a few minutes and think about what he said. I believe it’s one of the best comments on the subject thus far and offers not only middle ground to both sides of the argument(s), but includes a suggestion on how to proceed. Well done, Eric."

Is there a way that Eric S Strohmeyer's post could be stickied at the top of the forum so that it is easy to find?

Brian


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 111
Me every time I check on the thread I started:

Image

Can I use my "I'm the OP" bargaining chip to suggest to the mods that I would be more than happy to see this whole thread locked and archived at this point?


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:14 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:48 pm
Posts: 65
Location: Watchung, NJ
Good morning everyone,

I hope everyone along the east coast can find a way to stay dry today. It looks like this tropical storm is going to dump a fair amount of water on most of the northeast today!

I just wanted to briefly respond to a number of comments today. While this thread did go "off the rails" for a bit, the last two pages of posts contain very encouraging signs that the more boisterous passions which stoked the initial couple of pages are beginning to subside somewhat and the discussion is beginning to return back to a more productive tone.

xboxtravis7992 wrote:
Can I use my "I'm the OP" bargaining chip to suggest to the mods that I would be more than happy to see this whole thread locked and archived at this point?


While the original poster might feel discouraged by the initial direction the thread went in, I would like to thank him for having the courage to make those first posts since he did raise a number of issues which we should address collectively. There is an appropriate balance that railroad historians and preservationists need to strike when it comes to the politics that can affect our efforts to preserve railroad history.

At this point, there is no need to "lock" this thread. Quite to the contrary, this thread should be left open as the one place in the forum where politics are allowed to be discussed.

Personally, I think having one specific thread where a discussion of political issues that are relevant to rail preservation is permitted should be pinned near the top of the forum with a big "Discuss politics here" sign that welcomes and directs those persons with in interests in discussing the impacts of politics on rail preservation efforts to this thread.

In addition, having this thread active actually makes it easier for the moderators to keep the other threads free of controversial and political topics since they can scrub political content from other threads more easily and then direct those persons raising political or controversial points to this thread where they can voice their concerns.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
The topic here needs to be "how to address things when others impose their politics upon you by force/blackmail."


In response to ADM4's comment, I would slightly alter the question he raised to instead ask:

"How do we keep and preserve the integrity and accuracy of an actual historical record (or artifact) in the face of significant pressures from persons who specifically seek to alter or destroy the historical record (or artifact) for political or other malicious purposes?"

Now some of you might choose to nit-pick my choice of words and argue that I essentially said the same this as Mr. Mitchell. I would counter that point by highlighting that there is a difference in the tone of my rhetoric versus that of ADM4. When discussing politics, passions can be easily stirred and inflamed. Word choice does, in fact, matter when you are trying to find common ground between parties in conflict.

It is my personal opinion that we, as historians and preservationists of railroad history, need to remain committed to always telling the truth to the best of our ability.

Does that mean we will always succeed in our pursuit of that goal? The answer is: No.

As ADM4 pointed out in an earlier post, a museum docent might easily omit certain details, or overly simplify an answer to a question about a specific historical record or artifact. People are human, and mistakes are inevitable.

The key is to teach docents and guides that errors of omission can radically alter how their audience might react to the history they are trying to present to the person or group. We must always be mindful of the danger of inadvertently lying by omission. We must also teach docents to be mindful of their word choices so as to avoid inserting bias into their presentations. Finally, we must safeguard history from those who would intentionally alter it for malicious or political purposes.

Since we have started this thread with the hot-button topic of racism and politics, I wanted to address this one comment from a person on this forum who I have great respect for, despite the fact that i have not had the pleasure of meeting him person yet. I wanted to let this thread develop a bit more before I addressed the one post he made which I felt compelled to comment on. Since he raised points that I too have raised in this reply, I felt it was appropriate to respond within this particular post to Txhighballer's comments from Wednesday July 29th, 2020 at 7:49 pm.

Txhighballer raised similar points about "truth" in his post. He said in his post:

Txhighballer wrote:
If you are truly wanting and honestly to have that conversation, let's do it. This is the place to figure out how to make our experiences more inclusive and tell the whole story, warts and all. That is history. That is truth. That is how we survive.


To that, I reply: "Invitation accepted!"

Now, I have quoted his entire post verbatim below. I have separated the various points he raised sentence by sentence so it is a bit easier to read. I also added the bold lettering on specific points he stated that I would like to have a frank discussion with him over.

Tex.... Would you like to have that discussion now?

To everyone reading this, I want to make this a teaching moment for everyone (including for both Txhigballer and myself), as opposed to vigorous debate between adversaries. I also wanted to give Tex a chance to further explain or expand upon some of the points he was making in his post. Like I said above, I have highlighted the specific points he raised that I would like to chat more about.

Txhighballer wrote:

What I am trying to say is this...the United States is getting browner, becoming a minority majority nation.

With that in mind, what had been the status quo will no longer suffice, not only here, but everywhere.

It is also getting younger, and to keep the historical perspective, the narrative has to change to fit the real truth.

Groups have to be more open, more inclusive to be able to survive.

My comment concerning whether your organization stands in support of BLM is more about are you willing to admit that there is systemic racism, that there is major work which needs to be done to bring true equality to everyone, and your organization will commit itself to bring that inclusion?

If so, put that message on your website, in your newsletters, or even in a press release. Then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

There are people who read this forum who I know are in total disagreement with what I am saying.

They are people who in other places have shown their hand and want no parts of either inclusion or equality, and they are people whom some believe are quite the bees knees when it comes to railroad preservation and operation.

The United States Of America should truly be about " all men are created equal", instead of only certain men having that privilege and no one else deserves it.

If you are truly wanting and honestly to have that conversation, let's do it.

This is the place to figure out how to make our experiences more inclusive and tell the whole story, warts and all.

That is history. That is truth.

That is how we survive.


So with that said, I will close out this post and patiently await Txhighballer's response.

Stay safe and dry everyone. We'll chat some more later!

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:03 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1460
Location: Youngstown, OH
Personally, I do not feel that rail preservation organizations should take sides in politics but should remain neutral to the best of their abilities. Most of you know that I am a staunch conservative, but you will never find Youngstown Steel Heritage taking any official positions on a political issue. We have supporters on both sides of politics and have agreed to keep politics on the other side of the museum's fence.

What should be of utmost interest to all of us is how to preserve our collections and institutions when political violence comes to our own cities. As we have seen, these rioters do not care a whit about history or the property of others. It is their intent to bring down our civilized society with violence and if one of our museums is in the way, they won't think twice about burning it down or destroying it. That fact coupled with a movement to neuter police forces across the country should scare the heck out of all of us.

Some facilities are naturally insulated from much of this risk due to location. It is highly unlikely that more rural operations would be subjected to rioting, but others that are located in urban areas are more susceptible. Could you imagine what could happen if a riot got started in Baltimore and the B&O Museum was breached and destroyed? Sounds unthinkable but as museum professionals we need to think about such things. At least the B&O could afford security but from what I am seeing, nothing is going to stop a mob if they train their sights on your property.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:35 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:53 pm
Posts: 244
Location: Manchester, NH
This photo showed up on my Facebook feed this morning. I am adding it to this thread without personal comment.
Locomotive is B&M 410 in Lowell, Mass. It was cosmetically restored and is maintained by the B&M Historical Society.
It is displayed (and owned, I believe) by the National Park Service as part of the Lowell National Historical Park.


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116358908_10102339633862275_4097084560468244065_n.jpg
116358908_10102339633862275_4097084560468244065_n.jpg [ 77.66 KiB | Viewed 636 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:46 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1185
Eric S Strohmeyer wrote:

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
The topic here needs to be "how to address things when others impose their politics upon you by force/blackmail."


In response to ADM4's comment, I would slightly alter the question he raised to instead ask:

"How do we keep and preserve the integrity and accuracy of an actual historical record (or artifact) in the face of significant pressures from persons who specifically seek to alter or destroy the historical record (or artifact) for political or other malicious purposes?"


Actually, that is not what Mr. Mitchell said, nor is it the point of the OP. The point of the OP was that someone (a truck driver and/or owner) not the museum and without the museum's consent put a banner advocating a particular candidate from an election on a piece of equipment being moved and the PR fallout that came from it.. You and a few others in this thread want to talk about so-called cancel culture which is a completely different phenomenon and doesn't belong in this thread, and frankly, not on this board at all in my opinion.

Having worked as a truck driver, I can tell you that like most occupations truck drivers range from normal working class guys to absolute psychopaths, most are apolitical but some have strong (and sometimes crazy) political beliefs. I would include trucking company owners, who tend to start out as actual drivers. It is the nature of the job to have a lot of time alone to imagine conspiracies. Anyone having any equipment moved by truck in the future (or at least until the election) would do well to inform the people doing the moving that they don't want political banners of any sort on their equipment.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9707
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
PMC wrote:
The point of the OP was that someone (a truck driver and/or owner) not the museum and without the museum's consent put a banner advocating a particular candidate from an election on a piece of equipment being moved and the PR fallout that came from it.. You and a few others in this thread want to talk about so-called cancel culture which is a completely different phenomenon and doesn't belong in this thread, and frankly, not on this board at all in my opinion.


We can talk about the (very real, sadly) potential for it coming to us before it shows up, or we can wring our hands afterwards after something is destroyed for no good reason and say "how could this possibly have happened???"

Take the red banner on the steam locomotive depicted above, in addition to the ones hung by the truckers on the Iowa loco.

The topic has nothing to do with the B&M, Lowell National Park, or the National Park Service. So what do you do? Were I a volunteer or administrator, I would do the same as I would to any piece of litter or garbage dumped on "my" property: pick it up (or, in this case, cut it off) and throw it in the trash.

Oh, wait a minute. Not so fast. Some "city fathers" or whatever come sweeping in and "decree" that this falls within "public protest" and must be allowed to stay. Never mind that it's NPS property, and the NPS has had a policy of not allowing political protest in/on NPS property (at least in the past). Should anyone listen to those city folk?

You're part of the B&M group that maintains this loco. Can you just cut off the banner and trash it, much like painting over graffiti that appeared on it? Or do you have to listen to the NPS or the city officials?

There are many, many locos and museum displays that occupy publicly-owned/administrated property--Travel Town at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, Scottsdale Railroad Park, the three state-run railroad museums, Steamtown, Lowell, and others, plus hundreds of "stuffed and mounted" locos continent-wide. What are the "rules" there? Can some fringe lunatic group, delusionally convinced that "all railroads were built with slaves," blockade your operation or smash it with a stolen front-end loader?

And when someone screeches "Censorship! Racism!" when you cut off the banner, do you have a readily handy "boilerplate" statement by your president saying "Our board has discussed this well in advance--any political protest or rally on our property or artifacts are to be deemed as trespassing and are to be removed immediately lest they are perceived as violating our non-profit status..." Or will you just kick the dirt and agree to be portrayed as "bigots" because "it could never happen here"?

I'd like us to be wasting electrons discussing it. But that's not the way current events are pointing at the moment.


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