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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:51 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 513
This reminds me of the story of when DL&W 565 was first brought to Scranton by the Steamtown Foundation in May of 1983. 565's owner Don Ball put together a group of volunteers, which included Bob Bolus, Bob Patterson, and Willie Sturdevant, to bring the locomotive up to Scranton. Several of Bolus Trucking trucks were used and, after a wild midnight run up from New Hope and with the hulk of 565 on one of his flatbed trucks, Bob Bolus lit some tires in the smokebox for effect and took the locomotive on a tour of Scranton. Since he was running for county commissioner at the time, Bolus decorated 565 with several of his campaign signs, including one that read, "Bob Bolus for Commissioner".


Last edited by Scranton Yard on Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 720
Crescent-Zephyr wrote:
It’s silly to think that nobody from the museum, and I mean official people, were not present when the train was being picked up and loaded onto the truck.
A July 19, 2020 article in the Ames Tribune newspaper said:
Quote:
The train was donated by the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad (BSVRR).
Link: Welcome Train on track to roll through Boone this week

The locomotive is now city property and so it was city officials who erred when they allowed the campaign banner to be placed on the locomotive. I foolishly assumed everyone else knew the locomotive was now city property since Mr. Alexander's post said "the city council did, indeed, order them removed as soon as they were seen--even making them stop in the road to get them off. "

My apologies for not including the article link and ownership detail in my earlier post.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:20 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 714
Oh I missed that Chris, I assumed the locomotivr was still property of the museum. That’s a shame, that was a really neat item in their collection.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1184
This thread, though started in a well-meaning manner I think, needs to be removed. And I say that as someone who has worked as both a truck driver, and as a politics and government instructor at the university level, and thus I would have a lot to say about the various topics this post has morphed into.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:33 am 

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

Well, I figured I would weigh in on this topic before the moderators get a bit freaked out and shut down a topic of discussion that all preservationists SHOULD be having. We often deal with politics in these threads, although we may not call those discussions "political" per se. For example, we often discuss the internal politics of a specific organization because those politics often directly affect the outcome of a particular preservation effort made by that group - Why should we treat other types of politics that also affect historic preservation any differently?

Just because of 501(c)(3) non-profit is supposed to not engage in politics, it is foolish for any museum whose land is owned by a governmental agency to say "let's avoid politics". A change in the administration of a governmental agency which happens to own a museum's property would directly effect that group.

I would propose the moderators leave this thread open for a bit and let's see where the discussion goes.... i would love to have a reasonable discussion about how to best manage the politics of preservation in a manner that best serves the common goal we all share - the preservation of railroad history and artifacts.

We can no longer avoid the subject of politics in the era of "cancel culture" and "monument destruction" any longer... After all, what happens when the next historical monument that the social warriors of today want removed is your PULLMAN car, or worse, your entire museum because of some perceived racial or social injustice of the past..... This is a real threat people, and we need to understand the politics of the current environment now more than ever before. Sad, but true........

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:13 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1462
I am surprised that the trucking company posted those political banners on the locomotive without permission. That is way over the top. Even though the locomotive is riding on their truck, the locomotive is not their property.

But I don’t understand the context of the photo posted earlier here. Is that before the signs were “removed” per the shipper’s request, or after? If it is before, the signs do not seem to be adequately displayed, and if it is after, they don’t seem to be adequately removed. So what is going on with that shown in the photo?


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:09 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 186
I'm glad that Eric S. Strohmeyer brought up some good points. Properly done, politics and railroad preservation are topics that go together. Look at things like New York trying to abandon many of the small railroads so that more trails can be built. The success of trail folks in building political ties has impacted rail preservation negatively. Some of these are non-profits, but they have figured out how to do it legally (maybe).

Understand, the cancel culture has already been going after displays at railroad museums for years - there have been complaints about several Jim Crow cars that were restored and lettered. At least one museum had complaints just because of its presence.

Several traveling shows about Pullman porters have been making the rounds - but have there been any protests? There were some issues at Pullman in Illinois. Information like this would be helpful to share.

I know of a number of "classic" railroad photos that get into the Jim Crow divide at stations. Will these still be "classics" or will they need to be hidden or destroyed.

There is also the issue of various grants. Many museums that have received them are required to have markers with the governor's or other politician's name on them. In places like Illinois, many of these have gone to jail. Can and should these be removed?

As someone who operated on a government railroad for a number of years, a change in administration, your congressman, or even the local government bureaucrat can end the operations, or make them easier. We had to keep changing our operations, our welcome aboard talk, even our track maintenance, based upon the whim of the day.

Finally, as someone who managed freight railroads, I can tell you that working with the local politicians is almost a must. It might be as simple as donating a few pieces of rail for a project, or replacing an entire grade crossing to keep them happy. We even operated a steam locomotive from another railroad to support a project of the governor. We did these to be a good guy and not a target.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:47 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:51 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
I agree that it is beneficial to keep the politics separate from the preservation.

No matter which side you're on, you'll likely offend part of the public, which hurts your image and mission.


But as a personal "punster", I appreciated the "Trump Train", and found myself chuckling...

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:06 am 

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:32 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Altadena, CA
I wouldn’t be too concerned about the safety of “your PULLMAN car, or worse, your entire museum”.

Outside of a small circle of middle-aged & older white guys, the larger culture doesn’t know you exist.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:18 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 186
"Outside of a small circle of middle-aged & older white guys, the larger culture doesn’t know you exist."

Very false, and a foolish strategy to follow. How many people knew of the 100-year old statues in small towns across the country that have been attacked? How many knew about the Adirondack and other railroads in New York that have been attacked for simply existing? These various groups have people sitting around searching for things like this - if you don't think so, go talk to them.

For example, a quick internet search of "Jim Crow" uncovered 4 railroad museums on the first page of the search, with several museums promoting the cars. A search for protests against turned up a number of groups.

Properly presented, the materials might be supported, but there have been protests about Pullman because it glorifies blacks working for whites. Some of the presentations were changed to focus more on the civil rights movement that grew from it.

NEVER assume that you can fly under the radar as all it takes is one person to spread the news.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:32 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:21 am
Posts: 56
I can fully understand the desire to keep preservation and politics
separated. There is that desire. I totally get that.

However, I will point out that these two items are deeply intertwined.

So, even though the purists will argue emphatically to
"keep all politics out if it"....that is not always possible.

One example would be a chemical compound. Someone desires
to have only one of the elements that is contained in the compound.
However, being chemically bonded together, like it or not, the
"other" ingredients in the compound just have to be faced up
to and dealt with BEFORE they can be separated out.

Ignoring the fact that these ingredients are bonded together
does in no way negate the fact that they are bonded together.

Preservation involves politics. Preservation hinges upon politics.

Anyone involved with preservation knows that the first step in
any preservation is to get your politics straight in order to lay
a solid base for the preservation.

Then, once the preservation is under way, a very dedicated effort
must be at all times maintained that insures that all of the involved
politics stay squared away.

So, to me at least, the two things Preservation and Politics are so
closely intertwined that it is completely impossible to have any
sort of a rational discussion about Preservation without some
required discussion involving Politics.

And then of course there is always the exact nature of the kind
of politics which gets involved. Some is swept under the rug.
Other kinds create all sorts of hob.

Railroads have always been closely tied to politics, ever since
the very start. Thinking that we can survive in a vacuum where
there is no politics is just short sighted and it does not in any way
include all the stuff that one must seriously be looking at in order
to get anything meaningful accomplished.

So if anything good is to be gleaned from this thread, maybe
I can contribute this:

Politics is a part of what we do. It's there, like it or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9706
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
KevinKuzma wrote:
Outside of a small circle of middle-aged & older white guys, the larger culture doesn’t know you exist.


That increases your danger.

You can have a place popular among a select crowd that "no one's" ever heard of, and then when trained trouble-making "activists" show up to pillory and crucify you with the explicit assistance of the news media that laps up everything they say unquestioningly (because questioning them is "racist/sexist/whatever"), there's no one to take "your side" other than a cadre of foamers and your usual volunteers, all of whom can easily be portrayed by the "activists" as "apologists" for slavery/racism/genocide/whatever.

Any place like this NEEDS support, primarily through "justification" for its existence--a hugely educational asset where school systems make a visit part of every fourth-grade curriculum, "my first/only train ride" for thousands, a nostalgic day out for thousands of families, the preservation of a crucial part of the area's history, whatever.

And lest you think I'm exaggerating, I'm understating the potential "derangement" of the "social justice" crowd at times. Whatever the injustices being condemned, the current crowd seems intent at swinging sledgehammers at flies, never mind the collateral damage that results. I have witnessed the abuse of this tactic many times, and indeed as I type my fellow beer writers are watching and debating the destruction of one well-loved nationally-famous craft beer bar because ONE bartender "liked" a questionable (not deplorably racist, just debatable) post on Facebook--the bartender was fired, and the rest of the bar's staff quit in support, including the people critical to the beer program, in a (vain, mind you) attempt to placate the "digital lynch mob" that arose in response.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:21 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:07 pm
Posts: 629
Location: B'more Maryland
The cultural awareness displayed in this thread does a great job of illustrating why so many organizations have a hard time attracting people born after 1970.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 587
Bartman-TN wrote:
I'm glad that Eric S. Strohmeyer brought up some good points. Properly done, politics and railroad preservation are topics that go together.


.



While there are restrictions on what 501c3 organizations are allowed to do in the political arena, consider the number of politicians who were involved in the celebration in Utah last year !!!

Bob H


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9706
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Ed Kapuscinski wrote:
The cultural awareness displayed in this thread does a great job of illustrating why so many organizations have a hard time attracting people born after 1970.


And the stunningly biased and narrowly focused version of "cultural awareness" being exhibited by the loudest sub-segment of the folks born after 1970 goes an incredibly long ways towards demonstrating why actual museums and historical organizations--and the historical education that they are supposed to advance--are in grave peril today.

This works both ways.


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