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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:08 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:19 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:58 pm
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This is hardly even entertaining. If you want to fire off uninformed opinions for sport, just wander on over to Trainorders and type the words 'Ed Dickens'. A mighty fine tutorial in the sport of slamming will ensue.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 691
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Quote:
While I'm on that subject, how many of your organizations have joined in support of Black Lives Matter in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, like so many other organizations and companies have done?


Assuming this is the question to which you seek/demand an answer:

The problem with "joining in support of" this:

What are you "joining in support of"?

Simply uttering a phrase? Anyone can do that, whether they mean it or not.

Or supporting a political movement (strike one) whose core mission has strayed so far from its innocuous and simple meaning that its founders have left, their movement and slogan hijacked by a far-left movement whose mish-mash of objectives a large segment of Americans, if not a huge majority, find patently objectionable (strike two), and whose billion-plus dollars of donations have been channelled exclusively to Democratic politicians (strike three)?

Not only has the phrase become as polarizing as a Trump banner (if not more so) in much of the United States, but as a result of the explicit political actions of a group claiming the phrase, offering public support to the phrase would be as sharply in violation of 501(c)3 "don't get involved in politics" rules as the Trump flags/signs, and therefore must be treated the same way.

Johnny Carson ruled late-night TV for thirty years by being, at least in all appearances, neutral and impartial in politics and religion. As Jay Leno said in an interview Carson told him, "Why do you want to set out to tick off half your potential audience?"

The name of this thread is "Don't Hijack Preservation With Politics".
As much as people might want to allege otherwise, that phrase has become part of the politics to be avoided.



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.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:18 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:56 pm
Posts: 139
Location: Ontario, Canada.
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.


What you are trying to say is, anyone who disagrees with you is a racist, a bigot, and a monster.
All men are created equal, you declare, and then support blm, a divisive, racist, violent, and anarchistic movement.
Any rail museum or preservationist organization actively supporting racists and anarchists would be rightfully doomed. Good luck with replacing old guard rail preservationists you chase away with post-modernist millennials.
If you want to spew your left wing ideology, go over to fb. They like that sort of idiocy over there.
This is not the place for this type of thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
The way to counter claims you consider problematic is NOT with name-calling and accusations.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:21 am
Posts: 54
Fair enough! The United States is getting browner, and getting younger.

That could work out very nicely for everyone because those guys
could go to work on a section gang maintaining track the old fashioned way!


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:44 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 695
Chuck Richards wrote:
Fair enough! The United States is getting browner, and getting younger.

That could work out very nicely for everyone because those guys
could go to work on a section gang maintaining track the old fashioned way!


Chuck Richards of East Troy Railroad Museum?


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:16 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1142
Great Western wrote:

What you are trying to say is, anyone who disagrees with you is a racist, a bigot, and a monster.
All men are created equal, you declare, and then support blm, a divisive, racist, violent, and anarchistic movement.
.

There aren't two sides to racism, or slavery. Slavery is not six of one and half a dozen of the other. And supporters of either are not worthy of discussion in my opinion. Further, e.g. the General is not the same thing as a statue of Jefferson Davis in the town square (almost always produced and put there decades after the Civil War ended) or say a middle school in Orlando named after Stonewall Jackson on Stonewall Jackson street (my vet was on Stonewall Jackson street when I lived there, which I found atrocious). Tyler Trahan discussed the difference very well above. The most stark equivalent I can think of is the difference between the U-505 in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and a statue of a WWII-era German official in front of the Chicago City Hall.

As for your discussion of BLM it is obvious that you don't know what you are talking about. BLM is at best a loose confederation devoted to a principle that should be obvious but obviously isn't to a number of individuals with the power of life and death employed by our government (e.g., Derek Chauvin).

I still think this thread shouldn't exist here.

Edit: didn't like the tone.


Last edited by PMC on Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5816
Location: southeastern USA
In an adjacent county, there's a tempest in a teapot about a statue that is literally, with words carved into the base, made to glorify the Confederacy set up at the entrance to the county courthouse.

Yep. The place in which people go to take part in a system designed to (if ever so slowly and sometimes badly) provide some amount of justice must be entered by passing a monument to the failed effort to perpetuate an unjust system. I don't wonder that distrust is engendered in a system under those conditions.........

But I do wonder why - 150 years after the fact - there's an uproar about even the least sensitive individual's ability to slap his forehead and have an "Oh, Yeah" moment and agree that yes, it needs to be in a more appropriate place to be used as an interpretive artifact.

The city and county have passed the ball to the State. The State doesn't seem to want to interfere with what's essentially a local matter. Loudly emotional people having little in the way of rational arguments to make crown in front of cameras.

Can't we all grow up and start to think?

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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: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9675
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
PMC wrote:
There aren't two sides to racism, or slavery. Slavery is not six of one and half a dozen of the other. And supporters of either are not worthy of discussion in my opinion.


Problem:

Slavery (real-world, not role-playing in some relationship or whatever) is or isn't.

But "racism" is not absolute and binary. And perhaps 90% or better of the current "shouting matches" nationwide have to do with defining whether certain things are actually racism or not.

(And that's not a discussion for here.)


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1142
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:

(And that's not a discussion for here.)

Agreed.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:42 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:12 am
Posts: 502
Location: Somewhere off the coast of New England
If the bulk of you would please grow up, read something about some of what you are trying to discuss, and then return this discussion to the topic it seems to have begun with, which is the propriety of political expression by various forms of tax exempt organization, that would be appreciated. Your first assignment is to determine which provision of the tax code provides your organizations' exemption and what the restrictions are on: 1. Political Speech; and, 2. Lobbying. There will be quiz prior to the resumption of this verbal bar brawl.

I find myself in the very interesting position of agreeing with Mr Strohmeyer on the benefits of a discussion which includes differences between 'Political Speech' as defined in the tax code, which those banners clearly were, and small "p" politics which is the day-do-day art of making things work when you are dealing with more than one person.

GME

P.S. While I would welcome discussion on some of the dead generals who have been discussed lately, the auction of naming rights for military posts, and the views of William Gibbs McAdoo's second (of three) father-in-law, as Brother Mitchell has stated those discussions do not belong here.

P.P.S. For those of you who are involved in a certain rail related organization I am very aware that a senior manager has stated many times that 501(c)(3)s are not allowed to lobby and that that has become an organizational mantra. That manager is wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:57 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1142
Trainlawyer wrote:
If the bulk of you would please grow up, read something about some of what you are trying to discuss, and then return this discussion to the topic it seems to have begun with, which is the propriety of political expression by various forms of tax exempt organization, that would be appreciated. Your first assignment is to determine which provision of the tax code provides your organizations' exemption and what the restrictions are on: 1. Political Speech; and, 2. Lobbying. There will be quiz prior to the resumption of this verbal bar brawl.



I think you failed your own test because you didn't read the OP, which was about the PR fallout from having displays endorsing a particular candidate for elected office on a truck moving a preserved piece, not the problems it might entail for non-profit status/ tax law. All of the other problematic posts were derived from the OP, in terms of "Why is it wrong to have signs endorsing candidate X, I'll bet organization Y wouldn't have those problems?" When in fact that seems to be the whole point of the OP: don't have anything endorsing any political position on your equipment, PERIOD. Here it is, go ahead and read it:

xboxtravis7992 wrote:
Recently these last few days a static 2-8-0 in Boone, Iowa that from my knowledge might be owned by the Boone Scenic was being moved across town from one display location to another. During the trip... the locomotive received some noticeably... partisan political banners on it (Jeremy Anderson photos).
Image

Image

As you can imagine, people online exploded into massive debate and arguments over this locomotive. The rumors are the Trump 2020 banners were placed by the moving team, and the local city council had them removed once they got word of it to keep the event non-partisan. Later photos of the engine arriving at its destination show the banners had been removed by the time the engine arrived.

Of course the damage is done, and I think for many people this locomotive and via extension the whole Boone Scenic operation will be viewed in a politicized context. Sure it might have been the contracted moving team who indeed placed the banners, but I think it should be obvious... in the highly polarized and divided era we live in using a preservation move to support any political cause will be highly divisive and controversial. Unless your organization wants to see it spawn a thousand negative social media comments, and mocking memes spoofing it... just please, don't.


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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:23 am 

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

I wanted to first thank the moderators for bringing this thread back from exile in the railfan section. I truly appreciate the decision to allow this discussion to continue here. I will do my part to keep this thread civil and focused.

I was going to post a comment yesterday, but I could not find a pathway back to a civilized discussion without the need to write a book in response to all the posts that were posted as of last night. Thanks to Txhighballer, Mr. Edwards, and others, I can see a number of topics beginning to clearly emerge from the opening "brawl".

In response to Mr. Edward's well thought out post, I wanted to steer this thread towards focusing on the - "small "p" politics which is the day-do-day art of making things work when you are dealing with more than one person" - part of his comments, and then expanding the discussion to include both the pros and cons of choosing to further engage in the type of political speech that prompted this thread in the first place.

All politics is, to an extent, local in nature. Therefore, it is safe to say that what might work in one area may not be appropriate in another locale. No two people are precisely the same, nor is it guaranteed that any two people will react the same way in similar circumstances. What I hope we can create in this thread is a discussion about a number of topics which are clearly political in nature but that are not just about two US national political parties but rather the politics that directly affect rail preservation in general.

For example, we have seen (through numerous recent examples) the substantial impacts on rail preservation efforts that the National Rails to Trail movement can have (both pro and con) all across the country. That organization brings the "art of politics" to every project they work on. Their actions can impact rail preservation on a Federal, State, and local level. More importantly, the Rails to Trails group has learned the art of addressing (and in some cases - pitting) competing factions in a manner which best advances their objectives.

Another example would be some of the museums around the country which have recently run afoul of local code officials. As a result, we have seen numerous "emergency calls to action" in this forum because the local group failed to understand the local politics, failed to avoid burning critical political bridges, or utterly failed to adequately recognize the changing political winds surrounding them.

Since it is often mentioned that 501(c)(3) have restrictions against taking certain political actions, many groups likely misinterpret those restrictions to their own detriment. If a group fails to pay attention to the ongoing politics surrounding them, they are likely to miss critical decisions, or subtle policy changes that do not appear too worrisome at first glance, but lead to other actions that catch a preservation group completely off-guard at some later date.

A topic I will certainly discuss in a later post will be the advantages of having both a 501(c)(3) organization, and it necessary, creating an appropriate 501(c)(4) organization that can more effectively lobby politicians without creating a potential challenge to the 501(c)(3)'s tax-exempt status for donations.

So with that, I will close out this post for the tonight.

When I get a chance a bit later, I'll go back through the posts and see what unique topics actually exist within the name-calling and grand posturing posts so far. I see a lot of people are conflating numerous issues which really are separate talking points and should be addressed as such.

To Txhighballer, - The issue of the racism from the past is going to be a tough topic to keep properly focused within a discussion of the politics of rail preservation since the current political environment has so polarized people on this subject. However, I do agree with you that perspective regarding the subject matter is extremely important and we should try to include the subject herein in this thread. I would like to ask you to let the thread continue to develop a bit more before we take the deep (and necessary) dive into that subject because if you introduce that subject too soon, some people will not be able to understand the subtleties that I know you would like to see discussed. Its like trying to teach Advance Calculus to a person without them having any understanding of Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry first...... We will get to that topic - I promise!

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CNJ Rail Corporation


Last edited by Eric S Strohmeyer on Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Don't Hijack Preservation with Politics
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:27 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 811
Location: New Franklin, OH
Quote:
...501(c)(3)s are not allowed to lobby and that that has become an organizational mantra.

Quote:
Since it is often mentioned that 501(c)(3) have restrictions against taking certain political actions, many groups likely misinterpret those restrictions to their own detriment. If a group fails to pay attention to the ongoing politics surrounding them, they are likely to miss critical decisions, or subtle policy changes that do not appear too worrisome at first glance, but lead to other actions that catch a preservation group completely off-guard at some later date.

Just a little clarity on this.... You can and should advocate for or against issues that affect your organization's mission. What you can't do is to veer into direct or indirect candidate or party advocacy. So, yeah, you need to pay close attention to local issues that may affect your organization and take appropriate action if necessary. Just don't get involved in any campaigning as pertains to candidates, political parties, etc. Your efforts must remain non-partisan. "Non-partisan" being the operative word here.

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