Then and now
I really enjoyed fellow columnist Mike Hendrickís ďMike at NightĒ column in last Fridayís Gazette. A thoughtful and insightful look back at growing up in a different society than we experience today. Very well written it prodded me look back at my own youthful experiences here in western Nebraska.
For one I only recall one black family living in McCook during my youth Reportedly Mickey on occasion didnít exactly behave up to his wifeís standards but hey skin color has little bearing on such behavior.
Mike obviously grew up in a totally different society, one dominated by Jim Crow politics where blacks were kept, segregated, separate but equal, near impossible to vote, and always inferior circumstances. Their plight stemmed by the aftermath of the Civil War when southern society struggled to assimilate the newly freed but poorly prepared slaves into society. The Democrat party of the time figured that blacks were an inferior race and Jim Crow laws were designed to keep them poorly educated and fit only for manual labor.
Yes I remember the fuss when President Eisenhower forced integration of the schools in 1967. A memory in part because a friend, Don Leiss, MHS class of 1952, brother of one of my classmates, was one of the young soldiers helping to protect the young black children being forced into the white school in Little Rock.
Later I remember the marches organized by Reverend Martin Luther King that eventually resulted in President L.B. Johnsonís signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That legislation by the way was voted NO by the majority of Democrats in Congress at the time. Why the majority of black citizens today turn to the Democrat Party for succor defies belief. Just check out the pictures from President Trumpís State of the Union address with the blacks remaining seated while the Republican members all stood and applauded. Interesting.
Again like Mike I went off to college enrolled in a class that had no black members. Oh we had dark-skinned cadets from Hawaii but they were Polynesian in heritage and also a few with Asian backgrounds. That all changed in subsequent classes at the Air Force Academy until today the mix of skin colors is about the same as in any segment of our general population.
Sure the integration of blacks into the Air Force that I knew in the late 1950s and on was a bit slow. Still today I can honestly say that skin color is no longer a factor for selection and promotion in my beloved modern Air Force. That is the way it should be.
Mike spoke to women being put down in employment opportunities. My late mother would object, as she was a true partner in running our family farm. Mom tended to the livestock, milked the cows, even did field work plus paying all the bills. She was a true partner in the operation. Then too nearly all my teachers were female much as today. Pay differential, I suspect that the lady lawyers, store owners etc. probably made as much as their men counterparts.
Your U.S. Congress did it again. Another continuing resolution to finance our government only this time a bit longer two years. It is a shame that they canít get their act together to do their chartered job of simply making a budget each year before the start of the fiscal year. Perhaps a little incentive, for instance, cutting of each memberís pay if they a balanced budget isnít approved before the fiscal year begins. Then no retroactive pay if it isnít done on time would help the process along. Oh well one can always hope!
Now what difference does it make for those of us in western Nebraska if the Federal Government does a budget or a CR? You may know that your old columnist serves at the pleasure of Governor Ricketts on the Nebraska Aeronautics Commission. A part of our job is to authorize projects for improvement and upkeep of our Stateís airports. At our session last Friday we approved the list of projects for airport improvement for the coming year. Then we were informed that it would be at least nine days until the bureaucrats in Washington had sorted out the just passed CR so that we would know how much money would be available to make the desired improvements. Delay, delay, delay no matter that the money to be spent on airports is revenue already collected from aviation fuel taxes. The process is similar to the gas tax money collected from automobile fuel that goes to upkeep of the roads that we all drive on.
Another little detail that the Aeronautics Commission is currently interested in involves sales tax collected when airplanes are bought and sold. The local option sales taxes go to the city/county in which the airplane is registered and that is fine. The 5.5% that is the state sales tax portion goes directly to the general fund. We in aviation are of the opinion that those sales tax revenue should flow to the Aeronautics Department. Airplanes---aeronautical---to be used for education and those things related to aviation. Probably not a popular idea to the majority of state legislators who always seem to be looking for ever more money to spend.
That is the way I saw it.