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Mountain Philosopher

Mountain Philosopher

Author: John deVille

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John deVille's musings on the intersection of history, politics, philosophy, and Appalachia.
7 Episodes
The Punisher and The Punished Today’s conversation is with retired Marine corporal Adam Ranke. A decorated Force Recon vet, Adam served in the Corps from 2002 to 2006 and then worked as a private military contractor from 2011 to 2016.  Adam is an accomplished heavy metal bassist playing with his band Sign of the Southern Cross (you can find their album, Of Mountains and Moonshine in the show notes,). He is a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter (Muay Thai school), a “one percenter” (the Outlaws MC), a comic aficionado, and a doting father. He is a 2002 Franklin High School graduate and my former student. Sign of the Southern Cross (Adam's former band)  Full show notes with photo of Adam's outfit and his Scout Sniper certificate.
Today I'm interviewing two 2016 Franklin High School graduates who are also graduating from Western Carolina University’s Masters in Public Administration program in a few weeks. Erick Mendez and Matt Wilson came back onto my radar after writing columns on racism for WNC publications, and I’ve included those columns in the show notes. The penetrating incisiveness of their writing, their clarity, their call to action pierced the fog of the op ed page. We discussed their time in Macon County Schools as it relates to race. We talked about their plans to possibly work in the Triad area in municipal and county government and what has shaped their respective philosophies. And then we broached the hot topic of the moment, critical race theory — if you want to jump ahead, that’s around the 27 minute marker. When I spoke to Erick and Matt, I felt good about the future. They are so sharp, reflective, caring, humble, and compassionate. The mountains can be harsh, the mountains can be loving, but in either case wisdom is always imparted if we listen. I hope you enjoy the show. Erick and Matt's columns on confronting racism Mapping Inequality Redlining in New Deal America
Episode 1 - Eugenics: The Dark Side of American Progressivism Lesson by Lili Vitale Station One Station Two Station Three Station Four Station Five Guided Questions Excerpt from Hunter’s Civic Biology (number one biology textbook in the U.S. in the 1920s and the text at the center of the Scopes’ Trial) US state to compensate sterilisation victims North Carolina sets aside a budget of $10m for people forced to be made sterile in mass government programme. Questions for above Docs for Immigration Act of 1924
A conversation with investigative journalist and teacher Justin Parmenter about the players in the merit pay scheme, who is funding the marketing, and the dark connection to menthol cigarettes.  Plenty to see in the show notes.
Deja vu: Another stillborn education reform for the people of North Carolina — a conversation with public education advocate and teacher Kim Mackey. As Yogi Berra said, “it’s deja vu all over again.” And the deja vu is yet another public education reform effort. Yet another proposal which believes the solution to what ails North Carolina public education is lack of tasty carrots for teachers, and the assumption we have too often been spared the beatings from sticks. So, If you’ll give me a few minutes, I want to walk you through as to how we got to the present moment, and then what follows is a conversation with my friend and fellow NC public school teacher, Kim Mackey. Kim can fill you in on the details and shortcomings of the current proposal. (the notes for this episode are extensive and full of useful links -- links to better inform yourself such as how much better Alabama will be paying there teachers than NC this year, links for you to take can find all of that here.
We all know that part of the reason for the extreme red/blue, Republican/Democrat, rural/suburban/urban divide when it comes to actual electoral results lies in the arena of values, sensibilities, traditions. Population densities, geological topographies,  and their attendant histories shape our thinking more than we usually, probably always, know. Beyond all of that is an ugly truth which the Democratic Party and progressives are loath to acknowledge. And that truth is they have almost entirely abandoned the rural voter. And when progressives speak of the rural it is speech all too often saturated with scornful, mocking disdain and derision. All too often when it comes to the rural, the Democratic Party is hellbent on the self-fulfilling prophecy that rural voters lie beyond their reach. They tell themselves that the cultural divide is too great. The utilitarian calculus is that scarce resources of canvassing time and media dollars would be better spent rallying “the base” or perhaps to just abandon the electoral field altogether. And that has left rural voters listening to only one megaphone and frequently leaving them with only one choice in the polling booth. To maintain this situation, this dynamic is to engage what pilots refer to as “augering in” — a death spiral which intensifies as the aircraft speeds towards an inevitable crash. We can see that in my home county of Macon, NC. Democrats have only two races to vote on in the upcoming May 17th primary. We have a choice in the NC Senate which has already been decided and we have a choice of who will face the likely winner of the GOP primary for the 11th Congressional District, the incumbent Madison Cawthorn. So one meaningful race for Democrats in the May 17 primary. Maine State Senator Chloe Maxmin and her campaign manager of two successful races for the Maine State Legislature, Canyon Woodward, did not just seek to reverse the augering in — they pulled the progressive plane out of the spiral. Twice. They reversed the prevailing physics. Twice. They shredded the conventional wisdom of the Democratic Party playbook twice. Senator Maxmin flipped a longstanding-Republican Maine State House seat in 2018 with the co-leadership of Canyon Woodward. They did this in their mid twenties. And then they successfully conjured lightning a second time, unseating the Maine State Senate minority leader in 2020. And now they have written a book about their journey, their strategies, and their tactics. This is a book about two rural relative youngsters connecting to their roots and their people. This is a book about deep listening. This is a book about empathy. This is a book about creativity and letting voters lead. Perhaps most of all, it’s a book about hard work. I shrank back from the second half of the book where Chloe and Canyon discuss specific tactics. Good God, the work. The 20-hour-a-day work. The long conversations. The thousands of handwritten thank you notes. And so much more. You’ll need a nap before and after this section. Chloe and Canyon have so much to teach us because they have walked the walk. YouTube Version Buy the book Chloe & Canyon’s next venture Chloe & Canyon’s NYTimes Op-Ed
Episode 2: “Making the Revolution Between Starshine and Clay”, with special guest George Friday Lucille Clifton’s Won’t You Celebrate With Me? Langston Hughes’ Let America Be America Again Nikki Giovanni’s Revolutionary Dreams Nikole Hannah-Jones essay from the 1619 Project collection Etymology of “celebrate” and the Nikole Hannah-Jones segments referenced in the episode Caul Birth Bernard Bailyn’s Ideological Origins of the American Revolution PDF of full text  Excellent summary and excerpt of  Ideological Origins of the American Revolution Agitated Podcast, “Kill Whitey”, with special guest George Friday 2019 Interview with Nikki Giovanni
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