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CNN: Linville on Pickett Bridge, Hate Crimes and Homelessness

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Cascadia News Now is a weekly, hour-long civics program hosted by local journalists Stephanie Kountorous, Dave Willingham and Tim Johnson of the Cascadia Weekly, airing Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Sundays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. Monday on KMRE 102.3 FM, Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Thursdays at noon on KAVZ, 102.5 FM Van Zandt WA. It is produced at the KMRE studios in downtown Bellingham.

This week, Cascadia News interviews Mayor Kelli Linville on the name of the Pickett Bridge, discusses recent Whatcom hate crimes, Camp Zapata and workers fired from Sarbanand, homelessness and more.

About Cascade News

Writer and Editor • Member since Aug 04, 2017

This account is a function of Northwest Citizen, and is not associated with any person. - John Servais

Comments by Readers

Doug Karlberg

Aug 30, 2017

Great interview. Comprehensive answers with the abilty to hear the tone which helps communicate in ways that dry words on paper sometimes fails to.

This simple and normally unimportant issue concerning Pickett is really important today. We have the opportunity to set and example of how we handle controversial issues, loaded with a wave of national emotion,  and partisanship. Leadership will show our tolerance for critical thinking here in Whatcom County. Do we blindly jump on the band wagon without thinking and gathering facts first before taking action?

I hope so. Taking down the sign, and then gathering the facts is the reverse order of public process. It is minor though. I see a national wave and then Bellingham’s quick reaction without fact gathering. This is a bad start. I also see too many people with strong opinions, that then admit they are not experts on George Pickett. This is a red flag, and a trap for community leaders weighing on this issue.

You see, when a community commentor,  journalist, or politican comes out with strong opinions prior to getting the unbiased facts, they then must pray. “Dear Lord let the facts bear out my hasty opinion, so that I don’t end up looking like an idiot”

Clearly, Mayor Kelly and Cascadia Tim are feeling the butterflys which preceed deep prayer, and are backing down a little, awaiting the facts to arrive. This is an excellant instinct when it comes to George Pickett. He was a complicated man, and the truth will surpise all.

It appears from her tone Stephanie wants to double down. The nefarious tone she presents when she speaks about Picketts marriage is an especially juicy target. I have read the historical accounts of George Pickett’s marriage to a First Nations woman from Canada. Not one single bit of historically credible evidence exists Pickett did anything except love her. In fact there is not much reliable evidence about their relationship but reading between the lines without facts, is simply a way to make an argument without evidence. This is a weak argument and and a trite way to demonize someone who cannot defend themselves. Pickett learned the Indian language and had good relations with local tribes. What does a fella have to do? Additonally the US government treatment of Indians caused Pickett some soul searching.

Uh oh!

We are left with this argument that is simply this: Pickett was a Confederate and betrayed his country. Lest I ignore my logic creds perfected at Fairhaven College, let me point out that if the South had won, Pickett would have been considered a patriot, and Ulysses Grant a traitor.

Technical point, but I had to make it. To gain context I can tell you a couple of important things about Pickett that is factual. Pickett decided to defend his native Virginia if it came to war. This is not unusual for the time, as loyalty to your State was common during this time.

Here is what is fascinating. Pickett never once mentions slavery. In fact Pickett decided to defend his home state of Virginia before Virginia decided which side it was going to be on. Pickett like many soldiers then and today eshewed politics. Virginia was on the fence. The State was split. West Virginia seceded from Virginia over the issue of slavery. Virginia originally decided to not secede from the union. Later it changed its mind with a vote of the people. In Virginia 25% of the people voted against secession. How did Pickett vote? It matters if one is going to present Pickett as a symbol of rascism Not once can I find in Picketts letters any condition on defending Virginia, involving their stand on slavery. And there are a lot of letters. Surely if was a strong poponenet of slavery we should have read about it in his letters. i cannot find it. Can you? It may be there. but I have not found it.

Unfortunately there is a lot of history published which is rubbish. The key to finding the historical rubbish is historical reviews. Historians are pretty harsh on lazy or biased rewrites of history. What I have written above is based upon the book “General George E. Picket in life and legend”. This book is availible in Google books and his early life leading up to the Civil War only takes twenty minutes of reading and is probably more historically accurate than any local historian. This book has been peer reviewed by other historians.

In these partisan and racially charged times, we are sending a message by how we deal with controversy in Whatcom County. Facts based or emotions based.

I love comments including what I get wrong. I will admit my errors with grace. (Hopefully)

Fair warning though if you have to resort to labeling me a rascist without knowing me. I will fry all the hair off your butt publicly. I take the ‘racist” label very personally.