Is the election over? Can the Republicans rise from the dead?; Last gasp of the Lost Cause; Saving Dorothy’s slippers; What do Ghost stories reveal about our history?

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Is the election over? Maybe not, but we have now reached a point in which no candidate in recorded poll history has ever overcome a deficit like Trump’s.

Speaking of Trump: Talking Points Memo has an interview with a few historians discussing how “Trump has already fouled the American democratic experiment.” From threatening to jail his competitor if he wins (which I actually think many commentators made too much of), to trying to de-legitimize the election results preemptively in case he loses (which I don’t think we have made enough of), Trump has done much to make a mockery of our democratic process. Will there be a long term price even after he loses?

Last night I was watching a 1939 Bob Hope movie, in which someone asked if he believed in people “rising from the dead.” With his perfect timing, the master comedian responded, “you mean like the Republicans?” That’s one of those jokes in an old movie that you can only get if you know the history, but it made me think about current events. We have seen a lot of people commenting lately about how the Republican party will be dead after their defeat in November, but in the 20th century alone the party came back from the grave three times.  I wouldn’t shovel dirt on the GOP just yet.

And speaking of causes rising from the dead . . .

Did you see the one about the Sons of Confederate Veterans breaking ground for a museum in Tennessee that will provide a Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War? Criticizing all the efforts across the nation to discredit the Confederacy, one of the leaders proclaimed, “that is coming to an end,” and rejoiced that their museum “will be out of the reach of the long arm of political correctness. This will be ours.” As far as I am concerned, they can have it. I like my history museums to be based on solid research, interpretations, and facts. Have fun with your little fantasy world, SCV.

As for news from a legit museum: With limited funds coming from Congress, the Smithsonian American History Museum is turning to film buffs and other fans to help conserve Dorothy’s red slippers from The Wizard of Oz. They need $300,000 for the project and a new display case. I’m guessing they’ll get it.

And for my Halloween season posting for today (as if the SCV story wasn’t scary enough): NPR’s All Things Considered has an interview up today with writer Colin Dickey, who has a new book out called Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places. He argues that what our ghost stories are about (and not about), where they come from, and how they evolve, tell us much about our history. For instance, why are there no stories about ghosts of enslaved African Americans in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom?

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