William Jennings Bryan statue, 9.30

The William Jennings Bryan statue is now housed at the Nebraska National Guard Museum, and spent the past few weeks covered up in advance of Friday's dedication.

A glance at Washington and the state of American politics today suggests there's not going to be a sequel to Profiles in Courage anytime soon.

Both sides head to their partisan bunkers while some cable news networks and talk radio hosts act as cheerleaders, lobbing missiles for each side.

Most elected officeholders choose hesitant and cautious over brave and bold.

Ambition and fear find one another.

And silence finds a home.

* * *

Let's tread carefully here.

It's an honor for William Jennings Bryan to be saluted for his military service by having his statue relocated from Statuary Hall in the nation's Capitol to the Nebraska National Guard Museum in Seward.

But for the long-term, perhaps beginning in a couple of years, Bryan really ought to be brought back home to Lincoln where he lived and worked and became a truly historic political figure.

Three times a nominee for president of the United States.

And Bryan was an especially historic U.S. secretary of state, who resigned that office in protest as the United States moved to the brink of entry into World War I.

His oratorical skills and participation in the Scopes Trial that focused the nation's attention on a dramatic dispute over the teaching of evolution add flavor to Bryan's story.

You don't have to agree with him or his politics — that ought to have nothing to do with this — to know that Bryan belongs out there on Centennial Mall in his home town, where former Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler suggested that he could be relocated. 

Nothing against Seward or the National Guard Museum, but it's hard not to notice that he and his story are going to be comparatively hidden by sending him there.

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Out of sight compared to being on public view outdoors near the Capitol in Lincoln. Forgotten more than remembered.

Bryan was more than a member of the Nebraska National Guard.

* * *

Finishing up:

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* Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue, whose constituents include military personnel stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, says she'll seek approval of legislation next year providing for a Veterans Bill of Rights designed to address the needs and challenges faced by U.S. veterans.

* Bob Kerrey will be back in his hometown and at his alma mater on Thursday to address University of Nebraska College of Law students.

* The UNL Define America Chapter delivered petitions to the Lincoln offices of Sen. Ben Sasse and Sen. Deb Fischer last week in support of legislation that would protect the legal status of young DACA residents and provide a pathway to citizenship while also protecting other immigrants who had previously enjoyed protected status.

* One of President Donald Trump's biggest applause lines at his rally in Minneapolis last week was his sharp criticism of resettlement of refugees in the United States, and particularly Somali refugees — especially Rep. Ilhan Omar — who relocated in Minnesota.  

* Used to think the big challenge in our elections was the uninformed voter; now I think it's the misinformed voter who believes things that are not true.

* Sasse is seventh on a Washington Post list of potential 2020 Republican presidential nominees if President Trump were to be removed from office.  Vice President Mike Pence naturally heads the field; Sasse ranks just ahead of John Kasich and Mike Pompeo and just behind Jeff Flake.

* The U.S. Census Bureau will open a Nebraska Area Census Office in Lincoln this week, signaling the approach of the 2020 U.S. census.

* The Big Ten is a lineman's league.

* And MLB post-season baseball is here to save the day. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.


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