Monday, July 6, 2020

What Else is History Hiding?

No doubt, history is written by the winners. Who knows how many cultures have been eliminated or exterminated, without even a footnote in history? I suppose we will never know.

Winners write the history, but sometimes the other story gets told, even if it takes hundreds of years. In some cases, zealots want to rewrite history to support a specific bias. Other times, sincere students of history take a second look at the facts and find that important truths have been conveniently overlooked. 

  • The end of World War II looks much different from a Russian vs. American perspective. 
  • I wonder if anyone really knows what happened at the First Thanksgiving.
  • The great explorer Christopher Columbus had both noble and savage motives in his exploration.
  • The causes of the American Civil War included states' rights, but the rights in question were directly and indirectly tied to slavery.
  • The contributions of African Americans to the progress and culture of our nation are much more significant than I ever knew.
  • The treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government has been horrifying and abusive: from taking land to massacres to forced exile.

These and other shameful episodes in American history don't need to be the lens through which we see America. But they also don't need to be entirely ignored or dismissed. Only when we acknowledge our mistakes can we begin to strive for real justice. We don't need to wallow in the muck of the past, but we dare not excuse it or ignore it.

I do wonder what else history is hiding. I have so much to learn.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

A Fourth to Remember

Our celebrations of freedom today will be remembered.

We have the freedom to assemble, but need to stay apart.

We remember our American heritage, but realize that some experience more freedom than others.

We have had weeks now to learn the history that we never knew: the coup in Wilmington, the massacre in Tulsa, the unfairness of red-lining, the countless stories of the justice system gone wrong. Actually the history has always been there, but we white Americans never wanted to look. I'm sorry that I waited so long to look and listen.

Last night my family watched the musical "Hamilton." It was an amazing blend of uncomfortable history, political drama, and enthusiasm for the American promise of freedom. This show gives me hope that there really are some ideals that all American share and that we can pursue together.

Our nation needs healing, but only after we face truth and care about justice.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Welcome to the Second Half of 2020

I don't need to tell you how bizarre 2020 has been so far. 

So, here are some hopes for the next six months.

I hope there is a football season.
I hope public schools can operate without traumatizing children.
I hope an effective vaccine for COVID-19 is developed by year's end.
I hope that people can gather at concerts, even indoors.
I hope that public places will stop feeling like pathogen breeding grounds.
I hope that families hold onto a greater sense of closeness.
I hope that we can leave behind some of the distractions that we have done without.

And, I hope that we can see better now what really matters.