Monday, July 31, 2017

You Cant Rewrite History, But You Can Write The Future

There's a lot of people in this country who try to rewrite history, as though it didn't happen. I think a better strategy would be to tell history as it actually happened, and if you don't like it, or if you don't like parts of it, to do better so the future's history can be written better.

For instance, I have friends who complain every time they see a confederate flag, or anything that acts as a reminder to the Confederacy. You have people in the South removing statues that have been up since the Civil War of people like General Lee.

Whether you like it or not, this is our history. Our history is one of slavery. It's an unfortunate blemish on our history. But it is our history. And it's not like the United States was the only country to allow slavery, as slavery was a problem around the world.

And it's not like slavery only involved black people as our schools purport to teach our children, as there were black slave owners as well. That's a part of our history that is never told, because the people who teach refuse to tell those truths. They only tell the parts that are convenient to their agenda. So, to think of it that way, the Confederate flag should be "offensive" to whites as well as blacks.

I tell my kids, that when they walk by something from the Civil War, a symbol of the South, such as the Confederate Flag, to not look at it as something bad. Instead, look at it as a reminder that the United States was the only country to  ever outlaw slavery, and it sacrificed 500,000 people in doing so. If not the only, at least the U.S was the first.

I tell my kids, that rather than complain that a person would proudly display a Confederate flag on their truck, be proud of the fact that, only in America, can a person do such a thing. One person can display a flag that you decided is "offensive" to one group of people, and you can do better if you choose to -- and I hope you do.

I can give you one more example of how people in this country try to change history. Ludington has a new Maritime museum. I have never gone there, but my wife and friends say they did, and they were upset that, as you walk through it, you'd think it was a shrine to men. They said they ought to make a room for women.

Certainly, if there were women involved in Maritime in Michigan, or the U.S., that they ought to be remembered by history. However, what if there were no women who played a significant role in this history. Are we just supposed to make it up?

You see, this is the kind of thing, I think, that is bad for the future: the retelling of history like this. I don't like it one bit. If you fill a room full of artifacts of women, then you will then have someone go through it and say, "As I walked through the museum it was as though it were a shrine to white people. They should make a room with memorabilia from black people."

That would be kind of hard to do, because not many black people have lived in Ludington. That's not our fault. It's not the fault even of the people who lived here back then. If you fill the museum up of rooms with stuff just for purposes of diversification, then whose history are you telling? Certainly not our history.

Our history is not a history of white people, or black people, or Muslim people, or men, or women. It is a history of us. tell it as it actually happened. Be as fair as you can. But tell it as it actually happened. Tell the history that was written, whether you like it or not. If you don't like it, make the future a better history.

I think the most important reason for telling history as it actually happened is to make sure we don't repeat the bad stuff. Let's not go back to slavery. Let's not go back to the pre-American Revolutionary days when 90% of people were so trapped under the rule of government that they had no chance of making anything of themselves.

These things changed in America. So, rather than trying to black out the blemishes of our past, we ought to remind our kids of it every day so as not to repeat them. Let's remind them of the Civil War.

Let's remind them there was slavery. Lets have as many artifacts from the Confederacy as possible. Let's have as many artifacts showing what it was like to live in abject poverty in pre-Revolutionary days as possible. Let's remind our kids of these blemishes on our past so as we don't go back to them.

That would be a much better strategy than complaining that there weren't more white sailors on Lake Michigan, or that there exist today people who proudly display a Confederate flag on their truck.

You may not like parts of our history, but you can't rewrite them. Well, you can if you want, and sadly some people want to. A better strategy is to show history as it actually happened, and know that you can write a better future.