The President held a political rally last week with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt looking over his shoulder from Mount Rushmore. He said “Our country is witnessing a merciless campaign to erase our history.”
To a certain degree he may be right. But then, how would most folks, the President included, know since they seem to have so little grasp of our history?
For instance, we hear a lot about traitors and treason in regards to people like Robert E. Lee. But in the eyes of the Britsih, was there ever a bigger traitor than George Washington? But wait a minute, how could he be a traitor if he was fighting for the land he loved? Which seems to be to me what Robert E. Lee was doing in the Civil War.
History is like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder. So one person’s hero is another’s villian.
The history of this land we today call the United States is bathed in blood. Violence has been a main stay from day one. Whether trying to run Native Americans from their lands, fighting an invading enemy, burning someone at the stake, or outlaws roaming the countryside, we have been quick to take up arms. This has been especially true for those of us in the south whose ancestors were Scots-Irish, some of the most violent people to ever live.
And while so many are today quick to condemn protestors, what the heck was 1776 all about? George Washington lead a rag-tag army for eight years because we didn’t like the way the King of England was running things.
History is just that. It is what happened yesterday and all the yesterdays before. We are today the sum of all those yesterdays. History can neither be whitewashed or changed. And the constant cry to remove someone from history because of their warts and blemishes is a fool’s mission. Do those calling for such have no warts and blemishes of their own?
History is fascinating. We should learn from it, not use it for some political purpose.
But I think we should be much more concerned about history yet to be made than what may have happened decades ago.