Friday, November 03, 2017


Many sides. Many sides. History has become a dodecahedron. Our "President" wanted us to know that after the events in Charlotesville: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides." Not the folks with swastikas calling out for white supremacy. Many sides.
In this life, perspective is everything. Knowing that history tends to be written by the victors is not enough anymore. I live in a city where Columbus Day passed without so much as a phone call to my school's office asking if kids needed to go to school. I am teaching a batch of students whose only memory of "President" is Barack Obama, and they cannot make sense of this scary man who currently shows up on social media mocking and threatening. How did this happen? 
On Monday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said  that a “lack of ability to compromise led to the Civil War” and called the removal of Confederate monuments a “dangerous” scrubbing of history. Describing Robert E Lee, General Kelly went on: “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which, one hundred fifty years ago, was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War. And men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had to make their stand.”
It just so happens that, historically speaking, half of those women and men were standing where their conscience told them that owning other human beings was part of that "faith." When the Civil War was over, there was an amendment passed to our Constitution abolishing that practice. It was one of the first steps in an impossibly long journey that continues today, even after we elected an African American man as President. This journey continues as Houston Texans owner refers to his players as "inmates,"  Meanwhile, there are those who scoff and sniff at comparisons between this kind of thinking and white supremacy and Nazism
There are no statues of Hitler in Germany. He lost the war. It's in the history books. You can read about it. Maybe the problem is that here in the United States, our Civil War continues to drag on. And on. On many sides. I'll just stick with the ones who came up with the idea that all men are created equal. 

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