Erasing History

I'm going to jump in the deep end on this one, but it is something that I am very passionate about... history. The recent events in the news sadden me. Should we be attempting to erase history or should we be embracing it to learn from our past? It startled me that so many people didn't even know why the statues were there or what was symbolized. I'll bet that many couldn't even tell me where or why the Civil War started. I know for certain that a particular group didn't know who Robert E. Lee was. How do I know? I wrote a response on the FB page of Fox News (to comments clearly indicating that the writers didn't know their history) and a person replied with a 'that's right go ahead and tear the statues down', it won't change history. The person's comment continued which told me that they didn't even know who Robert E. Lee was or what he did or why he was remembered. Naturally, I replied with a history lesson.

How can people have comments and opinions when they don't even know what they are commenting on or have opinions about?  Easy. They follow the crowd. They don't need to understand or know. They just follow.  They fall into the "this is a just cause" trap and buy into the lie without really understanding what it is all about.  People get hurt or killed and property gets destroyed in the process, but history was not changed or erased.

Our job is to teach history. Teach the facts. Period. It is not our job (as the media seems to believe) to think for our students or sway them. Present the facts. All of the facts. Not just the ones that suit our beliefs, but even the ones that make us stop and question our own opinions.

History isn't pretty. But, it is real. It happened. Burning books, destroying buildings, changing names, and pulling down statues won't change it. We can't make it go away. We can't rewrite history books so that they say what we want them to say. We can learn from our past. We can weigh the information and make informed decisions. We can choose to be educated, rather than ignorant.

Rather than be indignant over a statue or name of a park, we could be doing something about slavery today.  Slavery didn't die in 1865. The detestable practice continues today. It isn't confined to a race. Or a place. It happens in your state. In your country. In our world. Slavery is just as horrific today as it was over 150 years ago. Brothers are still lured by the shiny coin to sell out brothers. Until we get to the heart of the matter and understand the disease, we cannot hope to find a cure.

Before judging or joining a protest, learn the facts. Study history. Know what happened and why. Then, find a way that you can make a difference. Differences are not made through violence or riots or demonstrations. A difference starts in your heart. And your mind.

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