At a time when millions of Americans are suffering amidst the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey other issues seem so trivial, politics, for most of us, is petty in the shadow of such human tragedy. Yet the heroism of so many in the face of this disaster is serving as a reminder of what America is all about, and the bravery of the average American, the kind of bravery shown by those that came before us and gave us this great country.
America, like every other nation and people of this world, has made mistakes. But white-washing our history will not change it, it will not undo a single thing that happened in the past. What it will do is create generations of ignorant Americans with no understanding of our history and how we became the nation that we did. And you know what they say, those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it; how can anyone learn from a history that has not only been altered, but erased? The rewriting of history began many years ago, not only that, but our schools no longer teach civics as they used to. The lack of knowledge among younger generations is scary, I still find myself in shock every time I watch one of those clips of journalists asking people questions on the streets or in public areas regarding basic knowledge that any middle school kid used to be able to answer, but so many of today’s adults cannot.
The civil war has been reduced to an issue of racism, those that were taught the truth, what really happened, are dying off and leaving current and future generations with misinformation they assume is reality. I believe the hysteria we are witnessing today with the removal of flags, monuments and names related to the civil war era is a direct result of the teaching of altered history and the lack of teaching of civics, what our constitution says and what all of that means for each and every American. The true nature of our nation and its form of governance is right there in the name, the United States of America. We are a group of sovereign states united for larger purposes such as common defense, infrastructure and trade. The constitution is very specific as to the limited power and authority held by the federal government, and states that any authority not specifically granted to the federal government is held by the several states.
That is what the civil war was truly about, the South was not simply fighting and dying because they wanted to keep their slaves, they risked their lives for the sovereignty of their states. Based upon census data from 1860, only 4.9% of people in the slave holding states owned slaves, and 19.9% of family units in those states owned slaves. No normal person is going to condone slavery, however, the fact of the matter is that slavery has been a part of human history for thousands of years and blacks were by no means the only people ever enslaved. Remember your world history; the Hebrews, the Jews, the Irish? Not to mention the fact that, according to John Thornton and Linda Heywood of Boston University, it is estimated that 90% of Africans shipped to America to be sold were enslaved by Africans. Again, we are not condoning the slavery that took place in America, nor or we trying to make excuses for such a human atrocity, but there is plenty of blame to go around and none of it belongs on the back of any American living today.
Abraham Lincoln is often hailed as the President who saved our Union, what he really did was to step way outside the bounds of our constitution and pave the way for the massive and overreaching federal government we are saddled with today. Had the federal government stayed out of the issue, slavery would have been abolished nationwide and the sovereignty of the states would have stayed in tact, at least for some time longer than it did. The liberal left is claiming that symbols of the South and those that fought on the side of the South in the civil war are offensive and therefore should be removed, by that reasoning, most symbols of our history should be removed as it would be difficult to find any symbol or person in our history that did not do something that negatively impacted some portion of the people of this nation. What about the Lincoln Memorial? The actions of Lincoln led to the expansion of federal powers, the effects of which most of us are burdened by today.
The good, the bad and the ugly, it is all a part of our history and if we alter it, white-wash it and/or erase it altogether current and future generations will not learn from the mistakes of the past or from the successes of the brave men and women that came before us. No individual, and therefore no group of people, is perfect or without flaws, we cannot simply erase from history every person or event that may show those flaws or we will have no history at all.