“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell
We can tear down our monuments; eliminate offensive art depicting wars of the past from public buildings; try to whitewash history to fit our agenda; but we will never completely remove the memory of it.
As the issue of taking down monuments and statues has surfaced, we’re faced with a new problem. Are we going to delete our past so we can focus on the future, or are we going to keep the memory alive so that we can learn from it? It’s easy to cover things up and expect them to disappear, but that isn’t reality. Our memories are even more competent than the most sophisticated computers.
We cannot eliminate the memory. It’s not as easy as deleting it from a computer or from the classroom. The human mind will not forget. We are quick to forgive in order to make peace on certain issues, but slow to forget. The ugliness of our past will rear its ugly head and stir emotions again.
We shouldn’t forget!. The fact that African Americans endured great suffering and enslavement will never die. It was a horrible chapter in our history. However, that chapter is over and slavery takes on new forms today. Have we learned anything from the past?
Our involvement in Indian wars to obtain more and more land was a giant black mark on the humanity of America. Are we responsible for that? Did we learn from it? Will we ever learn?
The Constitution of the United States of America, was written by wealthy slave owners – by educated men with high ideals – by those seeking religious freedoms. Do we blame them for their wealth, education and dreams of a better life, or do we learn that without their basic precepts, our country would’ve been a land of lawlessness and chaos?
I used to love watching the History Channel. Unfortunately it has become now more of a reality channel with very little history. Some teachers say that kids aren’t interested in history. Perhaps it’s because they’ve not been given the opportunity to learn it. When we expect little of our students, they usually produce little. When we give them the world, the moon is achievable.
Slowly and insidiously our past is being wiped away – erased from our data banks and soon from our minds. Will they also be taken from the memories that still exist? I hope and pray not.