August 19, 2010

Steve Pomper

Learn from History–warts and all–or Repeat it.

author photo seattle curiosities

We often talk about the differences between the political right and left in America, and those differences are often glaring. One of those differences is an interest in American history—good and bad. Once one reads history, one realizes why the left is so resistant to it, or we find how often they’ve changed or obscured it when they had the chance.

Have you ever read a book and then felt ripped off by your school system, exclaiming: Why the hell didn’t I know this? I have, and continue to every day I read history. The thing is, the left will defend their “history” by saying each side is presenting their point of view, but this is crap. There is too much out there, for those willing to look, that comes from original sources. For example, don’t only read what others wrote about Thomas Jefferson, read what Thomas Jefferson wrote about Thomas Jefferson.

Another example: Why is it that we aren’t taught more about true black history in American schools? Why is it that black history is limited to a few notable figures, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Martin Luther King? Not that these weren’t great people, but there were so many more.

Is it because the left, the progressives, feel if black kids learned in school that they really do have a stake in America, with a real “official” (non-slave) contributive history in earlier times, it would be harder for the left to instill that sense of victimhood in this portion of our society?

While of course the repugnant crime and sin of slavery must be taught, and mustn’t be forgotten, the fact a black man was elected to public office, by his mostly white community, back before America was even an independent republic, should be known too. Warts and all should be our goal with teaching American history. After all, if we don’t teach it all, kids grow up thinking every white person was a bullwhip wielding slave owner and every black person was a beaten person nursing a flesh torn back.

How about the black slave owners? How much do we know about them? What about that ugliness? Does that detract from the suffering of the black masses? No, of course not. But it’s one of the warts we should all know about. Teach history—teach it all.

After the Civil War—after a Republican president had emancipated them—blacks filled the ranks of the South’s state legislatures. That is until Democrats, many in the form of the Ku Klux Klan, used political dirty tricks and outright violence to force these black legislators from office, not to return in significant numbers for more than a century.

The 14th Amendment was needed because Democrats in the South refused to recognize the rights God granted to people, enshrined within the Constitution, now also rightly applied to freed slaves.

This is just one example of how history can teach us what we need to know about our national story, warts and all, in order to continue creating that more perfect union. Don’t take my word for it; do your own searches, discover our history on your own, and as often as possible use original sources. You’ll be amazed at what you discover.

Can you imagine what our nation would be like today if the southern Democrats hadn’t forced those black legislators from their rightful positions? The turmoil and heartache, and sometimes savagery, rendered over the next century might have been at least mitigated, and the crime of slavery better atoned for on a national scale.

This is not simply a diatribe against Democrats; this is an appeal to them to explore not only the warts of America in general, or Republicans in particular, which they seem to have no problems doing, but the significant warts in their own party’s history.


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