As we worked in the recording studio, the nearby fireworks popped and boomed in the sky nearby.
After a 10-hour day in the studio of producing the amazing talents of a group of youth bringing together some original music to share to radio, my mind set back to the coming day ahead – Independence Day.
In our family, the day always marked my late mother’s birth, now 91 years earlier, but my folks never let me forget that it stood for something so much more when a group of American patriots gathered, debated and ultimately signed a document to cut our colonial ties with England beginning years of war.
For most of these men, it meant loss, hardships and an uncertain future, but because they made the choice, our country was set on a path to freedom.
We are still a young country in the realm of our world’s history, yet in recent years, it seems many people and groups the align with spend a lot of time reframing history to reflect the lense if today’s experience and thinking. Overseas under the cloud that has risen the last two decades, we have seen terrorists destroy historical places, statues, artifacts, because those that created them did not align with their beliefs. Thousands of years wiped from the face of the earth because of the thoughts of someone today with no respect for those who came before or a desire to learn from their existence.
They judge the actions and thoughts of those set in a different time and place and often in a world we could not even envision living within, condemning them for their place in history sometimes on one aspect of their choices within the bounds of the society in which they survived.
Generations of our ancestors lived in a world in which slavery was the norm, in fact many of our own ancestors, were slaves at some point, whether they were sold into slavery for profit or as the spoils of victory between warring peoples, were born as a serf spending their life toiling for a royal land owner, or became an indentured servant to work off a debt or secure something better years in the future.
In reality, today, there are millions of our brothers and sisters living around the world who are toiling in slavery today, with their lives bartered and sold at the whims of others. Sadly, this is true even within the shadows in our present day America, inside the norms of certain cultures, and in the sex trafficking trade.
Many of us have seen the news or historical reports of millions of people killed in places around the world in an effort to end the existence of a race or tribe of people, a group of people who worship in a particular religion, or people with a different political ideology and national allegiance.
Even within our short-lived history in America, our ancestors have fought wars, skirmishes and battles to win the American continent from native indigenous people and other European powers that dominated various regions and took public policies on our own soil, that resulted in certain people following particular religions, being or certain race or nationality being persecuted or not given equal opportunities.
So, some activists, choose to wipe out the admiration and acknowledgement of millions of past Americans for the contributions of presidents, governors, legislators, scholars, educators, explorers, statesmen, military officers, and just plain folks because they condemn where that person fell on an issue, belief, political alliance or life choice. Unfortunately, now, many of have found themselves in positions of power, whether elected, appointed or hired and they bow to the loud voices of the present ignoring the voices of the millions who came before and choosing to hide away our history. Though in their time they worked and raised monies to erect statues, place monuments to people who in their time and their circumstances were those who moved or changed the world in a positive way.
As a result, we have seen statues moved, monuments destroyed, plaques taken down. At least in our country the activists have not taken on the ‘let’s blow it to kingdom come’ approach we have seen of some of our world’s greatest treasures overseas.
If we revise our history and the people who made it to suit our present prospectives, how will we learn from past mistakes? Our world and all aspects of the human experience were brought forward by flawed individuals. It’s by examining their experiences, their flaws from the modern-day lense, that we are not doomed to repeat the history they experienced. But if we tear down our past, we are simply setting ourselves up for more of the same. Learn from those who came before, don’t judge their actions based on where we are.
If you want to fix something, the same atrocities from the past exist today…. Fix that, if you look close enough, there is a living breathing person who is within your midst who needs the attention to change their life and circumstances. Spend your energies on fixing that, rather than trying to win a victory over those who can no longer speak for themselves.