Monday, February 28, 2011


One of the things I've noticed as I've grown older is that events happened in the distant past, counterintuitively seem more recent and pertinent. When i was in high school, it seemed that anything happened before the Kennedy assasination was in a different world. Now I can not only see clearly the ways we're still "fighting the civil war" but, in the current populations of the western Hemishpere, see the results of migration patterns that were laid out in the fifteen hundreds.

This perspective is helpful because it helps remind us that things we now all agree are "unthinkable" like slavery and naziism are really NOT all that far removed from our current era. We're still nowhere near as civilized as we give oursleves credit for.

1 comment:

Lise said...

It's amazing how the context of "recent" and "history" changes as we get older. One of the many benefits of aging.

I've been feeling the same way lately as I contemplate our "intervention" in Libya.

The U.S. has a long and inglorious history of military intervention in countries and their governments where our economic interests are at stake. Clearly in conflict with our desire to spread democracy throughout the world.

It seems as if the last "justifiable" war was WWII, and even then we still have to deal with the unjustifiable consequences of our nuclear attack on Japan.

Most of all I am simply sick and tired of the U.S. military solution to complex international issues to be the bombing of some other country.

It is my proximity in age to WWII that makes me so keenly aware of the consequences, the fear of having bombs dropped on our country, the terror inflicted on the victims, as recorded from WWII. London, Berlin, Tokyo. etc.

This was made part of my consciousness as soon as I was old enough to comprehend. By my parents, quite deliberately, and simply be being in school, where regular drills were held in preparation for such attacks. At age six, I scanned the sky, apprehensive of every airplane that flew overhead.

Awareness of the consequences of our military actions for the innocent is something that seems to be missing from the national perspective. "They're better off", and the cost is worth it, as long as it's paid for in the live of others.