It seems like every time I start to research something I already know a little bit about, I find out something else that I don’t think I ever knew and it blows my mind.
Today’s example…My wife works at a museum in a state that is not part of the original 13 colonies. 250 year commemoration, celebration, whatever you want to call it plans are already being talked about. I’ve been listening along with her on webinar sessions talking about different points of view and how people seem to be feeling about it.
Now, since the Covid days of her having MANY webinars at home, this is rare. I learned a lot back then and it was fascinating. But I have to say that some groups of historians (although not always museum historians, just historians in general) are really condescending. I completely understand how frustrating life in this country is for historians as many people don’t care about history until it comes to some mass-produced statue of a civil war traitor that should come down. Suddenly all these amateur historians who never cared about history whine about how “no one cares about history and ripping down statues is robbing us of our history.” BOO FREAKIN HOOOOO. A statue isn’t history. A statue is…a statue. Its removal doesn’t somehow diminish that person’s contribution. But I still find some historians, mainly academics, to be very condescending toward average people. But not my main point of this post…
I was reading a thing about how our state might somehow be tied to this 250 year thing since we aren’t an original 13 colony. (Also, being born in NY made me not even think about how a state wouldn’t feel included. I guess I took it for granted that I was born in an original colony.) But in this document, and several others I kept finding, we essentially went to war with England to preserve slavery as England was starting to question the owning of people.
That’s…not at all what we were taught. NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION! No tea! No stamps!
Then in Virginia, the enslaved could choose to run away from their owners and join British forces in the war. I don’t remember this at all from school teachings, but I do remember it being mentioned when we were on vacation at Colonial Williamsburg.
But my mind keeps backing up to…we fought to keep slavery as part of our independence? 100 years later we would fight again, some to keep slavery as part of American life?
I feel angry about this information. I feel most angry that it wasn’t something we were taught at any level, including college. I feel next-most angry that it seems like these not-so-little ugly details have been stripped away from our collective knowledge and somehow there are people who would rather have our children taught a watered-down version of our history. I feel angry about that too.
Why hide knowledge from anyone that will eventually find out? Anyone who can read can find this information eventually. But this explains banning books and culture wars in our current political landscape. Focus on the non-issues like trans girls playing field hockey next to your sweet baby Jane who couldn’t possibly handle it or flipping out about CRT that doesn’t exist at your local school.
No white people alive today were involved in these decisions nor did any personally own slaves. So why would anyone think they should feel guilty about any of this? No one needs to feel guilty. But that’s no reason to stop teaching it or not start teaching it if it’s “new information.” People get angry when they feel like they’ve been lied to. Or something has been hidden from them intentionally. This all feels intentional and a lot less like information lost over time. I suppose it’s possible that the average colonist had no idea what was going on, since they wouldn’t really have been kept in the loop like the elite. And let’s face it, the Founding Fathers, every single last one of them, would be considered elite. These were not average people. These are land-holding, some slave-owning, large home living elites.
I’m not mad at the average colonists with their dirt floors, just trying to stay alive. I’m mad at the elites over time, the politicians now who are making a living out of “public service” and refuse to accept that we citizens voted them into office. I’m mad that they are self serving and no one is actually looking out for the voters. I’m mad at the voters who refuse to be educated on what’s going on around them and have been fooled into believing that some other ordinary citizen who thinks differently is their enemy. I’m just mad. I want better for my kids and their kids. I am so tired of feeling like we just thrash around, watching the left morons battle the right morons for power.
We give them their power and maybe it’s time to take it away. The only way to do this is together, fellow ordinary citizens!!
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