The Power of Knowing History

I am reading Readers Digest’s  The American Presidents. It is an older edition and only goes up to Clinton but I am fascinated by all those who came before. Strangely, reading history in this way is lightening the dark mood I was in as I watch what seems to be a disintegration of our democracy. Thomas Jefferson is still my favorite president and, so far, Andrew Jackson is my least favorite. I can’t tell you how much he reminds me of our current president and, strangely, Trump called Jackson a great man. I don’t know if he said that about any other of our past presidents.

What I find interesting is what historians are always telling us…that history repeats itself. I have heard that a sure sign of insanity is when a person does the same thing over and over again and expects different results. By this definition, the United states is insane. And you would think that reading about this cycle of events, decisions, and consequences, my dark mood would darken further. But I see as I read that within those cycles were some very positive places. We always seemed to come back to the original revolutionary beliefs of the founders. I guess we just don’t fully believe that a democracy by the people and for the people can really work. They are given the power and then it is taken it back again, over and over again. But there are still those moments of light, moments that make me happy to be an American.

I am watching with interest the movement for sensible gun control started by the Parkland students. I am impressed by how informed and articulate are these young leaders as they take their case to Congress and to the American people. It reminds me of the abolitionists before the civil war. Lincoln’s early solution was to allow slave states to remain slave states while all other states and any new states will be free. The abolitionists would have nothing to do with this. Slavery is wrong and ending it was the only solution that would make them put down their signs and go home.

I think these young people are just as committed to their cause and the abolitionists were to theirs. I am happy to say the that the abolitionists, in the end, had their way. The Parkland students will have their way, too. I feel my dark mood fading away.

 

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One Response to The Power of Knowing History

  1. Charles Nelson says:

    We adults need to find ways to support these “Young Lions” in additioin to holding their coats.

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