Thursday, June 03, 2021

Where seldom is heard...

 "We can't just choose to learn what we want to know" about our past, Joe Biden said as he became the first president to acknowledge the 1921 race massacre in Tulsa.  "Control the past...and you control the future," the Party puts it more brutally in Nineteen Eighty-four.  Somebody forgot to pass this along to the American Legion post in Hudson, Ohio.

They invited Lt. Col. Barnard Kemter to speak at Monday's Memorial Day event because the retired Army medic is a native of Hudson.  But when he started to talk about the holiday's origins -- how the former slaves of Charleston disinterred the bodies of Union soldiers who had died as prisoners of war and re-buried them in individual graves as "Martyrs of the Race Course" -- his microphone was cut.  This was not what organizer Cindy Suchan had in mind.  This sounded like the newest white nationalist nightmare Critical Race Theory, a plot to make white people feel ashamed of their country.  Nevertheless Colonel Kemter persisted, using his "Army command voice."  Some Ohioans were forced to learn what they didn't want to know, even if it didn't show white people to be criminals like the mob in Tulsa.

All countries do disgraceful things they should regret and, if possible, redress, but this is not to be ashamed, only serious and mature.  In 1988 a law signed by Ronald Reagan recognized the injustice of sending thousands of Japanese and Japanese-Americans to internment camps in 1942, and paid over a billion and a half dollars in reparations to survivors.  More recently, France apologized for its role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which killed 800,000 mostly Tutsi people.  Germany, which is depressingly good at this, acknowledged at last the holocaust it carried out between 1904 and 1908 in what is now Namibia and pledged developmental aid.  Canada has begun to investigate the fate of indigenous children at government schools following the discovery of a mass grave in British Columbia.  Everybody's past stinks.  Some Americans will tell you ours smells like Chanel No. 5 and cut your mic if you argue.  They want us to stand with Turkey and Russia, perpetual victims of other nations' malice.  How many times does Lady America have to lose her innocence before she finally gets to sit at the grownup table?



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