I was listening to Levi Lusko as he talked about “You Have a New Memory.” He talked about just how tricky memory is. How bad can be good? And good can be bad. How dangerous forgetting our past is.
I am disturbed about all these historical statues being taken down as if they were bad memories of the past. How dangerous forgetting or denying the holocaust ever happened is. Yes, we may want to forget and deny that embarrassment, but should we?
We need the past to remember how to struggle through hard times. The history of how our American pioneers struggled to live here in Colorado. No doctors. No King Soopers. No Walmarts. You grew it, you made it, or you fixed it if you were to survive. You didn’t; you die.
We need the past to remember how we made things better. We need to remember that even in the years of slavery (which, by the way, was throughout world history up to our Civil War, which by then, the world was against mistreating and using other people against their will) We, together, stopped that slavery. That ownership slavery finally died. Now it’s mind slavery as in human trafficking, social media, and drugs. But we can beat that, too, because we did before. Because we remember the past and now we can change to make things better…and want to.
We need the past the remember not to do things. Remember momma’s spanking, daddy’s harsh correction? Remember how it felt to be called names in school? Remember that bully? Remember that speeding ticket you had to pay and confess to mom and dad or wife? Remember all those…..moments? Yeah, that embarrassment or misery made us NOT want to do or experience that again. We did not want to go through any of that again because we remembered what it was like last time. So, we became kinder, more respectful, considerate. Memory and the past help us be better and stronger.
They say that in good times, we read stories or watch movies about horror and struggles that could happen today or in the future. But in bad times, we read historicals, biographies, or watch movies about the past because – well they made it though so maybe we can too. Reading about pioneers living off the land, dealing with horrible times as holocaust victims, the lives of slaves, we realize we do not want to endure what they did. Thus, appreciate what we now have and strive not to let that happen again…to anyone.
So, through learning and keeping our history, we can make this a better world for our children. Make a better future because we learn from their mistakes …as well as their successes. We are smarter and better because of history.
I think this is why I love writing historical fiction. I have to see what happened then, find all its faults and its good times along with its humor and its sorrow. Threw this lens, hopefully, by reading and learning the past is good for all of us. It gives us hope. So please do not take down our history…anyone’s history. It’s valuable.