Dear friends of the Left,
Please stop messing with history. I get that you often advocate for things like changing the names of sports teams, landmark and cultural sites in an effort to be more sensitive to certain segments of our society that have been deliberately ignored or typecast. Honestly, in terms of renaming things so they are no longer using racist tropes, I’m OK with that. But can you please reconsider the damage you’re doing when you go back and do things like rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder award because it turns out she espoused some racist views or language? Can you stop with refusing to teach about Gandhi’s pacifism and non-violent revolution because he was also known as a womanizer and/or a misogynist? Stop trying to paint people’s contributions and successes only as a subtext for their moral or spiritual failures? The evolution of society is defined by the men and women who have come before us. Our language, our proclivities, the way we view the world are all influenced by those that came before. In your effort to apply today’s …let’s call it exuberant socially conscious ideals to the men and women of previous decades and centuries, you are doing a disservice to all of the work and effort that has gone into making our society, our world, a better place than we found it.
People are flawed characters, at best. To deny them that, to refuse to accept that, is to ignore their basic humanity. Worse, to demand that people be held to the standards of our times, despite being the product of another, is disingenuous at the least, absolute fraud at worst. Accept that people can be great, can contribute to the betterment of society, and still be flawed individuals. Note their accomplishments, celebrate their contributions and respect the work and effort, perhaps even the bravery, that allowed them to rise above the circumstances of the times.
Or don’t, and instead render all of our history, all the pain and trials of progress, meaningless and forgotten. It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Well, if we have no history to learn from, we shall certainly endeavor to repeat the worst of it, I promise. Is that the legacy you want to be known for, assuming you’re allowed to be remembered at all?