Tri-City Ledger -

By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Can't bury truth by burying history


June 11, 2020

Taking down confederate monuments don't change history. Changing the names of colleges doesn't change history. Taking Elmer Fudd's gun away from him won't slow down gun violence.

We can't bury the past by taking down signs of the past.

I remember when I was in school and really didn't understand why I was taking a history class. We all had them and had to remember all those dates and who did what.

More than one teacher told my classmates and me that you study history for several reasons. You study history because if bad things happen you don't want them to happen again. In many instances, you don't want history to repeat itself but you can't stop it from repeating itself if you never learned it in the first place.

We can't erase the fact that the majority of the south was in the confederacy. We can't erase the fact that there was a time in our nation that we enslaved blacks. We can't erase the fact that most of the black slaves sold to white slave owners were sold by other blacks.

Do you think taking down the statute of Admiral Raphael Semmes, which has stood in downtown Mobile for 120 years changes history? You can bet the name will come off of the Admiral Semmes Hotel in short order.

We shouldn't try to erase history, we should embrace it; teach it and learn from it.

Why do think so many military generals and strategists study the history of war? They don't want to make the same mistake twice. They dissect what worked and what didn't work.

Redd Foxx once told a joke that he didn't see the need to learn about history and asked how it would help him in a brick fight.

I think we always live our lives looking back at the history of our lives, the history of our friends' lives and the history of our family's lives.

Like those military generals, we look at things we've all done, we've looked at things others have done and we learn from those things. We learn the good, the bad and the ugly. We learn those things to not make the same mistake twice and we learn to see better ways to do something.

As Gomer Pyle said 'fool me once, shame on you, fool we twice, shame on me'.

We are at a major crossroads in this country in the wake of the protests and violence over the death of George Floyd. We are at a major crossroads in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of our best medical experts went back to the history book to study the Spanish Flu of 1918 that showed social distancing would slow the spread of this new virus.

We need to embrace, not bury history. History won't simply vanish because we hide it. It's like the lyrics in the song 'Rose Colored Glasses' that say 'But these rose colored glasses that I'm looking through show only the beauty 'cause they hide all the truth'.

The truth is we have a racial problem in this country – you can look through any colored glasses you want to and you can't hide that fact.

History won't change by removing confederate monuments; history won't change by hiding from the truth.

We all want to see the good, but you've got to see the bad to understand the difference between good and evil.

You can bet that what we learned with the COVID-19 pandemic will be used to help curtail another virus outbreak. What we learn about the current protests will bring change, hopefully positive change.

Looting, shooting cops and burning down businesses aren't the way to bring about positive change.

Change begins with open communications, not fire bombs. But we've become so politically correct people are scared to open their mouths in fear they will insult someone. You can't have honest communications when you put a muzzle on the conversation. You can toss out that old saying about 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me'. You can get over a broken bone, but say the wrong word and you can be ruined for life. That's sad.


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