Friday, February 23, 2024

Buffalo and other nonsense

In My Opinion


There is a video making the rounds on Facebook about how the Army and white settlers once killed as many buffalo as they could in order to punish Native Americans who depended on the bison for food and clothing. There is undoubtedly some degree of truth in the story but it is entirely irrelevant to modern American life.

There are other stories about how we intentionally gave Indians blankets that were infected with smallpox in an effort to commit genocide. That one always baffles me because I am unclear how the evil white men who handled those blankets were able to escape infection themselves. This occurred before we had immunization for smallpox.

I don’t doubt that we passed smallpox and other diseases to Native Americans but it was more likely the result of ignorance about how disease was passed than an intentional plan of biological warfare.
More importantly why are these stories even important today? Have we not made progress in our efforts to become a more just and enlightened society?

It seems to be a part of our human condition that we need to wallow in guilt regardless of whether we have individual culpability or not.

In another Facebook post I saw one critic of American life challenge current immigration policy with WWJD? In other words, “What Would Jesus Do?” It’s a fair question although I doubt the individual using it actually had a very deep understanding of the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus also said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Luke 6:41) In other words, make sure your own house is clean before you criticize others.
In a free society we are exposed everyday to many false and twisted premises. We must all get better at challenging these misleading and often meaningless stories. History has much to teach us but it is only useful if we can separate the evil intentions from the good ones.

Today we are often confronted with a number of media outlets and political leaders that either twist the truth to fit their own personal agenda or just don’t understand the issues well enough to see the real truth.
We are also victims of our need for instant clarity. Too often complicated issues like the negotiations with North Korea are reported on by people who either have little or no understanding of the issues, or by people who have failed at successfully addressing the problem in the past.

I am hopeful that President Trump has begun a process that will ultimately make the world a safer place. I hope he has begun a process that will result in a better quality of life to the people of North Korea. Unfortunately, it will be decades before we see the true results.

Let’s not focus on the mistakes and missteps of previous generations but on the successes that have resulted in improving our quality of life.

America is the shining house on the hill. The symbol of hope to many, but we cannot take on all of the world’s poor and disenfranchised. We must find ways to inspire other world leaders that building a caring and tolerant society is a much better course to becoming a revered leader.

It is far past time we got over wallowing in those parts of our history that no longer define us. It is time we celebrated the contributions our free society has brought to a warring and conflicted world.
America has far more to be proud of than ashamed of.


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