The Absurdity of Policing the past with Today’s Values

Issues such as slavery, racism, women’s rights, and other injustices, have become defining controversies of our nation, and for some, are causing conflicting emotions concerning our origins as a nation.

Does it escape us that these things existed long before the forming of this nation? They are the very issues that our founding fathers were victims of and were fighting against. Over time, as a nation we have greatly improved what these brave, imperfect, geniuses began. We evolved into a nation that “Huddled Masses” could come and partake of regardless of their origins. We became the greatest opportunity in history for equality and liberty, until we weren’t anymore.

The day that our first black president was sworn into office, I gathered my children and prepared them for this pivotal, historical, occasion. I did not vote for him, but It was still a moment to be celebrated by every American. I passionately explained to them the struggle that black Americans endured and what an amazing day it was that we, as a nation could finally overcome our past of racial inequality and that we were headed in an amazing direction.

Prior to this great “Melting Pot” moment, there were things that still needed to be addressed, but we were headed in a positive direction. Ironically and disappointingly, we decided to dig up the past, remove all context, and accuse and defame the very framers that gave their lives to get this process rolling. We have cancelled the momentum that we had achieved.  

How can we hold people from the past to a standard that has taken us centuries to evolve into, and are still evolving? At the forming of our nation, the entire world was strongly separated by race, religion, and class. Most were deprived of what we consider to be, the most basic of human rights. Can we accuse people with racism and injustice in a time and place in history where multiculturalism had not yet existed? How is that even logical?

We must put these imperfect people into context with the time period that they lived. To free others, you must first free yourself and arise from the oppressive nature which usually only enables you to think of survival. Over time, we, because of them, have achieved a level of liberty that has never existed.

I am thankful for those who took their liberty and chose to actively pursue liberty for others. I am, however, disappointed with those who use their liberty to punish, defame, and accuse the very framers and their decedents (privileged) who got us this far in the first place. It is absurd. Those founders did not create injustice, but they certainly did a lot to empower this great nation to destroy it.

If you add all the context back into the story of real history, their behaviors make perfect sense. Obviously, we will not completely identify or have the same moral values, but to remove all context and try to measure them by today’s standards which we wouldn’t even have, had it not been for them is absurd.

(And because I know what you are thinking concerning native Americans)

We charge European immigrants of yesterday with ruining the lives of native Americans by coming here to pillage the land for gold. This sounds so much like those today, who don’t want immigrants coming here, taking our jobs, etc. Most came here escaping, extreme poverty and oppression and had no other options, just like immigrants of today. There was no sinister plan to ultimately, change the face of a nation. There is no sinister plan to change a nation today, at least not by immigrants, but it will change. It is Ironic that if you were a liberal then, you would be taking the opposite view today, and vice-versa.

I am by no means dismissing the unspeakable atrocities committed by greedy politicians and powerful people against the Native Americans.  I am pointing out the obvious hypocrisy of embracing immigrants today but prosecuting the huddled masses of yesterday? Huddled masses are huddled masses. They may change the face of a nation, but can we really blame them for coming? If we don’t seek to understand context, and continue to gobble up snippets of half-truths, we are headed for our demise.

If you delve into our past and try to search for context, you will find a tangled web of issues and conflicts that are not black and white and cannot be measured or resolved by today’s values, which have evolved over time. Judging the past with the values of today is absurd.

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