Tag Archive: history

The current state of GOP ethos towards teaching history is intentionally harmful. If you teach history based on ‘differing perspectives,’ rather than facts, because facts make people feel bad, and it’s all about feelings – then everything becomes irrelevant.

If you teach ‘excuses’ then no one wants to do better.

And the GOP doesn’t want to do better. They want to make history irrelevant so that no one learns from it. They see that kind of ignorance as a path to regaining and retaining power. And that is absolutely all they care about – power.

History isn’t supposed to be about ‘feelings.’ History is supposed to be an accurate retelling of events. If that retelling makes one feel bad, then maybe that teaches the person learning it a lesson, no?

Through the teaching of history, we learn where we came from. We learn about past mistakes made by societies, including our own, that had harmful consequences. And some of us actually try to learn from it so we don’t make those mistakes again. Because history has some painful lessons folks need to learn so that they can do better in the future.

How many Germans growing up in Germany today had to come to grips with the fact that their ancestors were likely members of the Nazi Party? They don’t shy away from teaching the horrors of the Holocaust in Germany just because little Greta may feel bad that her great grandpa helped set a Synagogue on fire. They teach her about her nation’s past, and all the horrors, so that her generation and those that follow, don’t repeat what her great grandfather’s generation did. They learn all about what their ancestors did in the Holocaust.

And PS: every child in Germany knows exactly who Hitler was, who his generals were, and what they did, without ever seeing one statue on public grounds or one Nazi flag flying anywhere in the country.

My apologies to the snowflakes who are sad that their kids have to learn the facts about what this country has done in its past – to slaves, to indigenous peoples, to Jews, to Chines immigrants, to every ‘other’ that has come to our shores whether voluntarily, or not – because maybe if we taught history accurately, we wouldn’t continue to do the same damned thing every time we have a wave of new immigrants.

The GOP wants to teach ‘opposing views’ because they fear white kids may feel bad? Oh cry me a flipping River.

How about instead we teach, accurately, how every wave of immigration has been treated by this country? I remember being taught THAT perspective in HS – that despite what is written on the base of the Statue of Liberty, every wave of immigrant ever to hit these shores was treated horribly – Irish, Italian, Russian, Jewish, Chinese…

Truth be told, being treated poorly when your ancestors came here may be the one thing that unites anyone who wasn’t an original settler here.

The idea of the ‘other’ being the cause of your life sucking has been a scapegoat used by those in power forever. It’s how so many in Germany were led to turn on their neighbors, and the GOP is only the latest power hungry group of assholes using that concept now to distract their base from the reality that they themselves are the cause of their own damned problems.

And don’t even get me started on how, until relatively recently, women, regardless or race or religion, were treated in this country. Should we teach opposing view points on how it was okay for women to have zero autonomy or rights, even as early as fifty years ago? You know, because heaven forbid little boys should feel bad that girls were treated like property in this country back when their grandparents or parents were growing up?

We can still love this country and take pride in the process we have made, while learning about the bad things we did in the past. Because learning about these things that make us ‘feel bad,’ is how we ensure we do better and continue to evolve as a society. And real love is understanding all the flaws, and seeing all the improvements and wanting to do better.

History should be taught accurately, no matter how much reality hurts. It’s the only way people learn. If we don’t learn, we, as a society, are screwed.

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it..

-George Santayana

For the past week or so I have been seeing many Holocaust remembrance posts, like the one below, in my Facebook feed. We are urged to “Never Forget.” I wonder, however, if the people posting these remembrances truly understand what it means to “never forget.” As a Jew, whose grandfathers lost everyone they loved to Hitler and his henchmen, I feel as though the adage of “never forget” isn’t just a battle cry of “we’ll never let this happen to us again.” It is, or should be, I believe, more of a call to all those who have a unique understanding of the kind of devastation that hate, fear and anger can wreak on an entire group of people, simply because they are different, to never let this happen again – To anyone.

I believe, we should strive to learn from history. Never forget what happened. Never forget HOW it happened. Never forget that it happened because one man spewing hate-filled rhetoric chose a few minorities to use as a scapegoat to rally together a nation searching to regain its former ‘greatness’ into thinking it was okay to murder millions of men, women and children. It happened because a frightened and angry populous bought into that rhetoric because it was easier to believe that these minorities were the cause of all that ailed their country than the idea that they themselves were to blame for their misery.

In Hitler’s Germany it was the Jews, the Gypsies, the homosexuals and the infirm who were punished for the crime of not being “true” Germans  – even if they were born in Germany – even if their families had lived there for generations, fought in their wars and contributed to their society. The violence and hatred towards these minorities then fueled the German populous to be rid of these ‘inferior’ beings, not just those in Germany, but all over the world.

This violence and murder was fueled by one man’s quest for power – Nothing more and nothing less. This man spoke to the most base of the populous. To some, he spoke the gospel. He spoke to their deep seeded bigotry. Anti-Semetism has been around for ages. It still is. But there was a larger population of Germans who didn’t hate Jews.  They had friends who were Jews. Some of their children had married Jews. No one believed that this funny little man with the funny little mustache would ever really make good on his promise to get rid of the Jews. But little by little, like a cancer, the hatred spread. People were scared. People were hungry. People needed a scapegoat. Hitler gave them the Jews. People came to his rallies, enthusiastically cheering him on as he promised to “Make Germany Great Again.” There were even, despite all the evidence that he’d not be good for them, Jews who supported him.

All it took was one man who knew how to speak to the anger and restlessness of a country full of people who felt they deserved better, for no other reason that their prominent history dictated it, to cause the Holocaust.

The thing is, most people who have studied history KNOW all of this. We can look back and talk about Hitler and why and how he managed to get the German people, and many people from countries he conquered, to go along with his diabolical plans. And we swear, we’ll never let it happen again.

Each year we, the descendants of the survivors of that nightmare, swear to never forget. But I see way too many of these same descendants  allowing themselves to be swept up in hatred and rhetoric spewed against minorities in this country. I see the same people who post ‘never forget,’ regurgitate hate-filled rhetoric, reminiscent of all the anti-semetic propaganda of Nazi Germany, in reference to other minorities. These same people whose parents and grandparents suffered due to the ignorance and hatred of others seem to have no problem blaming others for their own misfortune and the supposed disintegration of ‘American exceptionalism.’

We should never forget. But more importantly, we should never allow it to happen to anyone else. Just because this time the hatred isn’t directed at us, (for the moment anyway), doesn’t make it any less heinous or any less dangerous. If we do nothing, we have learned nothing. We HAVE forgotten.  And this time? We are no better than the hapless Germans who didn’t hate the Jews, they just didn’t care enough to help them. This means this time, we would have to share the blame.

I’m not okay with the idea that a generation or two from now, I will have to answer for the crimes I permitted to happen because my people didn’t learn from their own history. I don’t want blood of the innocent on my hands.

You may laugh at my profound dislike of a certain presidential candidate. You may think he’s a joke or see his rhetoric and proposals as impossible. You may think his followers are no more than a bunch of ignorant morons who still hold KKK meetings.

And while it can be amusing to laugh at Donald Trump and his idiotic supporters, just remember, folks laughed at Hitler once too.


First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. – Pastor Martin Niemoller