Good Friday morning!
I thought the hysteria surrounding ‘the statues’ gripping the nation would dissipate. But it seems to be picking up steam, instead.
So, now we’re talking about changing the name of historic Faneuil Hall in Boston. Because back in seventeen hundred and something or other, one mister Peter Faneuil, whoever he was, owned slaves.
This sudden idea of removing all confederacy symbols is liberal hysteria gone amok.
There is a movement in India, thankfully a tepid one for now, to diminish the stature of Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru from the public space. They were ‘too British’, attended Oxford, and were not ‘Indian’ enough. And I guess Gandhi beat his wife once. There’s conversation regarding the removal of Gandhi’s face from the Indian Rupee notes.
Come on. On Gandhi’s tiny shoulders, stands the expansive Republic Of India.
A diminutive man from a rural fishing village on the Western Indian Coast, MKG, stood down an empire, with just the highest moral certitude as his compass, and an utterly devout faith as his guide.
The one who declared, “we have come four hundred years with the British, and when they leave, I want us to be friends”, (and we are), needs to remain where he is. As the Father Of The Nation.
Heck, there’s a statue of him in the town of Sherborn, Massachusetts.
I, for one, (don’t yell at me!) am of the opinion that colonialism was good for India. The Portuguese, The Dutch, The French, and finally The British. The most extensive railway in all of Asia aside, who can forget the Rosario’s Bakery in Kottayam? 😊
My life in America is the purposeful result of the twin documents, The Declaration Of Independence and The US Constitution.
The men who penned them should be revered, not vilified for their shortcomings. Slaveholders or not.
Superior intellect of a man, Thomas Jefferson, who affirmed that God has endowed each of us with the right to pursue our own brand of happiness, should get his own pedestal.
General George Washington, who led his troops against the same mighty Empire where the sun never set, and won a revolution, should get our esteemed affection.
We cannot and must not re-write history to suit the current winds.
The documents these men wrote are living ones. So even as Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘all men are created equal’, in time (a long time, perhaps), it was amended to mean, ‘all men and women’.
What does it all have to do with our daily grind?
Just a quick reading of a sliver of The Constitution affirms that, in order for a policeman to enter our homestead, he needs to carry a search warrant issued by a judge.
This brilliant concept arose in 1215, the year the Magna Carta was written.
In those ways and days of the English monarchs, All The King’s Men could barge into any home, at any time, and do whatever that pleased them.
Jefferson in his infinite wisdom, wanted to assure that the common man was protected against this sort of blatant tyranny.
It’s a historical fact that TJ almost wrote ‘property’ instead of ‘liberty’ in the famed lyrics, ‘Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness’.
He declared ‘A man Is The King Of His Castle’, that no one can encroach upon.
We once had a neighbor, the most wonderful kind, Peter Olsen. He had a little girl who’d have to take the school bus every day to the Peter Noyes Elementary, from right in front of our house.
One day, before Courtney started school, Beth Olsen walked over to our house, and literally asked for our permission for Courtney to cut clear across our yard to the bus stop, instead of walking on the well-trafficked Pelham Island Road. A courteous gesture, I’ll never forget.
All extra-ordinarily gifted and men and women come with serious flaws in their character, blemishes in direct proportion to their genius.
‘Shakespearean Flaws’ is the nomenclature for it. Shakespeare’s Hamlet was such a character. And The Bard studied, knew and predicted human behavior to a T.
Or as Isaac newton would say, ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’. 😉
Maurya Dynasty’s Samrat Ashoka, the grandest emperor of the ancient Indian Subcontinent, who planted shade trees and erected load-easing edifices along weary travelers’ roadways in BC 250, is known to have killed countless numbers of people in war, before he had an ‘Apostle Paul-like’ conversion and found Dharma Margam.
King David committed the most egregious sin against man and God, and Jews celebrate him as the most luminous King Of Judah ever lived.
Biblical Patriarch Abraham kept slaves, and yet he’s called the Father of three major world religions.
And Moses, the first and the original law-giver in human history, killed someone. The claim was self-defense.
All of them fulfilling God’s plan on earth at precise times and places.
We must most certainly keep their place in history, and in the place where their influence was most indelibly felt.
I personally couldn’t care less about General Robert E. Lee, or Stonewall Jackson (whoever he was). Their statues can serve as reminders of what we should never be. May be we can put a tarpaulin over their heads.
Let us look at it this way.
There, if you go to Auschwitz in Poland, you can find certain old buildings. And if you can muster up the fortitude to walk into one of them, you can see with your own eyes, the spot that housed The Crematoriums, the crucible of Hitler’s evil experiment called The Final Solution. And if Adolph Eichman had attended Sunday school, or had attended one of Sam Achen’s bible studies, he’d have known that, just like the Burning Bush from where God spoke to Moses on top of the Sinai, the Jews may burn, but will never be destroyed.
If the Jews have managed to keep these killing machines on display all these years, to remind us of the atrocity against humanity that took place right behind the eyes of the world, there is a lesson there.
I don’t think many Jews make the pilgrimage there. But then again, they just might want to.
There’s no sane way to defend Mr. Trump’s words or deeds. But for the purpose of this piece, let’s take him out of the equation.
Some Princeton University students recently appealed to authorities there, to take down Woodrow Wilson’s name from their International Studies School. I wonder what poor Woodrow was guilty of!
Next it’ll be taking down Fletcher out of the School Of Diplomacy at Tufts. I hope Fletcher didn’t own slaves. Who was Fletcher anyway?
The point I’m arriving at is: There may not be an end point.
Coming back to the point however: history is a teaching tool, as well as an inspirational one. We can keep it alive without re-living it.
Are you still with me? 😂 if you are, please say a ‘prayer for us, as we take wings’ to Atlanta tonight. (and let me know if you do).
wish you a sunny summer weekend…