Our history is overrun by heroes and villains. What is lost in viewing history this way is the people, most of them, who were neither a hero or a villain.
They went about their daily lives doing what they could to survive. Building communities and adding to the fabric of the USA.
In many ways they were not perfect. They allowed their prejudices to influence their judgement and decision making.
In many cases their religious viewpoint was shaped mostly by tradition or what their parents and grandparents viewed as right and wrong. The Gospels which have the core teachings of the Nazarene Teacher were either ignored or not understood; especially those about loving your neighbor whoever he or she might be regardless of their place of origin, station in life or creed.
Because of this they engaged in activities which were detrimental to others, their brothers and sisters on this planet traversing the cosmos. Sharing the same human genome was a concept not grasped either in the past or today in our troubling times.
In driving along the Mississippi River recently, I pondered on how much blood had been shed on the Great River over the last two hundred years. The 1803 Louisiana Purchase from France may have been a great boon to the new nation, but what followed was not a boon to its native inhabitants, immigrants and slaves.
The slaughter of Native Americans, the slave trade, and other tragic atrocities colored the Great River. In fact the land on both sides was drenched in blood.
There is a lot of our history of which to be ashamed. However, there are individuals both known and unknown who stood for basic human principles of liberty and justice for all.
History, our history, is a composite of darkness and light. The hues of sunset and the cerise rays of dawn touch our history with empyreal beauty.
However, the sable daggers of night riders, the machinations of politicians, the cruel decisions of Supreme Court Justices from slavery to sterilization of the innocents, and sweeping tides of intolerance and pure hate cast a long dark shadow on our history.
Unfortunately, these dark shadows are not regulated to the pages of history. Ideologies, both passive and extreme, dominate the communities across the panoramic landscapes and vistas from shore to shore.
Some blame the immigrants. As history has shown, immigrants from one geo-region or another have always been the focus point of blame for the troubles of the land.
Others blame the political systems or those who control these systems in the private clubs of the elite who salivate over their pristine box of Mayan Sicars and watch with delight as their Hennessy Beaute du Siecle Cognac swirls in their snifter. There are no heroes in these private clubs of power.
Powerbrokers exist for one solitary purpose—control. Without power and wealth these humans would be like anyone else with unbridled ambition, but without the means to achieve it.
However, they would eventually find their path to those groups which advocate a way of life alien to most. The argot of arrogance and the extreme prejudice they would relish as it confirms their importance in society.
Heroes and villains still roam the countryside. Today it may be more difficult to distinguish between them.
One key point of history which has been proven is that one’s generations of heroes may be another generation’s villains. Heroes and villains—what will history say of you and your family?
“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” Kofi Atta Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations
G. D. Williams © 2017