What Today Brings
“History is philosophy teaching by examples.” Thucydides Like my father before me, I love history and historical documentaries, from the BBC’s “Stories of the Stone Age” to CNN’s recent “Tricky Dick” about Richard Nixon. The more you know, the smaller the earth and time spent on it seems. Studying the past gives us the advantage of seeing through a lens of historical intelligence. We gather information as the CIA does, in order to “serve as a reservoir of historical and contemporary open source experience.” Much of our history is violent, and at times, whether we are actually evolving is not readily apparent. King Herod was a volatile man who ordered the massacre of every boy under the age of two in a fever of madness. Born in Idumea, south of Judea, in 73 BC, he was part of the Roman Empire. His Arab father was a statesman and friend of Julius Caesar. As a boy, he played in the palace of Jerusalem. As a teenager, he was groomed for power and already a close cohort of the fast acting, heavy drinking and womanizing, Mark Anthony. By 26, Herod was executing at will. Such ancient leaders made rules and set in motion poisonous divisions that many are still suffering today. They are indeed bleeding on the very ground Cleopatra, Caesar and Herod walked. It was another dark day in history when ordinary men assuming leadership, planned the extinction of the Jewish population. The horrors, the horrors. Even the most educationally minded parents shiver at the thought of going into detail explaining the events that took place in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. Over one million people died at Auschwitz, they built death chambers, they hung people by their arms. It made feeding someone to the lions look like a humane way to kill. This is our world’s history. It happened. Just like it happened in Rwanda in 1994 when the Hutu ethnic majority murdered 800,000 of their Tutsi neighbors. The only thing we can do is try to learn and never repeat. What I would like explained, is how we have a population of individuals here in our beautiful, small town of Versailles that hold the same satanic ideas of genocide in their meth-eaten pea brains. I have seen their sloth-like bodies on our streets, tattooed in honor of their homicidal heroes. Their wish I suppose, is for anyone a different shade than their own pasty white, be rid of. I think it irresponsible to treat them as if they are benevolent. How are we to deal with an underbelly who will always choose hate? While we have decidedly become more just over the centuries, there are rogue barbarians who still rule by poison, starvation and gas, sawing up journalists and gassing their opponents and citizens alike with no repercussions. History tells us it’s a slippery slope when a civilized society turns a blind eye to such behavior. History shows that decisions are made every day leading us back toward the dark ages or forward, favoring an honest, honorable, peaceful state. We must tune in to the bright side of history. The world is full of heroes and heroines who have cured plagues, painted and composed masterpieces, some have made a masterpiece of their entire lives. Make these our models to emulate as we strive to better the planet and the human race. Have our children, family and friends study the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Carl Sagan, Martin Luther King Jr., Jonas Salk, Joan of Arc, Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt to name a few. There are so many shining examples of people and actions that make our planet flourish, it would be to our great detriment to ignore this rich heritage. We should follow their lead, and not, as Blanche Dubois said, “hang back with the brutes.” Oh yes… and study Tennessee Williams.