Monday, August 21, 2017

On monuments

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tribute to finality to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

Chicken scratching for some immortality.

Can we all grasp that everyone -- as many as 50% in PBS' poll last week -- objecting to demolishing statues is not a racist?

Can we agree that a lot of people have a problem with change, regardless of what the change is?


We believe history is ever changing, constantly being re-evaluated.

And we believe Lucy Hughes-Hallett more than established that with her book CLEOPATRA: HISTORIES, DREAMS AND DISTORTIONS as she examined how history, throughout history, had portrayed various versions of Cleopatra.  As Hughes-Hallett notes in the opening of her book:

A story is a protean thing, changing its nature as well as its shape when viewed from different angles. A single set of facts, arranged and rearranged, can point to a variety of contradictory conclusions. The vicissitudes of Cleopatra's legend, to which so many different morals have been attached, may act as a reminder that even the simplest piece of information can be made to serve a polemical purpose. Every story-teller, whether journalist, historian, poet or entertainer, is also -- willy nilly -- something of a propagandist.

We learn as time goes along, we hopefully advance.

As such, we re-examine.


What once seemed triumphant now appears to be a wreck.

It's called learning, it's called evolving.

We don't disagree that some statues need to be removed -- and certainly include the statue of J. Marion Sims in Central Park.

At one time in our history, the 'good doctor' was considered praise worthy.

Today, we're advanced enough to agree that forced experimentation on women who had no say in the matter is not just wrong, it's criminal.

Future generations will always reflect and reconsider -- that is their right.

And in that struggle to sort things out, to rethink, some monuments will come down.

Change happens.

And for some it is a struggle.

That doesn't make them racist or bad people.

It just means that some people are always going to be scared of change.

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