This past Friday marks the 35th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. I look back at that war and wonder what the history books will actually say happened.
Will it say that we were invaders who tried to take control of another country’s commodities? Will it say that we are baby killers? Will it call our government a bunch of liars? Will it actually say that we lost that war?
I remember being in my elementary school and junior high school social studies classes and we would spend much time talking and learning about the two world wars. I remember learning about war heroes who eventually became presidents, like George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant. I even remember hearing about the civil rights era and it was like they picked a figure (Martin Luther King Jr., or Rosa Parks), stuck with just their story and avoided all the other things surrounding those historical events – like the murders of Medgar Evers and Malcolm X.
I wonder is there some council of editors who decide what should be written in our history books and what should be excluded? Is there another council that checks to make sure that what is written is not too offensive to the powers that be? Where is the censorship coming from? It seems as though the history books wait on the current events until most of those who would be offended or who are guilty, are at least too old to remember anything, dead, or just too old to be prosecuted.
I thought about (when I was in the 5th grade) the John F. Kennedy assassination and for the longest time I couldn’t believe that one person was actually able to kill the leader of the free world so easily. Then once the internet got up and running, I was able to get some other perspectives. I remember thinking that the Kennedy family must have pissed off the wrong person back then. I even remember thinking that the mafia must have been behind all these murders. I thought that because I watched a lot of mobster films and Hollywood always had a way of making bad things look good. Al Capone was one of the coolest figures in history to me.
I guess my point is this: There used to be such a thing as the power of the press. In the 1700’s, Benjamin Franklin began a tradition in the newspaper business that set the tone for the industry. Corporations, politicians and organizations were kept honest because they knew shady practices would be questioned, statements would be checked for validity and any claims made would be investigated. Today, we tell the press what to print. I remember the horrible Fort Bragg shooting. If you recall the earliest reports, we were told that the shooter was dead. All media outlets reported the same thing. Later that evening, he was in the hospital in intensive care. How could this have happened?
We need to be a society that cares. By caring I mean we need to literally give a damn about what is happening in our country. We need to get involved and question everything. The days of staying in the dark are over. We are actually smarter than 5th graders and we need to act like it. There are things going on in our nation that are suspect. We need to demand answers and hold leaders accountable.
I’m not trying to sound like a tea bagger here. The difference is that they believe there was a time in our past where we had things under control and life was good. They actually think we were once in control of things and we dictated our direction.
I am saying that we were never in control. There was never a time in history when America was “fair” to all people and we certainly never controlled the direction of the country. The revolution I’m calling for is new, active, open and real. It says that we need to decide first the type of country we want to be and then make every effort to be that country. And those that are opposed can go to … Canada?