Well said. I've always believe that such statements reveal just how out of touch with the facts of American history, and/or how much in denial people who say such statements are. With undergraduate and advanced degrees in history, I always wanted to know "why" something is the way it is, but over the years I grew to see just how uncomfortable many/most people get when you start to probe the facts of the past. The first denial response always goes something like "who cares about that old stuff". The sadness I feel for Americans who choose to stay in this denial is that they cut themselves off from learning the lessons from the past, but I've learned to accept the fact that in our materialistic culture, this is the norm. In the timeline of human experience, of nations, the U.S. is a very new country. We've mistaken our material "success" as a pass to not have to look at our mistakes - past and present. But nations are like individuals - they have to accept the responsibility to learn to grow up, and that includes experiences like admitting we were wrong, without blaming, without excuses. At the rate the U.S. is going culturally, economically, it seems like rather than growing in maturity, we are going straight from adolescence into senility. And denial of the past only aids the acceleration of the process. Articles such as this help illuminate this situation, and possibly help individuals rethink their thinking. Last year I inadvertently spent a brief time at a July 4 gathering of senior citizens, and as I listened to a speaker talk about America's "glorious" past, I watched some of the audience faces as they listened intently - nothing new was being said, just a re-hash of all the usual expected stuff, but what caught me was the faces - their rapt attention - something "clicked" in my brain - I realized that their fantasy about America's past - was what gave them a deeper sense of meaning, that individuals need to have. I "got" that it was the romanticized story of America's greatness that made the uncertainties and disappointments of today tolerable. I can't explain why, but the look on these adults faces left me with a certain sadness, a sadness that these myths were all they had.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 00:07