March 30, 2023
We have a history problem. Let's start with the pain. A country that does not know its true past, has no future. Well, what about a country that is fighting for diametrically opposed versions of their past? This is exactly where we are today. For those of us who love history and our country, it is not a pleasant place to be.
So, how do we solve this problem? First of all, we're Americans and we've been through much worse and we'll figure out a way to tell the true history of this incredible place we call home. If I were the King of History (rather than merely the Duke of Dust) here's what I would do:
• Strip away the political terms. Rather than banning books, I would ban the terms "woke," "Critical Race Theory" and "genocide." There are more, but even if we banned these, for a short time, it would be a positive way to start calming things down.
Find common ground. Was Custer a brave and brilliant cavalry leader? Yes. Many historians believe he saved the United States, not once, but three times at the battle of Gettysburg. Did he make a bad decision at Little Bighorn. Yes, he divided his command without telling anyone. Did he pay for his mistake? Boy howdy. Were there brave people on both sides of this fight? Of course.
• Tell both sides of the story with honesty and levity. Don't fight the contradictions, embrace them.
• Dig for the true history of people who did extraordinary things but have never gotten their due. That is exactly the task that Jana Bommersbach and I set for ourselves when we started our project to fill the pages of our Hellraisers & Trailblazers book. And, man, did we find some worthy women: we discovered over 200 worthy women and we got over 100 of them in the book.
• Tell better stories. When we are honest and compassionate, good things will happen and more importantly, we will understand how we got here to this place in history. And, believe it or not, good stories can give us a route out of this mess we are in.
The bottom Line:
"Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say, 'This is my community and it's my responsibility to make it better.'"