Totalitarian

OLD STATUES NEVER DIE, THEY JUST GET CARRIED AWAY.

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Tattoos, and Statues have always been permanent reminders of temporary feelings. A statue however is slightly easier to remove. As a symbol, statues have themselves become a much larger issue. What do we do about our troubling history? How do we judge yesterday’s conduct by today’s standards? What is the purpose and effect of what we include or exclude in the telling of the story of humanity?

A professor of mine, the great historian Gabriel Kolko, taught me that history was perception. Winston Churchill famously said that he was sure that history would treat him kindly because he planned to write it himself. As a general rule, history is written by the winners.

In the United States the issue of statues and symbols, especially relating to the American Civil War, have become a divisive issue. It took until the 21st century for the Confederate flag to be removed from state capitals. Disputes have erupted over the removal of statues of southern Civil War leaders and Generals. These statues and symbols represent the defense of slavery. This was an evil so great that it is understandable that it would be offensive.

There are those who argue that to remove these statues is to deny history. There is no shortage of written materials, records and other reminders of history. There are museums where these statues can join the other mementos of the best and worst humankind.

Statues of the losers and tyrants are symbolically torn down to mark their fall. There are no public statues of Adolf Hitler in Germany, Stalin in Russia, Saddam, Gaddafi, Idi Amin, and a legion of other tyrants and losers in the progress of humanity.

Truth like water find its own level. Statues rise and fall with the march of history and the values and sensitivities of the people who raise and live with them.

Maybe America Should Have Stayed with Britain

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Those colonists loyal to King George III, left America to form my home, Canada.

I have always  admired much about the United States. Although democracy is never perfect, America flourished in their newly created country founded on freedom and liberty. I respected and appreciated America’s commitment to defend democracy and liberty around the world. They are the richest country on the planet.

Even before Trump polarized and focused America and the world’s attention on the strength or weakness of America’s democracy and social values, Trump has attacked the institutions and values that make America great. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are the cornerstones of American democracy and liberty.

Trump aside, some have begun to question America’s place as a leader and beacon for truth, fairness, justice, freedom and liberty. I look to Canada, and most of the civilized world to find universal healthcare. The world’s richest country, U.S.A, is without universal healthcare, or even meaningful healthcare while arguing about less.

Here we have political discourse which is generally civil and productive. I haven’t seen that in the United States since before Gingrich became speaker. What has followed is a continual obstructionism by both parties.

In Canada, again like most of the civilized world, we have sane and effective gun laws. Americans have to recognize that the Second Amendment was drafted in the 18th century in a different reality. Countries with more restrictive gun laws have far fewer gun deaths.

I still love America and believe the spirit of the best of the U.S.A, is the envy of the world. I, however, have realized that Americans may have been better off had they remained part of Great Britain as a colony, Dominion, member of the Commonwealth and an independent country. Chances are good that our neighbors to the south would have universal healthcare, sane gun laws, and a degree of civil, respectful and productive political discourse, with a democracy that never sunk this low.