The Dark-Side of History

I hated history class all through high school.  I studied just enough to pass.  It was the teacher's fault.  Of course, it's always easier to blame other people for our lack of effort, but I think in this case I'm right, it was the teacher's fault.  In my completely biased opinion, I say it was their fault because when I got into college my history class was amazing!  The professor presented the stories of history, not in a flat, no calorie way, but their teaching brought history to life.  Suddenly, stories that I thought were meaningless recaps of things that no longer matter, became living images jumping off the pages.  I learned that by reading and diving into historical events, I could learn from them.  I could live a better, more effective life by seeing other people's mistakes and then simply not doing those things.

My history professor would say at least once a week, "Pay attention!  History repeats itself."  I think that statement has more validity than we would care to admit.  In fact, it's easier to pretend that it doesn't matter.  When we see something from history that makes us uncomfortable or even offended, it's easier to vilify it and remove it, than embrace it and learn from it.  Have we really gotten to the point where we only think we can learn from warm and fuzzy things?  I think we have just gotten to the point where learning is not on the agenda, but rather a desire to merely surround ourselves with people who have opinions just like ours.  We find comfort in our homo-opinionated newsfeed. 

All history has pieces that are dark and moments that are difficult to look at, but if we don't look at them and discuss them then how can the next generation ever learn not to repeat them?  Lately, there seems to be more and more situations where people want to remove memory markers of historical moments.  Statues, plaques, and sculptures have all been put on an opinionated hit list. I know, you might say, "Yea but that statue of that guy from way back in the day did horrible things!"  I'm sure he did, but instead of destroying it or having it removed from the public's eye, how about we use it as a conversation piece to teach the next generation what happened so that we don't have that part of history repeat itself?  What if we use it to teach the truth rather than simply regurgitating an opinionated one sided tirade?

If we constantly remove all the "bad stuff" from in front of our kids then how will they ever have educated discussions and debates?  If they never see or learn the dark side of history then they are far more likely to repeat it.  After all, history repeats itself.  What do you think?