Some Myths Must Break
Embedded within the patriarchy is the myth of redemptive violence. How many of us have seen conflict on such a massive scale? We have been fortunate in America because the official battles have never been right on our own lawns since the 1860’s and the guns and devastation of the American civil war. We have had our share of upheaval, yet that is the last time Americans saw combat and troops right in their backyard. All my family fought for the Confederacy. In war, though there are victors declared by those who claim to be the winner in one way or anther, one absolute side, but this is an oversimplification. In real war, despite what many are taught, no one really is more righteous or completely wins. Solders are not the same, people are not the same, nations can’t go back to the way things were. War is traumatic, if nothing else. We are still dealing with the consequences from the civil war because the American people fight so deeply over these same issues now—hundreds of years later.
Only people using ‘pseudo’ logic can argue the right of white Americans to enslave another race, and that is why, despite the victory of the Northern side, every American can see the flag of the Confederacy become something used by certain people in both regions to promote racism and hatred that some Southerns, well, don’t ‘cotton to.’ Patriotism is helpful, useful as well, but sometimes Americans need the opportunity to decide if they want to continue to participate on this grand experiment of the American republic. That battle has been a part of America since the beginning, and yet continues because the question of states’ rights versus the federal government has never truly been answered—will likely never be decided completely. Whether states chose to participle, in a democratic system, citizens must decide must decide this even if that means altering the Constitution by referendum. Otherwise, this is no longer a democratic republic.
Why the history lesson? Well, history effects us even if we are blissful in our need to ignore the details of just what came before and how things work today. Every civilization rises and falls in time. Is it now America’s time to say, “Goodbye”? Truth is not one-sided. The more one clings to a truth, the more concerned one should be about it. I was born in Harlan, Kentucky, and the fact seems objective. I can pull out my birth certificate and declare that as quite true, but what if the name of the town changes or the state? Then, the seemingly factual statement of where I was born might not be as factual at all. Facts are only useful when we want to prove something, usually to other people. In other words, to draw some conclusion based on said facts, but some opinions are better than others, some are knee-jerk, but none are always true all the time. We seek to persuade other of what we value as true, and that is all. Logic is useful only if it leads us toward an ethical outcome based on research.
Ideally, ethics, care for human life is what keeps our species going. If there is indeed a new cultural revolution on the horizon, it needs to be organized and thought out. At the very least, it also must address the myth of redemptive violence, extreme religiosity, racism, and the patriarchy. We need new ideas, new stories to believe in. Wherever you are, you can do something. Remember, protest without some greater purpose in mind just makes those protesting antagonize themselves in some quarters. What happened in the 60’s mostly worked, but what we need to try— at the very least— is a offer a cohesion of our vision of what America can be. We need ideas of how we all should be behaving to get the things accomplished that we want to do in our own lives. Justice is important, quite important, and it will come if we keep making it anew in our society. You can take part in this momentum toward some deep and profound change.