By Vivian Blevins
I’m an American patriot, and I translate my beliefs, in part, into positive action by volunteering at the Miam Valley Veterans Museum and by being the scribe who records the untold stories of area military veterans and publishes them to share with others. I’m also a realist in terms of the history of our country and want to ask my readers a few questions today to those who were not sleeping through high school American history classes. I will not be supplying a multiple-choice exam so as to avoid your getting credit because you are good at guessing:
How did we acquire Alaska, Hawaii, Island of Manhattan, Louisiana, and parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California? And what about the rest of the country?
Are there parts of U.S. history where we took action that many have learned to regret? Slavery with all its ramifications, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the coerced displacement of native people (indigenous people), the refusal to allow the M.S. St. Louis with many Jewish European immigrants to land in the U.S. in 1939, the attack in Washington D.C. on military veterans who were seeking bonus pay in July of 1932, the incarceration of physically/developmentally/mentally disabled? I’m sure you can add to my list.
Are there reasons to be proud of who and what we are in spite of our missteps? What does your list include? Mine is very long.
Should the good, the bad, and the ugly be taught in our public schools? If so, how should these topics be approached?
Are we strong enough to work through the problems facing our nation in 2022? What on your list are the most pressing problems and do we have leadership at the local, state, and national levels to address these problems?
In other words, what are your priorities? Immigration, abortion, crime, education, healthcare, voter security, racism, nuclear war, incivility, lies, media, inflation, poor leadership, environment, bipartisanism, religion, terrorism, and the list goes on and on.
In conclusion, to be human is to face challenges. I have been reading my college students’ first essays of the semester in which they are identifying a pressing personal issue and detailing how they have dealt with it- or are dealing with it. Would you like a sense of some of their issues? I thought you might: living with parents who are chemically dependent and create an environment that takes the very breath out of their children, having hostile parents who have no sense of what effective parenting means, struggling with the inability to conceive children, living in recovery with anorexia nervosa, dealing with autism, having a family member with an organ transplant, grieving the death of a loved one, acknowledging the family’s inability to afford critical medicine, and exploring sexual identity.
We are all making American history whether on a small scale or a scale of other dimensions. I would caution each of you to be the best person you can be as you write/make your own history and impact the histories of your family, relatives, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who are writing theirs even as you read this column.