I am not a 79 year old Indigenous Person, though that is how some believe I, and this day, should be labeled. For decades, today has always been Columbus Day and now his statue in New York requires 24 hour security? His statue in Chicago has been defaced for the second time in three days? Football, which I love, is now a platform for expressing disrespect? College campuses muzzle views other than the ones they espouse, hoping to instill them in the young minds who are paying a fortune and accruing debt for the privilege of being there?
I know ‘back in the day’ is an oft used disclaimer ‘these days’ – but I have something to say I’d like you to know:
As a ninth grader I sat in Miss Knipfel’s CIVIC’S class, and by God, I learned all about government at every level. I can even still speak gerrymandering, though it didn’t mean shit to me when I was 14. If I screwed up or missed a lesson, she had a straight line to my parents, and to this day I can see her crooked finger pointing at me.
And then there’s HISTORY. I was fortunate to learn it from an ex-Marine, Janet Fraser. She was a redheaded drill sergeant in the classroom, and she wasn’t afraid to expose us to the good, bad and ugly in our past. I know there’s more than enough bad and ugly, but that, along with the good made us the country we are today. Shame on people who believe wiping the slate clean is the panacea, and bravo to those who recognize all that we have been – and all we can become if we come together.
I pray there are more Miss Knipfels and Jan Frasers out there who are willing to
show us the way. I couldn’t tell you, then or now, whether they were left or right. It didn’t matter.