conversations with my father: on history

Hey look, this place isn’t as dead as I thought!

Anyways, I have a few thoughts. “About what?” you may wonder. Well, what family is; and how important respect is in these sorts of relationships. Respect is an important thing, as I feel one needs to have some sort of feeling of equality or magnanimity for a person that can translate to respect. And it’s not always a reaching up thing. You can have great respect for something working hard to reach your level and beyond. And while this simply sounds like I am only referring to this in a, let’s say, skill based way; it is definitely important in all interactions with a person.

So it’s really hard to define respect. There are so many ways to respect a person; and as such the opposite is true.

Now you may be reading the title here and wonder… what the hell are you on about? Well, much like a turtle making love with a shoe; I’m getting there.

And here I am!

I have been wanting to do this ever since I restarted this thing in May, simply because it has been on my mind a lot and really kind of defines my mind set for the last few months of my life. I’ve been wanting to kind of take things that my dad says, to or about me in particular, and sort of hash them all out in a written way. In some ways that helps me think, in others it just confuses me further; especially when it comes to the jumble of feelings I have about my relationships in life. And through these posts, I hope to find (and share) a bit more on how I do feel.

And this is dangerous, I realize. But at this point, it’s really been on my mind for such a long time, and I have been wanting to do it for so long that I want to have a little fun writing.

I’m gonna start off this series with something a little lighter than a few of the other topics I have pissing around in my mind. History. Particularly that of the US persuasion.

UStory, because we are a nation united!

Ahem. Well, lets just give a fairly quick overview of the history of the United States of America, shall we? I’m gonna use my 2nd Amendment rights and bullet this bad boy up. Ready?

  • 1490s – 1600-ish: Spain comes in, kills a bunch of natives in an ecclesiastical purge of all those unwilling to convert. Large empires fall to disease and weapons. The Dutch, French and English also come in and start settling; some more successful than the others.See: Roanoke (Or don’t. It’s really hard to. People have been trying for like… more than 20 years or something. Don’t quote me on that.)Over in Europe: the Protestant Reformation, started by a guy who really liked lists but hated money, is causing a whole shit-storm. Turds falling from the sky here folks. The Muenster rebellion is probably my favorite.

    Of course almost nobody loves weirdo fanatics, so we move on to the next part.

  • 1600s-1700s: Everyone really hates fanatics. Some Puritans, Calvanists, and a bunch of other people get punted all over Europe. In fact, England hates them so much, they gave them some land to go and get Roanoke’d again over in Virginia.Religious fanatics suck at sailing, so this plan should have worked. They ended up in what would become Massachusetts somehow. And to everyone’s surprise… they thrived here. Even though they were killing themselves left and right, picking fights with natives, and a bunch of other stupid shit because this was some God-given (Oliver Cromwell would disagree) land that was theirs.This would go on for the next 170 centuries. Once Moon Jesus returned that all went to hell.
  • 1700-1770: England fight. French bad. America people go north and piss off French. England out of money. England get money from weird America! England never lose war again.
  • 1770-1781: England lost a war against a bunch of weirdos who believed the end of the world would be coming every ten years for the next 250 years.
  • 1780-1800: Rich guys try a lot of stuff to make their own government. With guns, and hookers! Except without the hookers because the religious people wouldn’t like that. Then the rich guys start running it, but hate each other’s guts. This would continue for at least the next 13,000 years.
  • 1800-1802: Aaron Burr.
  • 1812: Napoleon is a dick. England dicks America for some reason. Don’t correct me you fucking pedants.
  • 1820-1855: Henry Clay manages to piss the whole country off every 2 years but somehow is the most influential person in this time period.
  • 1855-1860: Millard “The Mallard-Fucker” Fillmore and James Buchanan piss ALL over everything. Like 1 trillion gallons of piss. They were very well hydrated.Didn’t help that their over-hydration made a very unstable balance in a country divided over, what at the time was viewed as an issue of economy and population (to look at it at the time,) crack and begin to crumble like dry soil.
  • 1860-1865: The very first president from the then infant Republican party gets elected. Before that election they were largely known as progressive due to the early party stance of the abolition of slavery.The conservative Southern states saw this as an affront to their way of life, that being large plantations, low citizen count, and the ownership of human beings. The powers that be, afraid that citizenship for their slaves would both ruin their businesses and their political power, looked for a trigger that would let them leave. Fort Sumter was this trigger.The southern states left the United States (USA USA USA) and started their own country. This led to one of the first truly modern wars, which due to rapidly progressing technology in the industrial revolution, resulted in the bloodiest and most damaging four years in the history of the country. Nearly a million people were killed.

    The southern states surrendered, the leaders jailed for treason, and the then president was assassinated by a Southern sympathizer. People still parade this flag as a point of pride and celebrate the traitors that were on this side that instigated a war over human lives, that cost nearly one million people their lives as a result.

  • 1866-1898: Big business takes over the country instead. The most influential people of the time were the ultra wealthy, and most prominent politicians and presidents were ineffective rubes that were in the hands of the rich and powerful at the time.
  • 1899-1914: We decide we wanted places not on this continent, like big brother Britain. So we picked on Spain which was a sick horse with 3 broken legs at the time. Somehow then Theodore Roosevelt becomes president. He shits all over business, Congress, and then shits all over the Republican party in the 1912 election. He causes a racist to enter the White House.
  • 1914-1920: Europe explodes. Racist sells weapons to Europe. Eventually the Germans piss us off enough we decide to join 6 months before the war ends, and somehow fall off a cliff. But because we were only running off the cliff for less than a year, we somehow got out of it better.
  • 1920s:  Businesses control again. Shit gets so good… that it all crashes.
  • 1930s: This really progressive guy becomes president. He was in the Democrat party. People are weirded out by this. But he does a lot of really great things that bring the country out of the hole again. Europe (and Asia this time) explodes again
  • 1940s: We join the war. Informally, then formally once we get attacked by the other side of the world.  Technology reaches a terrifying point to where the world can be ended. America becomes the caretaker of the western world.
  • 1950-1970: People scared of communism, but don’t understand it. Vietnam becomes a slow, falling descent into Hell for the US. Andrew Johnson had a really big johnson and liked to show it to people. Marlon Brando could have been a star too.Some Democrats in the South get pissed at other Democrats (those progressive ones,) and change names. This was due to marginalized people getting rights that they used to be refused. They became the voice of the then neutered Republican party, who’s big business policies led them to unpopularity after the market crash of 1928, and had been taken over by the religious front at the time. Turns out that running under a line of “going back to the old days” with “before brown people could pee next to me” behind the curtain was a popular strategy.
  • 1970-1980: Southeast Asia explodes. We started it basically. And then we leave with our tails between our legs. Then we come home to an oil bath, but we didn’t pay the oil bill 🙁
  • 1980s: An actor becomes president. He surrounds himself with power mongers that cause more of the world to fall apart. We love him because we’re religious fanatics though, and he is a GOOD GOD FEARING MAN. Also East Europe kinda… fizzles?
  • 1990s: Apparently the worst decade ever according to some. Country becomes fiscally stable. Oh wait never-mind; we jizz over jizz.
  • 2000-2008: What. The. Fuck. Is. Going. On. Why is a high school student in charge? And businesses are people.
  • 2008-2016: Huh. What do you know? Businesses having power caused everything to fail again? No way! Let’s get another progressive guy in to fix it! Hell yeah! Things are looking good.
  • 2016-now: but y tho?

Now, reading what I wrote you can see the side I’m on. Also it wasn’t brief… but I could probably write a whole lot more and even more no people would read it. Imaginary people at that point.

I point all this out because, while I had my spin on some things, particularly the parts I lived through, I included a handful of the events. And if you took out all of the sarcasm and clear hatred for the conservative elements of this country, that’s what you would find in a history book.

I was speaking with my father on this, and he said a curious thing about this subject:

“Oh they don’t teach real American history anymore.”

I asked him what he meant about that.

“All they do is call America a terrible country and never point out the good.”

Now, the word good is subjective. History is a largely objective thing. You can have a view on it, and whether or not certain events were good or bad, but they happened and and those (for the most part) are facts. And facts are not always flattering.

For example, I have a gut. It’s because I lead a sedentary life, was never active as a child and never got in the habit now as an adult. I don’t gain or lose weight, but I have reached a bit of a homeostasis that will take some work to get out of. That isn’t flattering, but it’s a fact. My drinking probably doesn’t help.

Humans are imperfect creatures, and bias is always there. So the authors of these books are always going to inject some of their own biases one way or another. But a good author recognizes that, and tries to minimize it as much as possible.

What I am assuming my father meant, however, is that history is not written in his view. And there lies a problem. Because history has nothing to do with someone’s point of view, it has to do with what we know. But of course what we know… sometimes conflicts with our points of view.

But the beauty in history, in my eyes, is piecing all those points of view together. Discovering the fragility of humanity; the pettiness, the creativity, and the lives of those that came before us. History does not exist without complexity, and that complexity is what led me to write what I did above. While much is a joke, I made my own conclusions based on the stories of the past. I try to know all angles, because if you just have a straight line everything is going to look perfect. And the world simply isn’t. Nothing is.

So when I hear things like, “There were no good presidents in the last century except Reagan,” now that is a “fact” based solely on view. Reagan was good for his time, but also had policies that damaged some things in the future. Same with Franklin Roosevelt. You can have objections with some of his policies, and some definitely were not winners and had to be cleaned up later on, but you cannot say that his policies did not bring the US out of disaster, just because he had some policies you disagree with.

Unfortunately, the world is in a place right now where angles are no longer a thing. Straight lines are all people want, and unfortunately that removes much of the beauty and tapestry that makes up what humanity is. A road-trip is more fun with diversions, after all.

You cannot make art with straight lines.

And I have a hard time respecting someone that refuses to believe that anything but a line is art.

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