Post # 566 WHAT DO WE TELL THE CHILDREN (Redux)

In a much earlier piece, we wrote of a troublesome, two-pronged parental dilemma.  On the one prong is our desire to have our children love and respect the country of their birth, and on the other, the existence of instances of egregious American history. We wrote that we need to acknowledge, the shameful devastation of the people and culture of the indigenous occupants of North America, the permanent blemish of two evil centuries of inhuman enslavement of black people, and a contemporary Nation, still challenged in many ways with morally and legally acknowledging the deserved equality of its black citizens, and the deplorable two decades of bloody war, based upon xenophobic paranoia, which divided the generations, besmirched our American traditions and our Nation. If history is to be the laboratory and instructor, teaching appropriate action, and if truth, the epoxy of societal living, is to remain inviolate, it now appears to us, that despite our good intentions, we have been teaching the wrong lessons, and in time, foolishly defeating our invaluable parental credibility.  The previously observed dilemma for us, fortunately, has recently been “de pronged” and solved as set forth, below.

It is a matter of recorded American History that, in addition to derogating and crushing the culture and population of our Native American people by, among many other immoral acts, dispossessing them from the fertile and temperate lands of the American Southeast, to “land more suitable  to Indians,” viz., the dry, windy, cold, poorly arable territory of Oklahoma, tactically introducing to them harmful alcoholic beverages and breaching virtually every Agreement and official assurance made by the Federal Government. In our early schooldays, we were taught that the “justification” for such xenophobic holocaust was the divine theory of “Manifest Destiny.” What drivel.

The deplorable nature of the enslavement of fellow human beings on the dystopian rationalization that they have a different color skin, was also expressed in our earlier mini essay. The egregious practice where the U.S. Supreme Court in the late 19th Century ruled that the black person was merely agricultural property returnable to the “ owner,” is still playing out today, in the bigotry of too many Americans, atavistically reluctant to grant black Americans their equal rights and deserved respect.

In the earlier writing, we referred to the disgraceful and devastating Vietnam war, lasting a full two decades, costing a great many lives and disability to armed forces and civilians, and dividing disillusioned youth from adult, together with a popularized degradation of authority. This horrific adventure undertaken by the delusional xenophobic scenario, propagated by our government, of the existential threat of an antagonistic, solid communist bloc of Southeast Asian countries, permanently impacted our Nation.  We made reference, in the earlier writing, to the post-war book written by Robert McNamara, perhaps the leading architect of the two decades of that brutal and unnecessary war, in which he expressed an apology of for his “error.” He writes of his purported error and only recent realization that  Southeast Asian countries, historically, have been mutual enemies and that there never was the danger of a united communist bloc. We have stated that it is our belief that his claim of ignorant error is  sham.

We would add a fourth item to the referenced cardinal sins of the American Government, viz.,  the election and four- year Presidential term of Donald J. Trump. We have, on several occasions,  recounted the numerous miscreant, ignorant and immoral acts of his unprecedented four years, and thus it would seem repetitive and useless, to again recite them, however, with one relevant, thematic exception, his serial mendacity and existential attack upon the institution of truth. This deplorable and dangerous  category of wrongful behavior does have (only) one redeeming virtue for us; it helped us solve the previous, puzzling, thematic question of our two essays. “What do we tell our children?”

The publicly observed serial mendacity of Donald Trump, actually became a significant part of his personal identification. Such neurotic and  dishonest trait is fully consistent with his demonstrated  immoral, ignorant and egotistical persona. It served to regrettably, detract from the historically idealized stereotype of an American President. However, his verbal attack upon the existential institution of “truth,” as, frighteningly, observed in another of our essays, was an attack upon the very epoxy that holds societies together, from the paleolithic to the present day. The survival and advancement of man has eternally been dependent upon the keystone of reliable truth in communication, as explored in the past essay. “Fake news” or “alternate facts,” concepts regularly enunciated by Trump, are nihilistically anti-societal and
potentially dangerous.

Perhaps we have been too optimistic in seeing veracity as generally implicit in human societal relationships; it is also possible that we have been unusually fortunate in not being disappointed by such a rosy assumption. Donald Trump, by his iniquity, has ,however, raised our consciousness, and exhorted us to realize that such optimism concerning truth, is not universally empirical, resulting in our arrival at an acceptable solution to our previous dilemma, viz., what to tell the children.

The existential and moral importance of “truth,” indisputably, exceeds the value of any all solicitous motivation and other undertaken parental virtues. This premise is especially instructive as to whether  to inculcate any further lessons, furthering the “Hallmark Greeting Card” version of American history. Realistic and judgmental elucidation of the comparative concepts of virtue versus evil, regarding the historic periods and events in our history, may well be more beneficial to the development of a mature perception and the growth of mature understanding on part the of the child; not to mention the ever-important, maintenance of fundamental trust in the credibility of the parent.

-p. 

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

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