Saving Your History

There is a lot of controversy going on right now over the removal of Confederate statues.  With that comes the topic of history and culture and whether the removals are wrong.  My opinion is that if the statue is located at a government building then it should be relocated as the government should not be displaying anything that is symbolic to a particular group.  If the statue is part of a historical landmark or area such as the Gettysburg Battlefield then it should be left alone.

This entry is not about the current controversy though but rather its argument about preserving history.  In our modern age of social media I often wonder if people ever keep their own histories by writing anymore.  I’m talking paper to pen type of writing.  At minimum typing something up and printing it out.  Do they develop pictures and keep them in albums, scrapbooks or even old shoe boxes?  I’m certain members of older generations do.  Even some within my generation, myself included, do.

What about the younger generations though?  Those who have never known a world without cell phones or computers.  Those who will never know the fun of finding an old roll of film and having it developed to see what pictures were taken.  Those who will never experience the anguish of taking the “perfect” photo only to have it developed and turn out completely dark.  Those who likely have never had a pen pal to write letters to in elementary school.  What could become of their history?

We shouldn’t trust computers or the Internet to preserve our thoughts, our memories, our life.  I know it’s said that nothing deleted truly ever disappears from the Internet, but should we really take that risk?  Call me a doomdsay thinker if you will, but an EMP could easily wipe out our grid and with it the Internet.  In that pre-Industrial Revolution world wouldn’t it be nice to have journal entries to read and pictures to remind us of what our life was like before the blast?

Write down your thoughts.  Develop your pictures.  Anything that you have stored on social media or a computer that you would be devastated to lose forever have it in a hard copy.  While I realize disasters such as flood or fire or even simple “lost it in the move” situations can happen, you will find a greater satisfaction and deeper connection to your history if you have a physical copy of your treasured memories.  The government and the people may be the ones to decide what part of and where to preserve the country’s history, but you are in charge of preserving your own for years to come.

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The Hate in Debate

All throughout the news coverage of the inauguration today I kept hearing the newscasters say how historical of a day it was.  I will admit that I have never watched an inauguration, and the only reason I saw/heard pieces of this one was due to my husband having it on TV.  I’m not sure if it is said every four years how historical of a day it is or if that phrase was unique to today.

In any case I will agree that history was made today.  A man whose main qualities seem to be arrogance and immaturity is now in charge of our country.  I’m not writing this blog to promote my views or spark controversy.  Rather I want to draw attention to something that has grown exponentially throughout the election season – the hatred within debating differences of opinion.

I remember the first time I watched the political debates on TV.  It was my senior year of high school, fall 2004, and I would miss the opportunity to vote by a few weeks given my birthday falls on Nov. 22nd.  Most of my classmates did not have the ability to vote either, but that did not stop us from turning our AP Chemistry class into a full blown debate zone.  There were only about 10 of us in that class, but 2 students became very passionate on the issues and were the key debaters given their strongly held opposite viewpoints.  Mr. Conley, being a genuine educator, allowed us to spend most of our class time the day after a debate aired discussing the various topics.  It was a very enjoyable and thoroughly educational experience.  At no point in time did anyone get nasty with each other, even the 2 who had the most heated exchanges.  The debates stayed in that classroom and when the bell rang we all rushed to lunch, taking with us expanded knowledge but never any resentment towards those with differing opinions.

In college I took a few philosophy courses and one was focused on contemporary moral problems.  Controversial issues ranging from the death penalty to abortion to stem cell research were discussed and debated.  One of the key elements to the class was formulating solid arguments, not just spewing personal opinions.  We were taught to find evidence that supported our viewpoints as well as learn the arguments of the opposing side.  There were some very opinionated and passionate people in that class and sometimes the professor had to interrupt, not because people were being disrespectful, but rather we would run out of time and need to move onto another issue.  Again we all left the class with more knowledge than we had when we arrived and no animosity towards anyone who argued the other side of an issue.

If high school and college “kids” could have civil debates with each other why does it seem adults find such difficulty in doing so now?  Is social media completely to blame due to it ease of attacking nearly anyone whether they be friend, family or complete stranger?  I have been utterly disgusted this week by the posts in my news feed from people on both sides of the political spectrum.  Not only is there a lack of respect for one another, but the full ignorance of the facts is appalling.

I do blame mainstream media for providing opinion based news rather than true fact based journalism, but everyone has the ability to research issues on their own.  I could also point out how often you see people arguing with one another on mainstream news shows with no respect for what another person has to say.  They talk over one another, they interrupt each other and worst of all they write off the other person’s views the moment they realize they are not in agreement.  This year’s presidential debates displayed much of the same behavior.  This just helps reinforce the idea that this is acceptable in debating with another person.

Am I irked by certain posts made by people with opposing viewpoints from my own?  At times and usually because I know they have done no research on the topic.  Do I feel an overwhelming need to attack them for it and try to force my thoughts upon them?  No.  My in depth political discussions are reserved for those who are close to me.  Those who respect me enough to not degrade me for simply not agreeing with them.  Apparently the vast majority of our society has not reached that level of maturity and decency that they feel the need to attack one another for no legitimate reason other than to reinforce their opinions.

If we are to truly “Make America Great Again” we need to start with learning how to decently communicate with one another.  To respect differences in opinion.  To not let one’s differing views define the relationship we have with them.  To stop disregarding what someone has to say the moment we detect they do not agree with us.  To act like civil human beings instead of self centered jerks.  To stop the hate when we debate.