Did we not learn from history?

Published 6:17 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2017

If I could wave a magic wand and wipe away a few words in our vocabulary, they would be bigotry, racism, liberal, conservative, radicalism and terror.  That magic wand just might make the world a better place.

Of course, there is no pixie dust.  The only magic we have is found in a history book.  History tells us when we look at the above list of words, the one word that is born from all of them is “division.”

Division causes hate to rise and terror to burn deep within our souls.   The sad part is it usually begins in our own homes.  It doesn’t start or end with a government, it starts and ends with the people.

I was born and raised in the south. My family has been part of the south since they arrived in the 1600s.  My heritage is full of veterans who fought in every war in American history.

With every war fought, our perspective was changed. We learned that freedom is the essence of our country, that slavery is wrong and that enemies are defeated by a united front.

History cannot be changed. However, what we are supposed to do is learn from it.  We don’t need to make the same mistakes we have made before or watch people die because we are repeating our same errors.  How dumb is that?

For the last 20 years our country has become more divided than we ever dreamed possible. We have watched innocent children be slain in the name of terror. We have watched racism rise, hate spew from mouths of every color, and radicalism became more radical.

I have become totally disenchanted with our political leaders and our divided Congress.  I have grown tired of discussions that spew hatred between liberals and conservatives.  I am appalled by the obscene, derogatory language used to describe either political side. I have grown disgusted with folks who go to church on Sunday only to come home and write or spread diatribes of hate on the internet, on TV, or at the dinner table.

We all glory in our freedom of speech.  We should learn that we will receive glory by using it to spread unity and kindness, not hate or division. God gives us free will. When our political differences rise to the point that we disobey the very creator’s words, how do we think that works?

If we want to win against terrorism, then we must become more unified, or radicalism will rise. The evil will see the division and hatred and cause it to spread. Hasn’t history proven that?

When one truly disparages another because they are a different color, or truly disparages another because they are of a different political mind set, they are demoralizing the very fabric of our country. They take history and all that was learned from it and throw it away.  They take the sermon about love on Sunday and turn it to hate by Monday when their freedom of speech is urging pure division.

I am neither a conservative nor a liberal.  I am neither black nor white. I am neither Southern nor Northern. I am God’s child who is an American. I am not a label. I will fight for unity under the umbrella of human decency, and I will use my words carefully  so as not hurt my fellow men and women. I have learned from history what hate can do and how it can not only kill a country, but kill our souls.

When we spread hate around by our words and actions, we put a knife into the very heart of America and put tears in God’s eyes.

I will teach, through my actions and through my words, my grandchildren how to treat others. My grandmother taught me that human kindness and dignity is what a good life is all about.

It is what a good country is about as well. I have a photo taken at the end of the Civil War.  There is a group of men standing on the front porch of an old store. They are disheveled and worn from the battle.  Half are wearing fading blue and half are wearing fading gray. They are laughing and talking to one another. Like their dusty old uniforms, the hate is starting to fade away.

The war was over, they were back as one.  They knew their wounds would heal, yet leave deep scars. They would go from there and scatter the unity they formed on that old front porch across their great land.  Their descendants would fight against Hitler as well as fight for civil liberties. Their descendants would die defending a great nation. Are we now opening old wounds by the division we have created?   Did we not learn?

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell. She can be reached at lwgendusa@bellsouth.net