The Steele Report Mar 18
Why is it we have so many hate crimes? In the past we not only condoned racial injustice, we legitimized by making historic heroes out of some pretty villainous people. We claim it is history and heritage, but are we basing our reasoning on excusing already documented facts we choose to ignore. Here are some examples. For a moment lets start at the destination and walk backwards a short distance.
I hear it all the time, why don’t we have quality politicians? To start with, we do. They avoid the details in many cases because….you guessed it, in a mass setting society doesn’t want to hear it. So how did it get this way you ask? At present we have people wanting to edit old books and stories because they don’t match the acceptable standard of today. Dr Seuss for example. It is not acceptable to burn books so we will edit them until there is nothing left but the cover and some would like to wrap the cover in brown paper too. Many of the old cartoons are taboo too unless edited, the Road Runner and my favorite Foghorn Leghorn.
Backing down the road even further we go about tearing down statues of those who committed bad deeds and stand for things that were wrong. Now to be fair some should come down. More about this in a moment. So why is this happening?
In the past we turned some pretty despicable people into hero’s or folk heroes. In the process we distorted the historical facts to conform to the narrative. Sometimes I am not sure if some are objecting to the removal of a statue or dealing with the perversion of the truth about the character in question. So how do we address the merit of keeping some statues and not others? How many think Hitler should have a statue or Charles Manson or Stalin? They were despots but then so were the Confederate so called heroes. They were traitors, slave holders, some were rapists as well. Then there are Canadian heroes. Sir John A MacDonald the father or our country. He was also one of the architects of residential schools. To be clear the Residential school system
Operated before MacDonald s time. The difference was he took it to a whole new level. In the House he announced the policy of the Indian Residential Schools program of societal assimilation. He decided to move residential schools off the reserves with catastrophic consequences.
According to Hansard here was his statement of reasoning.
“When a student is on the Reserve, the child lives with parents, who are savages. He is surrounded by savages. He is simply a savage who can read and write.” intolerance from the mouth of the Prime Minister. Intolerance we ignored in the profile of the man. He cemented our country with the building of the railroad which is a story of greed and corruption itself.
Then there is Cornwallis what a guy to warrant a statue. Among his warranted deeds…under his command his soldiers murdered men in front of their families, raped women, burned people alive and waged a campaign of terror against the Highlanders in his homeland.
In Nova Scotia he was a leader in ethnic cleansing of the French from Acaidia. He also ethically cleaned the native populations from their traditional territory. The historic record documents it but we as a society ignores the facts that are in plain site.
We have complicated our history story by not being truthful in the first place. .Tearing down the statues of these people does not reconcile the problem, over time it covers up the misdeeds and renders them forgotten from mind and conscience. So what is the remedy? Personally I think we should feature them in a rouges gallery complete with the distorted version and the truth historically. By doing so we can begin to see, history for what it is. History is often a varnished version of truth, folklore, and a measure of distortion depending on who writes the story. We should be mindful of all aspects of that.
In the words of Winston Churchill when he said. “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” I rest my case.